Photo Talk: Behind the Scenes With Tika Sumpter
Well, I’ll have to be honest with you … that was fun. Those were my immediate thoughts following our photo shoot with Tika Sumpter, who so beautifully graces this week’s cover of rolling out. Possessing an unparalleled beauty, and a smile that could light up even the darkest of days, Sumpter was a true pleasure from the our first hello.
As the photographer on the shoot, it initially felt kind of weird to be asked by my publisher to interview myself for the magazine. But once I got into the flow of it, I actually kind of enjoyed it … after all, who better to tell my story than me?
Well, here goes:
Describe the overall concept for today’s shoot.
The theme for this shoot “Home Alone.” I wanted to create an environment for Tika that mirrored where she was at in her life. Mentally, she is preparing herself to be elevated to even higher heights in the Hollywood stratosphere, so I wanted to create very thoughtful, contemplative scenes for her. What better place to have quiet time with yourself than when you’re home alone.
What were your thoughts about this particular celebrity going into the shoot?
From previous photographs, I knew that she had an amazing smile, so I definitely wanted to play that up. She also appeared to have a fun, care free spirit, so I wanted to make the shoot feel as laid back as possible. I’m really glad that we decided to go this route, instead of creating something more glammed out. In the end, I think it served Tika well. She and I were both very pleased by the final product.
How do you prepare when you are working with celebrities?
I get a lot of sleep the night before!! In all seriousness though, I research the person to see what types of images they gravitate towards. That help a lot, as far as angles and perspective goes. But more than the technical stuff, I really work hard at creating a peaceful environment for us to shoot. To me, that is the key to success–no matter who I’m shooting. When the environment is right, then that opens the door for the magic to happen.
What are some of the challenges that you face when shooting magazine covers?
Well that answer is a bit complicated. My role as the art director for rolling out is a little different than that of a traditional photographer. My concerns range far deeper than just producing beautiful pictures. For me, the entire process has to tell a story to draw you, the readers, into our world. It’s a tedious process, but when the it results in covers like what we accomplished with Tika, then it is certainly worth it.
Stay tuned for more exclusive footage from our cover shoot with Tika Sumpter .