Photography Styles for Your Shoot

Photo Studio in Los AngelesWhen you first hear the term “portrait photography,” you may think of sitting uncomfortably in a mall portrait studio, posing before a cheesy background. Professional portrait photography, though, comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether you head to a photo studio for your shoot or ask your photographer for a more natural backdrop, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the various types of portraiture styles.

Classic portraiture puts most of the focus on the subject’s face because the purpose of the image is to create a true visual representation of the person being photographed. The subject will look directly into the camera for their head shot. Sometimes the full body is in the shot, while other times only two-thirds of the body is photographed.

A candid portrait is when the subject either doesn’t know the photographer is taking their photo or they don’t acknowledge the photographer, resulting in a very natural expression. This is commonly used in event, street and travel photography, as well as in photojournalism.

A glamour portrait is similar to a classic portrait – it’s posed and often taken in a photo studio – but the purpose of the photo is a bit different. Glamour photography is often used to emphasize the subject’s aesthetic or romantic appeal. For example, a glamour portrait may be used in a boudoir or fashion shoot.

An environmental portrait is when the subject is photographed in a specific environment. For example, if you need images of the executive chef of your restaurant, your photographer may want to photograph them in their natural environment (the kitchen). The setting and surroundings are specifically chosen to highlight the subject’s character. Often, the subject will be performing an action. For example, a chef may be cooking instead of looking directly into the camera.

Lifestyle portraiture combines environmental and candid portraiture. The goal of this type of photo is to showcase a certain style of living. Often, the subjects don’t acknowledge the photographer. Lifestyle portraiture is used for various types of commercial photography projects, including editorial, fashion and food photography. The setting for lifestyle photography can be practically anywhere, including a staged photo studio, the subject’s home or an outdoor location.

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