The person who really solidified our reputation was my grandfather [Louis Fabian Bachrach], though, who made it his goal to record all the important people he could think of in his lifetime," said Bachrach. "He though it was a thrill." Before the ubiquitous paparazzi was around to hound movie stars and political figures alike, he wrote letters to personages like Charles Lindburgh and Calvin Coolidge asking to take their photo. And it worked.
"Then once you have a bunch of people, you can say, 'Well, I photographed Albert Einstein and Thomas Edison, I'd like to photograph you,' and most people say, 'Great!'"
The technical aspects of photography - lighting, camera angles and background - have to be second nature, said Bachrach, because the real challenge is communication and getting the subject to mellow out.
"People hire me to take pictures of them that are flattering, so that's a prerequisite for the job," he said. "To do that, I have to get them to let their guard down, because people always put their guard up when there's a camera around. Then you can get great pictures."
He guaranteed that things like lighting and the precise camera angle must be chosen carefully, but affirmed that the expression is king. "And the only way to get that is to communicate with [the client.] It can't be just like photographing an inanimate object."
The secret to appeasing such demanding clients as the Kennedy Family is not such a mystery. They have to like you. They have to trust you, - comparing a good portrait photographer to a friendly doctor with a soothing bedside manner. "People feel strongly about how they look. They come to you and say, 'I want you to take my picture.' What they are really saying is, I want you to take a picture of me where I look better than I've ever looked.