September 13, 2016     Encore Tours

Taking Engaging Photos for Your Ensemble’s Press Kit


Whether it’s for local concert promotions, touring overseas, or just posting on your website, a well-constructed press kit can be an invaluable tool for raising the profile of your ensemble. In our new eBook “Creating the Perfect Press Kit for Your Ensemble”, we discuss how to choose the sample repertoire, take engaging photos, create press releases and more.

Choir performing in Notre-Dame-des-Blancs-Manteaux in front of audience

Who Needs a Photo in the Press Kit?

Everyone. All directors, soloists, accompanists, executive directors and the ensemble itself should have a high-quality photo in the press kit.

Violinist performing a solo in Pedro Muñoz Seca Municipal Theater

Do I Need a Professional Photographer?

A professional photographer is always great, but not absolutely necessary. Find someone with good aim, a nice camera and a sense of photography and you can still come away with a nice product.

Sacramento Youth Symphony Group posing on the steps of the Rudolfinum in Prague

Choosing an Appropriate Backdrop

Photo Backdrops That Work

  • Plain wall backdrop – against a white or neutral colored wall
  • Inside the performance space – on stage, in a venue, or on the risers
  • Simple outdoor scenery – photo from above of the ensemble standing on the grass or outdoors on the steps to a venue

Photo Backdrops That Don’t Work

  • Crazy colors – too much color that distracts the viewer’s eye from the performers
  • Unfitting “cafeteria photos” – groups in random places
    • Other “cafeteria” photo locations might include a parking lot, a basement, or outside a restaurant
  • Background distractions – people or things in the background that take away the focus from the group

Jazz musicians performing in Sevilla

Tips on Taking the Photo:

Wear standard concert attire. If the group does not have standard attire, decide on a uniformed outfit, color, specific sleeve length, floor length, acceptable accessories, etc. for perfect coordination.

Smile with open eyes. Never settle for a photo that doesn’t have every person smiling with their eyes open. Try the 1-2-3 approach: Have group close their eyes and relax their mouths, count to three and say open. Group will open their eyes and smile. This helps avoid fake smiles and excessive blinking. Avoid singing or playing for your main group photo.

Decide on a pose. Think of a few poses ahead of time and practice them before the photographer starts taking pictures. Align people as necessary. Put tall people in the back and centered. Try different levels – some standing, some bent at the knees, etc. All faces should be seen.

Take multiple shots. Get creative! Try different locations and poses to get the right “look.” If possible, shoot from an elevated position above the group, particularly with bigger groups.

Be yourselves. Photos should instantly show an ensemble’s uniqueness and personality.

Tips on Sending Photos:

All photos should be at a resolution of 300 dpi or higher so that they are able to be printed properly for your promotional materials. Surprisingly, it’s less about the camera and more about the way you send the photos that makes all the difference.

  1. Import the file from your camera directly to your computer
  2. Check the resolution – see tips below
    • If it is 300 dpi or higher, you are in good shape!
  3. Drag and drop photo to an e-mail as an attachment, Dropbox, Google Drive, or a similar website, then send to the appropriate contact(s).
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not copy and paste the photo into the body of your e-mail. This significantly decreases the resolution of your photo. Always send the original file as an attachment!
    • You can also create a .zip file and send it via e-mail this way. Here’s how!

How to Check Photo Resolution in Windows:

  1. Open File Explorer.
  2. Locate your image file and right-click on it.
  3. Select “Properties” – the very last item on the list.
  4. Select the “Details” tab – the third tab from the left.
  5. Under “Image” – the third section from the top – both the horizontal and vertical resolutions will be displayed.

How to Check Photo Resolution on Mac OS X:

  1. Open your image file in the Preview application.
  2. In the menu bar at the top of the screen, click “Tools”, “Show Inspector”, then “General Info”.
  3. Read the “Image DPI” number to determine resolution.

Ensemble posing in front of the Floralis Generica in Argentina

General Tips

  • Avoid distracting backgrounds
  • Keep backgrounds neutral
  • Hire a professional photographer or use a DSLR camera
  • Wear standard concert attire
  • Smile and keep eyes open. Don’t settle for blinkage!
  • Plan your pose
  • Try creative shots
  • Take and send high-resolution photos
  • Put the group in natural light but not directly facing the sun
  • Photograph a performance
  • Get a few close-up shots

To learn more about taking writing captivating biographies, preparing recordings, choosing repertoire or compiling press materials, download our Press Kit Guide today!

View our other articles in the Backstage Blog’s Press Kit series:

4 Reasons Your Ensemble Needs a Press Kit
The 5 Essentials of Your Ensemble’s Press Kit
Taking Engaging Photos for Your Ensemble’s Press Kit
Writing Captivating Biographies for Your Ensemble’s Press Kit
Choosing Sample Repertoire for Your Ensemble’s Press Kit
Prepare Recordings for Your Ensemble’s Press Kit
Press Releases & Posting Your Ensemble’s Press Kit

Download our free ebook, 'Creating the Perfect Press Kit'!

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