Few cities in the US offer the perks of both urban and rural living, but Philadelphia manages to do just that. You can cycle beside the Schuylkill in the morning, shop across Center City’s retail outlets in the afternoon, and hop from one bar to another along South Street at night. And if you admire the city’s rich culture and history, visiting its many landmarks and museums would also be a worthwhile excursion. Inserting any aspect of Philly Living into a commercial campaign or editorial feature would create an enticing proposition, and we’ve found the best Philadelphia lifestyle photographers for that purpose after poring over our directory.
At Wonderful Machine, lifestyle photography depicts an idealized, aspirational version of real life, usually showing happy, attractive people in nice clothes doing fun things in beautiful places. It often uses professional models, hair/make-up, props, wardrobe, and locations, yet it still looks authentic. It’s usually intended to help promote a product or service but can be used editorially as well. Each Philadelphia lifestyle photographer on our list represents a distinct version of an aspirational life, covering different visual identities to suit a variety of assignments.
Gene Smirnov is a Philadelphia lifestyle photographer whose creative pursuits began with graphic design about two decades ago. Those early years creating art on Quark and Photoshop eventually led him to photography, a craft he now pursues to document the stories and perspectives of countless subjects. Through bold colors and strong use of contrast, Gene strikes an authentic tone with his lifestyle images, blurring the lines between lifestyle and social documentary. His pictures feel unplanned and unscripted, giving him a distinct edge in commercial and editorial campaigns where honest depictions of people are desired.
Gene’s client list includes AARP, Astra Zeneca, Barron’s, Billboard, Philadelphia Magazine, INC., Inked Magazine, Pentagram, People Magazine, PWC, MRM McCann, Money Magazine, Vice, and WSJ. In addition, he has received awards and recognition from Graphis Photography Annual, the American Society of Media Photographers, and more.
Since earning his BFA in photography from Boston’s School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Bryan Sheffield has amassed a client list that includes The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Apple, Warner Bros., Starbucks, Samsung, GQ, Adidas, Chevrolet, and so many more. Publications, brands, and agencies from around the world appreciate his creativity and meticulous approach to assignments, making him an easy choice for any number of campaigns.
Within the lifestyle specialty, Bryan’s photos have been used for marketing a wide range of products, from electronics all the way down to fashion. It reveals a unique ability to match people and products to idealized settings, where a dreamy and sun-soaked aesthetic is always present.
While Mark Tassoni specializes in portraiture, he enters our list of Philadelphia lifestyle photographers for his exceptional talent in framing candid moments. There’s joy to be found through simple moments in life, as we have a summer lunch with family at the patio or help our kids with the homework to varying degrees of success. Through both color and black-and-white images, Mark clicks the shutter at precisely the right instance, turning ordinary moments in life into golden ones worth remembering for years to come. He puts it best himself:
I am always looking for the candid portrait. I love capturing the reality in people. Their spontaneity. I hope it shows.
Our lifestyle specialty depicts aspirational versions of life, and Colin M. Lenton’s photography aims to do the same, telling “human stories that inspire optimism, charity, and hope for a better future.” He does this through color and black and white, looking for those opportunities that put a smile on the subject’s face and ours as we look at his photos. A closer analysis of his portfolio also reveals an inclination towards health and wellness imagery, covering the young and fit engaging in their favorite hobbies and senior citizens improving their quality of life.
Colin’s clients include Philadelphia Magazine, Comcast, Temple Health, Meals on Wheels America, Runner’s World, PNC Bank, The Franklin Institute, Discovery USA, Facebook, Deloitte, and many more.
Life is weird, anthemic, dazzling and well, all around extraordinary. Why make boring content?
Without a doubt, Steve Chris lives by that statement. He’s a Philadelphia lifestyle photographer with a flair for the dramatic, doing so with his dreamy use of lighting. Whether his photo is set up indoors or outdoors, in the morning or evening, he composes the frame with a surreal touch, finding the magic in our daily experiences, even if that’s something as routine as a cup of coffee with friends.
Stevie’s client list includes Under Armour, Diadora, Foot Locker, Philadelphia Magazine, Condé Nast, Bon Appétit, Drexel University, City of Philadelphia, and more. While he’s based in Philly, he also splits his time between New York and Los Angeles, frequently traveling for work purposes.
Having been in the photography business for over 30 years, Dave Moser has accomplished many things on any professional’s bucket list. He has photographed celebrities and politicians, traveled around the world, and done some truly outlandish things like dangling from a helicopter for the sake of a perfect shot. Suffice it to say that he goes the extra mile for his clients in commercial and editorial spaces. One campaign, for instance, saw Dave take 46 trips to Europe over six months to ensure he captured the right image. That’s commitment.
In lifestyle photography, Dave documents various experiences that bring people together, from dinner time with friends to some R&R at the park. Additionally, he has proven himself capable of shooting kids’ lifestyle imagery, despite the challenges of having unpredictable tiny humans on set.
Dave’s client list includes ABA Journal, Aetna, AstraZeneca, Barron’s, Cisco, Comcast, Drexel University, ESPN, Forbes, IBM, The New York Times Magazine, Reader’s Digest, Saatchi & Saatchi, Sports Illustrated, University of Pennsylvania, Verizon, and more.
Zave Smith’s portfolio is replete with the pleasures of life. He’s a Philadelphia lifestyle photographer documenting experiences that are “exuberant and poignant, philosophical and passionate.” Whatever the moment entails, whether it’s a walk down the beach with a loved one or an afternoon repose in the backyard, Zave’s camera paints it in the most colorful terms, defining joy and happiness through spectacular visuals.
Zave’s clients include Disney, Pfizer, Capital One, Comcast, P&G, Publicis Groupe, Merck, Abbott, and many more. He has also been featured in Communication Arts, View Camera, Shutterbug, Range Finder, Workbook, and Alt Pick.
In addition to his technical proficiency with the camera, Matt Stanley brings a sense of empathy and respect for his subjects and stories. These sensibilities let him tackle numerous commercial and editorial projects, which vary in scope, scale, and complexity. In his portfolio, Matt has shown outdoor lifestyle images to be a particular strength, where his subjects appreciate and interact with nature in pure and simple ways. Dipping one’s toes in a shallow stream or a hike up the hills never seemed more refreshing.
Matt’s client list includes The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, SEIU, Princeton University, Drexel College of Medicine, Lehigh University, Rutgers University, Glenmede Wealth Management, VisitPhilly, Delaware River Waterfront Corporation, Jewish Federation, Episcopal Community Services, and Mercersburg Academy.
And that’s a wrap! These photographers prove that money can buy happiness, at least a few pictorial depictions of it. So one way or another, your upcoming photo assignment is in safe hands.