Celebrity Photographer: How To Photograph Celebrities

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From luxury perfumes and iconic timepieces to household dish detergents and children's gummy vitamins, we view photographic advertisements online, in magazines and across billboards every day. These images are uniquely curated to reach out to a specific audience and positively resonate with those viewers. This impression strengthens our affiliation to that brand, increases our customer loyalty and encourages us to share our feelings with our families and friends.

Since most people remember 80 percent of everything they see and process pictures 60,000 times faster than text, it's critical that the advertised image creates a lasting impact. Common advertising techniques use color, composition, symbolism and association to convey their message to a chosen audience. Association is a particularly strong influence. When advertisers pair products, services or brands with images that we have naturally positive responses to, we attach those feelings to the focus of the ad.

From the moment we view an image, we create an emotional connection to it. For instance, when we see an advertisement of someone enjoying themselves while using a product, we automatically associate pleasure with that product. This is especially true when we view an advertisement that features a celebrity.

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Celebrity Advertising Works

Throughout the day, we are exposed to countless advertisements, some of which feature notable men and women. Actors, musicians, writers and other public figures are placed front and center alongside products, services or events, encouraging us to join them in supporting a particular brand. Whether the celebrity has reached the summit of stardom or is just recognizable enough to be identified as "that guy from that show," consumers like to see a familiar face in their advertising.

The core of this success relies on the notion that people want to be like celebrities. The fame, the fortune, the extravagance — the idea of the celebrity experience is a dream for many. Consumers also assume that the product a celebrity is endorsing is of a higher quality than a competitor's. A brand can see their sales increase an average of four percent if they have a celebrity endorsing their product.

The credentials that accompany a notable figure are transferred to the product or service featured in the advertisement. The profile of the endorsing celebrities also exposes that product to those outside of the intended demographic. An athlete, like Rob Gronkowski for instance, may endorse a product with a targeted demographic of men aged 18 to 24. The NFL's demographic is largely men aged 50 to 59. Those viewers, though not the targeted demographic, may be exposed to the product Gronkowski is endorsing, thus expanding the brand's reach and influence.

What Goes Into a Celebrity Photo Shoot

Behind the glitz and glamour of a photo shoot featuring celebrities is a skilled celebrity photographer capturing a message in a moment. However, no two shoots are the same — especially when one involves a renowned figure. For many companies, having a celebrity featured in an advertisement for their product or service is a monumental achievement. A successful partnership can instantly lead to increased social media attention and drive up profits. With such a large investment devoted to one advertising campaign, it's vital that the shoot is successful.

Rarely is a photo session ever as simple as "pose, point and shoot." From initial concept development to the very last shot, setting up a successful shoot with a celebrity is a challenging process. Creating an elaborate photo shoot requires time, dedication, hard work and sufficient financing.

To look picture-perfect, some celebrities need to have significant amounts of makeup applied before the shoot. This process can take hours, limiting the amount of time the photographer has with the client. Along with makeup, a celebrity may require their hair be styled a particular way which can range from a quick and effortless styling to a detailed and time-consuming process. Getting the individual camera-ready can be a serious time commitment that is made all the more challenging by scheduling restraints.

The daily schedule of a celebrity can be packed minute-to-minute with obligations and responsibilities. Between business meetings, television appearances, performances and personal matters, even finding time for sleep can be difficult. With an unyielding schedule, it's no surprise that some celebrities may only have literally minutes to pose for pictures. When the celebrity is ready for direction, it's important that the photographer has the lighting, props, set, extras and all other aspects of the shoot perfectly staged.

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How Celebrity Photo Shoots Differ From Regular Ad Shoots

One of the chief differences between celebrity photo shoots and shoots using models or actors who are not considered public figures is that the photographer may have to manage larger-than-life personalities. Celebrities may have vastly different public and private personas and their real-life personalities may be completely opposite of how they act in the public eye. As a celebrity photographer, it's important that these factors are acknowledged and catered to. Working with celebrities requires a delicate balance of professionalism and personality.

Interacting with celebrities, especially those whom the photographer may admire, can be an exciting experience. However, in order to properly manage the star and, more importantly, the shoot, the photographer needs to remain committed to their craft and client. They should always be cordial and friendly to the guest while also keeping their personal and professional interests separated. The best way to accomplish this is by treating the individual as if they were any other client.

Remember, celebrities are merely people and appreciate being treated as an ordinary client. Showing sincere interest and engaging them in typical conversation allows the photographer and celebrity build a rapport. Open communication before and during the shoot strengthens that connection which can lead to phenomenal portraits.

Although some public figures may be difficult to work with, the photographer can manage their challenging personalities with professional discipline. Respecting their privacy, setting boundaries and understanding their frustrations can ease the process. A professional celebrity photographer will also respect the situation by remaining focused on the shoot without becoming distracted by the temptation of engaging the subject in an unacceptable way. This includes refraining from gossip and not abusing the interaction by asking for favors that promote the photographer's business or personal life.

The Importance of Client Care

Regardless if they're an easygoing actress or an impatient musician, they are no less important than the client producing the advertisement.

There are two clients to consider in every photo shoot: the company that is being advertised and the person who is portrayed in the advertisement. For the brand being featured, it's important to manage their expectationsClear communication before, during and after the photo shoot will allow both parties to understand the opportunities and technical limitations that may affect the final product. While working with the advertised company, it's important that the photographer gives the same courtesy, communication and care to the celebrity appearing in the ad.

The photographer mustn't forget that they are people, not props.

