Budget-Friendly Ways For Indie Artists To Enhance Their Photography

1Photography is one of the best and most powerful in which artists and bands communicate with and market to their fans. So how can you make the most of your photos without breaking the bank?


Guest post by Michelle Aguilar of the TuneCore Blog

[Editors Note: This blog article was written by Michelle Aguilar.]

Photography is one of the most powerful modes of artistic communication. It conveys and reveals to us the raw and special details of life. It’s basically what we tend to rely on in those final attempts to visually describe, share and appreciate events that cannot otherwise be done in more immediate ways.

Just think back to a favorite artist or figure; it’s likely that you may associate them with an image in mind, the way we all might picture Jimi Hendrix shredding a guitar as he usually is in photos. It’s easy to see this especially in the digital world, where, as an artist, most of your searchability and promotional material is found.

So what can you do to make sure you’re giving your band’s/work’s photography the appropriate attention, even on a budget? Read more to learn various budget-friendly alternatives for adding an extra kick to your photo galleries.

Make use of your current network

As fiction writer Dan Simmons puts it, “It occurs to me that our survival may depend upon our talking to one another.” Let’s reverse back to the early 1900s. During that time, the study of marketing had just begun to emerge and almost all strategies based on these studies had only an emphasis on tactics for simply selling more products and services with little regard for what customers really wanted. Thus word-of-mouth was the most effective medium. It was the only way people expressed and got what they wanted.

This is still very relevant today, considering that 90% of consumers are more likely to trust and buy from a brand that is recommended by a friend. How does this all connect to making use of your current network? By expressing your needs to those in your immediate network, you increase your chances of finding someone who’s a professional photographer, a freelance photographer, a photographer just starting out, etc. By doing this, you are broadening your resources, landing affordable prices and receiving better service.

1-3y6A2uLsIrdjD10YimEndQReach out to a photography class

There are plenty of colleges, schools and programs where students are training to become photographers. You can easily search up locations in your area and find contact information. Try speaking to staff and suggesting that perhaps someone from the class might be interested in doing shoots for a band, show, or event. Leave your contact information and depending on the conversation, you can even ask permission to come into class on a certain day to introduce yourself and make the announcement.

You may mention that you’re willing to offer a small payment, but maybe wait and see if it’s really necessary. Most of the time, students are looking for experience and opportunities to expand and develop their portfolios.

Teach yourself how to edit

While this might sound scary since the first thing that may come into mind is a time-consuming program like Photoshop, there is no need to fret. There are much simpler and cheaper alternatives. For simple creations, check out either of these websites to design digital banners, touch up photos and create collages.


Price: 7-day Free trial, $47.88 per year billed annually or $7.99 monthly

PicMonkey includes features like photo editor, portrait retouching, design maker, and collage maker. The photo editor has basic advanced and editing tools, prime photo effects and filters, and other tools such as text, graphics and textures. The portrait retouching feature offers touch ups for skin, mouth, it even changes hair colors and removes blemishes and wrinkles. The design maker offers a variety of templates for different types of content material. The collage maker allows you to combine photos in a unique way for any social media platform.


Price: Free basic account, $34.95 per year billed annually, or $4.95 per month billed monthly.

BeFunky features photo editor, collage maker, graphic designer, and touch up. Each banner template comes pre-sized for the dimensions required by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. The neat thing about BeFunky is their emphasis on video tutorials, blog articles providing inspiration, tips, and solutions for challenges that are bound to rise with editing.

Post an ad

Craigslist still remains the most popular classified site in the U.S. It’s simple to navigate. All you need to do is create an account that only requires an email and the rest of the steps are self-explanatory. In your ad title make sure you use words that are straightforward. Start your search with “photographer” or “freelance photographer,” for optimal search results, rather than using extra words surrounding it like “need photographer” or “looking for photographer.”

As a freelancer myself, Craigslist has been a great client outsourcing tool, it spreads the message quick and provides a wide reach, depending on the timing of course. Sometimes you’ll hear back, sometimes you won’t. Just try to be consistent.

Ask your fans

Lastly, always keep in mind that fans can serve as a great resource for just about anything. Reach out to fans and see if anyone who is really into your music wants to help out by taking photos. Depending on the type of photos you need, and if you don’t have the funds to pay them you can mention to them the perks of helping your band out with photography, like free entry to gigs, photo crediting them on all your social media platforms, referring them to other bands, and overall continuing a professional relationship with future pay when circumstances are best fit.

Of course you can always try and negotiate pricing if they want to charge and you can afford a little pay. The goal is of course to help you stay within your budget.

Photography shouldn’t necessarily require expensive tools and equipment. With thorough research on available alternatives, you’ll discover the countless resources available to help customize and improve your photography. Your fans and those that so-fortunately stumble upon you or your band will appreciate you for it!

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