The duties of a musician photographer can vary somewhat, depending on the needs of the client and the exact nature of a photo shoot. In general, however, much like other photographers, a photographer for a musician is responsible for overseeing lighting, costuming, and hair and makeup for a photo shoot and then taking pictures of a musician or musical group. This may occur on a set or at a studio, in which case the photographer is able to control these aspects of the shoot a great deal. The shoot may also be done to record images from a live performance or event, in which case the musician photographer has less control but still has to capture the event in still images.
A musician photographer is typically someone with a background in photography and experience specifically tailored to taking photographs of musicians. This is in contrast to other photographers who may specialize in nature photos, pictures of inanimate objects, and photographers who work with professional models. Depending on the preferences of a musician photographer, he or she may be directly or indirectly involved with a number of different aspects of a photo shoot.
The hair, makeup, and outfitting of the musicians may all be chosen or overseen by the musician photographer. While professionals are often employed to actually fit clothes or style hair, the photographer might provide overall direction or guidance on the “look” he or she wants. The set or studio may also be dressed either by the photographer or by a professional set dresser under the photographer’s guidance.
A musician photographer typically takes the pictures himself or herself by using a camera. It is possible, however, that another photographer might take the pictures based on the setup and input of the photographer in charge of the set. The head photographer then provides ongoing feedback throughout a shoot, and ultimately chooses what photographs are best and sends them on to a magazine editor or record label advertising department.
If a musician photographer works at live events, such as concerts, then he or she may be more directly involved in taking pictures and have less control over the look of the musicians and the environment. In this type of setting, it is typically more important that the photographer chooses the best angles and moments to capture the event in still images. For either type of work, a photographer might also edit and perform touch-ups on the photographs, to ensure the best images possible.