Saturday, October 13, 2012

Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous

By Al Diaz
Throughout my photojournalism career I have been fortunate to work with many outstanding photographers in South Florida, several of them Pulitzer Prize winners including Brian Smith.  Drawing on their collective experience I’ve been able to work around many tough lighting situations with subjects having very little time.

Now Brian is sharing his 30 years of steller experiences and stories in his new book, 'Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous'.

From now on I’ll be using Brian’s book as a reference for those challenging moments and a bit of humor to go with it. If I had to start my career all over again, I would want this book. 

Order Your Book Here
By Brian Smith 
Brian Smith
'Secrets of Great Portrait Photography: Photographs of the Famous and Infamous' coming Fall 2012 from New Riders, an imprint of Peachpit, is a book 30+ years in the making, drawing upon the best lessons learned over the last three decades photographing portraits of the rich and famous, it blends lavish celebrity portraits of a coffee table book with technical how-to insights with a side dish of behind-the-scenes celebrity stories. 

The book is based on a talk that I’ve done everywhere from Brazil to Boise including the last two years at PhotoPlus Expo and WPPI, which takes you though all the stages of a portrait shoot from pre-production planning through posing
your portrait through perfecting your shot in post-production. 

Packed into this 264 page book, loaded with details about my last three decades of portrait photography, each chapter speaks to a different key to successful portrait photography broken down into spreads share the lessons learned from each shoot and details about the shoot itself. 

Featured on the cover of ‘Secrets of Great Portrait Photography’ is a portrait from one of my favorite assignments ever – a Time magazine shoot of Richard Branson on Necker Island in the Caribbean for a story on Virgin Galactic space flights. This book tells the story behind the shoot and all the details about how it came together from planning to production to post. 

Here are the sexy details from my publisher:

Leslie Nielsen: Photographed for Draft magazine

In this sexy, bold, beautiful book, photographer Brian Smith tells the stories behind the photos and lessons learned in 30 years of photographing celebrities and people in all walks of life. Throughout this juicy 264-page guide, you’ll stay inspired by the breathtaking images included of the famous and infamous-Venus and Serena Williams, Gene Hackman, Cindy Crawford, Donald Trump, Bill Gates, Richard Branson, The Bee Gees, Antonio Banderas, Dwayne Wade, Shaquille O’Neal, Anne Hathaway, Ben Stiller, Christopher Walken, Sylvester Stallone, William H. Macy and many more.

You'll get the inside scoop on what goes on at a celebrity photo shoot in this gorgeous guide to making professional portraits. Smith has mastered how to make a meaningful portrait on a magazine's budget and on a celebrity's schedule, which can sometimes be 15 minutes or less. Smith reveals his tips on connecting with people, finding the perfect location, telling a great story through portraiture, getting the ideal pose, capturing emotion and gestures, arranging unique group shots, and lighting the scene just right. You might not be photographing the rich and famous, but after reading Smith's tell-all guide, you'll know how to give everyone who makes their way in front of your camera the star treatment.

“In the course of 30 years, these are all the lessons I wish someone had told me when I got started and all the stuff I wish I learned in college,” says Smith “With every photograph you walk away with a learning experience, and this book is based on those experiences.” Brian Smith
Ms Redd, Cindy Margolis, The Bee Gees

Ellen Hollman
Gene Hackman
Donald Trump, Diago Luna and Dave Barry by Brian Smith
October 13, 2012: EXPOSURE PHOTO EXPO - Toronto - Keynote Speaker

October 16, 2012: PHOTOSHELTER WEBINAR: - 4pm ET "Secrets of Great Portrait Photography"  

October 22, 2012: SECRETS OF GREAT PORTRAIT PHOTOGRAPHY - 6pm SoHo Apple Store, 103 Prince St 

October 23, 2012: APA/EP ADVOCACY DAY - 11:30am-4pm School of Visual Arts - NYC  

October 26, 2012: SECRETS OF GREAT PORTRAIT LIGHTING - 4pm PhotoPlus Expo October 25-27, 2012: 

PHOTOPLUS EXPO NEW YORK – Sony Featured Speaker October 29, 2012:


November 1, 2012: SOUTH FLORIDA CAMERA CLUB - Art Serve - "Secrets of Great Portrait 

November 2, 2012: EXHIBIT OPENING: BOOKS & BOOKS - Coral Gables 7-10PM "Portraits of the Famous and Infamous" 

November 10-11, 2012: APA PHOTO ASSISTANT BASIC TRAINING - Miami 

November 17-18, 2012: MIAMI BOOK FAIR 'Secrets of Great Portrait Photography'

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