Photography is among man’s greatest inventions, allowing people to capture moments in time. You can’t pause time, but you can treasure unforgettable memories in the form of photos. The invention of analogue and eventually digital photography has meant that people can retain visuals of their most precious moments and reflect on them for years to come.
Practically speaking, photography is the act of capturing and processing photos, but in reality, the skills possessed by professionals are far more sophisticated. Gifted photographers have an eye for detail and composition, using light to influence the mood and overall appearance of an image.
Leisure vs. Professional Photography
Anyone can buy and use a camera; these days, almost everyone has one on their phone and carries it wherever they go. However, it takes a highly skilled photographer to capture images that are well lit, composed and focused. Most professional photographers specialize in a specific style, from landscape to studio photography, and build a portfolio based on work in that niche.
Professional photography is, by definition, far more sophisticated than leisure photography. Professionals will typically spend time setting up prior to shooting, ensuring the lighting and props are arranged correctly. They will usually have a specific plan or vision in mind and come into the shoot with fantastic photo ideas they can utilize. Leisure photographers on the other hand may have a good camera but will often take photos off-the-cuff with minimal planning, such as while traveling.
To break it down further, here are the top 6 types of professional photo shoots:
- Glamour Photo Shoots
Glamour photography is best defined as photography that emphasizes beauty and romance. Generally, glamour photo shoots focus on the beauty and charm of the subject, hence the name ‘glamour.’ Traditional glamour shots exude a sense of luxury and often feature female models—some of which are pictured artfully nude, semi-nude or positioned in a risqué way.
When shooting glamour, the image’s composition should emphasize the model’s allure and elegance. Skilled glamour photographers often use light to highlight curves and evoke a sultry or suggestive feel without being overtly sexual. The challenge of capturing good glamour photos is that some fail to sharpen the model’s looks and focus instead on what the model is wearing.
The fundamental goal of a glamour photo shoot is to direct the viewer’s eyes to the person’s natural beauty, and not the clothes, items, and backgrounds pictured with them.
- Headshot Photo Shoots
Entrepreneurs and employees often require professional headshots for various purposes, such as for use within their respective organizations or for external networking. As such, it’s common for organizations to hire photographers specializing in this modern niche.
A headshot should be focused on one individual, pictured with a simple background and soft, even lighting. Despite its simplicity, your headshot can say a lot about you, so it’s important to dress well and look tidy in preparation. The goal is to capture an image that conveys the subject as career-driven and professional.
Collaborating with a professional photographer is paramount in capturing a great headshot and will yield much better results than taking a selfie or using a subpar photographer with no experience. The cost of a specialized headshot photographer is a worthwhile investment in the scheme of your professional career.
- Portrait Photo Shoots
Traditionally, portraiture shares similarities with headshot photography—particularly its focus on individual subjects—but its scope extends beyond this singular focus and are often taken outside of studios. Portrait photographs can even focus on subjects in a candid way, without being posed. Photo shoots of this nature feature all manner of subjects from people to babies, newborns, couples, pregnant women, families, and even household pets.
Compared to headshots, portraits are often more creative and may be themed. Furthermore, portraits capture more than just a person’s head; they usually capture entire bodies. In contrast to glamour shoots, portraiture unites poses, lighting, framing, and other photographic elements.
For aspiring photographers, portrait photography is an excellent starting point due to its variety and versatility. Many beginners start by capturing family and friends before branching out to other photographic styles.
- Product Photo Shoots
For advertisements and promotions, photographs that highlight the features of specific items are known as product shoots. These photo shoots are often conducted for marketing purposes and tend to be heavily styled to fit a theme or campaign. Often product photo shoots will be planned well in advance and shot according to a detailed brief that aligns with existing marketing strategies.
Product photography is an important aspect of both online and offline advertising. These images will appear on catalogs, billboards, online platforms, and other popular settings where consumers are present. Everything displayed in a product image will reflect the brand’s image, so it’s critical that the image fits with the brand’s tone and style.
- Fashion and Lifestyle Photo Shoots
Fashion and lifestyle are both fast-paced creative industries, and as trends change seasonally, the need for fashion and lifestyle photo shoots is always high.
In contrast to glamour photo shoots that accentuate the model’s anatomical highlights, fashion and lifestyle photos endeavor to spotlight the clothing, accessories or style of living portrayed in the images. Lifestyle photo shoots in particular may also endorse particular products, but the primary focus is on how the item can be utilized as a fashion or lifestyle statement.
Fashion photo shoots can depict a spectrum of themes and scenarios:
- Street fashion
- High fashion
- Alternative fashion
- Look book
- Outfit Of The Day (OOTD)
- High- and Low-Key Photo Shoots
Lastly, high- and low-key photography differs from other styles because their main emphasis is on the use of lighting and contrast. The high-key and low-key photo shoots craft mood and feelings only through these two elements.
In a high-key photo shoot, the primary goal is to eliminate shadows, creating a vibrant image with minimal contrast. Thus, light sources are strategically positioned in different parts of the studio. In these photo shoots, vivid colors become highlighted, while photographic components with lighter tints appear washed out to create a light and optimistic mood.
On the other hand, low-key photography is typically free of bright lighting, creating photos with impressive contrasts, shadows, and gloomy tones. Low-key photo shoots will often only utilize one lighting source to conjure a dramatic and often sultry effect.
Photography has evolved into a multi-faceted industry, with many different specialty areas. Compared to leisure photography though, professional photo shoots are typically well-planned and expertly executed to ensure the desired mood and impression is achieved. Prior to any big photo shoot, it’s important to understand the difference between each photographic style and its individual goals.