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!

  • Craig Swinson

    So not only will the pictures show her making dumb faces, they will be under or over exposed and out of focus? BRILLIANT!

  • adam murphy

    She’ll ban phones for her next tour. Stuck up diva.

  • Mike

    Media should ignore those concert, if artist wants to be mentioned in media he/she should just buy advertising space.

  • Ant Joby

    Ezra Shaw is a great photographer. 99% of the time It’s not the photographer who distribute these photos from live events over the wire, it’s the photo editors in the field and at the photo desk that ultimately move these images over the wire. Photogs are snapping hundreds of images during these live concerts and of course there will be loads of unflattering being captured…it’s up to the agency’s editors to send through the best picks. I can’t imagine any notable weekly mag running that horrible photo above. Getty Images have the best photo editors on this planet but sometimes your editing judgement becomes clouded due to exhaustion from being overworked.

  • John Farnan

    what can you say…
    can you get in with a pro body but not as a pro shooter…
    If that’s what she really looks like its no wonder she might want to keep it to nicey nice shots.

  • harumph

    “What she really looks like”? C’mon, you can take an unflattering picture of anyone, no matter how good looking they are.

  • Arnold Newman

    I find it hard to get worked up about this. (Then again, I don’t make my living as a concert photog.) I understand Beyoncé’s motivation. I also think she would be better off not worrying about it.

  • pvbella

    Instead of complaining she should rehearse in front of a mirror.

  • badbrainz

    Uh, they won’t BUY photos from fans in the first few rows. Idiots will let them use them freely, and they will suck.

  • lol

    well if beyonce is a monkey is not a problem of the photographer

  • Trythe1

    Awww so insecure

  • Maurizio Balìa

    c’mon man we all want to look good on pictures… even tho we’re not Beyonce’ ! she’s awesome anyway

  • Matias Gonua

    She cares too much on image, she should focus on her music, that’s what should be banned!

  • brandon

    i’m not really a fan but she would be better served to let this go. this will backfire on her just like the superbowl stuff. I watched her half time show, and i couldn’t believe the faces she was making during her performance. i wasn’t surprised in the least to see that the photos reflected reality. they tend to do that sometimes. again, let it go, and stop making stupid faces while your dancing.

  • Brad Trent
  • Bruck Assefa

    While I do think the decision is ridiculous I honestly don’t think it was Beyonce’s choice herself. I think it’s just her publicist being annoying.

  • meggo

    Honestly….how much of an asshole are you to post an unflattering image of ANYONE? Just….what’s the point? I take unflattering photos of ppl I know and delete them right then. That’s what they get. Ever had a drunk photo of yourself posted on facebook or anywhere else? They were wrong to do that.

  • Zeke

    Something tells she she won’t suffer from the loss

  • James Donahue

    She can stick herself up to where the sun don’t shine. Got that…oink oink.

  • R E Casper

    Haha… when the gun backfires on your once.. hell, why not give the trigger another pull? I say, do whatever she wants, be as vain as she wants, ban whatever she wants at her shows…. But I am sure this will end in tears.

    I’m only curious if this ban blankets over her fellow touring bands. She may not want Publicity photos for her show, but what about the other bands playing?… Maybe they would prefer a professional taking their pictures, rather than tweenagers in the front row with their cell phones.

  • ISIS

    I can”t wait for her next cuccie concert to come to my town!!!

  • Eric Cantrell

    Thunder thighs has spoken…

  • chubbs

    You know what would make her really popular? Embracing the hilarity of the viral photos and accepting that even celebrities can look weird instead of trying to create an aura of perfection.

    That would make her downright lovable.

  • blah

    Go watch body party video on YouTube! So hott

  • nerdbomber

    might as well ban video recording from concerts for that matter… ’cause we don’t people taking bad screen caps of beyonce also.

  • Adam Fletcher

    She should stop making unflattering poses and faces. I thought she was a professional?

  • MikeT

    what a stupid girl… and photogs are not to blame for her fat ass nor here stupid expressions…..

  • GoodThings2Life

    Funny… my attitude is, “If you can’t laugh with me, just laugh at me. Humor makes the world go round, so have a sense of humor.”

  • Paul Devisser

    These concerts already have policies in place banning video recording

  • lol
  • Photographer

    Do you seriously think Getty has the best photo editors on the planet??

    Try working with them some day…

  • Another Photographer

    Amen to that. Getty should change their name to Gestapo, the way they treat their photographers…

  • Jullieanne Danger

    I’m sorry but someone with a large enough ego to make a documentary about herself should have enough confidence in her looks to laugh at unflattering photos. Making a stank like this just reeks of insecurity, which is more unflattering than any photo could ever be.

