After Unflattering Viral Photos, Beyonce Now Banning Pro Photographers

Super Bowl XLVII - Baltimore Ravens v San Francisco 49ers

How do you solve the problem of professional concert photographers snapping unflattering photos of you during your live shows? One way is to ban them completely, and that’s exactly what Beyonce is doing with her latest concert tour. Policies like hers may be growing in popularity among artists who want to control their image, but the policy is still causing quite a hoopla.

The whole thing started earlier this year at the Super Bowl, where Beyonce was the highlight of the halftime show. After the performance, a number of unflattering photographs snapped during the show were distributed through news wires.

Here’s one of the shots, captured by Ezra Shaw of Getty Images:

Pepsi Super Bowl XLVII Halftime Show

Those photographs were quickly picked up by pranksters around the web and turned into a viral photo meme in which Beyonce is featured as a “She Hulk”:


Beyonce’s publicist, a woman named Yvette Noel-Schure, began sending out takedown notices to websites sharing the viral photographs. This only added fuel to the flames (AKA the Streisand Effect), causing the photographs to go even more viral.

After this incident, it appears that Beyonce (and her publicist) has had enough. The singer is now strictly controlling how photographs are captured during her new concert tour, “The Mrs. Carter Show World Tour,” which will run through Europe and the Americas.

No, it’s not a “rights grab” like other artists have tried to do (in which photographers’ copyrights are signed over to the musicians after the show), but rather a complete ban on professional photographers.

The Facebook page Music Photographers got its hands on a copy of the contract being distributed, and shared this screenshot:


There are no photo credentials for this show. Local news outlets, including print and online will be given a link to download photos from every show. They will need to register to access the photos.

Pay a visit to the Photoshelter gallery linked in the agreement, and you’ll find a small gallery of pre-approved photographs.


Noam Galai of Fstoppers writes that this policy may actually backfire on Beyonce and her publicist:

[…] 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.

If you’re a publication looking to cover a Beyonce concert being held near you, using the squeaky-clean pre-approved photos or licensing images from fans might be what you’re limited to. If you’re a concert goer, you might want to think about getting close and snapping some clear shots of Beyonce — you might find it much easier to sell the photos than ever before!

  • snapshot1

    Except that in this day of hundreds of snaps a minute anybody dancing or making expressions are going to get images of them like this. She’s not posing in these “bad” shots – did you see the half-time show? There are obvious moments she’s posed and they are picture perfect. No – these are those in-between photos that NEVER used to get published until modern times when having any sort of controversy is money making for content providers. We used to have respect for people. I mean have you ever seen Lawrence Schiller’s contact sheets of Marylin Monroe? There is a reason he didn’t print and release every photo he took of her. I also guarantee there is a frame or two of 35mm film out there in the world showing JFK and/or Martin Luther King picking his nose taken by a photo-journalist and it was never printed and will never be shown because people used to have pride and respect. I know I’m sounding like an 80 year old man wagging his fingers but it’s true – people today don’t give a sh*T about anyone but themselves and what they can do and get for them so now if someone got Beyonce or the President picking their nose, it would go “viral” and we would see yet ANOTHER of these articles (which of course are also riding the coat-tails of these stupid photos). There is a reason we use the word “viral” nowadays because most content and the people who make it are nothing more then viruses.

  • neffertiti

    I will be happy when this overrated c*nt goes into hiding with her hideous husband they are both arrogant narcissists. Beyonce is not that talented just marketed well. As for the pics she is being a stuck up brat about it

  • Photographer

    What market? Surely not NY.

  • Carlini Fotograf

    She looks Awful in the approved photos too!! She might as well face it.. she doesn’t photograph good live.. plain and simple..

  • wri7913

    Actually buddy, I didn’t place blame on photographers or editors. But whoever is responsible for blasting the unflattering pictures like this despite her pleas to have it stop is just being plain juvenile. This is the kind of things that kids in middle school do to each other.

    As I have already said, I’m no fan of Beyonce but I do see the negative behavior by people releasing these pictures. This kind of craps leads to the state we are in as a society when it’s ok to pick on other people just because its …..FUNNY hahahah. It’s a freakin’ joke buddy.

