I get asked time and time again what I photograph. Or I also get the “how much do you charge for X service?” when I don’t even photograph whatever X service is. I have come to realize that unless you are very specific, the general public who don’t know much about photography believes you photograph everything.
This is not to say this is their fault. It’s not common knowledge. Unless someone specifically states that they don’t photograph that, they won’t know. So I thought I would talk a little bit about what my style of photography is and why I chose that direction.
I am a lifestyle and portrait photographer. What in the world is that you may ask?
Lifestyle photography simply means documenting as it is. It’s very similar to photojournalism, where there isn’t much, if any, posing. The only light is what is available and currently there. I am a fly on the wall essentially. I am just there to document what I see and I do very little editing besides simple corrective edits.
Portrait photography is more of your traditional, posed photography. It’s what you would imagine as a photo session. I tell you to sit there, look this way, now close your eyes, now open them, now look straight at me, slightly tilt your head that way, you get the point. I am explaining what to do every single photo.
I typically merge these two styles to create a photo session that is a good hybrid. I love the posing, but I am not opposed to the in-between moments that create a natural photograph. I love those moments because it captures someone’s personality and real life. I love when I can pose someone and then the person laughs or shows their real emotions. That is what a hybrid of the two is.
I chose this direction of photography because like the two styles, I was trained in both. In high school, I was taught the basics of photography and that is where I fell in love with your traditional photography. I had a friend who was always my go-to model and she ROCKED it. It taught me to create in a new way. However, in college, I studied photojournalism. This is a very different style as it allows for only corrective editing, not creative. It also teaches you to just watch and observe instead of interjecting what you think would be a great addition to the photograph.
I love each of these types for so many different reasons. I didn’t want to be one or the other type of photographer. I wanted to have the best of both worlds. So I decided I wouldn’t have to choose and did both of them.
You may be saying, “Okay. So then you photography everything?” To answer that simply, no. Like all photographers, there are things that I am more comfortable shooting than others. For example, I have never photographed a wedding and until I have second shot for another photographer, I don’t believe I will be comfortable doing so. Do I think I would like to try? Yes, but I don’t want to offer a service I can’t be completely confident in. It’s the same with newborns. I envy photographers who can photograph newborns. It is hard. Both of these two things require a lot of dedication to their craft. Not saying I don’t have dedication, but this requires a skill set I just do not have yet.
So to answer the rest of that question, I do photograph a handful of subjects. This would include families, couples, professionals, individuals, high school seniors to name a few.
I want to go ahead and squash the myth that photographers will take anything they can get to make a buck. I can’t tell you how many times I have turned down a photography job just because I don’t specialize in that. I don’t want to take your money if I know that I won’t be able to deliver what I would consider my best. That is just not good business, nor do I believe that is right just as a human being. I want you to walk away happy with your decision, not questioning it. You wouldn’t go to a cardiologist for your broken foot. So why would you hire a photographer who only does weddings to do your newborn photos? The answer, you wouldn’t.
As I wrap this up, I just want you to see that all photographers are different and have a different niche. Some of us are extraordinary in photographing weddings while others are splendid at lifestyle. So make sure you do your research before wanting to hire anyone for your special event, whether that be portraits, a family session, your professional headshots, a wedding, or even newborn photos. Each photographer is unique, so play to their strengths to get the best session you could ask for.