The Photo “Look and Style” for your Photoshoot

When we say “Look and Style” we are NOT referring to the poses or wardrobe, or makeup or even the location. As the photographer I need to design the lighting and photographic techniques for your photoshoot based on the feeling, the mood, the atmosphere and ambiance you want for your photos.  Once we are clear on that the wardrobe, makeup, posing, backgrounds etc will be the next considerations.

It is a little difficult to explain in words, which is why we ask our clients to use Google to find and send us samples of the type of photos they want to do. We hope by seeing what they like, and hearing their concerns we can determine the best way we can photograph them. We don’t “take” photos. Our goal is to “make” the photos our clients want to have. We can shoot in many different styles and it is important to try to give our clients the Look/Style they want.


Every “Look and Style” needs to be photographed differently

The lighting and photo techniques and different types of backgrounds and settings will come together to create the Look and Style you want for your photos.

The two most basic types of Photographic Looks/Styles are probably “Light and Dark”, also referred to as High-key and Low-key. The Look and Style determine the type of lighting setup, the background, the contrast and the coloring of the photo. For models and actors these “Looks and Styles” are sometimes referred to as “Commercial” and “Theatrical” looks.

A “Commercial” Hi-key style lighting is the most “forgiving”.

Wrinkles and facial lines are minimized as this lighting is a broader, softer almost shadowless, indirect or omni-directional style of lighting. It is like the lighting you see on television news and talk shows, cosmetic ads, babies, and romantic images.

It is considered to be a more flattering light. It tends to smooth and minimize skin imperfections because it has diffused and softer shadows, if any at all, and minimizes the need for retouching,

However, this type of setup tends to add weight to the subject. Hence the old adage “the TV adds 10 to 15 lbs”.

A “Dramatic” style has more shadows, more contrast and stronger attitude

Also called “Low-key” this type of lighting is directional and has more prominent shadows. The main light sources are smaller and tend to bring out more detail in the photos. It is more the lighting you might find in dramatic TV shows and movies from the 1930s and 40s when lights were more primitive or today even when the atmosphere and the character of the subject are more important than flattering lighting.

When the light comes from the side it can be very slimming but it also will show every irregularity in the face and body. Side lighting can be great for fitness and figure photos but almost always needs more retouching to remove or soften wrinkles, lines and irregularities.