Gregory Heisler — A Little Speech on Photography That Might Just Change Your Life

Photography, a meritocracy? Wrong, says Gregory Heisler, known for his evocative portrait work often found on magazine covers. Photography is about relationships, Heisler says. Ultimately people are curious and want to meet and know you, the photographer. And photography today, he says, is vision based. People don’t want a particular style, but a vision, a way of seeing the world. People want to buy into that vision.

The business for a photographer isn’t over. Prepare, prepare, prepare your shoot, says Heisler. To tell a whole story with just one frame. Here are five minutes packed with more wisdom than many expensive tutorials, workshops or guru blogs for that:

Gregory Heisler, master of portraiture
Gregory Heisler, grand master of portraiture

For more on Heisler, I recommend his book 50 Portraits: Stories and Techniques from a Photographer’s Photographer, probably one of the best photobooks you’ll ever read.

From the book’s Amazon blurb:

In this first ever showcase of his work, Gregory Heisler, one of professional photography’s most respected practitioners, shares 50 iconic portraits of celebrities, athletes, and world leaders, along with fascinating, thoughtful, often humorous stories about how the images were made (…) Gregory Heisler has been described as having “the eye of an artist, the mind of a scientist, and the heart of a journalist.” Renowned for his technical mastery and thoughtful responsiveness, he has photographed more than seventy cover portraits for Time magazine, which reside in the permanent collection of The National Portrait Gallery. His iconic images and innovative visual essays have also graced the covers and pages of Life, Esquire, GQ, Sports Illustrated, ESPN, Fortune, and The New York Times Magazine.