Tuesday's Tips: The Author and the Interview

A number of the assignments I have involve shooting the photographs while the reporter(s) are conducting their interview.  Creating portraits during the interview brings up some unique challenges.  In most portrait sessions the photographer can direct the subject.  When shooting during the interview, you cannot interrupt nor direct the subject in any way.  You are also limited to how many frames you can fire, as the shutter sound and the strobes may distract the subject or the reporter(s). 

The author John Updike was one of my favorite subjects that I had a pleasure of working with for numerous stories and publications. This image was taken during my last session with him for Der Spiegel Magazine at Nine Zero Hotel in downtown Boston.

Updike for blog.jpg

Things you need to know photographing interview:

1. Be prepared when you walk into the interview. 

2. Choose where you want you subject to sit, what will make a great background and foreground.  Once the interview starts, It is not professional nor possible to interrupt the interview to ask the subject to change seats.

3. Give your editors a choice of angels, expressions, long shots and wide shots.

4. Position yourself so you can make a great portrait and move a bit without disrupting the interview.  You may be in a small room, but you can be creative with your composition and how you frame the image.

5. Always make a good clean headshot.  It may be on the table of contents, but may be a cover. Leave some extra space to drop type around your subject, such as the title of the book or magazine.  My photographs were used in a recent biography of John Updike as the front and back covers.

 I really enjoy photographing during interviews. It presents different challenges than other portraits shoots and I get to listen to the interviews.   

The lighting on this photograph was 1 Nikon Speedlight to the right of the camera through a Chimera 24x30 softbox, held by my assistant.  As I moved, the assistant moved the strobe to keep the same lighting effect.  The strobe was fired using a Pocket Wizard. 

Updike with icon.jpg

Happy Shooting!


Interview room: