bad photos, bad shirt, bad self-esteem
August 22, 2022 8:10 AM   Subscribe

Photoshoot for band was a disaster. Please help me deal with this. I feel like I am going to cry.

At our last rehearsal, we were supposed to take a new set of PR photos and had put aside time to do so.

Unfortunately, my loveable yet scatterbrained lead guitar player locked himself out of his car and his studio where all his gear is and was fucking THREE HOURS LATE for rehearsal.

We scrambled to run the songs but everyone had a hard stop at 5:30. Two band members were leaving for vacation the next day. We literally had 45 minutes rehearsal time and 30 minutes for photos. I had brought a change of clothes for photos but we didn't have time for that.

I apparently wore the worst possible shirt that day. So unflattering. I look about 20 lbs heavier than I am. If we'd had time I would have looked at the first few photos and insisted on at least changing my shirt but we were scrambling.

I got the photos today. I need to start promoting our upcoming shows TODAY. And I look so bad I want to cry. These are unusable.

Our drummer is the photographer. He works for a major newspaper as a photojournalist. He did what he could to make me look better but as a photojournalist doing extensive Photoshopping isn't his thing; he's not a fashion guy.

I cannot use these photos. I don't want to use our last batch of photos from February because our keyboard player wasn't able to make that shoot.

Also, Drummer/Photog is very busy this week and doesn't have time for more doctoring till... some other unspecified time.

I am trying to lose COVID weight and these photos are just awful. WHY didn't I change into the dress I brought?!

I don't know what to do. I don't know anyone who can Photoshop the one most usable one I have. I just cannot bring myself to use it for promotion. Everyone else looks great and I look like fucking Moby Dick.

I am literally sitting here trying not to cry.

Can anyone help me reframe how I feel about this? Or suggest any apps where I could do some light doctoring? I have a photo editor app on my phone but if I use it it throws the rest of my body out of proportion.
posted by nayantara to Media & Arts (19 answers total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: posters request -- frimble

Best answer: Can you pay someone on Fiverr to photoshop your photos?
posted by cheesecake at 8:14 AM on August 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Do you have to promote the shows with an actual photo of the band? Can you provide some other kind of graphic?

What if you made a composite of individual photos of the band in a collage style, then you can pick or take a photo of yourself that you like.
posted by bleep at 8:16 AM on August 22, 2022 [30 favorites]

Best answer: My band has a couple "official" group photos, but we're more likely to use action shots for promoting shows. How about using a photo from a performance that shows one or more bandmates doing their thing?
posted by emelenjr at 8:32 AM on August 22, 2022 [20 favorites]

You could also use some kind of graphic overlay that you strategically place over part of your body as well as anything else you want to block off. Could be anything, even text.
posted by yellowcandy at 8:40 AM on August 22, 2022 [11 favorites]

Best answer: Do you have any trusted friends who you can ask for a 100% honest opinion on the photos? It's possible they are terrible but it's also possible your perception of yourself in the photos is distorted.
posted by mekily at 8:45 AM on August 22, 2022 [28 favorites]

Best answer: I absolutely agree with bleep and emelenjr. I think in this stressful day you sort of locked yourself into some tight corner where all you remember is "we have to get a perfect promotional photo of all of us performing today"– you forgot that there is plenty of ways to convey visually the greatness of your music!

I don't think that there's a need of presenting "all of you in a same shot"; and photos don't need to be from "today's session"; and people don't need to be photographed in "full length". It is not a passport photo where you are given precise specifications.

That photo is a part of your music life, you can do it as creative and full of fun as your music performances.
posted by Sky12 at 9:01 AM on August 22, 2022 [10 favorites]

Role model!
Think how everyone else who looks like crap will feel empowered by your photo.

You, so cool, in a band, and being real by showing your worst possible photo.
posted by halehale at 9:08 AM on August 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Before I say anything else, you have my sympathy. I'm carrying around waaaay more weight than is healthy for me, and therefore haaaate having my picture taken even more than I did before. But not once have I ever gone to hear a band because the lead singer looked slender! And if you do end up biting the bullet and using these shots, IF anyone notices a difference they'll be thinking, "Boy, nayantara looks great!"
posted by kate4914 at 9:33 AM on August 22, 2022 [7 favorites]

Vidcap some performance recordings, then filter it to look better, and use those?
posted by kschang at 9:34 AM on August 22, 2022

Best answer: You’ve got to stop fat shaming yourself for a start. It’s not helping your self esteem to compare yourself to a whale. I guarantee that most of the people looking at the photos first concern won’t be your weight. But if you really hate the photos it’s ok to choose something else.
posted by SpaceWarp13 at 9:42 AM on August 22, 2022 [22 favorites]

Best answer: So many helpful suggestions here! I would +1 the action photo, this is not a still for record companies, right? You are promoting shows? I go to shows based on band name alone! I don't know what kind of band you have formed, but the LAST thing I would care about is the photo, I rarely look at them since I will not give a single F.

After Sloan remade the iconic Minor Threat porch photo, I think it could be mandatory for every band on earth to paste their heads on a copy.

