+ Harness your inner groove and your outer authenticity with drummer, producer, and artist The Pocket Queen. Check out her course on Soundfly.
Your band’s photos are a big deal.
Think about it like this:
All it takes is half a second for someone to form an opinion of you based on one photograph. One. Photograph. So you want to make sure it’s a good one.
By looking only at your band’s photo, people should be able to tell what type of music you play.
Are you a Pacific Northwest folk trio? Consider donning flannel and beards. Have the shoot outdoors in the woods. Or in a cabin.
Are you a group of hippie songwriters that love playing eight-minute-long psychedelic jams? Time to bust out the circular sunglasses. Perhaps you’re at your best when you’re playing live. Try to capture that energy with a shoot at one of your shows.
Here are examples of ten band photos that are absolutely killin’ it and what specifically makes them so good. Then, we’ll tell you how you can set up your next shoot to maximize your brand appeal.
Automatic Fire portrait (photo by Jared Polin)
This photo is irreverent, rebellious, and quirky. They’re probably loud and have a lot to say. By looking at this photo, you can assume that this group probably doesn’t care for authority and has some strong opinions.
Why it works: I mean, dude is spitting what is presumably beer at the camera, while his buddies nonchalantly look on from under their umbrellas. When else have you seen that in a photo before?
Yes Cadets (photo by Alessio Michelini)
A pop of color in the background, straightforward faces, and a coy smile. Something tells me this group is going to be full of interesting sonic choices.
Why it works: Eyes draw you in. Eye contact is undeniable, even in a photo. The bold colors and simple composition also work to pique interest.
24 Broken Amps (photo by Alessio Michelini)
This image is one in a series that features every band member. It’s pretty evident that these guys don’t take life too seriously.
Why it works: Weird factor! Who puts shaving cream on their face then poses for a photo? Simply seeing these images makes you want to dig into their music.
The Half Sisters (photo by James Kendall)
The background says folk. The dresses say pop. The hand holding says indie.
Why it works: There’s a story here that works with the band name “The Half Sisters”.
Belson (photo by Brett Aurthur Donar)
It’s clear that this is a rock band – the image is gritty and epic. These guys probably lean more on the side of pop rock, judging by their appearances and clothing.
Why it works: HDR, baby! This photo is incredibly detailed, thanks to a technique called High Dynamic Range photography.
16th Avenue (photo by Sean McGrath)
Fun and youthful. Each band member is given a moment to show their own personalities. No standing in an alley pretending to be serious for this group.
Why it works: The quirky, fun props. The tone of this photo is infectious. Makes you want to party with them.
Citi (photo by Robert Bejil)
Desaturated, all black band T’s with metal names. Gotta be a hardcore band.
Why it works: Attitude and angle. Shooting from down below makes subjects larger than life – perfect for epic music.
Loch Lomond (photo by Alicia Rose)
A photo within a photo! They look like a piece of classic artwork.
Why it works: It breaks the typical expectations of 2D photography, surprising viewers. There is also a lot going on, making it easy for viewers to get pulled in to each “character” in the image.
The Dread Band of Oddwood (photo by Aydin Palabihikoglu)
I mean, is there any doubt what music these guys play?
Why it works: For such a nice genre, it’s incredibly important to have photos that nail your sound. These guys leave nothing to the imagination.
Ashley Monical (photo by Ralph Arvesen)
A great live shot of the band in action. It’s clear that the pretty woman in the center is the artist.
Why it works: This is an excellent example of a live shot that can be used for press and promo. The vibe is apparent, and the room looks great.
Looking at these images, here are some things to keep in mind when you’re planning your band’s photoshoot:
- Make sure it reflects the music.
- Coordinate clothing and style with the rest of your bandmates.
- Pick a location that jives with your genre.
- Bring your instruments or other odd props that work with your image.
- Tell a story with your expressions, actions, and props.
- Most importantly: have fun. Life’s too short to have a bad time at a photoshoot!
Don’t stop here!
Continue learning with hundreds of lessons on songwriting, mixing, recording and production, composing, beat making, and more on Soundfly, with artist-led courses by Kimbra, Com Truise, Jlin, Ryan Lott, and the acclaimed Kiefer: Keys, Chords, & Beats.