I've had the great pleasure of working with many celebrities over my career. It can be exciting and very intimidating at the same time. So here are some valuable tips that I've learned over the years to keep the nerves in check and the focus on creating exciting images.
This is the most important aspect of the shoot. The more communication you have with the client over what the expectations are of what you're trying to accomplish is key to understanding the scope of the shoot. What's the purpose of the shoot, promoting a movie, product, a mood based on the theme for an article? What are the most important elements of the photo? Know what the expectations are before hand and prepare well.
Where is the shoot taking place and most importantly how much time do you have for set up, the actual photo session and then break down of equipment. When I photographed Les Paul he was very generous with his time and his home, but we didn't abuse his time, we still made multiple set ups, so we could move quickly from one scenario to the next. Most other times you won't be as lucky. Which brings us to Number 3.
3. Plan B
I did a shoot of a well known TV Journalist, who to my surprise when I arrived at the TV studio with my assistants and van load of equipment, only allowed me to photograph him during commercial breaks. needless to say I had to work fast with very minimal equipment and still get something compelling. So have a back up plan if things change (and they usually do!) be ready to have less time than you think!
Celebrities have crazy schedules, so be flexible. Many times they run late or reschedule at the last minute. Other times it's just a matter of common courtesy. One of the shoots that I did with Buddy the Cake Boss was scheduled at night in front of his home to promote a Smart Home System from Elan. My assistant and I got there several hours before he would arrive and planned out exactly what we were going to do. He arrived late after a 12 hour TV shoot, I'm sure the last thing he wanted to see was me and my crew in his drive way, but being the pro that he is, Buddy just smiled and said "can we do this quick". I said we'll be out of here before you know it and we were because of our extensive preparation.
5. Be respectful and patient
Celebrities are human too! A popular morning show host came to my studio once in a bad mood not wanting to shoot. I took a deep breath and just started engaging in small talk finding out her interests and playing on that to get her to decompress from what ever it was that set her off before she came. After letting her see that she was in control and surrounded by people that had her interests at heart, she changed completely and became very cooperative. You'd be surprised how far patience and putting others first will get you.
We're very excited to shoot with Mavis Foods and their new line of Sauces that are created from age old family recipes from Barbados. When shooting food, it's critical to have a food stylist who can not only make beautiful dishes, but who has experience styling food for photography. Some of the things that you have to watch out for is smudges on dishes, wilting foods, as well as keeping the food looking glossy and fresh. It's also important to watch out for cracked or chipped plates and bowls. Lighting is very important. If we cannot take advantage of beautiful natural light, we have a full compliment of strobes to recreate any type of lighting condition needed.