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30 Oct 2020

Portrait Photography

create dramatic portraits with natural light live view for camera settings
Couples Portrait Photography example

What is Portrait Photography?

If you’re a social person and you love to capture the essence of people in real-life shoots, then portrait photography might be the discipline for you.

Unlike candid shoots, portrait photography sees your subject posed in front of a specific backdrop.

how to use natural light for high key portraits
Bridal Portrait Photography Example

History of Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is one of the oldest photographic disciplines in the world, first arising thanks to the affordability of daguerreotypy in the 1840s. These early cameras had long exposure times, and as such, early subjects often look expressionless and are posed very simply. As photography advanced and cameras started to have shorter exposure times, it gave photographers more ability to experiment with poses, lighting, and costume.

Approaches to Portrait Photography

There are four key archetypes of portrait photography that are in use today:

Creative

Creative portrait photographs are staged shots where the photograph is manipulated to change the final output. This is what we commonly think of when we talk about portrait photography, as modern creative portrait photographers use programs like Photoshop to change the subject’s appearance or setting.

Candid

Candid portraits are taken of people in their natural environment and without their knowledge. While this can produce stunning images that showcase the subject’s personality, this use of photography has been widely condemned as the paparazzi have made it more exploitative and invasive for the subject.

Environmental

Environmental photography is a less invasive form of candid photography, where subjects are captured doing something that relates to them. These shots have been popular throughout history and as such photographs from this discipline are considered a vital source of historical information.

Constructionist

In a constructionist portrait, subjects are photographed working in a situation that pertains to a certain idea that the photographer wants to capture. These kinds of portraits are popular in technical environments, for marketing purposes, and in business.

See the latest portrait photography news, tips and tutorials in the articles below.

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