Dear Artist, Love Your Photographer
If you look up your favorite artist you will see websites, social media sites and press riddled with some of the most epic images that captures them in supreme light. Billboards, posters, and even flyers are all images that brand the artist at their best. This is all thanks to the people behind the eyes better known as The Photographer. The relationship between artist and photographer is an often under appreciated bond. In the industry we have a saying, if no one was there to capture the moment then it didn't happen. You hear stories of artists saying their shows were lit or they went out and had the time of their life but without that epic picture and caption, it doesn't exist. Dear artists, get you a camera man!
Photographers crave good content the same way you crave music. They are looking for that epic show, they are looking for great personalities because, face it, not every artist is that interesting. But photographers can make them look so. Photographers and videographers are plagued with people asking them for free shit and then not compensating them with at least "a moment" to remember. Think about this before you hit up a photographer to come take a pic of you standing in one spot rapping over your vocals. Your music isn't just the art. YOU ARE THE ART. And you need to be captured properly so consider this when hitting up a camera person. Learn who you are and how you want to presented to the world. Because pictures are forever. You can make yourself hot, but a camera can make you iconic.
Some of the most iconic photos of Michael Jackson, Tupac, Michael Jordan, Jean-Michel Basquiat and more hang in museums. They are sold or auctioned off for almost millions. It's because the camera has the ability of showing the person AND the artist. It is the direct link to the soul of a creative.
Come with a vision. Let them know what songs to capture. Let them know how you want to be portrayed. Some artist require up close and personal shots and others require moving shots because of their energy. Maybe you do something in your set that needs the right picture. All these are things to consider when working with any camera person. Also, give them a heads up on the space and the lighting. Nothing worse than inviting out a photographer and they have no lighting and have no space to shoot.
Content is the name of the game and those without it lose in this industry. You can make walking down the street to the store look epic. You can make a studio session look like a documentary with the right camera person. Create your content in advance. Maybe your talking over clips of you, or your giving the camera a moment of emotion. Always look for ways to keep content going to your fans. Build your story and give your camera person something to work with other than "Hey can you come through and shoot me doing nothing". You can easily run out of content if you don't plan in advance what your going to capture. Try to see things from the camera person's perspective. Their not just holding up a camera all day, they are looking to capture something real!
Give your photographer or videographer credit! I can't stress this enough. The memory and storage of photos is a nightmare and when an artist gets a photo that was edited and emailed over and doesn't credit the camera person, its the ultimate disrespect. Capturing moments is no easy task and to not be credited for free work is how watermarks happen lol.
Photographers and video crews are a hot commodity in this industry but they are also the biggest visionaries. They will turn down $2,000 gigs just to go capture something that feels real to them. They see things before they happen. They scout the rooms and look for real interactions. They should be everybody's best friend. You can buy the nicest camera in the world and it won't look as brilliant as a camera man with a vision. Next time you see a camera man at an event, walk up to them and just tell them "Thank You."