The Contemporary Photography Experience

As a web designer and content creator, I assist clients with making decisions about the overall look and feel of their digital assets. A few years ago, I developed a series of planning tools that simplify the process. One of them is the Visual Brand Style Guide. The guide includes an overview of styles, colors, and font choices that help us narrow down the choices. The guide is also helpful in choosing the fashion style, colors, and environment that work best for photography.

The CONTEMPORARY style is minimal. It centers around essential elements, colors, shapes, and textures.  It has a sophisticated look and feel. The design is clean with minimal colors and bold accents. It can include geometric shapes, gradient backgrounds, and simple graphics. When it’s applied to photography, it’s defined by simplicity, subtle sophistication, solid colors, textures, and clean lines.

The Elements of a Contemporary Photography Experience

Deb Gaut

In preparation for Season 2 of her Tiny Sparks, Big Flames podcast, Deb Gaut and I had a photo adventure in the glorious Grand Center Arts District. In this photograph, she wore a ruffled turquoise blouse that paired beautifully with a navy-blue jacket with patterned cuffs. We discovered several ideal backgrounds, including this one at the Pulitzer Arts Foundation building. The subtle, textured, modern design was perfect!

Deb and I have worked together to create her website, launch her blog and podcast, and develop and implement a digital marketing plan that integrates the visual brand style that she was seeking. We had this in place when the photo session was scheduled, and it was easy for Deb to select clothing and accessories that were a good fit.

Dori Dorsey
Dori Dorsey

Dori Dorsey met me in Forest Park, one of my favorite locations for environmental photography. She wore simple, stylish clothing in warm, neutral colors. This was a great look for updating her online platforms for her corporate job.

In addition to utilizing textured backgrounds in the buildings, we incorporated benches, bridges, and iconic scenery into the session.

Locations for Contemporary Photography Sessions

Contemporary Art Museum

Contemporary buildings, offices, and parks with modern sculptures and textured walls are excellent settings.

Recommendations include the Grand Center Arts District, several locations in Forest Park, the Gateway Arch National Park, and Citygarden in downtown St. Louis.


Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak. – Rachel Zoe