Photographer Melanie Dunea is famous for her ability to put her subjects  instantly at ease, be it a five-star chef or a Hollywood superstar. The resulting images have an engaging effortlessness, which reveal the inner essence of a person. Here, Dunea recounts the to-ing and fro-ing that takes place with celebrity shoots—and why it only looks easy.

6 PM:
Sitting in a meeting with my agent; phone rings incessantly. It’s People magazine. Can I be in Los Angeles for a cover Tuesday a.m.? All hands on deck. Agent: Find flights, hotel, rental car (remember I MUST be in Nashville Wednesday morning and travel agency is closed now, yikes). Asst: Find other photo assistants who are available in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

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