Drew Altizer’s Tips For Always Looking Great In Photos

The man, the myth, the legend: Drew Altizer

Photo Credit: Natalie Schrik for Drew Altizer Photography

What do Mayor London Breed’s inauguration, Gordon Getty’s birthday party, and the Warriors’ basketball luncheon have in common? Photographer and man about town Drew Altizer was on the scene capturing each event. As the Bay Area’s beloved society photographer, Altizer shoots everything from celebrities in town to promote new films to local debutantes making their first appearance at a ball.

Altizer and his team snap every major party—sometimes bringing more than 10 photographers to ensure that an event is appropriately covered—and can take over 15,000 pictures in one night. Afterward, his staff rushes to the office to edit, caption, and upload the images to his website—all so that the next morning socialites can see who wore what “on Drew.”  With the spring season about to kick into full gear, we asked Altizer to share his tips for taking the perfect photo. Here is what you should always do, and what to avoid. 

Amy Adams at SFFILM’s 2018 Awards Night

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do relax. People should relax, first of all, and not worry so much. People who think they take bad pictures, generally do. And the reverse is true. Be confident. If you didn’t look good, nobody would be trying to take your picture.

Don’t waste time practicing in front of a mirror. It’s not that important.

Eddie Redmayne at the 7th Annual Breakthrough Prize ceremony

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do smile. It doesn’t matter if you smile with your teeth or no teeth. It depends on the person. Just smile. Smile like you’re a happy person at a party.

Don’t over-pose. It’s not the worst thing to pay some attention to how you hold yourself, but people tend to over pose. People sometimes look like they’re going to slip a disk they’re posing so hard.

Do decline the photo. If you’re talking to someone at a party and you don’t want to be pictured with them, politely decline. A simple “no thank you” will suffice.

Don’t be holding a drink. It’s a point of etiquette. Most people, if they reflect on it, will consider that they don’t want to be photographed with a cocktail in their hand. It’s not as nice a picture the next day as it seems like it would be in the moment.

Lily Collins at the 2018 Mid-Winter Gala

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do channel your inner celebrity. Celebrities know what to do. They know all their angles. They know what they look like. This is their job. They’re professionals at taking pictures.

Don’t follow the photographer around. The worst thing that somebody could do is want their picture too much. To catch a photographer’s eye all you have to do is look great and be nice.

Jake Gyllenhaal at the Cartier Bold & Fearless party

Photo Credit: Drew Altizer

Do have fun. Thanks to social media like Instagram, people are disproportionately concerned and preoccupied with getting the perfect picture.  Snap your pic, then enjoy the party and experience!

Don’t be disrespectful. The photographer is working and has certain shots that they must take. If they look busy, don’t be rude about them not taking your picture. Let them do their job.

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