photographer

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.

2017 Highlights

One of my New Year’s Resolutions was to blog more and I’m off to a strong start with this mega post. One of my favorite things to do this time of year is look back at everything I shot the prior year and pull favorites for portfolio consideration. I’ve culled that collection down to a great highlight gallery of another very busy year.

Gallaudet University High School Residence Hall – Dangermond Keane Architecture

I started off the year with a chilly shoot in Washington D.C. for Dangermond Keane Architecture. Gallaudet University is a federally chartered private university for the education of the Deaf and hard of hearing. They have a high school program and the students live on campus. Dangermond Keane Architecture designed this amazing residence hall for them and it was really fun and challenging to shoot. All the students we used communicated through sign language, so we had to work with an interpreter to place the students in the shots. We also wanted to get the signing action in the shot, so there were a lot takes. Very cool experience to see how these kids live and play together.

 

College of William & Mary Law School: Hixon Center for Experiential Learning + Leadership – VMDO Architects

I did a lot of work with VMDO this year. It’s so nice having a local client doing amazing work in the area. Not that I mind traveling, but it’s nice to be able to come home after a shoot now and then. This was a quick shoot we did in February. Our dusk shot almost got rained out, but it cleared up just in time. I did have to shoot under an umbrella because the tree I was under was dripping from the rain earlier.

Shriner’s Hospital of Lexington, KY – EOPA and SRG Partnership, Inc.

This was a multi-party shoot organized EOPA and SRG Partnership. Back in Portland, I shot a lot for SRG. I felt very fortunate that I could shoot one of their projects on this side of the country. The Shriner’s Hospital of Lexington, KY was just about to open and we got in literally the last two days before they started seeing patients. Everything was brand new and we brought in models to stage the shots. Very happy with the results and definitely will be adding some of these to my architecture portfolio.

The Joinery 2017 Catalog Images

This is the second consecutive year I’ve flown back to Portland to shoot The Joinery’s annual catalog. I love their furniture. It’s amazing work, hand crafted right in Portland, OR. Solid wood and great design. I would love to outfit my whole house with their pieces. Their look is timeless and it will last forever. The shoot was styled by the amazing Bergren Rameson. So stoked when I get to work with her.

Lynchburg City Stadium Renovations – VMDO

Originally built in 1939 as part of the New Deal Works program, VMDO undertook an extensive renovation project to modernize the entrance and create additional facilities for visitors and teams. We had amazing weather all day with some pretty dramatic clouds. The dusk shots were some of my favorites of all time.

Bay Area Apartments – Prometheus Real Estate Group

For the third year in a row, I headed out to sunny Silicon Valley to shoot some architectural lifestyle images of Prometheus’ amazing apartments. About an even split of remodels and new builds, all these places are like the best places to live in the Bay Area. We focused mostly on the amenity spaces and I’m continually impressed how much thought goes into them. Really happy with last year’s shoot. It was hard to narrow down my favorites. Produced by the amazing Heather Smith of Smith X Union and styled by the brilliant Ashley Montague.

Brooks Family YMCA – VMDO

I did say I shot a lot for VMDO this year 🙂 Located in the heart of Charlottesville, the Brooks Family YMCA is a beautiful facility that’s quickly becoming an anchor of the community. I shot it three times over the year, twice on land and once from the air (via drone). What I really like about the building is the openness and transparency. It’s got a great vibe and I was honored to photograph it.

Oreck Image Library

I really had fun at this shoot. It’s easy to get trapped into a standard “product in environment” look when shooting things like vacuums and air purifiers. Fortunately, we had a great art director (Rybe Henderson) who helped push these into the hero shots below. Produced by Wonderful Machine. To learn more, check out my blog post here.

Pool House – Grounded Landscape Architecture & Design

I love simple spaces and this pool house and sunken pool designed by Grounded is case in point. I’m not usually a big sit-by-the-pool guy, but I could definitely relax here for a very long time and be perfectly happy. Also, got to fly my drone for some aerial perspectives. It was a good day.

Cloverfield Farm – Country Living

Technically shot in 2016, but it wasn’t published until fall of 2017. That’s always so hard with these editorial shoots. You do some really great work and then you have to wait a whole year before you can show anyone. The getaway home is about an hour from Memphis in the Mississippi country side. The owners Jessica & Kevin Carnell were so sweet and Jessica has a great Instagram feed (@growing_cloverfield_farm) of the whole project from start to finish. Read more on my blog post here.

Eastmoreland Project – Charla Ray Interior Design

I traveled back to Portland, OR in November for these next few projects. This first shoot was a private residence floor to ceiling remodel of a classic SE Portland home in Eastmoreland by Charla Ray Interior Design. Super lux vibe here and some great bold colors. Charla’s very talented and so nice to shoot for. Really happy with these shots.

Cosmo Modern – JHL Design

I don’t mean this to sound flippant, but I’m not often in total awe of an interior. I’ve seen a lot of homes at this point and they are all great in their own way. This one though was something else. I was almost intimidated to shoot it. It was so well done and just wanted to get it right. Fortunately, Holly Freres and her team are awesome to work with. I did my best and if you think these shots are cool, you should see the actual space (sorry they don’t do tours).

