Photographer Tamara Reynolds (www.tamarareynoldsphotography.com) is widely published photographer in national magazines and has shot for many national advertising campaigns. Some of her subjects have included Johnny Cash, Morgan Freeman, Lucinda Williams, and Martina McBride for magazines such as Guitar, Rolling Stone, Reader’s Digest, Money Magazine, Forbes, Fortune, and Time and many more. Her advertising campaigns have included Dixie Paper Products, Frito Lay, Countrywide, Bank of America United State Marine Corp, and the US Census Bureau. In her free time she works on fine art projects, one of which was exhibited in the Nashville Parthenon in 2009 entitled "Nashville’s Soul." Recently, she has been exploring the world of film and was the director of photography for award-winning screenplay writer, Elvis Wilson’s short film "Don’t Wake the Baby."
Tamara: "The Morgan Freeman shot was initially shot for USA Today Sunday supplement. He was interviewed and they needed an image to accompany it. It was one of my first few assignments. I shot with a Linhof 4x5 camera a lot then and I was using type 55 Polaroid mainly.
"He was one of the most unpretentious celebrities I had met and a very kind and respectful gentleman. We spent about 30 to 45 minutes together at The Rendezvous in Memphis, Tennessee. He brought his granddaughter with him. I shot the two of them together after the shoot and gave them a copy of the image later. I will never forget him taking my face in his hand and saying that I will do well in my career. I had previously met him as a photo assistant on another editorial job and he had remembered me."
TAMARA'S PREPARATION FOR THE SHOT
"My preparation for the shoot had been happening along the way while I assisted other photographers. I had the wonderful opportunity to work with many and varied photographers. I had been in many celebrity shoots before so I was not intimidated, and I had been trained enough for much of what could happen.
"For this specific shoot, I had lined up permission from the restaurant, hired assistants and a makeup artist. Then Morgan showed about 1.5 hours after we had set up and shot test images. Since we did not have specs to follow or many shots to get for the article (and my style is more editorially loose), a long prep with several sets lit was unnecessary.
"I take two of everything as far as camea gear. And I had been shooting with the 4x5 camera for several years, so I was very comfortable with it as well as the process of shooting and fixing the Type 55 Polaroid on set. I shot a second camera as well to offer to the client a color version. My second camera was the Fuji 680GX. I carry as much lighting as the budget will support. For this size of a shoot, I would have had two power packs, six heads, soft boxes, and two to four hot lights. I wouldn’t need them all, but I’d have them just in case.
THE SPECS FOR THE MORGAN FREEMAN SHOT
"The client had very little direction. They were familiar with my style and were willing to let me interpret as I saw best. I just made sure I gave them a variety of angles and approaches, color and black & white.
IF FORCED TO SHOOT DIGITALLY
"I would love to shoot with a digital back on a camera similar to the Fuji 680 GX or on my 4x5 Linhof using my 150mm f/2.8 lens. But since I shoot mainly with Canon SLRs now, I would use my 5D Mark III with my 45mm Tilt/Shift lens. I would Photoshop in the Polaroid edge, edit to black & white and tone it sepia. Maybe I’d add a few marks too.
POINTERS FOR SHOOTING CELEBRITIES
"Be quick, be professional, be courteous, be respectful. Be yourself, be humble, be kind. Be what your mother would want you to be. Try not to take yourself too seriously and have fun. That sounds like something we learned in kindergarten."