The Beauty Part; What Mark Steines Really Wants To Do Is Direct

Anyone who's watched Mark Steines co-anchor Entertainment Tonight knows he's remarkably at ease in front of the camera. Thing is, he may be even more comfortable behind it, especially if that camera is his digital SLR.

"My friend Jennifer and the shirt she made. Like me, she prefers to be behind the lens, but I convinced her to pose for a few shots." (EOS-1D Mark III, 70-200mm f/2.8L; f/10 at 1/160 sec.)
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Not only that, he may be happier back there.

It is, after all, where he began. "Photography's been a passion for a long time," Mark says. "I've studied it since high school. I was going through some yearbooks and found a notation that I was the second-place winner in the state of Iowa for a photography award, and my high school yearbook is littered with pictures I'd done."

"We saved this shot of Christie in my pool for the end of a day of shooting and chasing the sun. I tossed up a Scrim Jim to soften the shadows, and I let the foliage behind her offer a burst of color." (EOS 30D, 70-200mm f/2.8L; f/6.3 at 1/125 sec.)
"My older son, Kai. No matter how close I was on the field, it seemed I couldn't get close enough. I've since purchased the 1.4x extender. If that doesn't work, I may have to rob his college fund for the 2.8 400mm. His expressions are priceless!" (EOS 30D, 70-200mm f/2.8L; f/2.8 at 1/2000 sec.)

For many years photography took a back seat to his broadcasting career, but he returned to it when he had kids. "I thought, I gotta start documenting this." He soon caught up with "the amazing technology" of digital imaging. "I really got turned on to it about three years ago, and now my sons--Kai is 5 and Avery is 4--are my great subject matter."

Friends, relatives, and colleagues draw his photographic attention as well; what you don't see are photographs of celebrities. "I'm around celebrities so much that at times it's just overwhelming," Mark says, "and photography of celebrities is a very complex thing. There's a photographer I've gotten to know, John Russo, and he teaches a course on the celebrity photograph. There's so much to it--the pampering that's involved, and how, as a photographer, you have to think, how do they want to look? How do they want to be pictured?

"This is Mark, a musician friend of mine. With this technique in mind, I asked him to bring a colorful hat. He loved the picture and used it for his latest album cover." (EOS 30D, 70-200mm f/2.8L; f/9 at 1/600 sec.)

"I deal with that freight every day. My photography is for me."

The style of that photography is the result of observation and perception. "It's partly from working with ET," Mark says. "We are such a glossy show, very slick, highly produced, and I have no doubt that's seeped its way into my style and the look of my photographs. But I shoot what I see in the people; often it turns out to be the simplicity of the moment or the directness of their personality."