Norman Reedus can take one hell of a photo.
That’s not a surprise to anyone who saw The Walking Dead actor in this year’s Sexiest Man Alive issue, where he posed with his cat, Eye in the Dark, proving that cat people are, indeed, the hottest people.
But he’s also a skilled photographer. Reedus wields a camera as expertly as Daryl Dixon wields a crossbow, having recently exhibited his interpretive photos of Coney Island as part of the Canon PIXMA PRO City Senses, using the Canon EOS 5D Mark III, and in the photo book The Sun’s Coming Up … like a Big Bald Head. (The title is a reference to a Laurie Anderson song.)
We checked in with Reedus to see what tips he had for photographer wannabes—from picking a camera to taking family pics during the holidays.
How to Pick Out a Camera
Reedus’s approach to selecting a camera is the same as picking any instrument. When he was learning to play bass, a guitarist friend suggested, “Pick the one that feels the best in your hand, because you’ll play with it all the time, you’ll hold it all the time. You’ll get more out of it.”
Says Reedus: “Whatever you want to play with is what you’re going to hold the most and carry the most. I don’t think having the most updated camera is necessarily always the best thing. Sometimes it’s nice to grab a little plastic camera, put film in it, drop kick it, and see what kind of pictures come out of it.”
Capture “the Moments Between the Moments”
It’s easy to end up with the standard family shot around the Christmas tree, but Reedus suggests taking pics of the “moments between the moments.”
“I drive my kid [Mingus, 14] to school every day and I have a little disposable camera in the car. And I just take a picture of every day when we’re in the car and half-awake. Just so when that roll’s done, it will be all these photos of just a moment,” he says. And as for the traditional holiday pics? “If you have one relative that usually hates every present, take a picture of that person opening every one of their presents.”
Keep Your Camera On-Hand—at All Times
Your camera is an extension of you. “Tie a rope around it and put it around your neck, and snap away at random times,” he suggests. “When you start to daydream and stuff, just take pictures.”
Animals Have Personality Too—Let It Show
Not every photo of your pet has to be postcard perfect. “[My cat] has moods,” he says. “When your cat’s in a certain mood, take a picture of it. Because they do have personalities and it’s fun to capture the different moods of the cat, moreso than ‘Oh, he looks cute.’ Sometimes he’s pissed and those are the best pictures.”
Put Down the Camera Phone
“There’s so much more to photography than just selfies,” says Reedus. “With a camera phone, you end up taking pictures of everything, and you sort of lose the unique aspect of taking a photo.”
—Cara Lynn Shultz