Taking Engaging Photos for Your Ensemble’s Press Kit


Whether it is 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 the new eBook “Creating the Perfect Press Kit for Your Ensemble,” we discuss how to take engaging photos for your press kit.


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.


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.

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 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

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 high-resolution of 300 dpi or higher so that they are able to be blown up 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 email as an attachment, to dropbox.com, to Google drive, or similar, and send to the appropriate contact.
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: Do not copy and paste the photo into the body of your email. 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 via email this way. Here’s how: http://www.wikihow.com/Make-a-Zip-File?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss
How to Check Photo Resolution in Microsoft Office 2010:
  1. From the image file, right-click and select “Properties”
  2. Click on the “More” link next to “Picture Properties” to expand section
  3. Read the “Horizontal/Vertical Resolution” number to determine resolution
How to Check Photo Resolution on MAC:
  1. Open image file in Preview
  2. On top menu, click “Tools”, “Show Inspector”, then “General Info”
  3. Read the “Image DPI” number to determine resolution

General Tips


  • Avoid distracting backgrounds
  • Keep backgrounds neutral
  • Hire professional photographer or use DSLR
  • 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 group in the 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!


The post Taking Engaging Photos for Your Ensemble’s Press Kit appeared first on Backstage at Encore Tours.


About the Author

Encore Tours

Encore Tours goes beyond travel. We are committed to supporting music education at home. From our director workshops and professional networking events to our scholarship programs for young musicians, we continue to give back to our musical communities year-round. That's why "taking your music program to new places" is our mission. Whether "places" refers to exciting destinations or supporting your music programs at home, Encore is with you every step of the way.

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