When photographers are hired by well-known celebrities, the expectations for their work will skyrocket. Celebrities are accustomed to having things go their way, and they need to be encouraged to take a photo shoot seriously. Being a celebrity photographer means that you will need to adapt to their constantly changing goals and demands. Greg Kadel, an experienced photographer, gives 6 tips for the budding celebrity photographer to keep their subjects in line throughout the process.
- Professionalism is Job Number One
Celebrities are tired of listening to how much people love their work and how much they have wanted to meet them. They would rather be in a professional situation where they don’t feel like they are living under a microscope. Rather than focusing on the celebrity’s professional life, try to see them as just another person trying to make a living.Celebrities have vastly different attitudes toward photo shoots. Some celebrities were models when they first started out, meaning that they will be easy to work with and can take direction. Others may need much more handholding.
You also have to take into consideration that the celebrity may be stubborn or unwilling to work with you. Quite often, a celebrity’s agent or manager has signed them up for this photo shoot, and they may not be willing to participate. In this case, stand up for yourself. Be aware that if you make any negative comments toward the celebrity or their management, you may have a difficult time getting work as a photographer in the future. A careful balance and a great deal of patience are necessary to create a good photo shoot.
- Be Friendly
Be friendly, but not too friendly. You want your subject to be comfortable, but you don’t want to be overly intrusive. Having strong social skills and an ability to connect on a personal level will be very helpful. Having a warm personal attitude will also help you create the best possible photograph.Find a way to engage your client, involving them in casual conversations. Be aware of their body language, and if they seem uncomfortable, pull back and try another approach. Celebrities are no different from other models in this regard.
- Don’t Waste Their Time
When you are planning a celebrity photo shoot, you need to be prepared to use your equipment and have a great deal of practice with your set-up. The last thing you want is for your celebrity to be delayed because you are having technical difficulties with your equipment. You should practice with your photography equipment as much as possible, getting to know its quirks and advantages. This will give you invaluable experience when it comes to making a quality photo shoot.
- Work with a Mentor
Find other professional celebrity photographers in your area and find out whether you can come along to their shoots or assist them in the editing room. They may also need help in the studio, managing the celebrity client’s needs. This will give you good practice when it comes to meeting their high demands.When you have a mentor, you will be able to learn how to market yourself to PR firms and magazines. You will learn the best way to behave around celebrity clients, and you may get to know them on a first-name basis, leading to a better professional reputation and more work in the long run.
- Start with Small Projects
It is a good idea to work up to photographing high-value celebrity clients. You may want to work with upcoming musical artists as well as actors and performers. This will help both of you build your professional reputation. Having a great deal of practice with lower-profile models will make you more confident than you were before you started photographing celebrities.
- Constantly Practice
Any photographer will tell you that the only way to enhance the quality of your work is to constantly practice your skills. Taking photography seriously means refining your skills at every opportunity. If you have little experience with fashion photography or musical photography, you should try to line up jobs in these areas. When you meet a celebrity who likes your work and wants to work with you again, it will pay to have this additional experience.
Building Your Career
Taking photos of celebrities starts with the same skills that you would use for any model, but you will need to approach your work with extra tact and professionalism if you want to feature celebrities in your work.
Greg Kadel has given these tips in hopes that novice photographers will be able to break into the celebrity category. Above all, be personable but not too pushy. Celebrities are generally tired of being treated differently than other people. However, their egos might get in the way of working with you. In this case, fall back on dealing with their agent or manager.
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