Stephanie Diani: Photographer/TV Star
by Maria Luci
Before moving to Los Angeles, photographer Stephanie Diani‘s closest brushes with fame included a Tom Selleck sighting and photographing Jonathan Winters at a fundraiser. Now, living in a city dominated by the entertainment industry, Stephanie’s not only photographing celebrities daily, she’s even been in front of the camera a time or two. Recently, she was even featured on an episode of BET’s Keyshia & Daniel: Family First, a reality show following the daily lives of singer Keyshia Cole and her husband, NBA player Daniel Gibson.
At first, Stephanie thought she was just signed up to shoot Keyshia and Daniel together for the cover of JET Magazine— a typical job for her, with typical subjects. She soon learned that they would be filming their show during the shoot as well. No problem though. Stephanie had been around film crews before. She’d seen the back of her head in a couple of TV shows and was once even featured in a few shots of Kathy Griffin’s My Life on the D-List. But when she arrived to the Keyshia and Daniel shoot and saw a camerawoman filming her assistant’s every move, she realized this was going to be slightly different.
Once on set, Stephanie was actually mic-ed up and had cameras following not just her subjects, but her as well. No problem again, as Stephanie is a pro. JET needed a strong cover shot of Daniel and Keyshia—a photo of them smiling, happy, and looking like a relaxed, successful couple. The problem didn’t begin until the two were in hair and makeup and Keyshia allegedly tried to put a brush through Daniel’s hair. An argument ensued and getting a shot of them looking happy wasn’t happening. Eventually, the JET editor, who had flown in from Chicago for the shoot, told the two to take a few minutes to get it together…. They didn’t return until three hours later, leaving Stephanie just one hour of studio rental time left to get her shots.
“Being on camera, and worse, having a mic three inches from my face, definitely made me watch what I was saying and how I was reacting,” Stephanie says, adding “I’m normally calm in these types of crises, but had there not been a film crew there, I may have wandered off into a corner to swear like a truck driver for a minute or two. I mean, the one shot that we absolutely had to get was the talent looking happy together, which didn’t seem like it was going to happen, and the editor was freaking out. Things were a bit tense.”
But eventually, the talent pulled through and Stephanie was able to get the shots she needed. She even got a nice moment of Keyshia holding her son, which ended up being Stephanie’s favorite shot as it captured “a sweet second with just a mom and her child, not a celebrity fighting with her husband.”
In the end, JET was very happy and ended up using second shots throughout the magazine, and the show’s production company also licensed several images for promotion. Stephanie says the shoot taught her that even when everything is falling apart, it’s still possible to get a good shot, and more importantly, “don’t push a brush through Daniel Gibson’s hair.”