Standard star photometry dominated the latter half of the twentieth century reaching its zenith in the 1980s. It was introduced to take advantage of the high sensitivity and large dynamic range of photomultiplier tubes compared to photographic plates. As the quantum efficiency of photodetectors improved and the wavelength range extended further to the red, standard systems were modified and refined, and deviations from the original systems proliferated. The revolutionary shift to area detectors for all optical and IR observations forced further changes to standard systems, and the precision and accuracy of much broad- and intermediate-band photometry suffered until more suitable observational techniques and standard reduction procedures were adopted. But the biggest revolution occurred with the production of all-sky photometric surveys. Hipparcos/Tycho was space based, but most, like 2MASS, were ground-based, dedicated survey telescopes. It is very likely that in the future, rather than making a measurement of an object in some standard photometric system, one will simply look up the magnitudes and colors of most objects in catalogs accessed from the Virtual Observatory. In this review the history of standard star photometry will be outlined, and the calibration and realization of standard systems will be examined. Finally, model atmosphere fluxes are now very realistic, and synthetic photometry offers the best prospects for calibrating all photometric systems. Synthetic photometry from observed spectrophotometry should also be used as a matter of course to provide colors within standard systems and to gain insights into the spectra and colors of unusual stars, star clusters and distant galaxies.