Smile — don’t!

David Hobby, the Baltimore Sun shooter turned lighting (and Mountain Dew) guru points to Time Magazine’s cover of Elliot Spitzer by celeb bio-photographer Platon as an example of how to add interest to mugshots. Says David:

“Generally, you do not get much time when shooting celebrities and other famous people. So you have to spend your ammo wisely. You want to get a photo that connects with the viewer, but you don’t have to hold the button down and dupe that look continuously for the whole three minutes you have them captive in front of you. Do you really need that 37th version of a canned smile with eye contact”

If I’m doing a headshot and my natural charisma is not pulling out the expression I want, I’ll use a trick I learned during my early newspapering days in Berkeley from a reporter named Bob Kroll.

After Bob had asked a question during an interview and the subject had answered he would wait, letting silence fill the air until the subject became uncomfortable enough to start talking again. The best stuff, the best quotes always came after the pause. The first response was canned, the second real.

Patience can be the key to a good photo — even when you’re in a hurry.

ALSO: For a great editorial use (and well-placed caption) of a photo shot before a news story broke, see this Elliot Spitzer cover by New York Magazine.

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