Gregory Heisler Whiteboards His Rudy Giuliani Time Magazine Cover

Portrait photographer Gregory Heisler has done quite a few portraits for Time Magazine covers, including a few for their Person of the Year issues. This is an informative video where he steps through how he went about photographing Rudy Giuliani at the top of Rockefeller Center with the Empire State Building in the background. If you’re interested at all in portraiture and/or lighting, you’ll find this video quite educational.

Here’s what the photograph and cover ended up looking like:

(via Strobist)

  • Miket019

    this guy is thinking way too hard about this, this is a fairly easy photo to take.

  • rho

    why not use digi and greenscreen?

  • Félix Pagaimo

    That would be genius IF Photoshop wasn’t involved! On the right you have a lot of unfocused background, but not on the left. Thumbs up for the lighting but the bokeh looks weird, you could have done the entire thing on Photoshop then , simple like that!

    And Gregory, please, get some fashion lessons!

  • Romain Cr

    Félix, the “bokeh looks weird” probably because Heisler tilted his lens (or back), in order to have Guiliani and the background in focus.


    I found this video much more interesting than “Annie Leibovitz Shooting Sean Connery”. The context is different of course, but this Giuliani portrait is a hundred times better too.


    I found this video much more interesting than “Annie Leibovitz Shooting Sean Connery”. The context is different of course, but this Giuliani portrait is a hundred times better too.

  • QuBe

    Why even greenscreen?

    It’s nice the shot is ‘authentic’ and all, but didn’t need to be.
    It would have been a tiny fraction of the work, less hassle, less risk, no weather issues to just shoot the skyline and shoot Giuliani in the studio. Then just quick selection him onto the bg.
    Easy peasy photoshop.

    But I guess the bigger bucks come from the grandiosity of the shoot…

  • Anonymous

    Have you ever shot with an 8×10 and strobes? Nothing is easy in the professional photography world. It would’ve looked artificial if he hadn’t gelled the lights, had them come in from the bottom, etc. and it would’ve been impossible to balance the subject with the background.

  • Cornet

    Taken from your website

    “Film is my canvas, although I will pull out the trusty digi on the occasion when I need instant results.”

    …so we could ask you the same question..

    Interesting the comments are distinctly less insightful than the comments on the original strobist post.

  • QuBe

    It could be we’re not as pretentious here.

    Honestly, an 8×10 for this shot?

    Where’s even the remotest evidence this shot required a field camera, or has produced superior results than even a modest DSLR and intermediate Photoshop skills?

    As I said, it’s a good photograph…but there were easier routes to the same destination…even in 2001.

    IMO, anyways.

  • Fastactingrelief

    I could watch Gregory Heisler talk about fruit loops. The man is Just interesting.

  • Fastactingrelief

    And how many covers have you shot for Time…?

  • QuBe

    That’s your response??You’re not even going to rebutt the ideas I put forth?By your assertion, someone has to do a cover assignment for Time before they can have a worthwhile criticism or opinion.You’re writing off the experience and opinons of most professional photographers then…including yourself, if you’ve not done a Time cover.The ideas I put forth stand on their own regardless of who put them forth.If you disagree, at least put forth some valid counter arguments.Debate and discussion is good.[UPDATE]
    Nevermind…I just read your other fanboy post…..

  • Robert

    I had the pleasure and honor to work with Greg for a few years, he is interesting, and funny as hell. A few conversations with him changes the way you see light. He is great, I acually moved to NYC to try and get a job with him, I was lucky and he took me in.