Guest Star: "I Would Ask Lil Wayne & Baby To Do Certain Things & They'd Say No"

Sunday, Nov 28, 2010 6:00AM

Written by SOHH for Ray Tamarra

[Flashing Lights: New Jersey-based photographer Ray Tamarra shares his experience as the mastermind behind a past Lil Wayne and Baby photo shoot.]

Photo shoots are not always as random as you may think. I remember one shoot I did with Lil Wayne and Baby that was at a studio and it was scheduled. One thing artists do when they come travel to New York is that they would line up media to do interviews and photo shoots at a studio and they would invite photographers to shoot those artists.

For this one particular shoot, I went down there with a few photographers and I knew already that everything was starting off late, so I was worried about getting time with either of those artists. At this time, around 2007, I was familiar with Lil Wayne but he hadn't really broken big yet and what surprised me was he was very to himself.

We were at a pretty big studio, maybe 3,000 square feet and it was probably 15 people in the whole space but Wayne was pretty much away from everyone until it was time to shoot. I didn't really get a lot of interaction time with him. He came to the set, I would give him some instruction and he would knock it out and that was it. There was not a lot of rapport, back and forth. It was more like this was his job and this is what his media responsibilities were. He knew it was going to be on-going, probably at least seven or eight photo shoots for different publications.

In these types of photo shoots, the artists do change outfits, however [the fluidity of the shoot] depends on how familiar the artist is with the photographer and what type of mood they're in. I don't have a great rapport with Lil Wayne or Baby and so I would ask them to do certain things and they would [refuse]. When they say no, you just have to make do. That was pretty much what would happen. I would ask them to do something, they say no, and then you have to do something different.

In these types of photo shoots, I try to create certain types of images which resonate but on the flip side, this is like a factory photo shoot and so I know I have to try and get as much as possible with the time I'm given.

You cannot always see if the person you are photographing is going to be a star. Sometimes you can and everyone may agree with you but they don't fit. Like if you are an artist and I know you have "it" sometimes it goes back to the label and what song you have that goes with you which will ultimately determine your fate. There are other factors which go in to it and so you may be a star but no one would know.

I've also shot Wayne in a hotel room for the cover of Ozone Magazine before, and what was interesting is how the photo took place. At the time, I was packing up my stuff and he was playing with his jewelry. He was putting it on the table and he was trying to decide which one to either put on or take off. What was interesting was I was looking at the stuff  on a coffee table right next to a chess board and I thought it would be a perfect shot. I started laying out some of the pieces and then I told him if he could just choose one, hold it and look up at me. At the time, he had a grill set and asked him to show it off and he did it.

Check out some of Ray Tamarra's work below:


Ray Tamarra is an established photographer who has taken shots of Lil Wayne, Baby, Flo Rida, Plies, T.I., Trey Songz, Sean Paul and more.

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