Genre Portrait Sessions for Unique Images

    Beel Photography took a mayor upgrade when digital cameras came on the scene. One of my favorite upsides to digital has been the ability to experiment with posing and lighting while on a photography shoot for a family, during a wedding, or for senior high school photographs. In the old film days I could experiment, but actually looking at the results sometimes took up to a week, so the main focus, (pun intended), was to get the “shots” that were the mayor goal of the session. 

   With Genre Photography, I can start planning during the free consult the story that the customer and I want to portray during the photography portrait appointment. We can choose time of day, settings, clothing changes, and most importantly, the theme of the story. My definition of “Genre Photography” is: photographic images in which scenes of everyday life are kicked up a notch or two and then captured in a realistic style with a particularly interesting twist.

   This twist can be planned during the consult and then revised the day of the portrait session. I like to plan genre portraits sessions if the subject is interested and adventurously motivated to try something unique and different, and other times I like to really encourage the subject to let me take advantage of their portrait goals, their personality and looks, and even the weather conditions to produce genre portrait images. Because I have a strong journalistic background, capturing events on the fly has always been intriguing to me.

   We talk together discussing the output desired from the portrait session, what the subject has in mind, what they want to bring as clothing and props, and then I suggest places, times of days, and even the type of weather we are hoping to take advantage of during the photography session. Often people will show me an example of the finished image finding ideas from the various social media. Other times people bring in a framed portrait of one of relatives and want me to recreate a somewhat matching portrait image.

    Although genre portraits can happen seemingly spontaneously, when lighting changes or during the course of photographing a wedding, many times my creative mind has been working on ideas for several days.

   Recently, I arrived at a family portrait session, and I called everyone together for a team meeting, outlining my ideas and, frankly, garnering help to move living room furniture outside to a point of land on the property, to take advantage of the best lighting. This images graces my Families Tab page at

    My next blog post:  Pet and Animal Portraiture.