Two words to describe commercial and editorial photographer Gabriela Herman‘s style of photography? Vibrant and approachable. “There is lots of color and energy to the images I make,” says Gabriela, “And I try to keep it as real as possible.”
In her recent shoot for T Magazine, she followed around acclaimed celebrity chef Wylie Dufresne, offering up a snapshot of his busy day. Gabriela gave us a behind-the-scenes look at her time with chef, including some challenges she faced and how she prepared to shoot this mile-a-minute kind of guy.
Tell us about your recent editorial assignment for T Magazine with chef Wylie Dufresne. What was the goal?
The shoot was pitched as Wylie Dufresne’s pedestrian eating habits for a new column the magazine started called “Ritual.” Essentially, the writer and I need to follow him around throughout the morning, hitting up his local spots like the corner deli he gets his egg sandwich, and his go-to coffee spots.
From a photography perspective, what challenges did photographing Wylie Dufresne present?
This was a pretty straightforward shoot, but the challenge was that Wylie never stopped for one minute! He was on the move the whole time doing a million things at once. He even managed to take us into a Home Depot to pick up some paper towels in between destinations.
How do you typically prepare for a shoot like this?
If I’m shooting portraits, I always google my subjects to not only learn a little about them and their interests, but also to see how they’ve been photographed and present themselves in front of the lens. Equipment-wise, I knew that this was going to be a bit hectic, so I wanted to have all the necessary tools for the various environments and light settings (both inside and outside). However, I also wanted to carry the least amount of stuff as possible.
I ended up carrying two camera bodies, one with a 35mm lens and the other with a 50mm lens. For the most part, I knew that I would be fairly close to him the entire time. I also brought a portable strobe pack with me to use when we were indoors and there wouldn’t be sufficient natural light.
What was the collaboration process like with T Magazine?
There wasn’t any specific creative direction other than a loose shot list, including a nice portrait of Wylie Dufresne and details of food. I’ve shot for T Magazine before, so I assume the editors are familiar with my style and knew what kind of work they would get from me.
What’s your best advice for helping photographers connect with editorial and commercial clients they want to work with?
My number one advice that I always tell people is be social! I can’t emphasize this enough. That’s how I got my first assisting gigs when I was starting out. Now, I’d say a good majority of my work still comes through meeting people when I’m out and about. Also remember that being kind and in good spirits can get you far. People want to hire you not only for your talent, but also because they like having you around.
What’s on tap for you this year? Is there an upcoming assignment or personal project you’re excited about?
Yes! My personal project, The Kids, about adult children with an LGBTQ parent, which originally was published in The New York Times two years ago, will be published as a book this fall by New Press. The last six month, I’ve been working really hard on this and shot an additional 40 portraits with interviews. And right now, I’m deep in the design process.
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