What Is So Unique About Portrait Photography?

portrait-photography-toronto-8Portrait photography or portraiture is a wise choice for the photographic career of all those photographers who are fond of people. This area of photography tends to be personal, and is based on the interaction between the photographer and the subject. It gives the photographer and the subject the opportunity to cooperate with each other.

The idea behind portraiture is to communicate something about the subject in the portraits, whether it is their essence, their personality, or something else about them. This is why the photographer and the subject need to develop a relationship. Regardless of the recognizable style that a photographer intends to use, portraits are always about the subject and this needs to be communicated to the subject.

History Of Portraiture

Since early times, humans have used pictures to celebrate, communicate, describe, and remember. Portraits served these purposes quite naturally. However, with the development of society, important individuals started becoming the subjects of portraits. Historical classic portrait photography is teeming with changes in style and technique since the manner in which people are portrayed has always been dictated by societal conventions. During many periods, portraits have even been glorified to convey how importance of people instead of their reality.

Styles Of Portraiture

There are plenty of different techniques of portraiture. Often it is best if the eyes and the face of the subject are captured in a sharp focus while less important elements are rendered in a soft focus. At other times, it can be better if the individual features such as the eyes, hands or part of the subject’s torso, are the focus of the portrait. In addition, the portraiture technique has also given rise to head shot photography, which has become an individual style.


The background chosen for a portrait needs to work well with the subject of the portrait. It is hard to go wrong with a black background for a dark, low-key portraits or a white background for bright, high-key portraits, but the choice must work well for both the subject’s skin tone and for the image that has been pre-visualized. It is worth to keep in mind that a black background may cause dark skin tones to not show up well.
When shooting outside, both the background and the subject of the portrait in the foreground must be kept in mind. The composition should always be checked since outdoor conditions are beyond the photographer’s control. For instance, a visual flaw in the background should be fixed before taking the portrait photograph.


It is possible to proportion and shape the human form in such a way that it becomes one of the world’s most beautiful subjects. It all depends on how the subject is posed. Once the purpose of a portrait has been decide, an appropriate posing style has to be selected. Portrait photographers can work with one of four posing styles, which include casual, glamorous, journalistic and traditional posing.
The bottom line is that portrait photography is all about reveal something about the subjects and that cannot be accomplished unless the photographer understands the subject.