We all know that “a picture is worth 1000 words,” but for musicians, the photos that get taken when you perform are worth actual cash money. You need excellent photos of your performances to share on social media, use for future concert promo, and showcase how fun your performances are to watch. The great news is, most shows have eager photographers who are excited to grab photos of you while you play, but they need your help to get those stellar shots. There are a few things you can do to increase your chances of having a great photo taken of you at your next live show.
Being easy to photograph starts with great stage presence. Any tour photographer will tell you that musicians that have an incredible energy on stage make for great photos. Keep your energy high, think about the expressions you make, and don’t be afraid to go big with your movements! Theater experts will always tell you that you have to “over act” to be seen on stage since your audience is usually somewhat far away, so don’t be afraid of overdoing it. The bigger and bolder you can get with your performance, the more photos will be taken of you during a set. Photographers gravitate towards the people on stage that give them the best chance of an incredible photo, so being different in your movements, playing style, and wardrobe are a great way to set yourself apart!
One of the worst parts about performing on stage is struggling to see past the bright stage lights that are blinding your view. Those lights create amazing visuals from the audience perspective, but it can be tempting to move out of the direct view of a spotlight so you can see your fans. The only problem is, if the lights aren’t on you, you often can’t be seen in a dark venue! This is a common problem for drummers and performers on the side of the stage. Don’t be afraid to ask the venue to make sure you have some lighting on you so that you can be seen. After all, your audience is there to see you live and in person, so make sure you give them the chance to see (and photograph) you!
When you are on stage, you are thinking about a LOT of things. “What do I look like?” “How am I playing?” “What is the audience thinking?” It’s understandable that you might zone in on your music and focus on not making mistakes, but over time you will find that your songs are so second nature that you start to just enjoy playing the show. There will probably be photographers all around the stage, and if you see them pointing a camera at you, don’t be afraid to give them a smile or angle yourself towards them! Some of the best shots from a concert are the ones where performers made SURE they were in an interesting photo. These photos are the ones that will most likely be shared by venues, festivals, and promoters after the show, so if you want some free promotion, then make sure you are in the best photos taken at an event. You want people to look at photos of you and think “I need to see those guys live!”
Ok performer, you are officially going to be an excellent subject for the photographers in the audience at your next show. These rules apply for your fans too, so if you see phone cameras pointed at you during a show, be sure to give them a memory worth re-sharing. After your next performance, don’t be afraid to ask photographers for some of their shots too! Many photographers will be honored that you took an interest in their work. One of the greatest gifts you can give to your photographers is credit on social media, so if someone offers their photos for free, be sure to give them a shoutout when you share it.
We can’t wait to see the incredible photos you get on stage!