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Beyoncé Bans All Pro Photographers From Her Concerts

Beyoncé Bans All Pro Photographers From Her Concerts

Last week, exactly 2 months after the Superbowl 'Unflattering photos' fiasco, Beyoncé started her 'Mrs. Carter Show' world tour. As someone who followed the 'Unflattering' story very closely, and as someone who is a big fan of hers, I had no doubt Beyoncé and her publicist will learn from their mistakes on how to deal with bad pictures taken of her, and wont make horrible mistakes again. I was wrong. Beyoncé banned all professional photographers from her shows, hoping this way no unflattering photos will make it to mainstream media. She was wrong. What happened is that media outlets purchased low-quality and not-so-flattering images taken by her fans.

Beyoncé's publicist, the same one who emailed and asked websites to remove images she didn't like few months back, decided that this time they wouldn't allow photographers to shoot her shows. Instead, they would provide 3-5 pre-approved images their own photographer shot for the media to use after each show. They wanted to control what images the media had access to. But we all know how media works - they will do anything possible to get images that other publications don't have. If they can't send a photographer to give them original photos, the next best thing they can do is buy photos from fans in the front rows in the arena (cameras were not allowed, but no one can take away phones). It's the next best thing for them, and a huge nightmare for Beyoncé and her publicist.

Beyoncé The Mrs. Carter Show 2013 World Tour guidelines for Photographers (via Music Photographers):

They thought by not letting photographers in, they will have full control over the photos shown in the media. Huge mistake. Now not only is the mainstream media showing unflattering photos of her, they are showing bad-quality unflattering photos of her.

I think Beyoncé has a lot to learn from Mckayla Maroney, who decided that instead of being annoying and asking people to stop using her 'not impressed' photo from the Olympics, she joined the party and made fun of herself. Not only she gained points in the public's eye, she also gained positive momentum for her career. Yes, I know, Beyoncé doesn't need anything to boost her career since she is so popular, but she should start making the right decisions before people get tired of her diva-ish actions.


Her publicist has to understand something about what happened in the Superbowl: In such events, photographers who work for photo agencies shoot like crazy and give their memory cards to someone on their team who runs to download the images and upload them directly to the server. No time for too much sorting or retouching. So yeah, in events like that, some photos might not make it as your next album cover. But in almost any other event, such as normal concerts, photographers have time to go through the images, get rid of the bad ones and send out the absolute best. Generally speaking, no one wants to post bad pictures. Banning professional photographers from all shows is simply stupid. Beyoncé needs to use the media to her advantage, not fight it. Playing games with the media will cause more harm than good. If they didn't learn this from what happened two months ago, maybe this time they will.

Beyoncé is an awesome person and an amazing performer- one of the best of our era. I hope she's going to learn from her mistakes this time and deal with the press as a pro should. Note to Beyoncé: I'm available if you're looking for a photography-related-issues adviser. Just call and i'll be there. No joking.


What do you think of her decision banning professional photographers from her tour? smart move, or another bad mistake on how to deal with the media?

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Previous comments
Marios Forsos's picture

I do not agree she's a beautiful woman - quite the contrary! She is made beautiful by immense amounts of makeup and pre-production, both of which fall apart on stage (as they're supposed to do anyway) and something of what she really looks like comes across...THAT is what they've been trying to squash... Why? Because this image is 50% of what Mrs Carter is all about... 'cause there's not much talent behind that after all...

Privacy Is Key's picture

I'd love to see you in comparison. Without makeup she is beautiful as well. Just because as a performer you aren't a fan doesn't mean you deny she is a talent to someone. Your view is just that. It doesn't make it a matter of fact.

M. R.'s picture

I'll take it that you've never seen photographs of her without makeup, looking radiant and beautiful. And what she does is pretty much a workout. If you'd be okay with someone photographing you at the gym and saying "this is pretty much what you really look like" then ok. But if not, don't judge someone for wearing makeup for a CONCERT.

rivercityrocker's picture

For the uninitiated (which apparently you are) Beyonce has always been very strict about approving photographers to shoot her in the past and has always had restrictions. This is nothing new at all. The only difference is that her PR people weren't in charge of approving photographers for the superbowl, which was filled with sports photographers acting as hack concert photographers. So when these sports photographers posted their hideous images they did an incredible disservice to actual concert photographers. A good concert photographer would never have let those images come to light because it is their job to make performers look good.

So let's not place all the blame on Beyonce. There are crap photographer and sleazy agencies to blame for alienating her as well.

Chris Patmore's picture

The problem isn't necessarily with the photographers, it's with the picture editors. Why would a photographer worth his/her salt want to show/sell bad photos? I shoot quite a lot of gigs and it's not always easy getting great, flattering shots of the artists as they writhe around the stage. Combine that with ever-changing lighting and the usual first three songs limitation, coming away with more than 10 decent shots can be considered a great night's shooting. However, banning photographers is preferable to what the Stone Roses did of demanding the rights of all the photos for £1, and those guys aren't even attractive.

