Not quite 10 minutes with Richard Branson

Dave had the opportunity to photograph brilliant businessman, and known bad boy, Sir Richard Branson in January for the cover of Success Magazine. They shot at the W Hotel in Dallas, TX.

Sir Richard Branson Photographed by Dave Moser, peeking out from behind cloud walls for Success Magazine

Branson was in town on a book tour for one of his latest books, ‘Screw Business as Usual’, and Dave only had 10 minutes to work his magic. Since they had very little time to get Branson camera ready, Dave joked with Joanna Hathcock, the hair & make-up artist, that — “sure, you can take 6 minutes to do his hair & makeup, but it won’t make a difference if we don’t get the shot!” Joanna did a phenomenal job at getting Branson camera ready in under four minutes. Even though Richard was running late, his publicist, Christine Choi made sure that they still had the ten minutes Dave was promised.

Branson has a reputation for being on the go so he is not always able to appear pressed and neat straight off the bat. Luckily, Brandy Jules, Researcher/Staff Writer/Photo Coordinator for Success, had bought some clothing for the shoot — to be safe. As it turns out, Richard mentioned that he generally has no time to shop, and offered to buy the shirt from them after the shoot!

Dave was amazed at how present Branson was for the shoot. During a rushed 10 minutes, Dave did not feel an ounce of pushback from Branson, who was calm, listened intently, and was surrounded by good energy. Richard even seemed honored when Dave congratulated him on his daughter’s recent wedding, which Dave learned while researching and preparing for the shoot.

Dave’s admiration grew when he was preparing for the shoot doing research and learning more about Branson, such as…his Mom rescued him by mortgaging her home to keep her son out of jail from the beginnings of  Virgin Records. Branson ended up selling Virgin Records (something very close to his heart) in order to keep Virgin Atlantic aloft. And most of all, starting “The Elders”, a team he assembled along with Peter Gabriel — that included Jimmy Carter, Nelson Mandela and  Desmond Tutu just to name a few. Their goal is to help find peaceful solutions to long term conflicts as well as define new approaches to fight many global issues that could be causing extensive human suffering. They want to share their wisdom by connecting powerful voices and minds all over the world. Here is a great video interview from TED with Branson that is both informative and funny!

Sir Richard Branson Photographed by Dave Moser in a Swimming pool for the Cover of Success Magazine


Richard joked that if they were on Necker Island (one of the British Virgin Islands that he bought at the ripe age of 28) they could have taken all day to photograph him! Which would have been, well, amazing since it has a 10-bedroom villa that accommodates 28 people. And it only rents for about $53,000.00 per day. Maybe next time!

Dave has been lucky enough to work with Creative Director, Carl Waters, on 5 different cover stories for Success thus far. He mentioned that he has an open collaborative relationship with Carl on every project. Hopefully we will see more creative teamwork from them in the near future.

So there you have it: Dave’s not quite 10 minutes with Sir Richard Branson! We have more in store for you in the near future, so please check back often. Check out Dave’s website to see more of his work.


Read more about Richard Branson at
“The Bad Boy of Business Wants You to Be Good”


What's Your Take? Please comment below.

6 thoughts on “Not quite 10 minutes with Richard Branson

  1. Allow me to chime in here and say how cool it was to be part of this shoot! Preparation, communication, and teamwork among all of us really was key to being fully ready to maximize that 10 minutes of “magic”. Believe me, I would have loved to have a luxurious 15 minutes with the delightfully down-to-earth Mr. Branson…but getting him on set and in front of Dave’s lens in no time flat was what had to happen, and so we did it! What was so great was how Mr. Branson let me swoop in and do what I needed to do, all while being very calm and present, as this post mentions. As he stepped out of the pool post-shooting, he even commented appreciatively on the “special treatment” as I dried his feet off with a towel. Thanks to everyone involved for a fun, SUCCESS-ful experience, and to Dave for making my work look so good! 🙂

  2. Thanks Carl and Greg! I could not ask for a higher compliment Carl, especially from a favorite client. Neil, in terms of your question, and a good one at that, I really try to keep a Zen like calmness while the subject is on set, and only focus my attention on them. The crew is instructed ahead of time as to what to look for, what the anticipated troubleshooting may be, and what would warrant pulling my attention from the subject. It’s important to maintain the connection with the subject, especially celebrities, heads of companies and politicians. Many of these folks can become uncomfortable if they do not feel the shoot is going smoothly, let alone if it compromises their already busy schedule. I do quite a bit of research ahead of time and speak with their publicists or their contacts to better understand what to expect in terms of personality and expectations, much like being a good host. Most importantly, I work intuitively, trying to read them, working faster and keeping it lively OR dialing it back and entering a more personal space. Much of this depends on the clients needs as well, of course. Basically, I do all my homework up front, and once the subject arrives and is on set, I can just let go and do what I do. It’s really quite freeing and the subject can feel that. Everyone has a rhythm, and everyone appreciates respect and honesty.

  3. Dave,

    Wow! What a shoot. That’s why I love working with you!! We are a great team but more importantly you always go above and beyond expectations and exceeds the creative process. Just think if we had 15 minutes!

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