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):
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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.

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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.


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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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107 Comments

Previous comments
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.

M. R.'s picture

But this article isn't about photography. It's about Beyonce.

JLI's picture

Then, by your logic, it has no place on this website. My bad for assuming that the articles posted here would be related to photography. Sheesh.

M. R.'s picture

Well it is related to photography in some respects, so I see why it was posted here. But for someone who is sick of hearing about her, the remedy would be to not read articles who's title's first word is her name. You can kind of guess what the article is mainly about, no?

J_Temperance's picture

If she doesn't want unflattering pictures taken, maybe she shouldn't wear such unflattering clothes. Seriously, what the fuck is she wearing, nice nipples ass hat.

LaRon Stewart's picture

She invited designers to do the looks for her show, instead of burdening her mother, who had been her sole designer since the Destiny's Child days. The nips are fake, not that it justifies them...

mcpierogipazza's picture

And let's face it, her mother's designs have always been super tacky. Yeesh!

Jeanette Nevarez's picture

video stills? LOLlll

Moh Nabil's picture

i think the problem on her not the photographers

Privacy Is Key's picture

quite the contrary. If a photographer makes themselves known for having unattractive images published, then they've created a problem for themselves.

John Marshall's picture

She wants to fight photographers, and the internet... good luck...

M. R.'s picture

Who said that?

pvbella's picture

I do not see what Beyonce and her team are so upset about. There reactions to the unflattering pictures are overkill. If you do not want unflattering pictures taken make sure you do no entertain in an unflattering way.

Privacy Is Key's picture

are you saying out of ALL of the photographs they took, they HAD TO publish the most unattractive of them? NO.

To not understand the real issue, you couldn't possibly be a photographer.

Syman St's picture

Unflattering photos.. I guess it's the price she has to pay for being rich and famous.

LaRon Stewart's picture

It's nothing more than the Streisand Effect hard at work. I think that Beyonce has an opinion about it, but somewhere in there, her media machine is telling her that action is required. They clearly do not understand how publicity works, unless they're trying to stoke the fires by making sure that more people simply talk about Beyonce. if that's their end game, increasing the conversation beyond adoration and fandom, then they are actually accomplishing that in spades. Her detractors are adding blurbs and blogposts, her fans are supporting, liking, defending, and sharing her more than before, and the people that don't really give a darn are getting bombarded with? You guessed it: more Beyonce.

M. R.'s picture

Maybe that's the plan then. Saying "don't photograph" will only make people want to see it more. And isn't that what you want when you tour? Not that it matters because all but one date is sold out.

Jens Marklund's picture

I thought she didn't need retouching?

lol. Say goodbye to the publicity.

Privacy Is Key's picture

Her show is being photographed, but no press photography.

Privacy Is Key's picture

and that ban was well deserved.

Richard H. Weiner's picture

To Beyonce..."Tough Tits, kiddo". Those images WILL get out there.
Have you never paused a PVR...at a 'non flattering' image? We ALL will at one time or other experience this, especially if you are NOT still. Face it...Such things happen.

Nursultan Tulyakbay's picture

The real problem is the public. As a photographer I only let the public see images that I am proud of. These are images that flatter the subject or at least are not showing the subject in a awkward pose or facial expression. That is me - I am not selling my images to tabloid outlets. The tabloids want these images because their readers want them, so the photographers take them. That being said, I am not convinced that Beyonce's people see this as a problem. How does it go in Hollywood? Any publicity is good publicity or something? These people aren't stupid, they know how the internet works. They are just trying to get as much mileage out of this as they can.

Ralph Hightower's picture

Bad mistake. I doubt that Beyonce will get invitations to perform at venues that she doesn't have complete control, like the Super Bowl, baseball, etc.

I saw her Super Bowl performance and one music video popped up in my mind: ZZ Tops "Legs". Beyonce has LEGS, in fact, she has Thunder Thighs!

Let all the news media pissed off with her decision release all the culled photos to the internet.

Alessio Michelini's picture

To be fair, as a music photographer, I prefer that she bans every photographer rather than allow photographers and then ask us to sign down a bloody photo release where she obtain all the copyrights of our photos.
At least now I know that I don't even have to bother to ask a pass for a gig, and I can waste my time photography someone else or something else.
Plus, she is not the first that doesn't allow photographers, there are other bands that do the same, like The Killers for example.

Eric Fialkowski's picture

If the media outlets want to get back at her, all they have to do is stop publicizing any of the shows from this tour. The only thing worse than bad publicity is no publicity at all....

Michael Comeau's picture

This is a good opportunity to address a touchy subject: why should these artists care about photographers' rights to shoot their shows? She's going to sell a billion tickets either way...

One of the best performers of our Era? I seriously question/doubt this...

Brad Trent's picture

I'm sure I'm not the first to say this...and will hardly be the last...but Fuck Beyonce!!!

Aaron Stanley's picture

You said "but f*%k Beyonce." Hehe

Nicole Beauvais's picture

whomever came up with that idea isn't too bright.

Markus's picture

Well they got even Fstoppers to write about her new tour for free I assume.

4244243's picture

nigggas... what the fuk?

Jorge Moro's picture

She needs to get over herself. Prima Donna.

When is the time that they realize that all professional photographers sometimes take hundreds of pictures of someone, but only a handful will actually be good. Especially when you are in motion like she is during her tours. If she didn't say anything the first time around this wouldn't have happened.

Most all photographers can take the most beautiful picture from their shoot and the most ugly picture at the same time. If not close enough, or just a bad idea.

Dino Traite's picture

Editing and grammatical errors aside, I feel let down. Personally I'm a Beyoncé fan and I'll be attending a concert with my mother in July. I mean, it would be nice to just savor the moments in my memory, but it would be nice to take some photos with my camera, too. My phone doesn't take the best quality photos. But hey, I'll work with what I got if I have to.

Paul Callaghan's picture

I wish someone would just ban her and her crappy formulaic pop drivel she calls music - get over it princess, it's what you signed up for sweety!!

Jeff J. Newman's picture

awww geez another mess...i really like beyonce although my late friend etta did not...etta had a final approval policy as well...they are only pictures for cryin out loud.

Mr Blah's picture

Quite funny. so let's recap:
1- Try to cencor the whoooole web to not show 1 funny face out of a 3h show....
2- ban all protogs
And if we take a guess:
3- reinvite protogs to the shows
4- no one came because she's been a bitch

M. R.'s picture

Let's also recap:

1- In 2009 Beyonce went on a World Tour.

2- Photography was banned except for during the opening number

3- The Super Bowl photo thing happened in 2013.

4. In 2013 Beyonce again bans photography.

Do you really still think it's about flattering photos and not just the way she does things?

Mr Blah's picture

she either: 1- has a ridiculous reason to ban photography at concert or 2-can't stand the fact that she might look funny for 1/500th of second in a 2h show...

Either way she's a bit of a c.....

M. R.'s picture

Is a professional photographer allowed to go to a movie and photograph it? No. So why is it ridiculous to expect professional photographers to be banned on for a concert?

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