Styles of Portrait Photography

Styles of Portrait Photography

June 4, 2018 0 By sugam

Photography is an art of observation. It has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. – Elliott Erwitt

Portrait photography is an art as it is more than just capturing a picture of somebody. It is an artistic representation of a person’s attitude. It is like highlighting who they are through a snapshot. In short, portrait photography is snapping their personality and attitude for forever; which means a portrait photographer has a tricky job to do.

This genre of photography has been broken into many fundamental styles. So, if you are in quest of a skilled and experienced Los Angeles portrait photographer, you should first know about the various styles.

Traditional portrait

It is the classy way to snapping a portrait where the face of the person is the predominant element of the picture. The purpose of this style of portrait photography is to depict the personal visually where the subject usually looks directly into the camera. This type of pic can also be described as headshots.

Candid portrait

In this type of portrait, a subject may or may not be aware of the presence of a photographer. In either case, things look natural and spontaneous, and the photographer has not much liberty to change the emotions of the person or environment.

Environmental portrait

The term environmental portrait refers to an image where the subject is photographed in the natural environment of a person. For example, a chef clicked while cooking a dish, a worker snapped in a construction zone, a teacher in a classroom, painter in his/her studio. Surrounding just complements the subject and highlight his/her character. The photographer chooses subject and setting. Sometimes random pics also produce an excellent environmental portrait.

Lifestyle portrait

As the name suggests, lifestyle portrait depicts the style of living of the individuals. If we go deep into the technicality, it is a combo of environmental portrait and candid portrait. While snapping this type of portrait, the photographer focuses more on the feeling of the subject. Style has multiple uses in commercial photography. Lifestyle images are often used in fashion, food, editorial, and pharmaceutical industries to evoke emotions in the viewers. It is also very common to find this style is wedding or family portrait.

Surreal portrait

Surrealism is an art movement that started in the early 1920s and is still thriving. Surreal portraits are created to emphasize other than the reality, what we look through our naked eyes. It is portraying interpreted subconscious mind of a person.


In this type of portrait photography, emotions and atmosphere are built. A photographer set everything s/he chose to shoot – body language and expressions of the subject, lighting, background. All this is done to create a backdrop to convey a certain emotion. For example, if photographer wishes to snap a serious attitude of a person, s/he may choose to keep the background minimal and make the subject look intently into the camera.


In the age of social media, this form of photography has gone extremely popular. Instagram or snapchat filters are the best examples of this style of photography.

In this style, creative effects are added using the digital software. It requires the photographer to take a portrait shot in a traditional fashion. However, fantastical elements are added during the editing phase. For example, if a client wants to look like a superhero from his/her favorite movie, the photographer would add the features of the superhero in the final snapshot using digital editing software.

If you are exploring portrait photographer, you must know that what exactly you wish for or should expect from the photographer. Hope, this post would help you know about portrait style of photography.


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