We review a lot of gigs here at SOURCE and we usually send a photographer along to capture the moment. It’s not just a case of having pretty pictures to go with the words, we reckon it adds a dynamic element that helps the review come alive. Our photographers try their best, but sometimes musicians need to spare a thought for the snapper down front.
We know you don’t really care about this stuff. You go on stage to sing your heart out, to play your music, to release tension or simply to have fun. Maybe you’re out there to satisfy your fans and perhaps some of you do it because it’s something you can’t not do. Whatever the reason, you’ve usually got so much going on before and during a gig that what the camera sees is the last thing you worry about.
That’s probably for the best, but there are a few small things that might improve the way you come out in pictures an awful lot. Admittedly, it’s one more thing to think about, but it might be worth it.
We’ve gathered a few examples from gigs we photographed in the last few months. Have a look to see if any of them apply to you – and help us help you look your best when playing live.
1. Handprints on your gear
Your handprints reflect the lights and draw unnecessary attention. Give your guitar a nice wipe before you go on stage, even if it’s just with the end of your sleeve or shirt. Think of it like personal hygiene. It might sound patronising, but no one wants to see your sticky scratchplate.
2. Lose the phone
A phone in your back pocket is bad, it’s even worse when the oblong bulge is up front. You’re not going to take any calls or answer Whatsapp messages in the middle of your own gig, right? Take the phone out of your pocket then. It doesn’t even look like you’re happy to see us. It’s just weird.
3. Step out of the shadows
See where the light hits the stage? That’s where everyone wants you! Otherwise we would have just stayed at home listening to your SoundCloud. It’s not enigmatic, it’s just annoying. We want to see you.
4. Hide the artist pass
We know you’re the performing artist. You’re on stage. Hide the pass if you can, it ruins your rock star look.
5. You don’t have to put on the red light
A red LED light is a photographer’s worst nightmare – and may result in all your photos being B&W to avoid a total disaster. Have a chat with the person in charge of the lighting before the gig, and ask them to throw in as many colours as possible during the show.
6. Glitter makes you fitter
We’re a big fan of glitter. We really are. If you use the right type and amount it will pimp your appearance on stage and on camera. However, if you just walk into a cloud of pale glitter without placing it strategically, two things might happen. Both are bad:
a. It can make you look a bit sweaty even when you’re absolutely not.
b. In low light the glitter is likely to be out of focus, which makes it look like you have strange little spots on your skin.
Bottom line: If you’re going to use glitter, go all or nothing.
Can you think of anything else? Have a few examples to share?
Get in touch and we might add your tips next time.