What is a Photo Look and Style? When we say Look and Style we are referring to the feeling, mood, and ambiance of the photo. It is a little difficult to explain, which is why we ask our clients to 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.

Different “Looks and Styles” require very different lighting setups, photo techniques, and usually different types of backgrounds and settings. The two most basic types of Photographic Looks/Styles are probably “Light and Dark”, also often 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” style usually has 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, It does, however, tend to add weight to the subject. Hence the old adage “the TV adds 10 to 15 lbs”.

A “Theatrical” style is more dramatic and usually Low-key. The 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 where 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 needing much more retouching to remove or soften those irregularities especially on the face.

By seeing what our clients like we can hopefully meld a combination of “Looks and Styles” that is special for them. Looks and Styles that when combined with the makeup and hair and the wardrobe they choose will be flattering and give them photos they will treasure forever.