Luke's picture

I think that this author's stories require better editing. There are several, glaring grammatical errors. It makes it hard to take the author seriously.

Brian Reese's picture

I'm with you... this was terrible to read.

Noam Galai's picture

Will do. Sorry for that.

Tim Zheng's picture

This is rampant on this site (which I am really a fan of, for the record). Literally every other article I read has facepalm-inducing mistakes.. and the rest just have a bunch of (more-forgivable) typos.

I'm available as a freelance copy editor, btw ;)

Wayne Stadler's picture

I agree. "Beyoncé don’t need something to boost her career"...Lame. It's called proofreading.

Andrew Sible's picture

oh my. Aaaaand these comments are ushering my little pointer straight to the "close" button. Thanks for the heads up; as an actual photographer I don't have the time to read B.S. or poorly translate information about celebs I don't really care about.

I read those magazines when I wait for the person in front of me to buy their friggin' groceries, if at all.

inrsoul's picture

That's what happens when one gets too eager to roll out a story.

LaRon Stewart's picture

I'm so glad someone said something. This was grammatically horrific...

Chad West's picture

Well, I'm a formally trained journalist with a background in editing, so if they're looking to hire an editor, they should hire me. =) Seriously, FStoppers, I'll send you my resume.

Ashkan Ahmadi's picture

Totally agree. I'm not trying to sound like a Grammar Nazi but "she have to ... " and "she don't need ..." is just unacceptable for this website.

neal's picture

I think the author should ban readers from reading his articles.

rivercityrocker's picture

Out of curiosity, did you PAY to use the images in this article? It looks like you lifted them straight from Splash. In which case you are infringing on some poor photographers copyright and depriving them of the income they deserve.

John Smith's picture

Fair use. It's an editorial.

Annalisa Hackleman's picture

I still think a little credit to the photographer should be given, or at least should be linked back! This is a photography site, after all. :/

Privacy Is Key's picture

and people say Beyonce is whining.

rivercityrocker's picture

Considering that Splash's SOLE income is providing EDITORIAL photos of entertainers I doubt that Splash would look upon it as fair use.

And to call this "editorial" is almost a joke.

After all of the bitching and moaning this site does about the rights of photographers here they are fragrantly VIOLATING a photographers rights by STEALING their images and using them without credit. Really shows you where their morals are.

Michael Asgian's picture

When you dress like Xena and make those faces in front of the cameras, you should expect the outcome. It's simple, isn't it? Those shooters were shooting what was in front of them. They know how to capture the moment and they did. They have the eye, reaction speed and gear to do it. Blaming them for what they shot is ridiculous. If you don't want to look unflattering, don't do unflattering things.

rivercityrocker's picture

That's just stupid. Apparently you're not a performer, and as just about anyone who isn't a total moron can figure out that movements and faces that look normal in motion can look terrible when captured in a still.

Have you EVER photographed a person in your life? You can take the most beautiful model in the world and photograph her when she is specifically trying to look good and you can catch her mid blink and she will look ridiculous. Those photos are edited out.

Have you ever photographed an event where someone is speaking? It's pretty hard to catch a good expression. Now add to that the fact that she is dancing and singing and you will get unflattering images. I have taken thousands of unflattering photographs of performers. I just don't post them. The blame DOES fall on the photographer if they are editing their own photos.

Stephen Pena's picture

Do you even understand how fast paced everything is for big events such as the super bowl? im pretty sure youve photographed your little shows and you do a great job of it but in no way was it the photographers fault and you would know that if you understood the process of shooting an event as large as the super bowl where the second you fill a card you hand it off to somebody else so they can then load it and send ALL the files to whichever publication they work for so they can hopefully have the images up first. whoever was incharge of editing and choosing the photos from thoe given to them is at fault. chances are the poor photographers that had those bad images werent too happy with thm being released either but with the massive quantities of digital media taken at events these days its inevitable that unfalttering or embarassing photos or video will make it onto the internet. With that said the ones truly to blame are..... the consumers... the ones who see an unflattering photo and share the living hell out of it. because if nobody really cared to see them that much this never wouldve become such a big deal. these days the editorials are only printing what they know the reader wants.

rivercityrocker's picture

My "little" shows? Haha OK dude.

I'd love to go into it more in depth, but you're WAY out of your league. "Poor photographers"? Good lord. You're just as stupid as the moron that originally posted.

Privacy Is Key's picture

nevermind not being a performer. You must not be a photographer. If that photographer had any skill at all, they had PLENTY of photographs that were worth using. However they decided either not to, or they weren't skilled enough to achieve those shots. In which case, they shouldn't have been hired. The photographer or whomever they worked for had a serious lapse in judgement.

JLI's picture

This is the price one has to pay for being a narcissist. Frankly, I'm sick of hearing about her.

Privacy Is Key's picture

but you clicked the link though. You "hearing" about her is your fault essentially.

JLI's picture

Not to hear anything about Beyonce, but to read about all things photography. I tend to do that when I click over to a photography website.

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