Houston may be the 4th largest city in the US, but its total area covers more than any other. This size allows for enough greenery to include over 20 different recreational parks and with its tropical climate, the affectionately nicknamed Bayou City enjoys an average of more than 204 days of sunshine every year. Houston is also considered to be one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the United States, with a growing international community and more than 145 languages spoken within its population. This makes it a wide-ranging hub of the arts, food, and nightlife, complete with a fascinatingly unique pedestrian tunnel system 20 feet below the ground, running for seven miles and linking 95 city blocks. All of this gives Houston its spectacular motto: The City With No Limits. With so many people building their lives in such a vast and exciting place, lifestyle photography in Houston is becoming an important part of depicting and promoting the many businesses, incentives, and attractions that make it such an exciting place to be.
At Wonderful Machine, we define lifestyle photography as depicting an idealized, aspirational version of real life. In a huge city with a population coming from all over the world, voices just as rich in their diversity are needed to best capture life on its brightest side of reality. Here are our picks for the best lifestyle photographers in Houston.
Felix Sanchez began in the world of music, photographing artists and the creative people around them. And through these roots in the wild and unpredictable world of documenting live performance, Felix must have found himself to be an absolute natural when he began working in lifestyle photography. The imagery is bright and vibrant while the focus is upon the human experience itself:
Today my editorial and advertising clients still want the interesting story. I just tell it through my lens in a contemporary natural way. Real life moments, just … better. That’s what I do.
If you look at the work of many professionals in this specialty, Felix stands out in that his subjects never seem to be posing. Rather, they are having fun and sharing authentic moments. To capture such a real slice of life is naturally the most important part of this specialty, yet also perhaps the most difficult. And this is where Felix shines.
Nathan Lindstrom is a photographer specializing in capturing people in the moments that make their lives special. He and his team achieve this through a dedicated level of preparation that makes for a readiness to recognize and act when that perfect instant arrives. Part of this process is working very closely with his clients, beginning by collaboratively finding the most important values they wish to depict:
We listen. We ask questions. Then we listen more. We pay attention to every detail. We plan. We organize. We plan for contingencies. Genuine storytelling doesn’t happen in a hurry and it doesn’t happen by accident.
In any setting, from the city to the farms, and even within other specialties, Nathan depicts the feeling of being right there with the people he photographs. He also brings an honest joy to subjects of all ages. Working effectively with natural light in every shoot, he stands out as one of the finest lifestyle photographers in Houston.
Jill Hunter is a photographer specializing in editorial and advertising photography, centering her work on people and their experiences in nature, their homes, and traveling. Activity is abundant in Jill’s work, with her subjects often jumping, laughing, and in a playful mood. There’s a childlike quality to the people in her photography, and this might come down to the fact that she often focuses on her subjects interacting with their environment. In many senses, she seems to naturally set the stage for them to have fun, explore, and enjoy themselves. She often conducts her shoots outdoors, capturing an adventurous nature in everyone in front of her camera, which is a perfect quality for a lifestyle photographer in Houston. With her use of natural light, she utilizes the time of day to illustrate the moods of the activities she documents, from the vibrant bright afternoon at play to the calming evening glow of reflection.
A dedicated visual storyteller, Deun Ivory is a multidisciplinary artist whose photography has been featured in Essence, Glamour, Refinery29, Vogue and other national and international publications. Her work stands out in its commitment to wellness, mental health, and celebration of natural beauty. Focusing on racial and cultural experience, both camaraderie and sisterhood run through Deun’s photography. Warmth is at the forefront of everything she does, and this is often deepened not only in the authenticity of her subjects, but her gentle approach to utilizing both natural and naturalistic light. Bringing love and awareness into all of her work, Deun has shot campaigns for brands including Apple, Google, Glossier, and Nike, as well as many magazine covers.
Arturo Olmos is a Texas native who studied and worked in New York City for eight years, after which he returned and now calls Houston home. Starting in the fast-paced, hyper-stylized world of New York seems to have given him the skills in capturing people in the heat of the moment and looking fantastic. Yet a deep appreciation for his own background in the vast and beautiful landscapes of Texas runs through his work, as well. As an experienced video director, Arturo is the rare double-threat who often brings both aptitudes to his shoots:
Most of the time, I am shooting both stills and video simultaneously. This workflow I’ve adopted as a photographer and director means a more streamlined production while allowing for stills and video to harmonize in magazines or world wide advertising campaigns.
His work has also been selected & chosen for American Photography 32, 33, 34, 35, 37, and 38 as well as for the International Motion Art Awards 9 and is a SPD 56 Gold Winner.
A. Scott began in the farming industry before finding a calling in photography. Still maintaining a closeness to the work that goes into growing food and bringing it to the world, A. honed their focus on the stories of the people who make it happen and brought this into their photography.
Whether in the studio, on location, or in a field, I strive for imagery that is vibrant, full of heart and life, and that feels personal and tangible. I approach all my projects with a goal of real world beauty, accessibility, inclusivity, and playfulness.
Hard work can bring a deeper knowledge of how to enjoy a process moment by moment, whether appreciating the environment you are working in or taking satisfaction in a job well done. A. finds this humanity in everyone they shoot. In catching people with a sense of accomplishment while using bright colors and natural light, A. shares an unmistakable sense of joy and abundance in their work, which is a great asset for a lifestyle photographer in Houston.
Originally from Ohio, Terry Vine is a Houston-based, award-winning lifestyle photographer recently named one of the 200 Best Advertising Photographers Worldwide by Luerzer’s Archive. Often capturing a powerful landscape in the setting of his subjects, Terry captures people doing a natural activity with a true sense of their presence. Moments are warm between them when photographed together, and when featured alone they are reflective in a way that rings true. Maybe Midwestern roots relocating to this expansive location in Texas allows Terry to so effectively document people interacting not only with each other, but with the land. This is what makes him a giant not only in lifestyle photography in Houston, but all over. His can be seen featured in Communications Arts Photo Annuals, Graphis Photo Annuals, Print, American Photography Annual, Applied Arts Annuals, and PDN Photo Annuals, as well as museums and private collections nationwide.
Many different avenues of promotion use lifestyle photography to communicate values, experiences, and emotions. In a city like Houston, with potentially the fastest growing international population, working within diversity is as important as the timing and dedication to get a powerful image. As they come from all walks of life, each of these lifestyle photographers in Houston bring their unique journey and celebration of humanity to create images of authentic joy.