Effective Photo Shoot Styles in Portrait Photography

What I am supposed to wear for my photo shoot? This is a typical question you will be faced with when shooting portraits. In answering this question one has to establish what type of ‘look’ they’re trying to achieve before planning the actual clothing. In helping individuals to sort out their ideas I like to categorize the styles into three classes.

The Corporate Look

corporate photo portrait

Photo by Gregory Hayes

A photo shoot with a business oriented look is usually sought by professionals. A classic two-piece suit is the most frequent choice of clothing. The choice of color most of the time is a darker shade of grey or blue. In case of a female model, a blouse underneath is highly recommended. It is elegant and at the same time very feminine.

Though these types of shoots are commonly done in an indoor studio, I strongly suggest that you be creative and do these on location. I have seen various outdoor work depicting construction sites, factory floors, and other production areas in the background. These kinds of backdrops manage to tell more about the work and profession of the person being photographed.

I suggest incorporating some low angled shots to emphasis the authoritative feel in a way that reflects the model’s profession.

The Casual Look

This is a very basic and straight forward look, both in terms of attire and setup. Outfits in line with this look are jeans, skirts, plain tops, and sweaters. To visualize this type of style, think of what the girl next door would wear to go to high school or university.

Ideal outdoor locations that offer suitable backgrounds are urban areas or greener areas such as playgrounds and parks.

casual portrait photo

Photo by J. Meier

Shoot the model from a normal perspective as seen by a person when relating in a one to one everyday life situation.

The Glamour Look

This is a very popular style with female models aspiring to make a breakthrough in the entertainment business.

Outdoor locations that are popular with these types of photo shoots are exotic beaches, summer resorts, hotels, and gardens.

photo style glamour portrait

Photo by Alice Alinari

Suggest the model to lower her chin a bit and look straight at the camera to get that look.

While we’re at it, it’s worth mentioning the importance of posing the models properly. In the above mentioned setups, directing the models to pose properly is part and parcel of a successful photo shoot. It is of extreme importance that you adapt posing styles that reflect each particular look to get effective and dynamic results from your photo shoots.

About the Author:
A member of the Malta Photographic Society (MPS), a public speaker and an article writer for various entities. If you have found the above helpful, I invite you to visit my site at http://michaelabela.weebly.com where you can learn more about different aspects in photography, in particular, how to pose a model and turn your photos into money online.

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2 responses to “Effective Photo Shoot Styles in Portrait Photography”

  1. Colin. Burt says:

    The article made sense – but the images used to illustrate it ….! Are they intended to show what you should NOT do ? A guy looking uncomfortable in a crumpled suit that is not a good fit? A girl with no facial modelling by the lighting , against a busy background ? And the poor model lying in the sand with stray grains of sand all over her as if she had just been the victim of a sand kicker ?

  2. Ivy says:

    Where’s the “Like” button for Burt’s comment! I agree that the photos do not portrey very good examples of the three different types of styles.

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