by Skip Cohen
One of the highlights of my career was spending three weeks with Gregory Heisler when we were both asked to do portfolio review at Hallmark Institute. Every day for three weeks three judges reviewed each graduating student's portfolio in front of a live audience. It was one of those projects that I'd describe as "the most fun I don't want to do again!" Reviews often took up to an hour, as each image in every student's portfolio received a full critique from three different judges.
On our way out to dinner one night it just happened to be my birthday. The headshot I'm still using was done by Gregory, who simply said, "Come on, we've got to do a fast headshot of you for your birthday!" There's no way I was going to pass up my headshot by Gregory Heisler! He set it up with a vertical softbox about a foot from the left side of my face. His Hasselblad was set up about 18-20 inches in front of me. He shot wide open and had an assistant hold in an opaque card between the softbox and camera just to keep the flair off the lens.
Here's the funny sidebar - my daughter was a photo student then and asked how the shot was taken. I gave her all the information and she called me a few days later. "Dad, I'm trying to create a similar image and I keep frying my subjects!" Oops, I forgot to tell her Gregory only used the modelling light and never turned on the strobes!
Gregory Heisler is one of the finest photographers in our industry. He's photographed at least 75 covers for Time Magazine and if you're at a convention where he's speaking, run don't walk to grab a seat!