Portrait styles

There are many different styles of portraits.  The most formal style, corporate portraits, is done by placing a light on each side of the subject, the background is non-distracting, and the intention is only to capture a likeness of the person.  The opposite end of the spectrum, environmental portraits, uses foreground and background, whatever light is available, and is generally not posed, with the intention being to say something about the persons personality, real or imagined.

Bands:  It may be a bit of a stretch to call a group picture of a band a portrait, but it is all about capturing or creating personalities.  Normally, I would photograph the band as they perform, but a more normal-ish portrait could be anywhere, at any time.  I used to be part owner of azbandwatch.com, but, we let the site die because it cost too much time and money to keep the website interesting.  Here are pictures from that era… 2005 and 2006:  Band Pictures from azbandwatch.com

Corporate:  Corporate Portraits are the most formal kind of portrait.  They are usually done with a light on each side of the subject, and sometimes a light on the background.  One or two of the lights on the side may be diffused with an umbrella or reflector.  Capturing a flattering likeness of the person in a flattering and professional manor is more important than creativity or creating a unique image of the person.  Real Estate agents may want to shoot in front of a property without special lighting, which makes it a bit of a stretch to call it a corporate portrait, but, close enough.

Dance:  It may not be completely accurate to call a picture of dancers a portrait, but, dancing is about creating an image and personality, so I’m calling this a portrait.  If I, being a dancer, can’t call dance pictures portraits, than nobody can.

Environmental:  Environmental portraits use foreground and background material to add enormous dimension to the capturing of a personality by using props that say something about the person.  We use wider lenses, and photograph the subject from farther away to capture the props around the subject to try to give a fair idea of exactly who the person is.  Annie Leibovitz is the photographer who inspired me most to specialize in portraits, and she does environmental portraits better than anybody.

Family:  We can shoot your family portraits at your home or a public park.  While the light is best at sunrise, I realize that it is impossible to get everybody together that early, so, we would shoot the family portraits around sunset.  If it is a group of, say, eight or fewer people, we might be able to shoot inside your house at any time of day… perhaps by a fireplace, for example.

Fashion:  Differing a little bit from normal portraits, fashion portraits look more like fashion modeling pictures.  Obviously, we would be using clothing, jewelry, or even a stylish location as props.  We would be more likely to use dramatic lighting.

Glamour:  Glamour portraits would be somewhere between fashion portraits and lingerie portraits, as far as the amount of skin is concerned.  Glamour portraits are not usually done in intimate settings, like a bedroom, for example.  They are usually done in public places, or, maybe a living room or in a nice yard.

Seniors:  Senior portraits used to just show a good likeness of the subject, but now props are frequently used.  Perhaps you would like to have a pet in the picture with you, or, a guitar, or a skateboard, bicycle, hat… really, anything that is important to you can be used.  We usually shoot these around sunset, since getting a teen up and ready for a sunrise photoshoot probably isn’t a possibility.

Singles: I was inspired to start a section for singles portraits by an article I saw at OkTrends (part of the OkCupid website), where it was revealed that a woman who is a “7″ gets more interest if she has a picture where some people think she gorgeous and other people think she is ugly, compared with a picture where pretty much everybody agrees she is pretty attractive. I haven’t seen similar articles about what makes guys pictures successful, but, I have some idea.  Single people need a couple of different pictures for their pages, so, for this kind of photo session, we might try to fit in a wardrobe change, and use more than one location.

Video:  My camera produces some very nice video and sound, so I may do 30 seconds of video if you like.  If you need some specific video, we can do a whole session of video.  I would think dancers would be especially interested in this.

Wedding engagement:  Wedding engagement photos are fun, wacky, exciting, and playful.  Typical props are balloons, bubbles, squirt guns, and the Eiffel Tower.  Or, sometimes the picture just shows the couple looking good together.


Portraiture in Chandler, Tempe, Sun Lakes, Gilbert, Scottsdale, SE Phoenix, Maricopa, Queen Creek, and Mesa, and, for an additional charge, other areas of Arizona or elsewhere.

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