What Kind of Photographer are You?

I always hate that question. If I simply tell people I’m a photographer, the next question they ask is either: “Will you shoot my wedding?” Or “Can I schedule a time for you to photograph my children?” Based on that, I would probably do well to go into the wedding or portrait photography business, by my specialty is not photographing people. There are other photographers who are so much better at that than I am.

Over the years, I have tried defining what kind of photographer I am in many ways: An outdoor photographer. A garden photographer. An editorial photographer. A fine art photographer. A landscape photographer. A professional photographer. A travel photographer. None ever seem to be quite the right fit.

Professionally, I suppose I was strictly an editorial garden photographer for many years. But things aren’t so clear cut any more. First, the demand for my work shifted with the market. Instead of getting assignments to photograph gardens, I was suddenly asked to photograph outdoor kitchens, outdoor living areas, swimming pools and spas, and other architectural elements of the landscape. Occasionally, I photographed interiors as well. But now there’s a more self-driven shift—I’m spending more time working on personal projects. I’m shooting as often in black and white as in color. And I’m finding joy, once again, in shooting random subjects that interest me whether they have to do with anything in the landscape or not. In the end, I believe this strengthens my editorial style, which, due to the subject matter and shot lists, tends to be different from my personal work.

In the end, I hope that what kind of photographer I am will be defined by style and my way of seeing the world rather than by my subject, my clients, or how my photographs are used.

Photo ©2008 Lee Anne White. All rights reserved.