Getting the Power Picture

SocialMiami speaks to Frazer Harrison

Getting the Power Picture

SocialMiami speaks to Frazer Harrison


Cameron Diaz Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

The art of event photography requires skills that transcend traditional studio work. Those who are the best have a sharp eye, top access and a cutthroat demeanor that enables them to capture “the” shot that newspapers and magazines must have.

One of the biggest event photographers in the world is Frazer Harrison of Getty Images. Based in Los Angeles, Harrison has unprecedented access to red carpet events and often finds himself in positions to capture the biggest stars in intimate moments. SocialMiami caught up with Harrison on the pool deck of The Raleigh hotel to learn about his process for capturing the images that the world is waiting to see.

SocialMiami: What were some of the most intimate events that you covered?

Harrison: I saw Sheryl Crow play a concert on a tennis court for 100 people. Same sort of thing happened with Elton John, when he was sitting at a piano ten feet away from me playing classic Elton John… Another time I was standing backstage with Elton John and Billie Jean King and I’m thinking that I have nothing to say to these people. But you become sort of blasé about it after awhile… I’m there to do a job and it’s best for me to keep my mouth shut and be polite.


Annette Bening and Warren Beatty Photo by Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

SocialMiami: Please explain some of the access you are afforded as a Getty Photographer.

Harrison: We’re the official photographer for the Hollywood Reporter, so I get access to all of the Red Carpets and parties. We’re also the official photographer for AFI (American Film Institute). Every year AFI honors someone. One year it was Al Pacino, another year it was Sean Connery. This year it was Warren Beatty. So we get some huge actors. It’s one of my favorite events because we get right up in there… It’s about getting the power picture.

SocialMiami: What’s the best publication where you’ve seen one of your shots?

Harrison: Time Magazine. I’ve been published in Rolling Stone and similar publications, but when you’re in Time, that’s special.

SocialMiami: You didn’t start at this level. How did you become one of the biggest event photographers?

Harrison: I started in the North of England working in photo journalism before moving to the States about nine years ago. I got hired as a celebrity photographer, which meant paparazzi. After about a year, I was hired by Getty and covered some of the big celebrity court cases like Michael Jackson and Wynona Ryder. I got a picture of Wynona that was used everywhere. It’s really about battling. You have to be aggressive. That’s what that type of photography is about. You have to be scary and I really didn’t like that. The work I do now is far more interactive.

Frazer Harrison Photo by Hellmund

SocialMiami: What type of camera and equipment do you use?

Harrison: I shoot with the Canon Mark 3, because they stopped making the Mark 2. Canon got the Mark 2N right and didn’t get the Mark 3 right. I shoot medium sized shots in JPEG. For major events like the Oscars or Grammy Awards, I’m tethered. That’s when we have a hard wire from the camera that connects directly to a photo editor.

SocialMiami: Do you like your job?

Harrison: Getty is a fantastic company. They really take care of their photographers. If I need equipment, they get it to me right away… Sometimes I realize that I have the opportunity to shoot events and have access that people would give anything for. So, yes – it’s a great job.

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