As you might have seen, I’ve already given my 10 cents on how & why great promo photos can result in more gigs

[free] publicity leads to…
bigger audiences and, as a result…
more gigs

It’s an upward cycle!

But you don’t have to take my word for it; I wanted to share this note I got from British jazz promoter Paul Kelly who’s putting together the publicity for one of his annual events right now.

It seems so simple, but if you’ve gone to the trouble of spending years getting to where you are as a jazz musician, put in those extra few hours to allow promoters to do their job properly and promote your gig!

Over to Paul (who, in terms of experience, has worked with artists including Chet Baker, Bud Freeman, Gil Evans Orchestra, Clark Terry’s Big Bad Band, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, Carla Bley Band, Phil Woods Quartet, Jan Garbarek/Charlie Haden/Egberto Gismonti, Eberhard Weber’s Colours, Jimmy Giuffre, Ronnie Scott Quintet, Barbara Thompson’s Paraphernalia, Andy Sheppard (with Sphere) and many others!)

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I am currently putting together a 28 – 34 page programme for our annual smooth jazz festival, now in it’s 24th year in Christchurch, Dorset.  Yes it’s old fashioned print, but it’s part of the way we earn our income.  I’m also doing various other events as well.

We want our programme to look nice. So that means I’m trying to source good quality hi-res photos of the artists we have booked.  Some of these are top-notch professionals.  You think it’s be easy.  It’s not!

So far I’ve had from agents, artists and managers:

  • Photos that are too dark to show up the artist in a good light
  • Photos of the artist posing rather than performing
  • Photos that make the artists look quite unattractive (when they are actually far from it)
  • Photos that are of too low a resolution (100k or less) to be usable in print

My old iPhone 5 takes pics of 1Mb or more.  That’s just about good enough resolution for a print publication and if a beat up old iPhone can get suitable shots it shouldn’t be too difficult for artists (or their managements) to get high quality photos of themselves performing even if they are only fan shots.

What I’d like to see is artists having on their website:

  • A variety of downloadable high-res, high quality shots of themselves
  • Preferably shots of them performing
  • Photographer credits for the photos so we can at least acknowledge the other creative person involved

That promoters like myself can download these and use them to publicise the acts we have booked and help get audiences in. 

It can’t be that hard can it? 

And I shouldn’t be having to waste time chasing things like this.

Can you possibly spread the word on this?

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NB If you have any recommendations for jazz photographers, wherever you are in the world, please do share them in the comments section of this main photo article so I can add to the site as a free shout-out!