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Art
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Portrait Photography

Types of Portrait Photography

September 8, 2022 by

Are you looking to expand your portrait photography skills? If so, you’re in luck!

This post will introduce you to 16 different types of portrait photography.

Whether you’re aiming to capture a person’s essence or just take a snapshot, there’s a type of portrait photography for you.

So get ready to learn about some new techniques and try your hand at some new styles!

Table of Contents

What is Portrait Photography?

Portrait photography is all about capturing the essence of a person. It can be done in a studio with professional lighting, or it can be a more candid shot taken on the fly.

Whether you’re trying to capture a person’s physical appearance or their personality, there are many different types of portrait photography to choose from.

self portrait
portrait

Types of Portrait Photography

1. Traditional Portraits

A traditional portrait is a posed shot of a person or group of people.

The subject(s) will usually be looking directly at the camera, with a formal (or semi-formal) expression. Traditional portraits are often taken in studios, with professional lighting and background setups.

traditional portrait
traditional portrait

Traditional portraits are great for capturing a person’s physical appearance, and they can be very formal shots.

If you’re looking to take a traditional portrait, be sure to have your subject(s) dress in their best clothes and prepare for a bit of posing.

Traditional portraits are often used for things like family photos, graduation pictures, or headshots.

2. Candid Portraits

A candid portrait is a shot of a person (or group of people) that is taken without them knowing it.

Candid portraits can be taken in public places, like at the park or on the street, or they can be more personal shots taken in someone’s home.

Candid portraits are great for capturing a person’s natural expression and personality.

If you’re looking to take a candid portrait, be sure to be stealthy! You don’t want your subject to catch you taking their picture, or the shot will lose its candor.

candid portrait
candid portrait

A great way to incorporate a candid image is to take photographs of your subject during a photo session when they aren’t ready for a photo.

For example, you could tell them you’re going to take a photo but then tell a quick joke that catches them off-guard.

While they are smiling/laughing at the joke, take the photo.

Candid portraits are often used for things like street photography, event photography, or family photos.

3. Environmental Portraits

An environmental portrait is a shot of a person (or group of people) that includes their surroundings.

Environmental portraits can be taken inside or outside, and the location should help to tell the story of the subject(s).

environmental portrait candid
environmental portrait

Environmental portraits are great for showing a person in their natural element and giving some context to their story.

If you’re looking to take an environmental portrait, be sure to choose a location that is significant to your subject.

Environmental portraits are often used for things like profile pictures, business headshots, or family photos.

4. Posed Portraits

A posed portrait is a shot of a person (or group of people) that is taken after they have been given some direction on how to pose.

Posed portraits can be taken in studios or on location, and the subject(s) will usually be looking directly at the camera.

Posed portraits are great for capturing a person’s physical appearance and getting them to strike a specific pose. If you’re looking to take a posed portrait, be sure to give your subject some direction on how to pose.

Posed portraits are often used for things like family photos, graduation pictures, or headshots.

5. Headshots

A headshot photo is a specific type of portrait that is taken from the shoulders up.

Headshots are usually taken in studios, with professional lighting and background setups.

Headshots are great for capturing a person’s physical appearance and their facial expressions.

headshot poses classic head and shoulders
headshot

If you’re looking to take a headshot, be sure to have your subject dress in their best clothes and prepare for a bit of posing.

Headshots are often used for things like business headshots, actor headshots, or model portfolios.

6. Full-Body Portraits

A full-body portrait is a shot of a person (or group of people) that includes their entire body.

Full-body portraits can be taken in studios or on location, and the subject(s) will usually be posed in some way.

Full-body portraits are great for capturing a person’s physical appearance and their clothing.

full body portrait
full body portrait

If you’re looking to take a full-body portrait, be sure to have a good lens and have your subject prepare for a bit of posing.

Full-body portraits are often used for things like family photos, graduation pictures, or lifestyle photos.

7. Street Portraits

A street portrait is a shot of a person (or group of people) that is taken without their permission and in a public place.

street portrait
portrait of random person

Street portraits can be candid or posed, and they are often taken with a long lens to avoid being caught.

Street portraits are great for capturing a person’s natural expression and personality. If you’re looking to take a street portrait, be sure to be stealthy and avoid being caught.

Street portraits also often fall under the genre of street photography.

8. Fine Art Portrait

A fine art portrait is a shot of a person (or group of people) that is taken in a studio or on location with the intention of it being exhibited as a piece of art.

Fine art portraits can be candid or posed, and they are often taken with a specific aesthetic in mind. Fine art portraits also fall under the genre of fine art photography.

Fine art portraits are great for capturing a person’s physical appearance and personality and adding on an artistic feel to the image that would mimic the aesthetic of a painting.

fine art portrait
fine art portrait

If you’re looking to take a fine art portrait, be sure to have your subject dress in their best clothes and prepare for a bit of posing.