  • wri7913

    It is expected you will be photographed if you are famous. I don’t think for one minute she ever denied that aspect of her career.

    I think what she is upset most about is the obsession with printing these kinds of photos. How many of these “fierce face” photos do you see of other famous rock-n-roll artists? How about Brittany Spears or any other artitst that is in her similiar vein of music?

    Do you see photo editors getting their jollies off on “fierce faces” from Maria Carey or any other famous artists? Why just Beyonce? Is there something she did that deserves this kind of negativity? I don’t know her personally and I have only ever heard one song from her but WOW she sure generates a lot of hostility from people, especially Photo editors. Does she really deserve this kind of juvenile behavior from grown adults?

  • wri7913

    I remember this behavior also started during the Bush years when the press did everything they could to make President Bush look unflattering. It probably started even before that.

    This kind of behavior really defines our society and the respect we have for each other. Seeing this behavior its easy to see why we have become so polarized and negative towards each other as a society on the whole.

    Its embarassing to see other people who are posting in praise for this kind of behavior. People should really be ashamed of themselves. I hope that karma doesn’t pay them back in kind for their negativity.

  • wri7913

    There is no pride in professional craftsmanship anymore in todays world. Just look at the daily news. It’s embarassing how the news injects personal opinion in reporting in every aspect they can. There are no standards anymore. I am a photographer and I agree whith what you said…. I would never be caught dead releasing the kinds of photos that would put someone in a negative light when my intention is to photograph them. My job as a photographer is to record images. But I also value respect and would never allow my photographs to be used in such a juvenile manner.

    Today’s world doesn’t seem to care about any of those things. Now I know why there is so much hostility especially with regards to Politics.

  • freeboprich

    Please don’t call me your buddy when you don’t mean it. I know you weren’t blaming the photographers or editors, you were blaming the article and I don’t think you were right to. Plus, now you’re taking it out on me when I was just trying to correct you, and I hardly think that’s a mature attitude.

  • wri7913

    I can’t see anywhere in my post where I am picking on you individually. If you are getting defensive because of my post that says more about you than it does me.

    But I digress, I’ve already made my point and if you disagree.. that is fine.

    Have a good weekend!

  • Iris

    Oh, I love the hypocritical nature of people. So, you like unflattering photos of yourself being seen? Or do your friends and family only post the best pics of you? Do you not hit delete on your digital cameras and cellphones when you don’t like a pic of yourself? I say the photographers or photo editors were being mean-spirited by releasing any bad pics. But that’s totally fair that celebs should be held to a higher standard than we hold ourselves. It’s nothing wrong if she doesn’t know which photographers to actually trust, and she just says that she won’t have any there.

  • Iris

    But what about if you take that approach and the photographers just keep releasing bad pics. Do you continue to laugh it off? Beyoncé has had pics of with no makeup and dressed down, and she’s never complained. She’s made statements about her looks not being perfect although she’s gorgeous. I don’t think anyone wants to be put in a position where bad pics of them are shown everywhere.

  • Iris

    Beyoncé looked fine on the actual footage. I’ve seen people get caught in mid-facial expression and motion on film and photos. Anybody can look awkward at times. Nobody doing a physical activity can look expressionless during the whole event. That’s so unrealistic.

  • Iris

    Like anyone caught in mid-motion, you can have some bad pics. It was 100s of photos that represented how she looked on tv with no stopping and starting of the click of a camera, and Beyoncé looked gorgeous. As I said before, it’s hard to be expressionless when you’re singing and dancing at the same time. The photographers and/or photo editors were not showing any professional courtesy to release bad pics. When it was 100s of other photos to release instead.

  • Johnny

    Small penis has responded.

  • Iris

    Your personality is showing by your post. You seem pretty rotten. Maybe what wish on others should happen to us as well.

  • Iris

    What a great and honest post.

  • Loki

    Boromir says: “One does not simply remove a photo from the internet”

  • Out of the Ashes

    well absolutely no cameras are allowed nor photography from phones

  • Zahir Byam

    Many artists make documentaries about themselves.

  • chris313

    Has anyone else noticed she looks like Brittany Spears in these shots? Lol

  • TheyLieToLegalize

    That second photo is disturbing and plain digusting.