An insight from David Fisher, Entertainment photographer for Shutterstock
My photography career started 30 years ago, when I was working at Universal Pictorial Press Agency in London. During this time, I would deliver pictures by hand around Fleet Street, until I eventually progressed through the printing and processing departments. In 1988, I started as a freelance photographer with London Features International and officially joined Rex Features in 2005 (which was later acquired by Shutterstock in 2015). I had been contributing entertainment photography to the business since 1993 and I am fortunate enough to still be shooting world-renowned celebrities at major red-carpet events, award shows and parties, the most recent of which was The Oscars.
Octavia Spencer and Sally Hawkins - David Fisher/Shutterstock
A lot of work goes into shooting major award shows like the Oscars. The work begins weeks in advance when we start plotting out every detail. It is important to know which photographers will be attending and the general area we’ll each be positioned in. In the days leading up to the event, we do walkthroughs to make sure that what we’d planned can in fact be executed. You want to identify and remove any uncertainties from the process, so your operation can run as smoothly as possible.
Kobe Bryant - David Fisher/Shutterstock
Photographers show up a few hours early on the day of the event and get set up with equipment. When the carpet opens, everything flashes by in the blink of an eye. The red carpet can get chaotic for a few hours, but what people don’t realise is that there’s also a long night of editing afterward. This means that personal preparations on the day-of are also important. I always make sure to eat the right foods, wear the right shoes, prepare all my gear and charge all my batteries (and back-up batteries).
Loose Women Cast - David Fisher/Shutterstock
When people ask about the formula to a perfect red-carpet photograph, there are a few tricks to keep in mind:
· The right set up is key: Most red carpets are set up in a similar way, with all the photographers lumped together in one area competing for the same image. It’s hard to differentiate your work from the person standing next to you, especially when you only have a few seconds to get what you need.
Big Little Lies Cast - David Fisher/Shutterstock
· The right equipment: I mostly like to use a flash mounted on the camera, even in daylight. It’s a lot more flattering as it gets rid of the shadows that can show up all the lines on a closeup. Side light for someone with big facial features isn’t good, and uplighting only works for Halloween.
Gonzalez Inarritu, Cruise and DiCaprio - David Fisher/Shutterstock
· Know the talent: You’d be surprised by the number of celebrities that don’t really enjoy having their picture taken, and it shows. George Clooney, for example, can be quite hard to get a decent frame that I’m happy with. He gets fidgety and quite often plays around with his collar and tie as if it’s too tight. I have noticed that when he’s with someone else, he’s a lot easier to shoot. I’m sure it's a pretty daunting experience for anyone having 100+ lenses focused on you.
Oprah - David Fisher/Shutterstock
The old saying “the camera never lies” is very true, so it’s hard to hide on the red carpet with cameras at every angle. Beyoncé, on the other hand, always looks amazing whenever you see her on the red carpet, and Tom Cruise always ensures that he looks at every single lens before moving, wanting everyone to get the shot. He’s a real pro and I wish more celebrities had his attitude with both the press and the fans.