Modeling Photography Types

I’d like to refer models to read this article regarding modeling types, not specifically regarding photography only as this post would be. As modeling types may be assumed it would be the same with modeling photography types, it is not. Modeling types available for work for models can vary from video, photography, and runway or promotional.

Before we get into the different types of model photography I’ll get into the basics with broader terms. Note as I write these I may refer to another term in the defined area, you may need to scroll up/down to reference.

Portrait Photography

When looked in a very broad sense portrait photography is basically when any human subject is in a frame, from candid, posed, semi-candid (staged), etc.

Model Photography

When looked in a broad sense of the word it is basically when a person is modeling. Either as another person, character, or products such as clothing, accessories, etc. this is modeling for a photoshoot.

Conceptual: Conceptual photography can be just about any type model photography, but this type of photoshoot is where the art director(s) (in many cases photographer for trade shoots generally) pre-visualize what they want and build a shot by organizing and coordinating wardrobe, hair, makeup, props, location and creatives to pretty much create the images before the actual images are created. Conceptual shoots can be very simple or very complicated, but what I’ve mentioned is the foundation to a conceptual shoot. Generally conceptual shoots are sub-categorized with other types like fashion, senior portraits, or even general portraits, but fashion most of the time in the modeling world as fashion generally takes conceptual photography and truly enhances it and has very complex concepts at hand.

Fashion: Fashion photography in a broader sense can vary to many different types of fashion photography such as eCommerce, catalog, advertising, editorial, and lifestyle fashion photography. All are different but they all have a unique taste to their style, feel, and emotion once you see them. Fashion photography generally has a lot of creativity where its not just advertising fashion photography sometimes their are hybrids like fashion advertising lifestyle, which is not very easy to pull off. You’d generally see those hybrid types only done by the mega fashion brands. Fashion photography can vary differently, from casual fashion shots to very high fashion shots where the wardrobe can be very big and dramatic.

Catalog Fashion: Catalog fashion is where the photos are generally can include the model’s face or can be completely cut off the head/face or partially, it varies brand to brand showing catalog fashion photos. Generally the lighting in these images are as even as possible, but to photographers reading this meaning 1:1 ratio lighting or 1:4, very clean and even lighting, which also varies brand to brand look and feel.

eCommerce Fashion: eCommerce Fashion is border line with catalog fashion because for some brands they use it both the same way and same images but for other brands they use both completely differently. But generally speaking eCommerce is generally an all white background type of photo of the model showcasing a product on them or they’re holding/wearing.

Advertising Fashion: Advertising Fashion photography is when the product is the hero in the shot, by at least 90% and everything support it to be the hero. This is where you’d see a facial expression be about “expressionless” at times, or the model conveying very strong confidence. But too emotional here does not make the image advertising fashion, and blends more into lifestyle fashion where a mood is different. But note some brands do convey both I call those hybrid fashion shots.

Lifestyle: Lifestyle photos can be for anything, but with some sub-categories like lifestyle fashion, lifestyle portraits, and lifestyle editorial. Lifestyle generally is a mood being shown and conveyed by the model, as well what they’re wearing, makeup, hair, etc… everything to tell a story with the emotion they’re showing to support a story.

Headshots: Headshots can be modeled, but generally it is not, it is showcasing the true person being photographed such as actors, business people, performers, and models. Models can model in a headshot, such as playing a different person/character or showcasing products around their head or on their head/face, but this can blend into beauty shots.

Beauty Shots: Where the photo is showcasing product(s) on the model’s face or around their face, such as makeup, hair, and accessories.

Glamour/Boudoir: The two are very similar, but both convey classy, sexy, revealing, glamorous look and feel to the photos where makeup and hair done by a professional will generally happen for the shoot. Boudoir I generally see used as a marketing term for photography towards the non-commercial private glamour sessions, and glamour can as well be used in the same way but it is as well used for commercial side of things like maxim, sport illustrated, etc. men’s magazines.

Performance: Performance can range into many different things for photography, i.e. dance/ballet, etc., just about anything can can be visibly performed on still camera.

Fitness: Fitness is another broader term that can have sub-categories, such as Fitness Fashion in some cases, performance, glamour, catalog fashion, fashion advertising and showcasing the fit body strictly.

Corporate: Corporate for model photography is generally stock photography but can lead into character/acting based photos. For stock corporate photography generally it is very generic, happy or even sad if you need to convey a story in the image for corporate stock or advertising campaigns.

Swimsuit: Swimsuit can be glamour, but as well fashion and catalog.

Parts: This is where the photo is of a single part of multiple parts of the human body, either showcasing the part strictly or showcasing the part with product warn or around it such as hand with hand lotion.

Nudes: The word “nude” in itself is very subjective and interpreted differently by different types of people. In a broader sense this will have subcategories, such as Implied Nudes, Glamour Nude, Artistic Nude, and Erotic Nude. All of these are similar but vary differently to the specialists out there either as a photographer or model. Implied nude is straight forward where the model is not showing very specific parts generally censored by the media. Glamour nude is generally like glamour but nude. Artistic nudes are nudes where it has that look and feel of art, generally lighting in these are more dramatic and dark (short lighting techniques for photographers). Erotic nude is conveying an act of sex

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