IAIMA Blog

I Am an Independent Music Artist.  A blog by artists for artist, helping each other thrive.

How to plan the best photoshoot for your music project

 Photography by Cat Lane for my 2017 No Fear Here album campaign.  Hair, makeup and styling by me.

Photography by Cat Lane for my 2017 No Fear Here album campaign.  Hair, makeup and styling by me.

Amazing music and great imagery are bff's. A powerful image has a way of enhancing the music and message we are trying to create.  The reverse can be said for poor imagery.  An ill thought out, poorly executed image can cause fabulous music to be overlooked and not listened to.  So although music is our number one focus, let us try to also put our best into this aspect of the process to.  

 

Things I've learnt:

- Find a great photographer who is enthusiastic and willing to collaborate.  If you find someone fabulous, you can build a relationship with them that can grow and develop as your career does.  The way I've found the photographers I've worked with are to ask friends for recommendations, and searching social media and google.  It can be a little daunting contacting individuals cold, but if you love the work you've seen then it can be really worth it.  I actually found Cat Lane via google and we've collaborated successfully for the last few years.

- Pour you creativity into the creative direction of your shoot.  I love how Dawn Richard approaches her imagery.  It seems to literally be another form of her artistic expression. Her images speak a thousand words before you've even listened to a note of her music.  

Dawn's imagery also compliment the avant-garde, boundary bending nature of her music.  This approach may not work for mine or your personality, direction, or music we make, but the underlying principle can be adopted: Let's make sure our artist imagery is not an afterthought in our music making process, but an important project within the project.  Let's get as creative as possible and push it to be the best it can be.

- Be willing to pay - it's worth it.  It's goes without saying, but I'll say it anyway: Particularly with photography, you get what you pay for.  Invest time finding the best photographer you can, who's approach fits what you are looking for, and be willing to save up if need be to work with them.  

 Corinne Bailey Rae

Corinne Bailey Rae

- Consider location, inside? Outdoors? Both? Figure out what you'll be using these images for, and whether the location you are considering fits the brief.  Have a brief. Lol. Outdoor shoots are great, natural light is always flattering and you can easily switch things up and shoot at multiple locations.  

However a studio shoot can provide opportunity to get really creative with concept and lighting. It can be more expensive, but depending on the brief, it can be a price worth paying.  

- Plan shoot, poses, mood.  Create extensive moodboards.  Actually moodboard the heck out of you ideas.  It will be so helpful for all involved.  Research fellow artists images, fashion photography, imagery from varying eras, and add ones that inspire you to your moodboard.  I typically do all of this on Pinterest.

- Your look.  Plan research the look(s).  Have at least two for variety and to get the most out of the shoot.  Remember accessories.  Strongly consider working with a stylist, even just a consultation to get tips on what to buy yourself.

-Makeup.  Unless you're excellent, or a professional, hire a makeup artist for sure.

 Jake Issac

Jake Issac

- Decide what you will be using the images for.  Are they for your website, as part of your EPK, for flyers, social media or EP/Album artwork.  The use will help you as you develop ideas about composition.  For example should you need images to use as flyers to add text to at a later date, you may want to make sure there is enough negative space for this (and it will be something you'll need to share with your photographer prior to shooting).  Or if it's for your website, make sure you have a few horizontal images as they are usually better dimensionally for a site.  

- Have someone on set in addition to the photographer who has a good creative eye to help with poses, can inject variety and creativity into the shoot.  And most importantly to make sure your clothes and makeup are in place.  It can be so annoying when you have to try and recreate a great shot because you have dirt on your shoe or lipstick on your teeth.

 Liza Anne

Liza Anne

- Being comfortable in front of the camera.  This is crucial.  Often people say to me that I take a great picture, and it wouldn't be the same for them.  I always disagree.  An amazing image is less about beauty or being photogenic, in my opinion, and more about creating interest.  An interesting image is much more captivating and memorable than one of simple beauty.  And interest is something everyone has the capacity to induce.  

 

So first, learning to be comfortable in front of the lens is key.  The camera is incredibly discerning.  It has a consistent and uncanny way of capturing fear in the eyes.  If fear or self consciousness aren't the sentiments you are wishing to convey then this will definitely be a problem, and will ultimately make you less than happy with the final images.  

- Know your angles, practice. I know is cringeworthy, but practising in the mirror has been key for me.  Creating a back story in my head, putting on the outfits and learning what is a good and bad angle for me and the clothes I'll be wearing is incredibly helpful.  This can also be time saving, confidence building and also money saving.  Also ask a trusted friend to be honest with you about that face you always make when a camera is pointed your way.  Is it flattering?  And don't fib, You have a camera face.  We all do.

- Leave enough budget to buy as many images as you can.  You can expect to receive at least 5 to be included in the initial cost.  5 might sound stingy, but 5 amazing, retouched images can be used for so many things!

- Hopefully your photographer is great at editing and retouching.  Otherwise consider hiring someone for this too.  It can make all the difference:

Photography and retouching by Cat Lane.  Hair, makeup and styling by me

- Negotiate for a gallery to be saved by the photographer so that if you would like to purchase more in the future then you can.  Fresh images later in your campaign are so helpful and a money saver.

All this can seem expensive and alot of work, but great imagery and great music work hand in hand.  Amazing imagery can boost interest and invite new listeners to click on a link and give your music a listen.  

