Jeffery Salter on How Great Portraits Are Made

March 24, 2014

By Holly Stuart Hughes

© Jeffery Salter

Jeffery Salter says that he likes to talk quietly to subjects to explain what the photo is about. Before photographing basketball player Dwyane Wade and his sons for the cover of Ebony, published after George Zimmerman was acquitted of the murder of Trayvon Martin,  Salter told the two boys, “You’re here for the young man who can’t be here.” 

Trained as a photojournalist, Jeffery Salter doesn’t give his portrait subjects much direction. Instead, he views a portrait as a collaboration, and believes his role as the photographer is to engage his subjects. “I like to set the stage and wait for things to happen.” He continues, “You can set the tone by being low key or high key, but...

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