Isha Shah is a freelance photographer capturing fragments of light. Based in London, she has worked with big name labels and brands such as Interscope Records, Roundhouse Camden, Capital XTRA, Global Entertainment, Crack Magazine, Vice and more. What’s more, she has shot artists such as Ta’Shan, Dan Caplen, Jax Jones and Jaz Karis.
So who better to give some insight into what makes a great artist image, We caught up with her to find out her do’s and don’ts of taking an artist photo.
Know the importance of a good artist image.
“Photos are the most essential thing to get people to be interested” Isha tells us. “We live in such a digital age and right now it is more crucial than ever. You judge music by the album cover – we’re visual people and that’s the first thing you see. From one picture, you can tell what kind of genre an artist is, their level of status and what kind of fans they have. The best photo you can ever get captures their personality and brand.”
Jaz Karis for Asbo Magazine
Where to source a photographer.
“Social media is best” says Isha. “You can also find photographers via word of mouth – ask your friends and artist friends who know other photographers.”
Also, check out this database of photographers here that covers five continents!
Do your research and communicate well.
When reaching out to a photographer “explain what you want in DETAIL, who you are and what your brand is.” says Isha. “There is a vagueness with “I need a photographer”, but what type? You should make that clear before people start messaging you.”
It is important to know what you are looking for in a photographer. Not only that but think about what your brand is. When looking for the right photographer, do your homework – you need to know the genre of music that they shoot and their style, provide them with a clear briefand outline your budget upfront.
“Before I go on a shoot, I will create a moodboard on your music and current image and then ask your opinion. This contains styling, locations, colour, and then discuss and change to your liking. Communicate beforehand because once you’re on a shoot you can’t really change the location, for example.”
“Also, know your level. Try and match it to a photographer who can provide that.” If you’re an up and coming band/artist, why not work with an up and coming photographer?
Treat the photographer with respect, and be patient!
“They should feel part of your team, but this also depends on what kind of relationship you want with them.” For example, is this a one-time thing, or will you be hiring them on a regular basis? “Remember, they could always be useful in the future.”
There’s a lot more to photography than just snapping – editing, research and travel time. “Straight after the shoot, DO NOT ask when you’re going to get the photos. This should already be negotiated beforehand, don’t pressure them and definitely do not go on social media and message them incessantly.”
Ditch the idea that phone pics are good enough
“No-one will take you seriously in this industry,” Isha stresses. “It’s definitely worth paying someone.” We know independent artists are not made of money but it is important to include a good photographer into your budget, however small or large. “There’s a big difference between Instagram photographers and professional photographers who will know lighting, more about composition and direction. It’s these subtle changes that nobody will notice except the photographer, but will make the image.”
You are also paying for the quality. “You can’t use phone pictures for billboards or printed magazines for example. A professional photographer is more versatile, we can turn your images into a GIF, use it in a music video or a magazine article.”
Don’t be a diva!
“At the end of the day, the camera never lies and if you’re going to act like a diva, then it is going to show. There’s no point of having a photographer if you don’t want to be followed around and have your space invaded, because we’re not being creepy, that’s just our job, to be up in your face, everywhere you are documenting it.”
Most importantly, CREDIT.
“You MUST credit. Unless you’re owning the images. Credit is important because just as you want your name to get out there, so do us photographers, but if you’re not crediting how will people know?”
You can follow Isha Shah on Instagram: ishashahphotography
And her website: https://ishashahphoto.format.com/