Arch Cape – Luxe Magazine

I got a cover for this shoot! That’s my next blog post. Designed by Holly Freres of JHL Designs (see above) and her husband architect David Horning, the two of them teamed up to create this amazing modern coast house for a Portland couple. I really dig modernism and it’s rare you find a project like this on the Oregon Coast. I’ll get into more details in the next post, for now enjoy these sneak peeks.

Liberty University Indoor Practice Facility – VMDO

These last three projects were all shot for VMDO. They kept me busy last year and so grateful. VMDO has been doing some extensive work down at Liberty University. They’ve really transformed the entire vibe of the campus. This practice facility is huge. It fits a whole football field inside with goal posts. I love the design and it was one of those buildings that just photographed well.

Greer Environmental Sciences Center, Virginia Weslyan University – VMDO

I’ve said it before, but I totally would have liked school better if I went nowadays. This new science building at Virginia Weslyan Univerity designed by VMDO makes me want to learn. One of the coolest features was the landscaping outside the building is used in the students research projects.

 

Discovery Elementary Time-Lapse – CMTA Engineers

I’ve totally caught the time-lapse bug. I always thought the way I shoot people in spaces could be used in time-lapse. I often shoot multiple frames to find that perfect moment. With time-lapse, you just let it go wild. These three are just the beginning for me. Can’t wait to do more!!

University of Virginia Gooch Dillard Residence Hall Renovation – VMDO

One of my last shoots of the year, the UVA residence hall remodel by VMDO has some great storytelling moments. I feel that’s what one of my better specialties. My shots tell the story of how a space is used. It’s more than architecture, more than lifestyle, it’s a documentary in a single frame.

And that’s it! Thanks for reading through all of this if you made it to bottom. I shot a lot more than just these, but some I can’t share yet. That’ll go on next year’s Best of 2018 blog post 😉

Looking forward to another great year! Reach out to me and let me know how I can help you create the images you need.

New Work: Rejuvenation

Rejuvenation - Lighting & House Parts

Up until my recent move back to Virginia, I had been doing catalog shoots for Rejuvenation (parent company: Williams-Sonoma) for almost 2 years. In addition to their catalog, the shots were also used on their website and marketing materials. It was a lot fun creating these images and working with a big crew to pull off some fresh looking work for a company with deep Portland roots. It’s part product photography, part interior photography, part studio photography, and though it comes off as relaxed, it was well planned out and often filled with lots of variations and LOTS of rigging (here, here, and here). Every shoot always felt like a pretty action packed day even though the product and my camera never really moved that much.

I’m really proud of the work I created for Rejuvenation and wanted to share them here on my blog and also on a special section under WORK.

Enjoy.

There and Back Again

Last Shoot in Portland

I wrapped my last shoot as a resident of Portland, OR last Friday (Rejuvenation’s Book 4 2015, crew photo above). On April 4th, my family and I will be moving back to Charlottesville, VA. It’s bittersweet to say the least.

I moved to Portland from “Cville” almost 10 years ago with my, then girlfriend / now wife, Lauren Brooks. Portland has been great for us. We established our careers here, got married here, and had two wonderful children Odin and Teagan. They say having kids changes your life in a big way and that certainly is the case for us as a freelancers. This kind of work makes juggling family and work a huge challenge. I just can’t leave set if my kid is sick at school and needs to go home. With two kids, logistics get ever more complicated. So, we decided to move back to be closer to family and raise our kids in a wonderful town that is very dear to both of us.

I’m excited for the change. Being based in Central Virginia is pretty ideal from a market reach standpoint. I’m two hours from DC, six hours from New York City, and eight hours from Atlanta, GA. That’s a lot big metro areas to work in with a doable commute. Plus, there’s a great architecture scene in Charlottesville due to UVA’s highly respected Architecture School. I’m starting up my marketing push over the next two weeks and also reaching out to my national clients to let them know about my relocation.

I would love your help. If you know any one I should reach out to, please let me know or drop them a link to my website.

Goodbye Portland! I will miss this town, all my friends, my clients, my crew, and the beer. Thanks for making it an awesome decade. Looking forward to coming back for visits!

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

WEHN WRODS FIAL Campaign

Lincoln Barbour - WEHN WRODS FIAL Campaign

Speaking of GRAY Magazine, I am currently running this sweet ad campaign to promote my architecture/interior photography business to the Pacific Northwest. The campaign was brilliantly written, art directed, and designed by my friend Craig Skinner. I first met Craig when he was at Owen Jones & Partners and art directed the I Am Home shoot we did for Prometheus Real Estate. We really hit it off and later that summer he joined my kickball team. We’ve been friends ever since. Craig is now over at Razorfish where he is a senior art director and has done superb work for clients like Microsoft, Bing, and New Zealand Tourism.

I love the direction Craig went with these ads. I feel it really speaks to the power of good photography in advertising and marketing. The ads are meant to show that even if your message fails (in this case deliberately), strong visuals can carry your brand and your audience will still connect to it. And also you should probably hire me to create those awesome visuals for you. I have to say, I’m lucky to have a friend like Craig.

Also, have to give a big thanks to Tim Kamerer for the updated logo and style guide we used for the ad. I’m working on a new website and brand refresh and I’ll have another post about Tim’s skills soon.

Here are the other ads that a running over 3 issues of GRAY December through May.

Lincoln Barbour - WEHN WRODS FIAL Campaign 

Lincoln Barbour - WEHN WRODS FIAL Campaign