How to Shoot a Promo Catalog


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So often I get contacted about a band in need of new promos, and I pretty instantly realize, that bands most often don’t know why they need promos, or what purpose they can actively serve, they just know that when you’re in a band, you’ve gotta get your pictures taken every once in a while.

Most of the time, that’s done by someone with a camera, who snaps a shot or two near an abandoned building, and calls it a day. $200 later the band now has MAYBE 2 promo shots, neither of which follow their marketing, or serve a greater promotional purpose.

What do I mean by that? Let’s chat about it.

There’s a difference between getting a promo session done, and getting a promo catalogue made. The difference? More. Photos.

Oh, AND actual direction and purpose behind the photos.

I don’t believe bands should be paying for the one-off picture by the train tracks anymore. There’s better way to invest that few hundred dollars, and to get more out of it. Look for a photographer that can offer you a promo CATALOGUE.

A set of 6-10 unique images showcasing your band in different settings, different lighting looks, and most often different outfits. (Please bands don’t wear the same outfit in 10 promo pics)

The point? You get more bang for your buck. That’s it, that’s the sell.

Having 6-10 unique promo images, now elongates how much use you get out of this session, a handful of new content pieces, and, if planned well, images that follow a specific art direction that can be easily used as a lead press-photo for an upcoming release.

An example:

Your band’s new song comes out in a month, and you’re wanting to promote it well. The artwork features the main colors of red and purple. During this promo session, work with someone who can offer off camera flash-photography, and use a purple and/or red light in the photos, dress in a look that fits said-song (let’s say, dark and brooding) and you now can directly associate that promo’s purpose, to help push that release.

You can even plan ahead with this, and think of general themes you’d want your next release(s) to have, and grab associated promos for those looks, all in one session!

Even make sure to snag a few vertical ratio promos that can be designed into a show flyer, or used strictly as Instagram Story content.

Stop finding a random person with a camera every 2 months to take a photo of your band beside a building. Research and hire a photographer with Art Direction in mind, and shoot a catalogue of promos that you can get use out of for 4-6 months.

Think about visual art direction, and most of all:

Make. Smart. Investments!

Your money goes further in getting a full promo session done, rather than 1-2 pictures you post in a week.