I have an extensive background in music. I spent my 20's as a working guitarist, and my 30's as a record producer and recording engineer. I produced mainly rock records, but I've engineered everything from classical to jazz to metal to rap to pop to country to jingles - whatever. I've been through a few major label record deal negotiations, fights with promoters, I've been on tour in the US and Europe, yada yada yada.
I'm also married to an opera singer, and because of that I have strong ties to the classical music community as well. I've shot conductors, lots of classical singers and instrumentalists. I've done headshots, promotional pictures for jazz groups and singers. I've shot numbers live performances in classic, rock, and jazz idioms.
Opera Singer Headshots
I shoot mainly younger singers as my style seems to suit their needs better, but I have shot my share of established singers as well.
Shooting younger singers are somewhat a specialty of mine. For the younger singer, I think a headshot has to project that youth, perhaps a touch of innocence, and convey a sense of 'feet on the ground.' But always an opera singer or classical singer headshot has to convey a sense of glamour.
Above all, an opera singer headshot has to get across intelligence. Most of the singers I've met are very very smart. They have to be - it is an incredibly demanding profession.
Headshots for Conductors
I shoot a lot of conductors, again tending towards more casual in style but plenty in tuxedos, too. The baton... I've seen shots of conductors in the woods carrying batons, or holding there batons right near their faces. This is silly. I try to work the baton in the shot sometimes, and on occasion it works, but often it just looks stupid. Most of the time conductors' pictures are right beside their bio, and it says "conductor" right there in big letters.
A Conductor's headshot should show charisma above all else, and depending on the conductor, a sense of authority and a sense of approachable-ness works well. I would be the wrong person to shoot Von Karajan.
Headshots for Classical Instrumentalists
I have seen photos of instrumentalists carrying drums through train yards, leaning against dumpsters holding flutes, etc. It's ridiculous to show the instrument out of a performance context. However, I almost always try to include the instrument in the shot even though it seldom works. Like a conductor shot, the printing on the headshot or the location of the headshot near the program bio usually gives the story away anyway, and the instrument is seldom needed to make the shot make sense.
Rock and Jazz Musicians
My days of hitting clubs and concerts are over, so most of my rock and jazz stuff is archived, so right now this is a bit under-represented. There are few up. Stay tuned.