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Celebrity Photography and a Celebrity Photographer will tell you that it is not what it al seems shooting celebrities. I don’t as a rule photograph too many celebrities, however, on the odd occasion, I am asked to shoot a selection of images for use in a different way than many celebrity photographers. Some in London specialise in the whole concept of a celebrity shoot. As you may have seen in my book www.jamesnader.co.uk I have a curated collection of the weird and wonderful. Personally I like to have time to work up a relationship with my subject and also with the celebrity or personality.

Many photographers don’t have the luxury of time. They have a booking window of an hour or so to include styling and makeup. The personality is normally on a time budget. I was asked to photograph RICHARD BRANSON for Virgin Money and was booked to shoot at a mobile studio on the roof gardens of Virgin HQ. I was also promised an hour with Richard to craft the images. Whist waiting for him to arrive with a team of Virgin representatives I was told first I would now only have 30 minutes, a few minutes later they updated this to 15 minutes and then finally they look worried and said you have 5 minutes can you get anything? I did but this is not how I now prefer to work.


Being prepared is best. working with Nena who is not so well know in the UK and only for 99 Red Balloons, She is a huge personality in Germany and had just finished working on The Voice Germany before she joined me on location in Iceland for two days. She joined me with my team and brought along her daughter Larissa Kerner who is also very well known there too.

Being prepared with the location, the lighting and the team cant account for the weather and so you as the photographer and ultimately the frontman has to work a way out to keep them happy and relaxed and the best way is for you to be relaxed. Shooting in the studio is a very controlled environment and not really dynamic. With my skills for location shooting and lighting, I tend to get booked for this style. As the weather and location are fluid I have to make sure that I know how to work on the day and how to get the best out of the celebrity but above all keep them in focus and relaxed. Being a big personality as a photographer onset can help.


It’s easy to become intimidated by someone you have seen or know from tv, music or film. Keeping a sensible level head is best. They are just people and view them as any other subject. Be polite and friendly. Have a few questions that you can ask them whilst you are working. I once spent a day shooting pictures of the Queens cousin Lord Bath. It was for a book about Lord Bath and his waistcoats for which he is famed as well as his art. I worked with him all around his house at Longleat and had a super day. Bearing in mind he is a Lord I still managed to have a little fun with him and keep him relaxed.


So I don’t stick to any lighting plan and even though I may have an idea of how I wish to light the subject, I tend to have a few variations with me. In the case of Nena on the beach in Iceland, I had no choice but to stick with the light and take the softbox off due to the wind problems ( Kept blowing away)

Above all have a passion for what you are doing and whom you are working with. They are known for being in the public eye and the images you are shooting will be seen also so make sure they are the best, you are the best and most of all relaxed and friendly.

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