Check out this site for a collection of the worst band photos. It's totally hilarious thanks to the captions (I can't remember when I laughed that hard for so long), but as you'll see, it's also sad that they have so little regard for themselves and their photos.
Here are some of the things I noticed that you can put to good use the next time you need a band photo.
1) Get the best photographer you can afford. An iPhone shot won't do and neither will one by your local wedding photographer. Get someone who has experience taking band or fashion photos.
2) Stay away from brick walls and train tracks. That's been done to death. Your sound is original, right? Why make yourself look like everyone else with pictures that use the same background?
3) Posing in your underwear isn't cool. You might think you're a revolutionary, but most people just think it's unprofessional. That doesn't shock anyone anymore.
4) The bathroom is not the place for a band picture. No matter what anyone tells you, it's just bad taste unless you have a genius photographer. Once again, it doesn't shock anyone anymore.
5) Giving the finger doesn't shock anyone anymore either. It makes a promoter, booking agent or club owner say, "Next!"
6) Try not to feature the lead singer too much (unless his name is in the band's title). Lead singers love to take their shirts off or wear a see-through shirt. Nothing screams "I need attention" more than that. Unless it's the lead singer and his or her backup band, make it seem like you're all in it together.
7) Eye-liner went out with the 80's. Give it a rest, unless you're an 80's band.
8) Make an effort. Wearing the same clothes that you wore all day doesn't make for an interesting picture. It screams "I don't care." At least give your wardrobe a little thought and wear something clean.
I can think of a lot more items, but hopefully you get the idea. You'll see all of these things for yourself when you check out the bad picture site at rockandrollconfidential.com. Just make sure you're not at work when you look at it. You'll laugh for a long time.
Check out my Big Picture blog for discussion on common music, engineering and production tips and tricks.