  • wri7913

    People wonder why the world is hate filled and angry these days.

    Then I read articles like this and I start to understand.

    This is a hateful article and the writer should be ashamed of themselves. I have no love for Beyonce and its not even my style of music. If I was in her shoes, I don’t think I would appreciate the obessession with these kinds of pictures meant to make Beyonce feel like crap. I think Christians have a saying that goes something like this “Do onto others as you would have them do unto you”.

  • ramanauskas

    Getty? Photo editors? The hell you say.

  • ramanauskas

    Papers licensing fan shots is not her biggest worry… when some website decides to review her concert with illustrations entirely lifted from She-Hulk comics, _that’s_ when she’ll have a real problem. Oh my, yes.

  • cirrostratus

    Those unflattering poses and ugly faces aren’t something the photos are putting on Beyonce–those poses and grimaces are what Beyonce is giving her fans. The camera is recording what the audience sees.

    If she thinks she looks bad doing it, why doesn’t she stop doing it?

  • guest

    This policy will eventually be stored in the closet and not enforced. People like Beyouce thrive on publicity and their fans need something new and fresh.

    Take that away and supplement it with a select few pre-approved images and her image goes stale really quick.

    Publicity is a 2-way street, give and take. Like others have stated, instead of clamping down on photographers for un-flattering poses, embrace them and top it. Use the publicity and turn it on itself. Trying to cease any further image posting like these in this day and age is an uphill battle on a muddy playing field

    Now if her publicist were a smart person, they would have suggested that Beyounce make a round of appearances on late-nite or similar shows parodying the un-flattering poses thus taking all the momentum out of the funny images. Trying to embrace this look of perfection and divineness only adds to the fuel of the paparazzi and anyone looking to knock her off her throne.

  • jawookie

    I have to agree. I thought the pictures were a fair representation of the show. It wasn’t a case of catching a bad face here and there. It was a case of that’s the faces she was making through the entire show.

  • Dee

    As infuriating as this could be as a concert photographer, I like that you mention the reality of camera photos now being sold.
    However, she was raised in front of the camera, and she knows even better than any Broadway performer does, that you need to be constantly aware of your facial movements. That’s part of why being a performer is so difficult- not only do you need to have the stamina to keep up, you have to keep up AND look good. And these ‘fierce’ faces she keeps flashing, are certainly not the facial movements you want on camera.
    And as for the entire matter, she should have either ignored it or posted a few of the satirical pictures on her own pages and laughed it off. You only make yourself look insecurrrr. Hah!

  • Andrija Dimitrijevic

    I think that forever anytime beyonce’s name is mentioned in print media it should have the above horrible photos to show the truth of her personality …

    To borrow the words of Jon Stewart ” meet me at camera 3″ – Beyonce you are a filthy rich talented woman who could care less that there are a couple of bad photos of you, let the peasants have their fun while they pay u retarded amounts of money to perform ur weird hulk impressions ( sorry that slipped out ) i mean musical performances.

    I think all photographers should make a pact that no good photo of her ever be posted.

    To the photographer : as funny as those pictures were probably not the smartest thing to post them…. however that being said i’m very glad u did because u provided more entertainment then the whole half time show.


  • Richard Ford

    And stupid…. and stuck in the stone age.

  • Ant Joby

    I actually have…for years

  • freeboprich

    Really? I think you’re misplacing your criticism here. The article is making a pretty valid point about the misdirection of either the artist or the artist’s publicist’s ire towards the professionals who just cover events. It is blatantly the agency (editors and distributors) who were at fault in this instance.
    I think your bigger problem here is with the comments that have been made on the article rather than the original writer.

  • Eric C Vogel

    The photographers want to be unprofessional idiots, well, she’s just operating on a level that they understand, good for her. Where is the pride in craft? Ezra Shaw and the other photographers should be embarrassed that an image which would have never made it past a preliminary edit, is not only out, but has their name attached to it. If anyone is a publicity whore it’s these photographers, not that I ever had any respect for someone who has their lighting, angles, posing, etc, already set for them.

  • Edie Norris

    she cant stand being captured not looking pretty, lol

  • Carolyn Carter

    That is so true!!

  • Carolyn Carter

    She must have gotten pissed when they started making fun of her photos. Girl, relax. If you can’t laugh at yourself, then you need life’s reality check. NO ONE LOOKS PERFECT!!!

  • Carolyn Carter

    But she decided to take the opposite road, which is sad.

  • Carolyn Carter

    The only thing about that is “what will she talk about?” We already heard about how she “embaces” her dancing, singing, having a baby for real, her husband.