Thursday, August 14, 2008


Of the many genres of photography, photo portraiture is one of the most actively practiced. Many photographers earn much, if not all, of their income from portrait shooting and that work encompasses a vast range of categories, classifications, types, and styles.

Some headshot photographers have achieved great fame for their work. Timothy Greenfield-Sanders comes to mind. I know, I know, TGS is so much more than a headshot shooter. In fact, in more than a few of his portraits, his framing extends all the way to half-body shots!


Photographers of Greenfield-Sanders' caliber photograph world leaders, celebrities, musicians, artists and more. TGS's work is in the collections of major museums, he shoots for some of the most popular and respected magazines in the world, and his work has been published in a number of well-received books in print. He is iconic in the world of portrait photography.

So what sets a shooter like Greenfield-Sanders apart from so many others who ply the portrait biz? Is it his style? His lighting? His interaction with his subjects? That big-ass camera he shoots with? All of the above? None of the above? Or is it that hyphenated last name? I don't know. If I knew, I'd grab some of his mojo and apply it to my own work. Could TGS's secret be one of those "secrets of the pros" we all read and hear about? Only in Mr. TGS's case, his secrets remains secret? Perhaps what works for Greenfield-Sanders only works for Greenfield-Sanders? Damn. I wish I knew.

The portrait/headshot at the top is writer and film director, Ramon Menendez. A fair number of you have probably seen his most memorable film, Stand and Deliver, with Edward James Olmos and Lou Diamond Phillips. Ramon asked me to shoot a simple head-shot portrait to update his DGA (Directors Guild of America) profile. I lit Ramon with my Mola beauty dish, slightly feathered, for the main plus two, gridded, accent lights from behind. Ramon's headshot ain't no Timothy Greenfield-Sanders portrait but Ramon liked it. He said it's what he was looking for because it has a "cinematic feel" to it. Okay. If you say so, senor. You're the film director, after all.

And if the client is happy, I'm happy.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your client gave you the secret to success.

Capturing what the person is all about in a headshot is what makes a successful portrait photographer.