The people who often ask for fine art portraits are models, actors, or anyone who wants a high-quality, artistic portrait for their portfolio (although anyone can get one if they choose so).

9. Boudoir Portrait

A boudoir portrait is a shot of a person (usually a woman) that is taken in a private space with the intention of it being intimate and sensual.

Boudoir portraits can be candid or posed, and they are often taken with the subject’s clothing partially removed. Boudoir portraits also fall under the genre of boudoir photography.

boudoir portrait
boudoir portrait

Boudoir portraits are great for capturing a person’s physical appearance and sensuality.

If you’re looking to take a boudoir portrait, be sure to have your subject dress in their best clothes (or lack thereof) and prepare for a bit of posing.

Boudoir portraits are often used as gifts for spouses or significant others, or they can be exhibited as fine art portraits.

10. Pet Portraits

A pet portrait is a portrait of an animal (usually a dog or cat) that is taken in a studio or on location.

Pet portraits can be candid or posed, and they are often taken with the owner’s permission.

pet portrait
pet portrait

Pet portraits are great for capturing a animal’s physical appearance and personality. If you’re looking to take a pet portrait, be sure to have your subject (the animal) prepared and willing to cooperate.

Pet portraits are often used as gifts for animal lovers or as fine art portraits.

11. Lifestyle Portrait

A lifestyle portrait is a shot of a person (or group of people) that is taken in their natural environment.

Lifestyle portraits can be candid or posed, and they focus on capturing a person’s everyday life.

Lifestyle portraits are great for capturing a person’s personality and their way of life. Lifestyle portrait also fall under the genre of lifestyle photography.

lifestyle portrait
lifestyle portrait

For example, if you’re a doctor, a lifestyle portrait of you in your scrubs at the hospital would be great for your website or marketing materials.

If you’re a stay-at-home mom, a lifestyle portrait of you at home with your kids would be great for your family’s holiday cards.

If you’re looking to take a lifestyle portrait, be sure to have your subject(s) in their natural environment and prepared for a bit of posing.

Lifestyle portraits are often used for things like family photos, graduation pictures, or street portraits.

12. Glamour Portrait

A glamour portrait is a shot of a person (usually a woman) that is taken in a studio or on location with the intention of it being glamorous and sexy.

Glamour portraits can be candid or posed, and they are often taken with the subject’s clothing partially removed.

glamour portrait
glamour portrait

Glamour portraits are great for capturing a person’s appearance.

If you’re looking to take a glamour portrait, be sure to have your subject dress in their best clothes (or lack thereof) and prepare for a bit of posing.

13. Group or Family Portrait

A group or family portrait is a shot of a group of people (usually family members) that is taken in a studio or on location.

Group portraits can be candid or posed, and they are often taken with the intention of everyone looking their best.

group portrait
group portrait

If you’re looking to take a group portrait, be sure to have your subjects in their best clothes and prepared for a bit of posing.

Group portraits are often used as gifts for family members or as fine art portraits.

14. Wedding Portrait

A wedding portrait is an image of the bride and groom that is taken on the day of their wedding.

Wedding portraits can be candid or posed, and they are often taken with the intention of the couple looking their best.

Wedding portraits are great for capturing a bride and groom’s physical appearance and their love for each other.

wedding portrait
wedding portrait

If you’re looking to take a wedding portrait, be sure to have the couple in their best clothes and prepared for a bit of posing.

Wedding portraits are often used as gifts for the couple’s family or as personal use.

15. Engagement Portrait

An engagement portrait is a shot of the bride and groom that is taken after they have become engaged but before their wedding day.

Engagement portraits can be candid or posed, and they are often taken with the intention of the couple looking their best.

Engagement portraits are great for capturing a bride and groom’s physical appearance and their love for each other.

engagement portrait
engagement portrait

If you’re looking to take an engagement portrait, be sure to have the couple in their best clothes and prepared for a bit of posing.

Engagement portraits are often used for personal use and to share with friends and family.

16. Surreal Portrait

A surreal portrait is a shot of a person (or group of people) that is taken in a studio or on location with the intention of it being surreal and otherworldly.

Surreal portraits can be candid or posed, and they are often taken with the use of props and special effects.

Surreal portraits are great for capturing a person’s (or group’s) imagination and creativity.

surreal portrait
surreal portrait

For example, if you want to take a surreal portrait of a group of people, you could have them all dressed in white and pose them in a field of tall grass.

Or, if you want to take a surreal portrait of an individual, you could have them dress in all black and stand in front of a bright, colorful background.

Final Remarks

In conclusion, there are many types of portrait photography. When deciding which type of portrait to take, be sure to consider the subject(s), the setting, and the overall mood or tone you want to capture.

With a little bit of planning, you can take portraits that are truly unique and memorable.