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Some Thoughts on Portrait Photography

Updated on August 8, 2013

When I look at a website of my friend, Angel Andreu, Hong Kong Portrait Photographer, I am very impressed. His portfolio especially portrait photography, demonstrate his unique style. Photography is something that everyone can engage in. I can take portrait photographs with my iPhone cameras, but it can turn out not as good as I hope.

I have done some research on portrait photography and found some interesting works from different photographers. I also found some interesting points from different photographers. However, I would like to share some of my thoughts in this hub.

A Portrait Picture from Mondodimusica Blog.
A Portrait Picture from Mondodimusica Blog.
Children can be a good model.
Children can be a good model. | Source

Following vs Creativity

Photographers have been making portraits for many years. Although many people prefer to do landscape, architecture or wildlife photography, the most of the pictures that have been made are still portraits photography.

The word "portraiture" means self expression, private point of view, and individual style. It means that there is no standard rule for portrait photography. Since there is no standard rule, portrait photographer can create unique images. The most successful images can be found different places because it is unique and many people understand.

However, some people do not understand have this standard of portrait photography. So photography instructor, for example, often suggest students to follow his rules for portraiture. In fact, this suggestion is not good. Different portrait photographers have their individualism, self-expression, and point of view. If one follows his instructor rules for portraiture, that is to copy his style. There is no uniqueness or self-expression.

Following other's rules also limit your creativity. One should be aware of how other people see themselves and conditions under which the portrait is made. When a portrait photographer create images, the image should involve his creative idea. If people understand his creativity, his works should get some feedback or attention from others regarding on his creativity. However, following other's rules can show the similarity to others. If a portrait photographer follows other's style to create a portrait, he can likely get feedback from others regarding the comparison of his works with others. It also implies that there is not so much creativity and uniqueness in his portraiture works.

Point of Interest and Expression

For a successful portrait photographer, the person he is photographing needs to reflect the main point of interest. This point of interest can be seen from how the photographer capture and fill the frame with the subject's face. For example, the expression on a subject's face can make an unique image. A good portrait photographer should experiment and ask the subject with different moods and emotions. This step can spend lot of time because portraitists need to make the subject comfortable in front of a camera. In other words, it is also a way to gain a person's trust that the portrait photographer is going to help them look the best they can.

On the other hand, the point of interest should not be limited by shooting either horizontally or vertically. Each portrait session should have variety of images.

A short video for Portrait Photography


"A picture is worth a thousand words." A good portrait can say something about the subject. In other words, good portrait should be able to say something about the human condition. In order to tell other people about the subject, the subject's face also is a good way to capture.

Every face bears a story. Portrait Photographers need to reveal the undiscovered story through the camera lens. Faces always tell stories and situation of the person. It can even tell the story of the place the person lives in. Portrait Photographer should experiments different people with different background because through out searching the portrait, the photographer can experience different subjects.

Many portrait or fashion photographers only focus on their subjects into beauty. So photographers even only take pictures of Caucasian people and ignore others. This can be seen and shown from their portfolios. In fact, that is an unhealthy practice. It can demonstrate to others that the photographers have narrowed experience of photography. In other words, he has very narrow-minded concept of photography. In order to be successful, diversity is very important nowadays. If a portrait photographers want to be successful, he needs to open minded and experiment different subjects.

Another Video of Portrait Photography


Everyone has their own preference. Different people have different standard of beauty. Photographers cannot really tell others how they believe the subjects can be good in pictures, without rich and different kind of experience. A skilled and professional, however, can quickly judge whether it is good to be photographed. This is because they have various experiences in shooting diversity, facial expression, and creativity.

When you look for a photographer, you should pay attention these element next time.


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    • beaddve1800 profile image

      beaddve1800 4 years ago from Toronto


    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 4 years ago from Pune, India

      Great portraits.

      Thank you for sharing the tips and images.