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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » What makes a good promo shot? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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I was having a discussion on promotion with a couple of my fellow magicians and the point was raised that one of them said "Nothing screams amateur like a photo of someone holding a prop or standing beside their zig-zag."

My thought then was...what DOES make a good promo shot?
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
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Bill Hegbli
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Fort Wayne, Indiana
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I totally disagree with your fellow magicians. But I will say that if you are doing corporate shows, you should just have a business picture with an expensive business suit.

Good color is very important. Dick Stoner, trade show magician, had his picture take with a three-foot jumbo court card in front of him while he is leaning on it, and it is truly beautiful shot. It really grabs you.

Being you are "Prof. Pickles" it is hard to say what mood you want to convey. I will tell you you should be talking to a photographer and not magicians. "A picture is worth a thousand words" is very true. It can tell just what kind of market you are going for in your sales.

If you do kids shows, get some shots with kids. Yes, take them to the photographer and pose them, but do action type shots. Make sure everyone is colorful and tastefully dressed even if you have to buy the cloths.

Yes, incorporate some props. The photographer will have to take several rolls of film for you to find a perfect shot. If you are married, ask you wife to help. Women usually have very good tastes in cloths. Don't spare the budget.

I think that is enough to get you started. NOW GO TO IT!!

Bill Smile
Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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Actually I have a great shot of Professor Pickles which is my clown character. As a magician, I am just "me".

It is the "me" shot I am trying to figure out. My market is strictly children and families.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
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Steve Hart
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Palm Bay, FL
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I always take a lot of photo when I am doing a photo shoot. The more photos you have to choose from the better chance you will have at getting the ones you want. I don't think we take enough pictures, and then we expect the photographer to be a real wizard.

He can only shoot what is in front of the camera.

I might suggest you take someone along with you who knows your style and have them coach you during the photo shoot. They can be looking for the photos that will make you look good.

Props are good but don't let the over shadow the real you. Your face will tell a story.

If you practice making expressions in front
of a mirror, it will help you create the character you want on film.

I hope this helps.

Steve Hart
www.SteveHartSpeaks.com
www.magic2motivate.com
"Motivational Magicians are some of the highest paid magicians, find out why?"
Leo B. Domapias
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Quote:
"Nothing screams amateur like a photo of someone holding a prop or standing beside their zig-zag."


Given correct lighting and an excellent choice of background, a topnotch professional photographer can make the same amateurish shot look professional.

A good promo shot should be, first, technically correct. It shows no accidentally cropped-out body parts; it has correct lighting that accentuates facial features in a flattering way; the composition grabs people’s attention; the background adds to the pleasantness of the shot; the aesthetics delight the artistically inclined viewers; and the composition has a hint of adventurism in it without being garish or pedestrian. Second, the picture must convey your personality or the message you want to tell the photo’s intended recipient.

A professional photographer with a superb eye for composition and technical mastery can do all this and more…

Ben Benjay
Manila, Philippines
JoJo Hermann
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Walmart has a photo lab and they will do your promo shot for under $10. You can hold a baby or something. This seems to be what most magicians are using.
Bill Hegbli
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Eternal Order
Fort Wayne, Indiana
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I tried this last year, Wallie Mart. The camera is stationery. So no good shots can be accomplished by them. The photographer was very helpful, but the finished product is very flat.

It is better to find a photographer you like. He can create better shots.

Bill
Dennis Michael
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Southern, NJ
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I had Anne White do a series of Photos for me. I used a lot used props which focused on a theme, Axtell Book Puppet for Reading show, Head Chopper for Halloween show, Rabbit in a Hat, Birthday Party Balloons, etc.

There are two books written by Anne White on this topic. Also, she does an excellent lecture on this subject.

If I had a recognizable face, I wouldn't need a prop. I'm no Cooperfield, so if I want to focus on a target Market, I may have one shot to make the sale. A photo that projects the right visual effect to the target Client is the best photo, prop or no prop.

If a prop is used, you still must be the central figure in the shot.
Dennis Michael
NJJ
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I have a few different ones that I use. You can see them at http://www.funnybones.com.au/magician.htm.

My photographer said that since I 'bend reality' in a humourous way, my photos should do the same. I tried to get a variety of poses and angles that create a strong emotional impact.

My advice would be to bring in some photos (not just of magicians) you like and try and communicate your character to the photographer. (maybe do a few tricks)
Michael Dustman
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Columbus, Ohio
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I concur with Dan. I just did a lengthy photo shoot with Anne White over the weekend and she said the most important thing is to tell a story in the picture that will get people to want to see the show.

