ASMP — American Society of Media Photographers

Quick Tip: Convincing Photo Editors You Can Shoot Celebrities

© Amy Sussman


Cross-posted from

[by David Walker]

In our recent story about entertainment photographer Amy Sussman’s first celebrity portrait, she told us that one of her biggest challenges was learning to take celebrity portraits consistently and confidently.

“Not only do you have to have your lighting and setup correct, but you’re also asking someone to give something of themselves in a very short period of time, and to go a bit deeper than a smile with their arms folded.”

Sussman notes that while some new photographers try to build their portfolios with portraits of their friends, she says, those images may not convince a photo editor. “If I’m shooting a portrait of my friends, my friend might give me an hour in which I can adjust things,” she says. Sussman says that when she shot events and galas, she used her access to celebrities to shoot for her portfolio. “I’d be backstage, I’d bring a little light, and take an opportunity to make a photo that looks like a portrait. No celebrity there is going to give you much time, so it allows you to say [to editors]: ‘Look, I can do this on the fly,’” she says. “Take advantage of those opportunities to build a portfolio.”

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