This is the same with video content which we will cover very soon.  

Has this been helpful?  Comment below.  Artists share your tips too, what have you learnt from previous shoots that could help the rest of us?  

 

x

 Lesley Lau Photography

Lesley Lau Photography

January Devotional: Comparison- A terrible Thief & How to snuff it out

Comparison [kəmˈparɪs(ə)n/]

A consideration or estimate of the similarities or dissimilarities between two things or people.
 

"Comparison is a thug that robs your joy. But it’s even more than that — Comparison makes you a thug who beats down somebody – or your soul.  Scales always lie. They don’t make a scale that ever told the truth about value, about worth, about significance.  And the thing about measuring sticks, girl? Measuring sticks try to rank some people as big and some people as small — but we aren’t sizes. We are souls." - Ann Voscamp

 

I found comparison to be a great and terrible thief.  Comparison steals two major things.  Our appreciation of ourselves and the gift we are, and our enjoyment of others and the gift they are to us and the world.  

As a musician, fighting comparison can be a daily struggle.  I don't think any of us are completely immune to it.  A peer announces the release of another album, meets a crowd funding campaign where yours failed, or you scroll your Instagram feed to see a picture of an artist friend signing a recording contract, and the aching question 'What about me?' rises up again.  Or you're at a gig listening to a phenomenal set and rather than just enjoying the beautiful moment of art filling the room and allowing yourself to be raptured by the skill and heart of the player, you are experiencing a gnawing sadness because you will never sound like that.  

What a boring, consuming cycle.

The moment we decide to reject comparison in all of its form, is the moment we begin to experience a level of strength, peace and enjoyment which is otherwise closed to us as artists.  Once we remove the spectacles of scrutiny and comparison we allow ourselves to step back from the canvas and see the whole picture.  We then notice that the picture is in fact a kaleidoscope.  A cacophony of colour and design, and every person, every expression is working together to create a stunning prism of light.  

Through the spectacles of scrutiny it may seem as though one shaft of colour is more significant, more important, more beautiful than another.  However the bigger picture reveals the futility of this myopia. The prism of light is created by the whole.  It is created by every artist creating and sharing beauty as authentically as they can, serving their audience, standing in their sphere of influence, and doing their part.

When we remove comparison from our artistic rituals, we can pick up our instruments and listen to the sound our vocal chords make with the appreciation and reverence they deserve.  

No one on earth has the capacity to sound like you.  Your frequency is unexampled.  It's peerless. It's unique. It is unrivalled. 

It should have no rival.  And in reality it doesn't.  

Exercise: Today, catch your thoughts.  And if you can, write down every thought you have that is a comparison to someone else. Turn your comparison into praise, and think or write down one or two sentences of appreciation for that person and their gift.  Bonus: Consider sharing this with that person!

 

“Don't always be appraising yourself, wondering if you are better or worse than other writers. "I will not Reason and Compare," said Blake; "my business is to Create." Besides, since you are like no other being ever created since the beginning of Time, you are incomparable. ”  - Brenda Ueland, If You Want to Write: A Book about Art, Independence and Spirit

 

Hello!

 Cat Lane Photography

Cat Lane Photography

I don't know how you stumbled on this page, but I'm glad you're here.  

My name is Bianca Rose and I am an independent singer songwriter amongst many other things.  Career wise music is my main thang.  I love it beyond my capacity to share.  It's a part of my core.  It is one of the main means by which I work things out.  It is my most true form of communication.  I believe it's a calling.

After releasing an EP a few years ago, writing for other artists, and being in and around the business of music, I'm gearing up to release my debut album.  After all of the hard work, set backs and pushing through, I'm really wanting to put this album out well, and establish a career where I can continue to do this for as long as I want to, and make a living that supports me and my family.  

 

I have so many friends in this business.  Some who are settled and happy in their creative journeys, continuing to grow as artists, and are healthy and financially fine.  Some who have left the business for a career more sure and rewarding.  Some who are struggling to just stay on the path because it feels like there is little reciprocity for the great effort they are making. Most who are somewhere in the middle.  

Additionally I've noticed that there is little to know support for the artist.  Like does an artist forum exist anywhere?  Please do tell me if there is one somewhere, but I feel as though there are numerous places for people to consume our work (yay!), but very few if any where artists can build community, ask the questions everyone else has in their heads, share tips, or make heart to heart connections.  We don't have a staff room, or proverbial water cooler to talk around, but I think we should. 

So here you'll discover articles from artist managers, to music PR agencies.  There'll be entries about mental health from experts passionate about the mental and emotional welfare of artists, to articles on how best to book a tour from artists who have done it often and well.  

Artists aside from myself will share their journey and wisdom here, as well as there being a monthly devotional to help us stay encouraged in our creative endeavours.  

I also intend for this space to document my musical journey and grow. And also how I'm learning to interact with and package my music in a way that affords me the luxury (and it shouldn't be a luxury) of truly choosing this as a career that pays in every way a career should.

I'd also love for this space to grow into a forum of sorts, and for us all to share our journey and our learning.  We can help each other win, after all there is space for us all, we just need to find OUR place.

Here we will document the richness of life an an independent artist, the rewards outside of finance, the internal tussles, & the work to stay healthy, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally.

So join me! 

 

Bee x