Portrait photography is inarguably one of the most popular photography genres. But did you know there are so many styles you can choose from? Yes, no more plain old passport pictures. Explore your skills in this photography form and find out what is your ideal style of portraiture.
Top 10 types of portrait photography to test out
1. Traditional portraits
Traditional photography is all about capturing the emotion and expression of the subject. This classic style of portraiture involves the subject looking directly at the camera and is often taken against a simple studio setting. These photos are usually focused on the head and shoulders of the subject rather than the whole body.
2. Candid portraits
In candid portrait photography, the subject appears (and usually is) unaware that they are being photographed. Candid photographs are unplanned and do not involve any posing. It can give powerful insight into a subject’s real emotions.
3. Lifestyle portraits
Lifestyle portrait photography captures people going about their everyday lives. This style is often used in advertisements by brands that want to inspire their customers to live the portrayed lifestyle.
4. Glamour portraits
Glamour portrait photography can give off an alluring and sensual vibe as it focuses on capturing the raw beauty of the subject. This style of portrait photography often involves thorough styling of hair, makeup and wardrobe.
5. Conceptual portraits
Conceptual portraits are mysterious and ambiguous, where the message of the image isn’t clear right away. They try to capture a concept or idea through a portrait. In order to achieve the desired results, post-production plays a huge role in creating a surreal outcome.
Self-portraits are a photographer’s greatest challenge as they involve no one but yourself. To allow yourself to be vulnerable with your camera can be a bit tough but it can help you get out of your comfort zone, practice different compositions and photography styles.
7. Close up portraits
Close up – or macro – portrait photography involves extreme close up shots of a subject or part of a subject, usually the eye. As you’re going to be very close to the subject, it helps to talk to them and relax them for the best results.
8. Group portraits
Photos of couples and families are the most common group portraits. Pictures of more than one person are harder to capture than portraits of an individual. You have to get more people to pose together and interact with the photograph.
9. Environmental portraits
Environmental portrait photography is all about capturing your subject in an environment that means something to them. This could be in their garden or their favourite restaurant or any other place that they have a relationship with. The pose, lighting, person, and background should all work well together in an environmental portrait and should be planned ahead of the shoot.
10. Pet portraits
Portrait photography isn’t always limited to human subjects; your furry friends can get in on the action too. Pet portrait photography is growing in demand as pet owners look for ways to capture their pets’ personalities to cherish forever. Not to mention, people love to share photos of their pets on social media.
Understanding the different styles of portrait photography will help you diversify your portfolio and expand your creativity as a photographer.
Portrait photographers often excel in one or two of our mentioned styles. But in order to learn and grow in your photography skills, it’s important to try your hand at every style and then decide which suit your needs.