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Portrait Photography Styles Explained

When it comes to hiring a photographer you don't just want to go with anyone. Each photographer will specialize in a niche and favor a certain style when they shoot. If you want something more traditional you wouldn't want a photographer that prefers to shoot documentary styled shoots. This tends to be an overlooked factor when it comes to hiring the right photographer and understanding the different styles will help you better when looking for your perfect photographer.


couple dressed up, kissing in front of a beautiful building

The Basic Styles of Portrait Photography


  • Traditional

Traditional portraits are classic images where the main subjects are poised and fully aware of the camera. They can be formal for more professional images or informal for senior, kids, or head shot portraits.


  • Environmental

These types of portraits are the most common for business professionals. Environmental portrait photography captures the person in their natural environment. Whether that is in the kitchen of a restaurant, behind the desk at the office or in a large forest. These images are planned out and often staged to allow for the surroundings to enhance a characteristic of the main subject.


  • Candid

Candid portraits are taken in the moment and are very similar to journalistic shooting. Typically the subject is not aware that their images are being taken with little to no interference from the photographer. Candid portraits are often common during events or weddings. These images tend to capture the more natural emotions of the subject and surroundings.


  • Glamour

Glamour portraits are more stylized focusing on the physical appearance of the subject. These types of images usually have a team on hand and various lighting setups and equipment. Glamour shots tend to give off a more romantic appeal.


  • Lifestyle

Lifestyle is the most common type of portrait for editorials, fashion, family, engagement, and weddings. These portraits capture the sense of living style from the subjects. Lifestyle portraits can often be a combination of other styles like environment and candid.


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