Gig Business

5 (Almost) Free Ways to Improve Your Media

By Brian Jenkins

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then the greatest impact you make on your marketing is the visual media you use to promote yourself. While some performers or service providers find photography or video intimidating, innovations in smartphone and digital technology bring high-quality media closer to you than ever before. 

The media you employ on your GigSalad PromoKit and other marketing efforts is critical. Event planners place the quality of your videos and photos high on the factors in their booking decisions. 

The issue for many, however, is getting access to pro-quality photography and video services on a low-to-zero budget. Pro-quality media is worth every dollar, and these professionals deserve to get paid just like the rest of us. There are a few tips we’ve learned over the years that may bring that pro quality expertise a little closer to your budget. 

1. Do it yourself

Most performers or business owners don’t realize the sheer amount of media power that they already own. If you have a smartphone and a bit of tech-savvy, you’re already well on your way to creating great content for your online presence.

Use your smartphone

With selfies ruling our society, Apple and Samsung have released some amazing cameras on their latest phone models.

Taking smartphone photos

If you have a newer model of the iPhone, you have access to the awesome “portrait mode” and can take stunning pictures all by yourself. Check out this tutorial for more information on portrait mode photos. The Samsung Galaxy phones also offer amazing cameras with features that are usually only found on professional DSLR cameras. These tips can help you make the most of your Galaxy.

When taking photos, lighting is more critical than most people realize. Cameras can overcome some lighting challenges, but investing in a portable light rig or ring can help you capture great moments at your gigs and highlight the products or services you offer. A simple set up like this can be enough.

Taking smartphone videos

Not only can your phone take great photos, but it can take great videos, too. In fact, our entire Greenroom Interviews podcast was shot using an older iPhone! When using a phone to record video, be sure to pay attention to your audio, too. Nothing can ruin a great video faster than bad audio. If you’re capturing a face painting session or sharing a caricature sitting, a direct-to-phone lapel is perfect. Interfaces like iRig can help provide a more robust interface for musicians. 

Stability in shooting a video is a critical yet often overlooked detail that is an easy improvement to your media quality. Investing in a gimbal, a stand that can be easily pivoted as the camera moves, provides an inexpensive immediate upgrade to your video content. 

Use free editing software

You don’t have to be a Photoshop pro to edit your media. There are lots of free resources out there that usually have enough features to accomplish what you need! DaVinci Resolve is a free platform with near-professional level tools, and iPiccy is a super simple free photo-editing site. You can also check out Adobe Rush or LumaFusion for iOS (Apple) phones and tablets.

To get even better at your craft of professional selfies, jump online for all the resources on how to take great photos and shoot awesome videos. Both video platforms YouTube and Vimeo offer easy tutorials on media basics. 

2. Recruit a student

Film and photography students at local high schools or colleges are a great resource for creating some new media. Not only are they eager, they’re usually in need of subjects for their portfolios. Try contacting your local schools and speak with media instructors about getting in touch with their talented students. Be sure to offer a gift card or meal to pay them back for their time! (Karma, you know.) You’ll end up with some new media and they get to add some great material to their portfolio. Everyone wins!

3. Reach out to a friend

Recruit a friend or family member to come take photos and videos. Chances are, they support you and would be happy to hold up their smartphone for a few minutes on your behalf. Even a couple of short videos can mean a huge difference to your online presence! You can even shoot them at home – just make sure you clean up the space beforehand. Find a neutral spot to keep your background from distracting your future viewer. Or if you have an upcoming performance, invite your friend or family to attend and be a groupie for the night!

4. Trade with your colleagues

This one can be tricky, but it is an option. If you are going to trade services, make sure the time and value match. Offering a photographer the chance to put their logo on your pictures is not a fair trade. Offering to play at their house party or be a princess at their daughter’s birthday party in exchange for pictures is fair. Remember you’re asking them to offer their skill, talent, and time for little-to-no monetary reward, so you should be willing to do the same. You should only approach this option carefully and make sure they’re okay with saying no. 

5. Rinse and repeat

With all of these free (or low-cost) options to create killer media for your online profiles, there is really no excuse not to have something new every few months. It’s imperative to have current media so your clients know exactly what to expect at their events. You may love that old performance that someone filmed at a casino from 1996, but it’s time to update! A good rule of thumb is to change things up with the seasons. This approach can also help you land more gigs. During spring, highlight your profiles with light and airy photos and videos. At the holidays, change things up with some jewel-toned outfits and pretty Christmas tunes. Getting into the “vibe” of each season will help your clients see you as the perfect fit for their seasonal events.

Keeping your media up-to-date has never been easier or more affordable. Take advantage of all that technology has to offer and refresh your online presence for the upcoming year!

Ready to share your media with the masses? Create a GigSalad PromoKit.

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