Gregory Heisler - Making Authentic Portraits


Manage episode 297021402 series 2803659
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Gregory Heisler is a portrait photographer based in Syracuse, New York who has photographed Bill Clinton, George H Bush, George W Bush, Mikhail Gorbachev, Yasser Arafat, Benjamin Netanyahu, Michael Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, Bruce Springsteen, Chinua Achebe, Denzel Washington, Mick Jagger, Partick Stewart, Al Paccino, Hugh Grant, Tim Burton, Joni Mitchell, Liam Neeson, Muhammad Ali, Carl Lewis, Shaquille O'Neal, Bill Gates, Bono and countless more household names for publications like Life Magazine, GQ, Esquire, Rolling Stone, ESPN, New York Times Magazine. Greg has shot over 70 covers for Time Magazine and he has also photographed major advertising campaigns for clients including American Express, Ford, Guinness, Merrill Lynch, Nike, Pfizer and Reebok. Gregory is the recipient of the Alfred Eisenstaedt Award and the Leica Medal of Excellence. His book, 50 Portraits, is one of the all-time great volumes on the subject of portrait photography, giving a sharp yet human insight to the process of making editorial portrait photographs.

Greg is probably my favourite photographer ever and spending this time with him was one of the absolute highlights of my career. I tried to play it cool on the call but inside I was totally freaking out.

The reason I'm such a big fan of Greg's work isn't because of who he has photographed, it's because of how he has produced absolutely beautiful photographs consistently, under high pressure for massive clients in shoots that usually last just a few minutes. For me, when you're doing photography for free, it's EASY. But when you're shooting a world leader or an A-list star for the cover of an international magazine and you've 5 minutes to do it, knowing that there are probably a thousand photographers ready and willing to take your place if you mess up, that's pressure, and for Greg to do it consistently for decades without leaning on a trademark style, technique or gimmick but by creating an array of unique photographs every time, it's phenomenal.

Greg's expertise, experience and enthusiasm pour out in this conversation and you're going to hear a master craftsman lift the lid on what goes into making great portraits as well as some amazing anecdotes, an insight into the gear he used over the years and his thoughts on the current state of the photography industry. I hope you enjoy my conversation with Gregory Heisler.

Show Notes

Get a quote for your unwanted camera gear at MPB:

Follow this week’s guest at the following links:

Portfolio -

Greg’s book, 50 Portraits -

Greg’s Canon profile -!ut/p/z1/jZDNDoJADISfhqO0EYPgbcUoEjBKALEXAwYXEmQJosS3F38uRCX21s43naZAEAIV0TXjUZ2JIsrbfkfq3tmYmrk00F4wB5G5Lno-sxU7UGH7BPBHMQT6x98DUP_6LVA3AlFrBcvztcBHax3gB-DqY2TqTDX11RQN8xMIpqMW0GeGMpw_Yt5AzxUWEM9F_HoYK2JF40BVckyqpJIvVTtO67o8TySUsGkamQvB80Q-iJOE3yypONcQdkkoT36I2XJA8a25A-s7yQc!/#photo-gallery-lead

Connect with me at the View Finders website where you can get my free long exposure tutorial video:

Also find me at:

Find out about the next View Finders Live Online Event:

Photography equipment:

Canon 5Ds R -

Canon 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM lens -

Canon 24mm Tilt Shift lens -

Canon 45mm Tilt Shift -

Canon 90mm Tilt Shift -

Canon 17mm Tilt Shift -

Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM -

Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS III USM -

Zeiss ZF.2 Otus 55mm f/1.4 lens -

Zeiss ZF 100mm f/2 Planar lens -

Deardorf 8x10 View Camera -

Mamaya RZ 67 Camera -

Additional show links:

Double Exposure:

My choices:

Portrait of Denzel Washington -

Portrait of Mick Jagger and Tina Turner -

Greg’s choice:

Portrait of Carmen McRae -

Other links:

Arnold Newman -

Arnold Newman, At Work -

Arnold Newman One Hundred -

Arnold Newman’s seminal portrait of Igor Stravinsky -

Arnold Newman’s portrait of Yasser Arafat -

Gregory Heisler’s portrait of Yasser Arafat -,16641,20020408,00.html

Jay Maisel -

Annie Leibovitz -

Emmanual Lubezki -

Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Syracuse -

The. Moon: Considered as a Planet, a World and a Satellite by James Naysmyth and James Carpenter -

The Shape of Water -