Introducing Celebrity Portrait Photography

Celebrities are people who always get a good share of media attention and because of that, they represent a good subject for photographers. Magazines and newspapers are in high demand of good celebrity photographs and many photographers specialize in this type of photography. There are three ways to approach this type of photography: through photographing events, such as film festivals or music concerts; through paparazzi photography; or through celebrity portraiture. The first two types are more of a subset of photojournalism while the third, celebrity portraiture, is a more of an artistic approach and it is also the focus of this article.

Brian bowen smith

Celebrity portraiture in photography can be quite difficult as it involves careful planning by the photographer assigned to take the shots and it usually takes place in a photo studio or on a chosen location. These photo assignments are usually commissioned by publications, such as magazines that require only the best images. They must be of high quality and also must show an artistic touch.

The photographer usually works on a tight schedule and under a lot of pressure when doing this type of photography, so a lot of the work is done prior to the actual photo shoot, because of the amount of preparation involved. With celebrities being highly publicized and their image being very known, the portraits to be taken should emphasize the character and personality of the subject. For this, the photographer must spend some time to research his or her subject, prior to the shoot, in order to decide on an approach to the photo session.

When doing this type of photography, a lens with a long focal length is a good choice for several reasons. Although you can get great portraits with other types of lenses, using a long focal length have some advantages. A long lens will help you isolate your subject from the background, because of the shallow depth of field it produces. This type of lenses will also create a natural compression which will flatter the subject’s features, instead of distorting them. A long lens will also allow the photographer to move further away from the subject, creating more space between the camera and the celebrity, which in turn will make the subject more comfortable. This will help the celebrity keep a natural and relaxed feel during the entire photo session.

Regarding composition, try to use rules such as the rule of thirds or negative space, to help emphasize the subject’s features. When doing celebrity portraiture, it is important to think about the perception the people will have when seeing the picture.

The picture should have a concept that would put the subject in an interesting light. It should also tell a story, the subject’s features could be used to achieve this kind of effect. For example, if the celebrity is a well known actor/actress, the composition should emphasize those characteristics of the subject that made him/her well known. In the case of a comedy actor/actress, the turning point of the picture could be the smile, or in the case of an actor/actress that usually plays the antagonist role, it could be the look of the eyes.

To give the feel of the subject’s importance in the picture, the shooting is usually done by placing the camera on a level lower than the subject’s face. This will make it easy to compose with the eyes of the subject in the top third of the frame, since that’s where the eyes of the viewer are usually drawn when looking at a portrait.

The communication with the subject should not be neglected as it can bring out some new ideas and insights. As a photographer, it is important to get to know the person with whom you are working, to make the most out of the shoot in the available time.

Here are some great examples of celebrity portrait photography:


Brian bowen smith


Brian bowen smith



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