Unless you are a “named” photographer we use tags to describe how you shoot. Pick the tags below that best describe your photography to see how I refer to you.

  • color
  • black & white
  • film
  • digital
  • available light
  • lit
  • heavily lit
  • over lit
  • large format
  • medium format
  • 35mm
  • holga/junk
  • shoots men
  • shoots women
  • shoots children
  • studio
  • location
  • portrait
  • photojournalist
  • fashion
  • beauty
  • still life
  • fine art
  • advertising
  • outdoor
  • automotive
  • food
  • interior
  • sports
  • conceptual
  • travel and leisure-e
  • urban
  • gritty
  • nike
  • high production value
  • low production value
  • slick
  • raw
  • grainy
  • saturated
  • captured moment
  • americana
  • weird
  • stark
  • quirky
  • props
  • lyrical
  • painterly
  • high contrast
  • naked
  • cool
  • off moment
  • awkward
  • muted color
  • crunchy (super sharp)
  • great casting
  • tight
  • landscape
  • action
  • sets
  • real people
  • models
  • trashy
  • heroin
  • vintage
  • webberie
  • annieish
  • assisted for annie
  • lachapelleish
  • egglestonish
  • dan winters on peyote
  • meisel’s brother from another mother

I think there’s something insightful here like having a 2-4 word description is bad because there are so many people that have the same 2-4 words and over 12 is probably bad because then it gets hard to remember all the words.

You can tell me all the tags I forgot and I’ll add them in.

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  1. Your last section above is hilarious. I’d like to know which photographers are in your Rolodex under “Dan Winters on Peyote”?

    I’ve long felt that, in order to really move toward the top, you’ve got to refine your look down to where it could be summed up in a few words, or one sentence. I think Alec Soth used to talk about that in his blog too — getting your work to the point where it could be summed up like: “_____ ______, he’s that guy that shoots _______”. There are simply so many photographers out there, that you’ve got to specialize in order to be remembered. At least at the higher echelons.

    I’d like for you to go back thru all the photographers you’ve featured here — Kratochvil, Chessum, Reidel, Corbijn, etc — and tell us what labels you put on them. Just out of curiosity.

  2. You forgot the obvious:
    – gimmicky
    – kitschy
    – Lord-of-the-Rings-y (overly digitally processed so people look like video game characters)

  3. How about Platonish, or Russ Meyerish, or Kubrickesque, or ManRayish, or Les Krimsesque…..

  4. Well you may be disapointed to be the victim of bait and switch but I’m sure i would get your attention………

  5. @5 scott: Yeah, the ish’s go on forever. I also like poor man’s annie or poor man’s lachapelle

    @1 crunchy: I think all the “named” photographers have a tag nobody else has. Like antonin and his tilted frame and corbijn and his processing plus you can say the guy who shoots U2 and everyone knows who you’re talking about.

  6. @3 a shorter way to say Lord-of-the-Ringsy might be Fiscus-y

  7. I’d love to see a Family Tree of New York City photographers and assistants, and see who assisted who, and who then went on to be a quality photographer on their own. Would Annie be at the top of the tree? Avedon? Seliger? Who’s spawned the greatest number of good photographers? And inversely, who’s spawned the greatest number that are now either back working in their family’s business in DesMoines, or in therapy, to delete the memory of assisting for them?

  8. I come from a food photography perspective so these are things I think when I looking to define a shooter’s tag profile


    Maybe these are not “meta” enough and too fine-grained in detail for your purposes here!

  9. I can’t wait to see Fiscusy go away. Fiscus has content under his process. The 10 million copycats do not.

  10. How about “cinematic”?
    I’m always hearing that one used by PEs, ADs and CDs.

    snapshotty (as opposed to snap-shoddy)

  11. yeah, I get “film noir” a lot

    lol@haute shit

  12. people say I am “square”

  13. I’m not a pro and maybe I’m not supposed to be here to partecipate, but my tags are:

    del romano

    today if you have not a tag, you couldn’t be find from you, from agencies, from customers, even your own family looking for holidays pictures on flickr.

