"Glitzy" vs "Classic" Portrait Style, & Female Photographers--Question

Started Jun 27, 2012 | Discussions thread
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larrytusaz Senior Member • Posts: 2,416
"Glitzy" vs "Classic" Portrait Style, & Female Photographers--Question

I hope this post is NOT offensive, because I do love all people & am not prejudiced or sexist, I say this because, without that clarification, it could sound as if I am.

Also, there are a fair number of pictures in the thread, & that can "clutter" things, but I needed them to make the point.

I am a "hobbyist" photographer, mostly landscapes/flowers etc, although lately I have done some portraits as well. My wife always says, as do others who know me in person, that they think I could do people photography for a living, but I've never really figured I was cut out for all of that.

This was even before I've noticed 2 trends which would further state that I'm not cut out for this, or that I would need to seriously step up my game first. The two trends: (a) portraits now seem to have a much more "girly" look to them (I can't think of what else to call it), and (b) far more photographers are women than in the past and it seems they & they alone can strike a rapport with other women that a guy can't & know all about those "girly touches" to make those photos have that particular look to them.

Referring to the "girly" look to portraits, I started to call it "glamor" but I don't mean like what model shots look like. I mean in terms of there being a "setting" and "props" that give the photos that aesthetic of being like a bed & breakfast or something, and there are accessories & "props" out the wazoo. Also, the colors seem to be very vivid as well.

These two images, which my cousin of many years showed off (she didn't take them, their local professional did), illustrates the look I'm referring to:

I'm used to seeing very "straight-up" or "classic" styles of portraits, but definitely not snapshots, that look like this:

That photo, in fact, is one someone in here posted, I was illustrating it to show what sort of photo I mean by "classic" (I hope that's okay).

Here are some I've done (I made them smaller so they wouldn't hog the screen so much):







Not to be prideful or in denial, but as nice as those 1st two were (and they are), I don't see what's wrong with the "classic" ones. Further, in a more recent shoot I did, I tried to make it have more "character" and "personality" and have a certain "look" to it beyond just being same-old/same-old. The guy was wearing a particular outfit, I happen to say "all you need is a pocket watch & the look is set" he happened to have one, and I made this shot, converting it to sepia for emphasis:

Lately, it seems ALL portrait photographers out there are doing the "bed & breakfast" style of shots (again I don't know what else you would call it), the photographers are all women, and if one of those doesn't apply to you, you just don't rate. It seems that, lately, the style of shots you saw earlier is the thing now, and if you don't do that, you just aren't going to generate any interest.

Am I right about this, and is there a particular reason for it, or is it just the typical cycle of changing of styles & trends etc we've seen before, where certain styles and "looks" come & go, just as disco was hot for awhile but now no one's going out dancing to Donna Summer and "Funkytown?" (And why did I not notice this until the last year or so, surely it's been going on longer than that.)

I can analyzing things a lot sometimes, & I thought of it like this--regarding musician Tom Petty, VH1 critics once said something like "he just writes basic rock & roll songs, nothing fancy, he doesn't act like he's inventing the wheel." They've often said you could take a Tom Petty album from the 70s and listen to it side-by-side with more recent albums he's done, and there's no difference. He's not trying to create a certain "style," he just is . Yet, the man is a legend.

Compare him to singers like Michael Jackson, he was always changing his style, it was as much about the "show" as anything else. His shows had fireworks & gimmicks to them all over the place, to say nothing of many of his music videos. Needless to say MJ was a legend, but Tom Petty, despite being far more "plain," there's no denying the man is an all-time great. He just doesn't worry about style & having a certain "sound," he just does very 'straight-up" songs. And most of Tom Petty's videos were far more plain, but I doubt anyone complained he wasn't trying to mimic MJ's "Thriller" in his videos.

One could argue that one shot I showed, and the ones I took, it's as if that's the "Tom Petty" school of portraits, it's not a matter of skill level or capability it's just a different "look," but right now Tom Petty is not very "happening" on the "scene" right now or something. Further, female photographers are much better it seems in doing this sort of thing vs males, and many women nowadays assume that a male photographer, unless he's the late Herb Ritts, is a pervert, they trust women more, thus between both things women get more of the business.

Am I right, or is it something else?

And again, I am not sexist, I have NO problem with females being photographers, at ALL. I'm just saying it sure seems like you see way more of them than before, it's as if it's the 1970s, I'm a female, and I'm at a construction work site dominated by men.

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