As we continue the discussion around building your DJ brand, we’re taking a look at a few key elements (mentioned in our overview) that are needed to get started. Last week we examined how to create a logo that is not only expressive to your brand, but also timeless. In this article, we’ll move on to press photos. Before you start snapping selfies or bring unnecessary props to a photoshoot, it’s important to think about what you want the photos to say about you and your DJ persona. Let’s get started!
Rely on a pro to take the best shots Photos are important not only because you want to look your best, but because they will potentially be used across a variety of promotional materials and websites. Hiring a skilled photographer is the best way to ensure your pictures will be professional, high quality, and not cheesy. You might have to work with a few photographers until you find the perfect match, but in the end having a great set of press photos will be worth the work.
What to look for in a photographer:
Find someone you trust and feel comfortable working with;
Has a strong portfolio of photos similar to the look you want to achieve;
Experience in portrait and headshot photography;
Experience in nightlife or DJ press photos specifically.
Just like we discussed in our logo–focused article, if you can’t afford to pay a professional the big bucks, try networking within your circle to find someone who freelances in photography or someone with a good camera.
Choose a setting or location Before the shoot, it’s important to communicate with your photographer and decide on a location that works best. The location should be relevant to your DJ career (such as a studio or workspace) but it can also be an outdoor space or a park that you visit frequently, or even your favorite coffee shop that you spend time at with your laptop. It might help you decide on the direction of the photo shoot by brainstorming adjectives, genres or other components of your DJ performances.
Talk to your photographer about the desired outcome for the shoot and spend some time beforehand getting comfortable with poses at that location. Keep in mind if the location you choose is outdoors, you’ll need to plan accordingly in order to get the best lighting conditions, as well as weather conditions.
Be yourself This may sound cliché, but it is likely the most important advice for press photos we can give! Your photos will represent your persona, and should do so in a natural and not overdone way. Super simple tips to accomplish this:
Don’t bring any DJ gear to your photo shoot. This isn’t a gig, so DJ gear in a photo can look forced and unnatural.
Choose an outfit that you’d wear to a gig, but that is also classic and simple. (A classic outfit can extend the shelf life of your photos.)
Smile! Hang out with your photographer, get comfortable and relax.
Pick the best shots and make them accessible Photographers often take hundreds of photos in one shoot. This can make the reviewing process pretty difficult. Be sure to trust the photographer’s judgement on which images are the most flattering, but also don’t hesitate to voice your opinion. You should have anywhere between five and 15 photos to choose from on your website or in your press kit (we’ll be taking a look at press kits later this month, so stay tuned!)
Remember that you want your pictures to be easy to find, easy to download and the best quality possible. Make sure the images you include on your website are large, high-resolution and downloadable in a few difference file formats. Having a variety of options is also a good idea, such as horizontal and vertical images, black and white, and color.
Now that you’ve got some great press shots, you can start using them. Revisit the images every year or so to make sure they aren’t outdated and still fit your branding. If you follow the steps in this article, you should achieve press shots that can be used for a longer period of time.