We spent quite a bit of time the night before talking through my show (what my character is like, what my favorite routines are, am I surprised by how the audience reacts, etc.) Then we snapped pictures that conveyed those ideas.

I hope to have them up on the website within the month.

Michael
Jay Alexander
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Quote:
On 2004-02-01 18:58, Neale Bacon wrote:
"Nothing screams amateur like a photo of someone holding a prop or standing beside their zig-zag."

My thought then was...what DOES make a good promo shot?


A good promo shot has good lighting, is in focus, and conveys who you are! You need to ask yourself what is the photo "good" for? A good photo for a brochure or website might not be a good photo to send to a newspaper. I think action shots with a real audience laughing are wonderful but not always what you want for an 8x10 glossy.

When doing photo shoots, I try and think of what I might need photos for over the next year: Brochure, web site, postcard for the holidays, postcard that when my new video is available, 8x10's, etc. I then go to the library and look through photo books for inspiration.

Good Luck,

Jay Alexander
wizardofsorts
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Chicago, IL
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Good point Jay, some photos are good for somethings, some are good for others. Some should just be kept private. (Never mind that last part!)
Edd
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Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event. http://www.wizardofsorts.com
scottr
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Michigan
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If you want to be taken professionally, how in the world can you go wrong having a professional photographer take a professional head shot?

(And then going the extra mile of actually sending an actual 8x10 glossy print in your promo kit?)

Scott
nathanallen
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Des Moines, Iowa, USA
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Riiight. yeah. I'm gonna have to go ahead and agree with you guys. (that line reads much funnier in an "office space" voice)

As long as the photo is YOU. Personality, bay-bee!
Nathan Allen, The Maniac of Magic
www.maniacofmagic.com

To buy a prop is nothing.
To write a good routine is something.
To really entertain an audience is everything.
Paddy
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Milford OH
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Quote:
On 2004-02-01 18:58, Neale Bacon wrote:
"Nothing screams amateur like a photo of someone holding a prop or standing beside their zig-zag."


Neale, your avatar shows you hold a deck of cards and that is a GREAT!!! publicity shot of you. If that is amateur I'll take it every day!! Your friend obviously has his head misplaced.
Non Impediti Ratione Cogitationis

I reject your reality & substitute my own

http://www.Scho-Lan.com
Neale Bacon
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Burnaby BC Canada
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Thanks. I liked it too. It was my friends rection that made me ask the question in the first place, but I will be sticking with this one.
Neale Bacon and his Crazy Critters
Burnaby BC
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Scott Wells
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Houston, TX
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Nothing has been added to this thread for the past six months but I hate to see it die so here is my two cents.

I work at a sushi bar so I wanted something that would work for me there. I stood in my well lit bathroom and had my wife snap several digital photos which I manipulated in photoshop with the result that made me very happy on several levels. First, it looks crisp and clean, second, it serves my purpose for the restaurant, and finally, it was free! I can't get any cheaper than that!

You can see the result at http://www.scottwells.net/image019.jpg and give me your feedback.

I have had Anne White take my photos and I have had other professional photographers do them subsequent to that. But with digital cameras today and photoshop software, I think that one can take very good shots on his own. That doesn't mean that I won't have professionals take my photo in the future, but you should have your photos updated regularly.

yours,
Scott
"A magician who isn't working is only fooling himself." - Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

The Magic Word podcast: http://themagicwordpodcast.com Listen to convention coverage, interviews with magicians, pictures, videos and more.

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Rob Johnston
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Utah
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Honestly, if I see one more promo shot of a Magician displaying his balls (billiard balls, thank you) I will be sick.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
Bill Scarlett
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Vermont
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Or with a bunch of oversized Thimbles on his hand. That is a promo shot that only a fellow magician would understand.
Scott Wells
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Houston, TX
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I think the shot should relate to magic (something should be happening or have happened), the venue he is working (or wanting to work), and the character he is trying to convey (i.e. comedy or corporate).

Holding dollar bills makes one look like a banker. Holding thimbles makes one look like a seamstress (or is that seamster??). And billiard balls makes him look like a pool player. A fan of cards a card player. On and on.

Again, I think it should look magical...something rising, floating or otherwise odd, strange, mystical or unusual.

yours,
Scott
"A magician who isn't working is only fooling himself." - Scott Wells, M.I.M.C. with Gold Star

The Magic Word podcast: http://themagicwordpodcast.com Listen to convention coverage, interviews with magicians, pictures, videos and more.

Magic Inspirations website for all things Banachek: www.magicinspirations.net
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