Meet a Music Photographer – Interview with Jen Squires

photo by Simeon Ross

We are thrilled to have music photographer Jen Squires as a CSC sponsor. Our Grand Prize winner will win a photoshoot with this talented photographer, who has shot the likes of Royal Wood, Jadea Kelly, Emma-Lee, and many others. We chatted with Jen about her background and how artists can make the most of their next photo shoot!

 

 

  1. How did you get into music photography?

I have always loved music and naturally have been around people who make music.  I went to a lot of shows growing up, of all different genres.  I did some live show photos when I was a teen but my passion is portraits.  It had always been a dream of mine to photograph artists, musicians, authors, dancers, etc.  So when my friend Shelby Lee (a stylist) asked if I would do a portrait shoot with her and a singer named Jadea Kelly,  I was all in.  We had the best time making photographs for promo/press/posters.  I would eventually do album covers for Jadea.  She very generously passed my name around the folk music scene and I started getting more requests from all types of musicians for shoots.  I had also been doing some fashion photography for a local magazine and was asked to photograph musicians for them.  It just snowballed from there and has been mostly by word of mouth that I have been fortunate enough to work with so many amazing artists. I am very thankful for all the people I’ve worked with for recommending me to their friends and colleagues.

2.  How can an artist best prepare for a photo shoot?

Here are a few tips I find handy:

  • Share your music with the photographerI like to hear the music that the images are going to be representing/promoting before the shoot, even if it is in the rough stages. It helps me to visualize and come up with ideas for the shoot and also gives me an understanding of who you are.
  • Make a mood board with your photography team, look up images you like for various reasons (lighting, composition, style, make up, etc) I find this gets the ideas and communication rolling.
  • Pick a team you feel comfortable with.
  • Hair and Make-up/ StylistIf you are going to hire hair and make-up artists and/or a clothing stylist give them direction ahead of time so that they know what you are looking for.
  • Bring more clothes than you think you need – Even if you have a stylist bringing you clothes, they may want to add in a few of your personal clothing pieces with the clothes they have selected and can come in handy if you have time for more looks than you thought.
  • Communicate At anytime in pre-production, on set or post production, let the photographer, hair and make-up artists, clothing stylist etc. know if you like something but, also if you don’t like something.  Your photography team is there for you, to make you feel comfortable and their ultimate goal is for you to end up with photographs you are going to love, share and use.
  • Try things.. let loose, try being weird, funny, serious etc. (this is where picking a team you feel comfortable with comes in handy)  Sometimes the best and strongest photos happen when you least expect it.
  • Bring Water and snacksEven if your shoot is short. I always bring snacks to share with the team, having your photo taken can be more tiring than you think, having a snack in between looks will help to keep you fresh and sharp.

3. Are there any particular artists or bands that you would love to shoot?

I love all music and hope to photograph as many artists and bands that I can.

4.  How would you describe your photography style?

That’s a hard one.  All I know is, I put a whole lot of love, kindness and respect into every shoot and I hope that comes across in the photographs I take.

5.  What is it about shooting musicians that you enjoy? What do you aim to capture with each shoot?

I love music and working with musicians.  There is a real sense of community in the music scene and I have made a lot of great friends working within it.  I find it incredibly interesting working with artists who make a different kind of art than I do and creating something together that represents them and their music.  It is a wonderful and fulfilling feeling to create photos that help to convey who the artist is.