FAQ -Why do I Need a Good Photo / Video Material?

Need a new photo? Brilliant piece with great advice by Bettina Mehne, currently at the IAMA Conference!

Your photo is the first thing your audience (and I am counting promoters, opera companies and orchestras into this category as well) will notice about you - either on your HELLO STAGE profile, a homepage, a poster or in the programme book. This is what everybody sees before they even have heard you play or sing one note. So your photo is the image they have of you and let’s face it - it will even influence the way they are going to listen to you.

As you know, HELLO STAGE is at the IAMA conference in Utrecht right now. As they kindly invited me to take part at the panel discussion 'Shake It Off: Artist Management', I needed a new photo for the conference brochure. I was telling myself all the key bullet points an artist should go through when looking at getting a new headshot (or video material for that matter) done:

* What is message you want to capture in a photograph? (What image do you want to create for yourself and your music?)

* Be authentic! Don’t try to do something which is not you just because it seems to the latest trend - in other words: Don’t focus on what everybody else does. Stay focused on you! * Do not include things because, “it looks good.” Focus on your face, your position, the clothes you wear, your shoes (and in your case: your instrument): every little detail counts!

* ask the photographer to make sure the photo „works“ in colour as well as in black & white as you don’t know what your promoter might prefer. Often they need it in colour for brochures and posters but it will end up in b/w in the programme book. If you only supply it in b/w it might not be included in other material or will look very odd next to colour photos your colleagues have supplied.

* when reviewing the photos also think about what it will look like when it is cut down to just your face. Very often there is only very limited space next to your biography in a programme book and rather than printing the whole photo, it will be reduced to stamp size and will only show your head, so the audience can still recognize you.

I was very lucky that Simon Pauly had time for me in Berlin last month (you can see the results of our session right here). Simon is not only a wonderful Bariton but he also is an amazing photographer specializing in portrait photography for singers, conductors, musicians and actors. Although based in Berlin, Simon travels the world to shoot with artists (psst, there are a few amazing new photos of Joyce DiDonato coming up… watch out!). Being a supportive husband (his wife is a singer & HELLO STAGE member too) and devoted dad, the whole family often travels together. So keep an eye on his whereabouts and catch him somewhere near you - they are in the States regularly and can be found all over Europe.

But he is not the only HELLO STAGE member to turn to in need of new visual material: The former artist managers, Simon Wall and Hannah Taylor, established TallWall Media in 2011 providing promotional film and photography services to the arts industry.

They have invented something wonderful - the 'Multi Artist Filming Days', normally taking place every month, producing performance films for singers and soloists in a cost effective way, without compromising on quality. You will walk away with 3-4 high definition performance films with commercial quality audio. Of course they are also available for filming on a larger scale - filming whole concerts, feature films as well as documenting recording sessions or projects. TallWall Media is going to be at the IAMA as well, so I am very much looking forward to seeing Simon in a few hours, who flew in direct from Seoul where he has been working with a cellist.

Bettina Mehne manages the relationships with Artists, Ensembles, their Managements as well as Promoters on HELLO STAGE. She toured Orchestras around the world, worked for London and Germany based Managements, took care of Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen as their Artistic Manager and headed the Artistic Planning at the Wiener Konzerthaus for six seasons. Follow Bettina on Twitter - you can also always reach out to her at bettina@hellostage.com
Author: Bettina Mehne HELLO STAGE
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