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Though there are dozens of photo categories, the ones that are being discussed relate to the few main types of photography that needs a studio setup. These are also commercial in nature so that you can make money off them.

In any branch of arts, categorization can be detrimental to creativity. You might end up doing a mixture of things that cross across labels. After all being successful is about mixing things up and finding an unique approach that is your own. But you are also running a business. Clients recognize and gravitate towards categorization. When you start advertising, you have to choose one of the categories as your forefront marketing label. Also it is important to understand what choices are available to you before you invest in equipment.


You are taking pictures of people, indoors in a studio or outdoors. Full body shots, headshots, creating images that are vibrant, makes statement about the person, capturing the mood or the profession of the person. It is a creative endeavor between you and the subject, and understanding the mental image of the person is extremely important. You can take technically correct pictures without resonating with the model. Having a pre shoot talk with your subjects is important, and understanding what the person needs is probably the key. Are these holiday shots to be placed on greeting cards, or is it a family portrait to be hung over the fireplace?

Portfolio is a collection of images showing the range and variance of your subject. Though the word ‘portfolio’ is predominantly used while creating images for models, it also means that you are creating different looks and moods to capture the multiple facets of your clients.

Emotional photographs move people, are remembered and treasured. It is not just about the external appearance that stays in the mind, but capturing vulnerabilities and emotions are key to mastering portraits. A baby laughing with his mother, or author sitting in his library with sunlight streaming from the window bring the photos to live. These are the portraits that are kept on the mantelpiece.


Model portfolio deserves a separate section. You would be dealing with glamour, clothes and attractive people who want to get themselves photographed. This is a challenging and exhilarating experience where you can have good monetary returns if start building a reputation.

People want to be acknowledged and recognized. Model portfolio is based on the notion that people want their best assets to be exposed while hiding their flaws and blemishes. A skilled photographer can do wonders to bring out the salient features.

Aspiring models want their portfolios for various reasons.

  • Some just want a collection of good professional photographs to keep in their albums, show them to their friends and family. It is called feel good photography.
  • Some are looking for part time jobs related to modelling, films, theater,advertisements, night clubs, bars. They want a flattering picture of themselves that they can send out with their resumes or queries.
  • People want their best photo online. Be it Facebook and other social networks, website, dating sites, they want their profile set that look glamorous, professional, or friendly and fun. This has become a huge market, though most just do selfies and post them.
  • People who want to break into the modelling business. They need a full range of photos, both indoors and outdoors, with different looks, makeup, hairstyle, clothes. It needs some skill and experience to capture these.

The best part about these Model Portfolios is that you are doing one to one shoot with most of them and can take time to explore options.


Here you are trying to sell something, - clothes, necklace, lipstick, toothbrush. Remember all these are being done for commercial purposes, and your photos are going to be used in print advertisements, online product or company sites, brochures, display ads.

You do have to gear up and have some specialized setup to carry this off, like light tents and close up lenses. You might need a translucent sheet and the ability to light it from underneath.

In product photography you do have more time to setup and shoot than in case of portraits and portfolios, unless the shoot also involves a live model. You bring the product to the studio, study it, and play with lights and angles till you find the right one.

It takes time to master it, but once your photos get appreciated (you get paid), the revenue stream opens up. Businesses which manufacture or sell products have many similar items, and it becomes easy to shoot hundreds of such items without drastically changing your lighting and camera setup.