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Are you wearing the right label?

You’ve heard them used over and over (sometimes interchangeably – sometimes all together in one big mouthful of a sentence) but what do they really mean? If you’re like me, you’ve heard them used so often and yet so differently that it left you completely questioning what category you fall in. Is there a particular label to your style of photography that just happens to fit? I’m talking about labels such as Lifestyle, Photojournalistic, Classic, Contemporary… 

Do you know what they really mean and what category you fit in? How about some very helpful definitions to put things in better prospective? 

CUSTOM photography
Ultimately custom photography is all about choice and experience (as in THE experience).  It’s about devoted attention with strong strong emphasis on detail. Custom photographers are also known as boutique studios, offering a range of products and unparalleled service. Think Lexus vs. Hyundai or Nordstrom vs. WalMart. Custom photographers often show only the final fully edited images-color corrected with blemishes and undereye circles removed. Custom photography should always have the client and their experience in mind. (Rewritten for the photographer, original source here)

BOUTIQUE photography
Boutique is a business model, a filter through which you, as a business owner, make decisions.  It’s a business that isn’t price sensitive, one that won’t compromise the client experience to save a few dollars. It’s competing on service, quality product and sensory experience rather than price. It’s being distinct, leaving an impression on your clients with each interaction. The details set the boutique business apart. (original source: Sarah Petty)

CLASSIC photography
A mix of traditional posing often coupled with strong attention to clothing and style choices. Usually presented with post processing but not as a defining characteristic of the photographer’s style. 

CONTEMPORARY photography
Fresh and unique approach to traditional portraiture; it is viewed as more ground breaking in it’s approach to finding new and exciting ways to capture subjects… Another trademark of contemporary photography is the utilization of strong, clean close ups… There is often a liberal use of refined but controlled Photoshop processing, as well. Contemporary Photographers highlight the importance of story telling and emotion. (excerpts from Tamara Lackey – Children’s Portrait Photography)

Documentary style of photography whose principal goal is to capture the moments without any outside intervention (source). In the truest sense, photojournalistic is not posed, but rather capturing the raw emotions and relationships of the subject(s).


LIFESTYLE photography

Photos that don’t look posed, “in the moment” type photographs that are somewhat staged in terms of location, activities, emotions. (source)

So what do you think? Where do you fit? 


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