Jeffrey Miller: The art of great Hollywood portrait photography

Jeffrey Miller’s path to photography follows a successful three-decade career operating cameras on feature films and television shows in Los Angeles. Fascinated by Rembrandt’s use of lighting and composition to visually tell stories in his paintings and inspired by the work of legendary Hollywood studio photographer from the 1930’s to ’80’s, George Hurrell, Jeff specializes in portraits and headshots, using a style created by the expertise gained from his production experience to bring out the best features of his clients.  

His portfolio also includes fashion and editorial images. Photography is one of his passions, along with a daily practice of meditation, and he recently described how capturing an image is a therapeutic process involving mindfulness of the present and letting go of the random thoughts that constantly enter and exit the brain. Another passion is hiking in the local mountains and photographing some of their stunning landscapes.

In his view, a good photograph engages the viewing eyes with a clear visual focal point, guided by leading lines, lighting with a good dynamic range of dark to light tones, and an uncluttered background.

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Photography by Jeffrey Miller

Jeff occasionally volunteers his photography services and time for charitable causes that have included covering events for organizations that raise funds for research in the fight against cancer and others that assist military veterans. In one recent project late in 2017, he conducted free headshot sessions at a workshop in Los Angeles to assist female veterans in their transition from military to civilian careers.

His basic equipment kit includes a Nikon DSLR and his main lens, an 18-140 mm Nikkor F3.5-5.6 zoom. This lens has sharp resolution and a range of focal lengths for various portrait and headshot needs. A 50 mm F1.8 prime and a 55-200 mm zoom are also part of the kit. At least one extra battery is a must, along with remote wireless flash controllers, extra cables, and an 18% neutral grey card for setting exposure and color temperature baselines.

Jeff’s photography business is still relatively new, and his goal is to build a steady, referral based clientele in a market that is crowded with many other competent photographers.

When beginner photographers ask him for tips, his advice is simple, “shoot often, don’t be afraid to make mistakes. You’ll learn from them.”

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