Portrait Photography – What Does It Entail And Learning The Art

Portrait photography entails capturing professional images of groups, families and individuals. Usually, a portrait photographer has a studio, and quite a few of them may also work for photography companies.

The Job of a Professional Portrait Photographer

Several portrait photographers head to various events such as schools and weddings. A portrait photographer should organize his bookings right and have necessary photography equipment handy at all times. The customer is paying for the actual photographs and not how much effort the photographer is putting in the process. Therefore, being efficient with the task at hand is imperative. For instance, a portrait photographer could go with the option to develop his own film. Else, he may outsource the task to a third party, if the option is cost-effective and produces quicker results.

Portrait photographers, like most other photographers (phoenix real estate photographer), begin as assistants to experienced portrait photographers so that they can acquire real-world experience and begin a photography business later. Bigger photography firms could hire many photography school graduates to hire them as assistants. This should offer aspiring photographers the chance to learn the job’s daily details. An important portrait photography aspect is getting everyone in the image looking their bests as that would make the whole picture look good. For example, if not every person in the frame is looking at the same direction and their expressions are not similar, the picture would look a bit too casual to be called a portrait. Typically, a portrait picture is something that’s treasured for several years and could be gifted to friends and family.

Family portraits aren’t easy for any photographer as keeping the kids in the house still for the photograph can be quite challenging. This is why an aspect of the job of a photographer is solving the problem and ensuring the portraits do not get ruined and the effort and time invested don’t get wasted. The assisting photographer can help the photographer distract kids with a puppet so that the picture is captured in the midst.

Besides capturing pictures, a portrait photographer could be bestowed with several other responsibilities – particularly if the photographer has his own business. Advertising and marketing should be done to keep customers constantly coming back with orders. Else, the business would find it hard to sustain. The prices charged for the work should be reasonable and competitive enough for value- and budget-conscious customers. These are the ones who are likely to switch boats when they see you hiking prices or if your prices are higher than what the competitor charges. Also, portrait photographers must stay up-to-date with trends and use different backdrops to give more choices to the customer. For example, during the holidays, customers may want their family portraits to have a backdrop depicting the Christmas spirit.

Learning Portrait Photography

There are several resources and methods to learn portrait photography – the key is to stay persistent and patient. Learning camera operation is not difficult, but learning the right skills would take many years of practice.

Going through photography books is an effective way to better your portrait photography skills. Look for appealing photos from the lot, and analyze them for finding similarities. For instance, several professional photographers utilize props when capturing the subject’s personality.

If there’s a community college in your region, check what photography classes they offer. Several schools offer short-term workshops to introduce students to digital photography basics, which includes how to use image editing software. There are also specialty classes that cover different types of photography, besides portrait photography. Since these courses fall within the continuing education spectrum, most are offered on weekends or during evenings so that they are convenient for employed adults.

People without access to offline photography classes can go for online photography courses. These courses are more convenient and can be accessed from any part of the world. Typically, the classes are offered through mp3 files or downloadable videos. Most of the online schools also have the ‘chat room’ option to facilitate instant interaction between the teacher and student.

Not all learning resources or opportunities are worthwhile. For example, photography contests can help secure recognition and rewards, but they are not the ideal way to build portrait photography skills. The issue lies in the fact that the judging in these contests can be quite subjective. In other words, there won’t be much differentiating pictures that secure different spots. These contests would offer a realistic assessment only if the judges offer specific feedback.


Even if you are the most talented portrait photographer in town, you are likely to not gain new customers or keep previous customers coming back to you if your approach is rude and unprofessional. People don’t like to work with disinterested or egoistic individuals. Also, experiment with different styles of shooting so that whenever a customer comes back again, you will have something new to offer.