Lincoln Barbour

What are the Four Types of Photographers

The other day, my barber asked me: “So what do you do?”

I told him I was a photographer, so he proceeded to tell me all about his buddy who shoots weddings. And while I wanted to relate on this shared commonality, I had to be honest with myself: shooting weddings is extremely different from shooting commercially.

As I was searching for a way to explain the difference, it dawned on me: All service-based businesses use similar “tools” in their jobs, but how they use the tools varies wildly.

For example: a plumber and a mechanic both use a wrench, yes, but would you hire your plumber to fix your car? Tools are just that: Tools.

In that same vein, just because a photographer carries around a camera doesn’t mean he or she possesses the necessary skill set to approach each assignment with the same level of expertise. As for me, I’m primarily an Architectural Photographer. Over the past two decades, I’ve filled my toolbox with the knowledge required to approach each assignment with care and consideration. If you need me to beautifully photograph a building with expert technical precision, I’m your man. If you need me to shoot your daughter’s senior portrait, I’m going to pass; frankly, I don’t know the first thing about shooting a teenager’s portrait.

To break it down, I feel there are four basic types of professional photographers, each of which can be very general or very niche. So, before you hire a photographer for your next project, take note of the following.

Commercial Photographer

Photo from my last shoot for Hunter Douglas

Commercial photographers are B2B. They know how to work with other businesses, collaborate in teams, and acquire the resources needed to pull off complex shoots with detailed creative briefs.

Need to secure a location permit and close down a street?! A commercial photographer knows a guy who knows a guy. But if you ask that commercial photographer to shoot your wedding, he’s going to overthink it and probably have you walk down the aisle repeatedly to get the shot just right.

Photojournalist

Photo from Leah Nash’s series about Asperger Syndrome – www.leahnash.com

Photojournalists prime responsibilities include reporting on the news and shooting documentary photo essays. The ones I’ve met are some of the most talented, hardworking, and dedicated people with a camera.

But if you want them to shoot an architectural project, photojournalists are going to approach it like a war zone: “Shoot first, ask questions later.” They also probably wouldn’t even retouch it because to them, it would be unethical.

Retail Photographer (Weddings, Portraits, B2C)

Jen Fariello Photography – www.jenfariello.com

Wedding & Portrait photographers are typically B2C: they get hired by brides and grooms, families, pet owners – basically, the whole gamut of consumers. Some W&P photographers will also dabble in commercial work like headshots for businesses. But their core specialty is the consumer and they are great one-on-one, just like a boutique business should be.

However, if you have an ad campaign to shoot, a wedding photographer is probably not going to have the resources to find a producer, cast talent, and pull permits for locations. I’m sure they know a really killer band and a wonderful caterer though.

Art Photographer

Photo from Holly Andres series “Fieldcrest Drive” www.hollyandres.com

Even though photography is an art form, not all photographers are what I would call “artists”. In fact, I would consider most photographers to be craftsmen – myself included. They dedicate their careers to perfecting the craft and creating photographs for others’ use. Art photographers, on the other hand, shoot purely to create some of the meaning for themselves. Their work is an expression of their feelings. If you hire an art photographer to shoot your ad campaign, you’re letting them lead the vision and direct the creative. But, if you already have a clear creative vision in mind, then you’re better off finding a commercial photographer who can execute it properly.

Next Steps: Vet the Photographer

Now that you know the four types of photographers, you’ll be much better off finding the right person (or studio) for your next shoot. But before making your hire, you should ask them some questions to find out if they’re a pro or an amateur.

Questions like:

  • Can I see a full shoot (proofs and final images)?
  • Do you carry liability insurance?
  • Do you shoot RAW or JPEG?
  • How do you backup files from your shoot?
  • What can expect before, during, and after the shoot?
  • Have you shot this kind of job before?
  • How much retouching do you do?

How can I help you?

Do you have an upcoming commercial photography project you need help on? Contact me today and I will gladly help you out. If I’m not a good fit, I have some great recommendations for you. Click here to go to my contact page.

114,000 Monthly Viewers on Pinterest

Normally, I use Pinterest for posting work, creating private mood boards with clients, and helping me remember where to buy the gear I need. A funny thing happened the other day though that made my mouth drop. I looked at my page and I receive 114,000 monthly viewers of my work that I post. Wow, thank you Pinterest fans! In hindsight, it makes sense. Pinterest is the place to go and store mood boards for interior design and décor inspiration. So, of course many eyeballs will be seeking out the type of photography I specialize in. It’s very enlightening and I’m dedicating part of my marketing efforts to foster it and help it grow more.

Country Living Cover Feature January 2016

Country_LivingJan2015_Cover

2016 is off to a great start with this cover feature for Country Living. I didn’t know it was going to be the cover when I shot last year and found out shortly before it went to press. After 14 years of shooting and getting published, it’s still very rewarding to see your work in print on a newsstand.