    Maybe in a future more enlightened and clever age, personal ‘tags’ will be a visual way to reproduce the world and not only an etymological exercise, in which everyone lies about their own works…

  14. This is fun, but how is a photographer to label himself? Or maybe this is why you started photo rank. I guess the value here is that we can look at the list and pick things we want to be, then go become it. What a great career.

  15. Photo editors and art directors have these weird conversations all the time where we discuss styles of photography and photographers using tags and then in conversations with creatives it gets really strange because they know what they want but don’t know anyone who shoots that way.

    Poor man’s Annie, B/W, with low production value and quirky props.
    Color, urban, snapshotty, cool, real people with muted color.

    Doesn’t really have anything to do with Photo Rank alltho I would love a script where I could tick off what I want and photographers names would appear. May have to build that.

  16. @ Comment 20:

    Ironically, I just had a long conversation with the Advertising director of Communication Arts last night, about this very thing. I just bought one of their “post card” packages, and with that, you get this listing on Creative Hotlist, (which I’d never even heard of).


    To me, it’s gotten to the point with these databases, sort of like it got with the printed directories, where there are so damn many of them, that you run the risk of overtaxing any client, by forcing them to look thru too many of these photographers’ sources. There’s Workbook.com, and this CreativeHotlist, and PhotoServe, and any number of others. If I was a client, would I actually take the time to key in keywords in every one of those databases? Something like: “Lifestyle photographer, Los Angeles, Color, Location”? And really, when you see the checkbox choices of these databases, aren’t they so limiting? Within “LosAngeles Lifestyle Location Color”, that still leaves twelve thousand photographers in the running.

    What I’d like to see is some way to link ALL of those databases, where a client, (like A.P.E.) would only have to input his data ONE TIME. Like I told that person last night, if anyone can/will do it, it’ll be Google.

    But there also needs to be those quirky keywords like the original post referred to. And his list above is a pretty good start. I just wonder how many would show up under “Poor Man’s Annie”? Or “Fiscus WannaBee”?

  17. bad

    not convinced


    man hands

  18. If photography is bad we don’t talk about it.

  19. I hate when I hear people say ‘ethnic.’ WTF is that? About as precise as ‘world music’ i guess.

  20. brilliant post.

    re: comment #9 a family tree that is very interesting. from a fashion standpoint i’d say nick knight has actually been a great ‘spawner’ of talent.


    “Craig McDean was Knight’s assistant at this time. “I learnt more in my first month with Nick,” he says, “than in four years at college.” A succession of talented photographers have since assisted Knight, including Elaine Constantine, Sean Ellis and Solve Sundsbo. Juergen Teller asked to be taken on too, only to be told that his work was already so strong that Knight had nothing to teach him.”

    and knight is only 48! amazing.

  21. i wonder how many photogs fit into the tag of ‘can shoot anything’.

  22. […] this post yesterday, so I thought I would try to make my photographer […]

  23. […] A Photo Editor – Photographer Tags Unless you are a “named” photographer we use tags to describe how you shoot. Pick the tags below that best describe your photography to see how I refer to you. (tags: photography) […]

  24. Quick question for ya : how does an up and coming photographer find out about bids for advertising campaigns? How does someone find out about them initially to be able to bid? Thanks for taking the time to read this, much appreciated!


  25. @29- They find you. That is after you done lot’s of marketing via the various ways to get your name out there.

  26. @ 30 : so until that time of them ‘finding you’ , what are you to do in the meantime? Any other way other than waiting for them to find you?


  27. […] A photo editor kluddade ner taggar som han använder för att kategorisera fotografer, jag tänkte välja ut ett par som passar in på mig och mitt fotande. Kommentera gärna eller skicka ett mail om du inte tycker att det stämmer, eller om något borde läggas till. […]

  28. […] Photographer Tags – How aPE sees photographers. What categories does your work fall under? As a new photographer, it’s better to focus on your best work before expanding into other genres. Knowing how you are ‘pigeonholed’ isn’t so bad if you can get to the point where editors think of you when they are presented with ‘x’ genre or style. Where should you be focusing your efforts? […]

  29. […] A Photo Editor – Photographer Tags Unless you are a “named” photographer we use tags to describe how you shoot. Pick the tags below that best describe your photography to see how I refer to you. (tags: photography) […]

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