Like the title suggests, i've been thinking a little about tour photography, and what role or how important it should be to a band. This is nothing definitive - i'm just thinking out loud here so don't shoot me down!
Some bands take tour photography seriously. They pay a professional photographer to shadow their every move on the road, and get pictures online within a few hours of shooting them. Reaching out to fans regularly, and including the fans in the tour even though their not there.
Some examples? One springs straight to mind - Bastille.
Check out Bastilles Facebook page. They recently played Red Rocks - one of the worlds most famous venues. And they brought their fans along for the ride - by bringing a photographer along for ride - they/the photographer done the venue justice, and gave their fans some wonderful content.
On the other end of the scale...
I recently spoke to the manager of a band i saw in Dortmund. I had seen during my time in the pit that there was a guy loitering around the back of the stage shooting pictures - with an iPhone.
I was obviously trying to sow a little seed in the managers head that I would love to be on the road with a band for a day or two, as i really liked their music and style. He explained to me that the guy with the phone was a friend of the band who came along to shoot pictures with the band, and post them straight away on the bands insta and fb feeds. Great idea. BUT...
'Why don't you have a pro photographer with you - surely the better the content the better the interaction with the fans will be?'
'Well, we don't have the budget for a photographer, and the band like having this guy around.'
They don't have the budget for a photographer? An extra 2-300€ a day would probably cover having a half decent photographer with them. I would certainly tour for that money (despite my usual day rate being triple). Even if a band paid from their own pockets - for €50 per member per day, they would have a quality product for their fans - you know - the people that are paying all your wages!???!!
They're already paying for matey-boy to have a bunk on the bus, food, drink and probably a bit of pocket money too.
You're probably thinking the guy with the phone was getting fairly decent pictures - well, he wasn't - the difference between this bands pictures and a band with an experienced photographer is vast.
So, does it pay for a band to have a photographer on the road with them? Follow some artists online and make up you're own mind. I think the better the content, the better it is for the bands profile. A bands social media feed is their face to the public. Content is king.
Drop me some comments - what's your thoughts.