Lifestyle Portraits. Is it anything new?

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Iíve been a photographer for a long time now, 30 years to be exact. Although is a more recent step. Throughout these years of image taking I have seen trends come and go. None more so than the art of Portrait Photography. In the late eighties we were all taking the lead from the Americans with dark warm toned painted backgrounds, multi lit subjects with modelling lights, fill lights, kicker and background lights. It was all rather technical, but everyone was doing it and it was the norm for that era. Some of us though liked a bit of a challenge by taking our cameras outdoors.

Some photographers had no choice if they couldnít afford a studio. Anyway, off I went with my trusty Hasselblad and 150mm lens and took what turned out to be soft, warm and very saleable outdoor portraits. Using the great outdoors was liberating. The extra space, the changing light and seasons, donít get me wrong, getting a controlled outdoor portrait is more of a challenge than youíd think. All those things that make an outdoor portrait wonderful also add to the difficulties. You need to understand natural light much more, regard your backgrounds and utilising a much reduced depth of field too. All makes for a more technical approach. The nineties heralded the rise of the ďHi-KeyĒ Studio Portrait.

The dark tones of the painted canvas backdrops were rolled up and put away. Bright breezy and fun portraits became the order of the day, and they still seem to take precedence but, there is something out there that is really switching people on to portraiture again. The Outdoor Portrait is back, now called ďLifestyle PortraitsĒ These portraits might seem something new to some. To us Professional Photographers, and me in particular, they are a welcome return to what separates professionals from the amateurs. If you click onto our site at to look at our portraits there, or better still click on because this will take you straight there, youíll see the style and relaxed feel these kind of portraits convey.

For the customer it can give a truly personal one off portrait. Better still if taken around the customerís own home. The problem with the Hi-Key studio portrait is that it feels like a mass produced item. And Iím sure some customers are still smarting from the hard sales pitch associated with some of the franchised companies. Iím glad the outdoor portrait is coming back. Itís good for photographers and our customers.

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