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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
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 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.

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