Portrait Styles

How do you choose a photographer?  I'm pretty visual, so if I was choosing I'd look at a lot of images and pick a photographer that matches my style.  But if I had to describe the style that I like in words, I'd have a tough time.  Recently I had a lightbulb moment in regards to portrait style and now it is all clear!!   There's a lot of terms thrown around on the internet in regards to portrait and wedding photography and I'd heard these terms before but didn't quite make the connection to what I was seeing.  I recently read a book on family photography that defined the main portrait genres and finally it all made sense.  Here's my understanding of the 4 genres:

1.  Traditional Portraiture.  This is the one everyone recognizes.  It's the type of portrait typically hung over the fireplace.  The photographer uses specific lighting and posing techniques to flatter the subject. 

2. Photojournalism.  This is what you would see in a news story. A document of the moment exactly as it happened.  The photographer is completely hands-off and just captures things as they happen.

3. Lifestyle.  This is a combination of the first two.  A lifestyle portrait session captures images of people doing things that they would do in real life, but  are given direction during the session. The result is that images look like they are totally candid, but are usually set-up.   

4. Fine Art Portraiture.  This one is hard to define.  The goal of a fine art portrait is to express the creative vision of the artist.  Generally the portrait is emotive, atmospheric, and sometimes even surreal.  The subject usually isn't smiling.

There are even more genres, but these are the main ones that most people would be familiar with.

So, what type of photographer am I?  Well, that's easy.  I love Traditional Portraiture...but I also like to combine it with a Fine Art feel, and the odd time I'll throw in a bit of Lifestyle.  I am definitely not a Photojournalistic photographer.  

I know what your thinking....Traditional Portraiture?! Yuck!! Why would you like that style? I'll tell you why in my next post.