Photography for Musicians – Published in Forte Magazine

February 12, 2009 by  

Working in the rock photography business means you are regularly challenged by the scores of music fans with cameras – whether it be directly when you’re trying to work around them at a gig, or via bands who don’t yet understand the difference between fan-shot images, and professional, marketable ones.  You know, I’ve even met management representatives who don’t understand the difference.

Late last year I wrote a two-page spread for Forte magazine in a contribution to their “Essential Young Musician’s Guide” series. Forte is the music street press for the Geelong and western Victoria region.  They’ve only just recently made the issue available online, so I can now reproduce it for your enjoyment.

Key points I covered included:

  • The band photos used in the bio, and CD artwork, can be a deal breaker. They need to be professionally shot.
  • Presenting amateurish photography is almost as much a backward step as presenting amateurish demos on Myspace.
  • Effective live gig photography is not easy, and requires a real knowledge of light as much as an understanding of stagecraft.
  • A Myspace page is not enough. Whilst it has it’s purpose, you need a professional web presence.
  • Find a photographer with creative vision that aligns or compliments your own.
  • Ask questions about experience, charging, contractual rights, numbers of images, gear and recommendations

Attached is the article itself. If you have an interest in hiring a photographer (hopefully me!) or you’re dabbling in the idea of rock photography yourself, then do yourself a favour and add this to your reading material.

The Essential Young Musicians Guide – Part 4 (Forte Magazine, Nov 20, 2008)

Apologies for the typos throughout. I can’t do everything myself, as much as I would like to, so typesetting fell into the hands of the publication itself.  ;-)

What do you think?

Just for a bit of fun, and to find out who’s reading this far into my article, here is my initial suggestion for an advertisement I took out in the same magazine, and following is their final proof supposedly based on mine. Quite a bit different.  Tell me which one you like best, or none if you think they’re both rubbish. :-)

My proof - sent to Forte for them to use.

My proof - sent to Forte for them to use.

Advertising proof put together by the Magazine

Advertising proof put together by the Magazine

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4 Responses to “Photography for Musicians – Published in Forte Magazine”
  1. Joepi says:

    I liked your advice and I think a lot of start up groups will benefit from it – especially the FAQ’s for the photographer. Actually – the article is beneficial for both musicians and photographers who want to start walking down I-Mean-Business Road.
    In terms of the ads, I like your initial lay out better for the darker background which brought out the photograph and the more-readable font. The fonts on the second mock up make the contact details not so easily readable at first glance. The only thing that needed to be tweaked in our first ad is to probably make your trademark Blue Guitar logo stand out more. Other than that, there should be no other changes and it should be the ad to publish.

  2. Plankman says:

    Nice article. Shame it’s accompanied by what I consider a very poor photo of Tim Rogers.
    I prefer your original ad and agree with Joepi about the font on the second. Maybe they decided they needed a lighter ad next to the darker one on the left?

    • rockportrait says:

      There was a part of me that wondered what they were thinking when they published that. Especially seeing they asked me to submit a couple of shots they could use. The only explanation I have is that their staff photographer insisted on being represented.

      I should also note that I rejected their proof three times. Twice due to lazy typos, and a third because it just looked awful. I even asked them twice why they couldn’t simply publish mine as it was submitted. I gave it to them in high enough resolution. The response hasn’t been overwhelming, and you can see yourself how bad their editing is, so I won’t bother with that publication again.

  3. Thanks very much for the article… I’d just like to comment that I think the second ad is much better than the first. It has better flow. The first layout is blocky and gives the energy of start-stop-start-stop. In the second one, the eye is led down the page, the important pieces of info are highlighted (Rock Portrait Photography! Packages from $250!) and the viewer eventually ends up at the contact info. It’s like a well-told story.

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