Promo photo Q&A

Thoughts on cheesy poses, Photoshop, headshots & must-do’s.

By Ryan Joyce
Over the holidays my local newspaper will be doing an article about small town boy travels the globe being a magician.*   If you haven’t had newspaper coverage as a magician, you will and prepare to be disappointed.  Most journalists are not photographers.

Your first article is exciting– big fancy newspaper journalist coming and hopefully with the intentions of a feature image.  They are going to want to say “magic” in your shot. Here’s a Google search:

Here is how the world sees us:

*really the article is about all the filming projects in development.

That’s the mindset a journalist has when they meet you.  Newspapers also are under time constraints like everyone else and there are good journalists and bad journalists.  There is still a 95% chance your photo will suck. (Still on topic: newspapers still offer a certain extra panache for reputation building, but everything is moving online.

Start building your online presence!

In case you haven’t jumped onboard– your blog is the new newspaper.  Find your voice to talk about magic and your performances.  This is easier than you make it out to be– What interests you now about magic?  What other interests do you have, and how can you connect those with magic?  Talk about all that in a fun informative way.

Learn to write.  Writing is the skill that elevates you.  It makes you more interesting. (related: Two Simple Rules to follow)

Writing is the first step towards taking control of your brand.

You have to start learning to write.  It’s easier when you enjoy the topic.  Don’t work against the tides.  Magic is your passion so give it a voice.

The problem is…

Writing is a different skill than photography, expect your newspaper photos to suck.

I let them shoot whatever they want and offer to send a photo.

These are the skills you’ll need to take your own promotional photos.
  • Understand good and bad lighting.
  • Take a photo. (basic equipment)
  • Touch it up. (free online resources Google Photos to Adobe Photoshop)
  • Tell a story.  (learn to write)

For the newspaper essence, was “small town boy, travelling the world doing magic.”  So I shot this with a basic light on a stand you can get on Amazon for under 100$ and a camera on a tripod.


Magic in one image.

A top hat.

Do you identify yourself with a top hat?

I don’t.  I have to control that.

That’s branding.

My solution for newspaper articles is to submit your own photo.  It doubles your chances with the added bonus of having a new image for blog post, social media, a featured image on something, et al.  Gifts for the future and well worth the effort. Building your toolbox of images.  My buddy Graeme is the king at this– I’ll try and see if he could give a tutorial.

Here is the photo I submitted, the video shows the steps I took to improve it.
AFTER: With cloning, colour correction etc.
BEFORE: Right from the SD Card.

This video has been around for a while, it’s an old photography solution I used to offer for magicians– but the video shows perfectly my thoughts on clipart.

Clipart is dead.

The link is dead.  (At the end of this video) Just enjoy the video enjoy.

Did you take this poll?


What’re your thoughts?

  • deanapple

    This is nice- it’s refreshing to have a forum to comment on. Thanks!

    • Ryan Joyce (author)

      Thanks a bunch Dean. (PS I caught the formatting error on this page and will try and fix it now)

      In my humble opinion, now more than ever, magicians need to work together. Magic has to evolve. I think we can expedite that if we work together.

      That’s the big picture– it all boils down to the work. Whats on the top of your list for 2018 in terms of your magic career?

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