Basically - You are awesome and you care about quality and it will be OK.
posted by drowsy at 10:04 AM on August 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Cut out the heads and artfully arrange them on a piece of paper, then scan it in. Here's some inspo. You can do this.
posted by nkknkk at 10:19 AM on August 22, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: +many to nkknkk’s idea of collage - it works for so many genres across so many decades - you can be cheeky and have some folks’ shots be action shots and some folks shots be smooth and cool -

I don’t know what genre you play, but would it feel good conjure up some positive self-talk in the spirit of your music? As in, Punk says, Fuck society’s expectations for what we need to look like! We are here to MELT YOUR FACE OFF

You TOUR with your BAND! This is so fucking cool. I am happily jealous of all of the amazing times you will have being a boss onstage.
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 11:35 AM on August 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Collage-thought: could you cut an image of yourself on stage and superimpose it over the posed image of yourself that’s stressful? The contrast with the rest of your band mates could be fun. (Also, for collage, I’m definitely thinking zine vibes made with real prints and scissors, rather than Photoshop ones.)
posted by rrrrrrrrrt at 11:40 AM on August 22, 2022 [1 favorite]

I need to start promoting our upcoming shows TODAY

This is your brain on "catastrophe." This is not your brain telling you the truth.

I have been in the music business for over 25 years and I will guaran-damn-tee that whatever promo material you email or snail mail to venues and promoters and agents and journalists will sit on someone's desk and/or inbox for an arbitrary and unspecified amount of time until someone - likely an intern or an underpaid person with way too much to do - gets around to looking at it at the absolute last possible second. And even then there's a damn good chance it won't get used at all, because they'll grab on old photo from your Facebook page, or there's no room for a photo in the promo material they're creating, or whatever.

It doesn't need to happen right now today, and even if it did the success of your upcoming shows doesn't depend on having THIS particular photo. If you need to start promoting via your own social media you can use other photos or no photo at all. Nobody will care that you don't have fresh current band photos.
posted by soundguy99 at 11:55 AM on August 22, 2022 [21 favorites]

Do you really need a full band photo? Is there any reason you can’t dress up now and have a friend take a few photos of you singing or playing or just screwing around with your music gear? If you’re worried about being the only one with a separate photo, see if one or more of your band mates could also be up for doing their own little home photo shoot. Mix and match with the existing photos - or cropped versions, or versions with graphical elements added strategically - as you see fit. Hell, commission an artist to draw some cartoon versions of your whole band - if you can pay a premium, someone talented out there will do work for you on short notice.

And/or: just show a photo where you look fat. I’m a fat person. I don’t look like a whale, I don’t look so shameful that I should be airbrushed or hidden from sight. I just look like a fat person. Maybe you do, too, in this particular photo. Would it really be a terrible thing if one or more of your photos showed you that way?

I think maybe it would do you a world of good to put this aside for at least a day and come back to it with fresh eyes and ideas later. If you have to start promoting NOW, go ahead and make a post or two without attached images. Your next round of promotion can include whatever you decide to do about the photos.
posted by Stacey at 1:33 PM on August 22, 2022 [4 favorites]

Best answer: Use an old photo, it’s fine. Use a performance photo. Bands use WHATEVER photos all the time. Schedule another shoot when it is just a shoot, not combined with rehearsal. It is ok! Don’t worry about it.

(I Am Not Your Band Photographer but I Am A Band Photographer; I give you my professional permission to use a less-than-ideal photo in order to not use one you’re not happy with. This shoot sounds like it was stressful and you are 1) carrying those emotions about it still and 2) it probably shows in the photos. Also be kind to yourself and just don’t even look at these for a while. You may be being extra harsh because of the stress you’re feeling, or maybe they’re just unflattering. UNFLATTERING, not “a perfect record of reality where I look like a hideous beast.” Photos are a lie, sometimes they aren’t lying in the right way.)
posted by jeweled accumulation at 1:42 PM on August 22, 2022 [7 favorites]

Best answer: My personal rule for stressful shoots: There's always time to pee, hence there's always time to take 5 mins to step back, collect your thoughts, and check the test images. Really look at them, properly, at a proper angle so you can see. Even if the photographer is giving you "personal space" vibes or whatever. What we say in film about any and all tragic backstory is "all that matters is what's on the screen". Nobody cares that I was on the world's hardest shoot, they only care what makes it to the screen. So it's my job to stop, "waste" that 5 minutes, and do that quality control. I try to claim and own that space (and explain why I'm doing so).

Also, you probably look like... a normal person. And if you have gained weight, and you're not stick-thin in the photo, well, thank you, it means I'm not alone in this fucking pandemic. People of all weights deserve to be onstage.

I once interviewed a "real-looking" actress who's about a size 16 with a rounded belly and she said, "It's a political statement for me to show my belly on TV instead of squishing it away with shapewear or hiding it in clever clothing and tricky camera angles. You know what? Most of the people watching TV look like me. And my body is just great. It does its job well, and it doesn't deserve to be shamed or hidden. So yeah, here's my statement," and she gestured to her perfectly normal body. And then the bystanders actually applauded.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 3:49 PM on August 22, 2022 [6 favorites]

Best answer: If it helps, my friend was in Stevie Ray Vaughn’s first band and showed up to rehearsal not knowing that it was photo day. He’s wearing knee high tube socks, very short cutoff denim shorts, and an Izod polo. He looks like a total fucking dork, while the rest of the band looks like they belong. It rules. Lean into it.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 6:10 PM on August 22, 2022 [3 favorites]

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