When most think of a portrait they immediately think of the studio headshot. That's fine, but it's probably not the kind of photography you really want to produce as an artist.

There really isn't anything "special" about portrait photography. It's still about basic lighting, mood, and capturing something special about the individual or conveying "a message."

In order to capture something about the individual, pictures that are more candid tend to work better. And it's even better if you can take a candid portrait if them doing something that is "characteristic" of them or meaningful to the moment.

This brings up the "environmental portrait". In the environmental portrait the image is as much about the setting/activity as it is about the individual. In fact, the individuals face may not even be prominent in the picture which is unusual for a "portrait."


Another very important aspect of the portrait is the lighting. The lighting determines the "mood" of an image as much as the expression or activity.

Is it going to be bright/happy, soft/warm/romantic, hard/dramatic, dark/somber? It's up to you.

"Indian Dancer"




While none of these images are a "typical portrait" all of them can qualify as "a portrait." But more importantly, they all have "something to say."

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