Book Review – “50 Portraits” by Gregory Heisler

I’m always looking to learn more about the art of portraiture, so I recently purchased “50 Portraits” by Gregory Heisler.  Mr. Heisler is widely acclaimed as a portraitist (working for many major publications) and one of the things that sets him apart is that while his portraits are always interesting, you can’t look at a picture and know by the look or style of it that it was done by him.  Rather than choosing to have a “signature look”, to me his signature is that his portraits are always interesting and fit well with the subject – you wouldn’t make a picture of a President that looks like the one you did last week of a pop star, for instance.  In this book, he shows 50 of his more famous (or his favorite) portraits – in many cases, he was hired to shoot a magazine cover but he did another shot that he liked more, it just didn’t fit in with the editorial content or the editor’s taste.  Along with each photo, he discusses the process behind making the picture – less technical in nature and more of his thought process and working process, which I find way more fascinating.  I’m always trying to find new ways to get that interesting expression out of a subject or how to create the right environment for that one picture where you just say “wow”.  Every one of his pictures has a “wow” factor to it – Gregory Heisler is certainly an amazing photographer who is an inspiration to many, myself included.  I cannot recommend this book highly enough – I’m certain that I will return to it time and time again for inspiration and education.

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