Blair Bunting Photographs Bud Selig for ESPN Magazine
If the title is confusing, then you can understand my demeanor on set for this photoshoot.
ESPN recently contacted me to do a photo of Bud Selig, the commissioner of baseball. A man of much importance, I would not have much time with him, but would be able to pre-light a set, so wasn’t all that worried. Now normally I try and immediately get on the same ground as my subject, as this profession is actually a team sport, though many view it as a one man show. What makes photographer strong is not just his lighting or composition, but his relationship to the subject. Sure you could go an piss off a celebrity and get the great “angry” photo, but all you will end up doing is destroying any trust you will have on your next photo (if you get one), not to mention making the next photographer’s life miserable since the celeb will still have a bad taste in their mouth.
So when it came time for Mr. Selig, I knew that time was indeed what meant the most to him. His liaisons informed me before he arrived that I would have 5 minutes with him. Many think this is rough, but if you look back to the portrait I did of Justice Sandra Day O’ Connor, that was 48 seconds from start to finish. So when the commissioner arrived, I shook his hand and informed him that I didn’t need him for the full 5 minutes and didn’t want to waste his time. There was an immediate bond as he knew my intentions for the photo, and that I didn’t want to waste his time with the “just one more photo” routine.
So now for the title of the blog…. After photographing for 3 minutes, Mr. Selig chatted with my father in law and then walked up to me and said, “I just want you to know that you get an A+ for your work today.” He went on to tell me of a photographer that rubbed him the wrong way the day prior, but that this had made it all up.
With that, let me emphasize one of the most important things that has to be on set for a successful photoshoot….. respect.