As alluring as the celebrity lifestyle may seem, many individuals who have garnered fame on a global scale admit that there are significant downsides that negatively impact their lives. They may feel constant pressure which can manifest into depression and anxiety. They may feel like they have no control over privacy or may question the authenticity of social interactions and feel constantly bullied. Daily tasks may need to be carefully planned, as they could be in the eyes of the press at any given moment.

The fact is that being a celebrity is hard and at times can be a lonely, trying lifestyle. As a leader of the shoot, the photographer has the opportunity to make the individual feel relaxed and appreciated throughout the experience. Regardless of who's in front of the camera, you want a highly skilled celebrity photographer behind the lens.

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Professionalism in Photo Shoots

Mark DeLong Photography is no stranger to working with some of the most iconic people and brands known around the world. His work and his brand are equally appreciated across the industry for their artistic flexibility. As an expert commercial, lifestyle, fashion, beauty and celebrity photographer, he brings an unrivaled passion to his work and settles for nothing less than perfection.

With over 18 years of experience as a commercial and advertising photographer, Mark DeLong has had the pleasure of working with a number of actors, musicians, athletes and other public figures on a variety of projects. From Los Angeles to New York and everywhere in between, Mark and his team have partnered with industry leaders to produce powerful celebrity photos that enhance company brands.

  • Nashville Season 6 for CMT: Shot locally in Nashville, this amazing opportunity tasked Mark DeLong with promoting the newest season of a Golden Globe-nominated show. His team was also in charge of designing and constructing the set and backdrops from scratch, challenging them to capture the essence of the story and heart of the characters. This collaborative effort blended Mark's diverse experience from previous commercial, music, fashion and celebrity shoots and produced a series of dramatic photos that strikingly showcased the cast. 
  • Giovani Dos Santos for American Airlines: The energetic yet humble spirit of this LA Galaxy star was the focus of Mark DeLong's lens. Mark sought to go beyond the athlete and capture the natural personalityand nuances of this talented young man. Mark and Giovani's shared passion for sports created a relaxed atmosphere that allowed the playful soccer star's charisma to shine. The energy he brought to the shoot is apparent and his genuine smile is contagious in every shot. 
  • Nyle DiMarco for Macy's: Featuring America's Next Top Model Nyle DiMarco, Mark DeLong Photography teamed up with Macy's to showcase their INC International Concepts line of men's clothing. Nyle brought passion and positive energy to the shoot. Nyle is a prominent role model for the deaf community and Mark was honored to spend time with him and learn about his role as a deaf activist. Nyle DiMarco beautifully showed that even though a picture is worth a thousand words, it's our actions that truly make a statement. 
  • Eugenio Derbez for American Airlines: Another shoot for American Airlines, the charming and hilarious Eugenio Derbez made each picture worth a thousand laughs. The creative chemistry between Eugenio and Mark was undeniable. Art is meant to evoke emotion and Mark's collection of photos offer a glimpse into the soul of a man who has made millions smile. A truly special experience, working with the lively Eugenio Derbez was a shoot like no other. 

Mark's multidimensional approach to each project, coupled with his engaging and reassuring personality, brings a sincere and contagious energy from his subjects that is dazzlingly reflected in every print. His resourcefulness and creativity breathe life into every set piece and backdrop, displaying a balanced yet bold message. No matter the client's vision, Mark and his team are up to the challenge of converting an idea into an awe-inspiring visual masterpiece.

From Academy Award-winner Morgan Freeman to Super Bowl Champion Rob Gronkowski, Mark DeLong Photography has worked with some of the most notable celebrities on the planet. Other celebrities his team has worked with include:

  • Steve Buscemi — Golden Globe-Winning Actor
  • 'Stone Cold' Steve Austin — Actor/World Wrestling Entertainment Hall of Famer
  • Moll Anderson — Author/Interior Designer
  • Gordon Ramsay — Restaurateur and TV Chef
  • Michael K. Williams — Actor, The Wire
  • Paul Sorvino — Actor, Goodfellas
  • Dave Ramsey — Motivational Speaker
  • Giuliana Rancic — Television Host, E!
  • Kim Kardashian — Reality TV Personality
  • David Duchovny — Actor, The X-Files
  • Jazz Jennings — YouTube Personality, I Am Jazz
  • Paula Zahn — Journalist, On the Case with Paula Zahn 
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The DeLong Approach

Mark DeLong goes above and beyond to create visually stunning photography. From conception to conclusion, he puts a personal touch on the project by involving himself in the process every step of the way. Whether it's physically constructing the set pieces or providing a relaxing experience for a hard-working celebrity, Mark and his team approaches each shoot with a problem-solving attitude and molds his style to accurately depict an unforgettable message.

Though he is always ready to suggest design ideas that will accurately tell a story, Mark DeLong is serious about the collaborative process between client and photographer. While the details of the shoot may be fluid, he places his highest priority of promoting his client's product effectively. Exercising his talents as a professional still and motion photographer, he keeps his fingers on the pulse of the ever-changing market so that he can produce in the appropriate medium a piece that will deliver the strongest impact.

Emmy Award-Winning Celebrity Photographer

The passion, talent and drive behind the team at Mark DeLong Photography enable them to create amazing photographs for brands that have won the world over. From the pages of Vogue and the airwaves of Sprint, from the prestige of BMW to the glamour of Las Vegas' best hotels, Mark DeLong Photography is the ideal commercial and advertising photographer for clients of any industry.

Photographing celebrities for promotional advertising requires a seasoned photographer who can manage high-profile stars while effortlessly completing your vision. They must possess the skills, knowledge and innovative creativity to transform an image into pure emotion. Make sure your brand endorsement makes a lasting impact on the minds, hearts and souls of your audience. Emmy Award-Winning Photographer Mark DeLong is ready to bring your project to life. Call for a quote today and take the first step in capturing your unique vision.