I had a great time at this shoot. I was in Franklin, TN for two full days of shooting. The charming rustic look of the house was really fun to photograph. Jami Supsic, Style Director for Country Livingbrilliantly staged the shots and was super helpful in art direction, too. The homeowners, Mandy and Randy Reeves, were so friendly and hospitable. They didn’t even mind when we rearranged their living room for the cover try. Southern Charm at it’s best.

These kinds of shoots are team efforts and when you have a great team, the end results are fantastic. Here are the spreads from the feature story. Click to enlarge and enjoy!

 

Huge Portfolio Update!

Ahh… new work on the website. It feels good. I’ve been super busy the past few years, not only with work, but with family, too. My son, Odin, was born in December of 2012 and my daughter, Teagan, was born in December of 2014. During that stretch of time, I also had some of my busiest years to date with shoots from so many great clients like Hunter Douglas, Country Living, OMSI, The Joinery, Jessica Helgerson Interior Design, Boora, Mahlum, Nike, and Rejuvenation to name a few. On top of that, we decided to move from Portland, OR to Charlottesville, VA to be closer to family last April. Yeah, crazy busy.

Since moving back to the East Coast, I’ve been traveling everywhere for work: California (3 times), Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia… I’ve traveled more for work this year than I have in the past 5 years. I feel very lucky to have a loving and supportive wife (and in laws) that’s allowed me to continue my career on the road.

Anyway, I finally found time to get a lot of new work online and I have SEVEN new portfolios to share with you. Quickly, they are Interiors, Exteriors, Details, Education, Workspaces, Lifestyle, Food Culture, and Food & Drink. This body of work represents the very best of my 13 year career. Here are some highlights and clicking on a photo will take you to the full gallery.

Lincoln Barbour Interiors Portfolio
Media Room by Maven Interiors

Lincoln_Barbour-Interiors-33
Alhambra Kitchen by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

Lincoln_Barbour-Exteriors-05
Hidden Modern Addition – Shot for Dwell

Lincoln_Barbour-Details-07
Rose City Flushmount by Rejuvenation Lighting & House Parts

Lincoln_Barbour-Learn-09
PCC East Library by SRG Partnership Inc

Lincoln_Barbour-Work-07
Plurasight HQ by Roundhouse Agency

Lincoln_Barbour-Live-04
Lifestyle Shoot for Hassalo on Eighth

Lincoln_Barbour-Eat-02
Andina Restaurant – Portland, OR

Lincoln_Barbour-Food-16
Left: Food in Bloom, Right: Andina Restaurant

Thanks for checking out my new work and please let me know what you think in the comments below.

Interview in Popular Photography Magazine

For their February 2013 issue, Popular Photography Magazine interviewed me about one of my more challenging and technical pictures from my portfolio. I always get a little nervous when when speaking about how I did something, but I’m very happy with how the article came out. Attached are the tear sheets and full text is below.

Lincoln Barbour in Popular Photography Magazine February 2013

 

Lincoln Barbour in Popular Photography Magazine February 2013

ONE-MAN BAND

Depicting an original metaphor for sameness

THE TEXT for an advertisement promoting a new housing development asked, “What would life be like if everything was the same?” Lincoln Barbour, a Portland, OR-based commercial shooter, took on the creative challenge of answering that question visually in a series of images that included this shot of an all-tuba high-school band. “The ad agency hired me based on my personal work, which is quiet, subtle, and candid,” Barbour says. “So the hardest thing for me was finding my personal voice in the shot while meeting everyone else’s expectations.”

Barbour’s first challenge? Simply finding enough kids who had band uniforms and tubas. Unfortunately, he couldn’t. “We had six tubas and ten kids,” Barbour recalls. “I had to shoot the same picture three times and move the kids around with the different tubas, and then Photoshop it all together so it looked like one photo.”

Working with the agency’s art director, Barbour determined that the frames to be composited would need to be captured from the back row to the front in order to get the right overlap. “I shot six people at a time with tubas, and there was always one person on the next row below, overlapping so I could line them up as we went along,” he explains. “We had to think about the kids and where they’d be in the picture, and, yes, there are two or three repeated musicians, but who’s to say they weren’t twins?”

Barbour also faced a tough task in getting even light and lots of depth of field in the cavernous gym. He used four Profoto 7B packs and heads with magnum reflectors, bouncing the light off the high ceiling at full power. The light stands were placed at the four corners of the frame. The exposure on his Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II was 1/125 sec at f/11 and ISO 320. The lens: a 24–70mm f/2.8L Canon EF zoom at 57mm.

“When this job came in, I took it on myself to do everything— all the production, prep work, location scouting, and prop building. I was exhausted when it was over,” he says. “I learned a lesson here: Next time, I’m going to hire stylists, a location scout, and a tech guy for all the Photoshopping.” No more allowing himself to become a one-man band!

—Laurence Chen