How not to take a cool band picture

Hi friends!

So you know how I’m back-up vocals girl for my singer-songwriter friend Carrie?

Well last week she was interviewed by the RedEye–for those of you who aren’t in Chicago, it’s a free daily newspaper published by the Chicago Tribune. It’s more pop-culture oriented than a regular newspaper, and full of eye-grabbing pictures.

In order to supply a photo to the RedEye, after our last gig at CityGrounds we enlisted the help of my friend Sarah to take some band pictures. “Here Sarah, just press this button here,” I said, handing her my camera.

First, we thought we would just kind of sit and smile.

This picture says “We’re nice people, we really are.” And “We’re about to sing Kumbaya.”

NOT a cool band picture. Nope.

“Let’s smile, but not too hard,” I suggested helpfully.

Please take it away, Milfred. I don’t want to look at it anymore.

After a handful of pictures like this were taken, we started despairing. Why can’t we look cool?

“Try looking angry,” someone suggested.

Um . . . okay. That didn’t really work either.

“Let’s take a self-portrait!” I exclaimed, sure that this inspiration would provide the cool band picture we were looking for.


Plus, the tendons and wrinkles on my neck were starting to look a tad monstrous. And do my teeth look slightly rabbity to anyone else?

As the uncool factor in the room reached epic proportions, we began to crack up.

Oooh, we were starting to get warmer.

“Cool” was just around the corner.

Loosened up by laughter, we started goofing off with a pink ribbon and a top hat.

Things finally started working.

Now it just became a matter of: color or black and white?

I tend to think black and white lends a classy timelesness. But what do you all think?

So lessons learned: when taking a band picture, don’t smile and look nice. Don’t try too hard. Do have fun props to play with. Do loosen things up with some laughter. Do enlist a friend who is willing to take a million shots.

Thanks Sarah for some awesome pictures, and for being patient with us when it seemed like there was no hope!

Unfortunately, there was a deadline for submitting these pictures that we weren’t told about until right before it hit. We missed the deadline by about 30 minutes, and the RedEye online article ended up using a slightly less flattering picture (with no Eric in sight) from a live performance. Carrie is looking soulful and musical, which is great–just try not to look at my mug for too long, for the love of mercy.

In conclusion, if you’re in Chicago, join us at our next CityGrounds gig on Saturday April 9th. They have a fruit tart that I can’t wait to dig my fork into again.

Oh, and the music should be pretty great as well.

Over and out!

This entry was posted in Books, Movies, & Music, Photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

23 Responses to How not to take a cool band picture

  1. Wish I were in Chi Town for that! Definitely black and white…use it – its a great shot:)

  2. Sherri says:

    Love it all :-). Actually like the color one of you all looking different ways – hat in middle….

  3. Elena says:

    Hi, and thanks for the comment on my blog! I loved this post of yours! And yes, haha its seems to be a tricky thing wanting to get just the right amount of angry, but not too happy. :) I really love the black and white one of you guys where you’re wearing a headband, the guy’s face is covered by a hat and the girl in the middle is laughing.

  4. Too funny. There are certain events/situations that are just so hard to capture right. :-) I like the one they went with though! :-)

  5. Love the black and white! And missing something by a mere 30 minutes……(or seconds in the land of kids with the pukes)….SO the story of my life! :)

  6. My husband saw the photo (sepia one) and said “that looks like something out of Spin magazine.” You so hip, dawg.

  7. Lyndsey says:

    I like seeing the “dos” and “don’ts” of taking a cool band photo. You never know when this will come in handy!

  8. Veronica says:

    AW, too bad you didn’t make the unmentioned deadline b/c that last pic rox! I def like the black and white better too. I was cracking up with the first pix–LOL!

  9. Jeannie says:

    Hey you guys are cool! I love the black and white…so classy!

  10. mhorama says:

    Ah! I feel your pain. My husband and I play together as The Rosy Starlings, and one of our biggest challenges is that we are pathetically uncool, photographed or otherwise. It’s so tough to make yourself appear to not be taking a photo seriously, but then at the same time not look goofy. Ugh. Some great advice I once received was to try and figure out a tough math problem in your head while the photos are taken. It’s supposed to give you a sort of aloof, thoughtful look. That sometimes works, but often I just look confused AND dorky.

    • Jenna says:

      That’s such a cool trick! Next time I will have to bring a math problem to the table for all of us to think about. What a great idea. Though ultimately, our dorkiness will somehow shine through anyway. =)

  11. Hahaha that’s awesome. I wish I was in the chicago area so I could hear you guys perform!

  12. Wendi says:

    Love seeing the outtakes. Kind of like the blooper reel on dvd’s.

  13. droolfactor says:

    You DO NOT have rabbity teeth in that shot :) Thanks for sharing the process, it made me smile…

  14. hahaha! jenna, you are delightfully photogenic. you look great in all of the pictures!

  15. Kimby says:

    The B & W or sepia one for your “professional” shot, but ALL of them capture different sides of your band. You should print this blog (with photos) in your CD insert — it’s GREAT. Still smiling!!!

  16. leashieloo says:

    I usually like B&W, but I’m really drawn to the sepia photo!

  17. Hey Jenna, I love colour of the third one from the bottom. The wash-out vintage colour and add a white border around it to complete the look :) I also kinda think that one with top hat is cute though not everyone is posing so nicely. Looks really fun after what seems like an awkward struggle, hehehe

  18. Joanne says:

    I so did NOT realize that you were in a band. Ummm SO COOL. And now you’re basically famous!

    This sounds like the most fun photo shoot ever. I’m loving the black and white. Definitely got that whole timeless thing going on, but also this whole man we are too cool for color thing.

  19. Sarah says:

    It was no trouble at all…We had so much fun seeing you guys!

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