Interview With Celebrity Photographer & Fortune 500 Creative Designer Lenny Gerard
I had the pleasure of interviewing one of my favorite artists and celebrity photographer, Lenny Gerard (Portfolio: LennyGerard.com). Gerard has worked with many of the biggest names in the industry, including Kim Petras (H&M), Madonna, Bon Jovi, George Takei, Adam Lambert, Don Lemon, Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Hudson, Christina Aguilera, and others. His work has been published on Netflix, Paramount, CNN, Huffington Post, CBS, and the list goes on.
HOW DID YOU GET HERE? WHAT STEPS WERE INSTRUMENTAL TO BECOMING A CELEBRITY PHOTOGRAPHER?
Tons on internships, gigs, ad agency jobs, and starting an LLC at 18 named “Oink Entertainment” that propelled me to network with much success. Oink Entertainment was a consultant agency where I used my PR efforts to build a rolodex of powerful gatekeepers that would help my clients.
WHAT IS THE BEST ADVICE YOU CAN GIVE TO SOMEONE WANTING TO WORK IN THE AD AGENCY WORLD OR AS A PHOTOGRAPHER?
Storytelling is crucial for success. In my experience, the most successful ad campaigns and photography tell a compelling tale.
WHAT ARE YOUR BEST TIPS FOR UP-AND-COMING PHOTOGRAPHERS?
Apply to open calls and get into high-traffic galleries as much as you can. There are plenty of websites and email lists to sign up for. If you stay positive and send a plethora of emails and your work to the right people, you might land an agent. You can’t let disappointments slow you down, but they have to inspire you to keep pushing and go forward with your passion.
HOW HAVE INSTAGRAM AND SOCIAL MEDIA IMPACTED THE WORLD OF PHOTOGRAPHY?
You can now sell and promote your art for free or promote it to a very niche audience. It definitely increases my personal sales, exposure, reputation, and, and networking. I absolutely am a fan of using all platforms as a free marketing platform and tool.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BEST CELEBRITY STORIES YOU CAN SHARE?
In 2011, Madonna wanted to meet to discuss her next album cover and possibly collaborating on it. We were to have a meeting with her manager, Guy Oseary, that night after the show. I worked for a year at Universal Music Group as a photo/videographer in NYC, so I thought I knew what it was like to work with a major star like Madonna with huge security clearances and procedures. But, when the last song of the show ended and the show closed I was in for the ride of my life…
When the show ended, Madonna’s dozens of security guards rushed me to a limo with Madonna’s assistant. We got escorted with cops in the limo in front and back of us. At times, the cop escort cars were in front, back, and side to side of us. It was a wild goose chase to the hotel at about 90/mph. I thought I was going to die. Madonna’s assistant was just taking notes the whole time on her phone and didn’t flinch. Once we got to the hotel everyone ran inside and Madonna’s guards covered her with black umbrellas.
Once in, everything was back to normal, and we were safe and eating fruit and cheese. It was like going from an awesome show to a horror movie, to a buffet in under 7 minutes, all in a new city I had never been to before.
WHAT IS THE SINGLE BEST PIECE OF ADVICE YOU HAVE EVER RECEIVED?
“If you’re not early, you’re late.”
You can check out Lenny’s campaigns, photography, and even book him for remote or in person classes.