glam portrait
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Different Types of Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is certainly an art. There is no other way that human emotions express themselves and no other medium that may preserve you smile and your dazzling looks for so long. Now it is time to explore portrait photography, so you may get a hint of what exactly to wish for and what to expect from your photographer.

One of the oldest means of looking young, vibrant, and even authoritative is portrait photography, with the exception of painting off course. Portrait photography can be of as many kinds as you name them, but two broad categories generally suffice the need to find any other.

There is no hard and fast rule for this section of photography though, but to make it simpler and easier to understand, we divide them in three categories:

  • On the basis of subject
  • On the basis of the number of people in the frame
  • On the basis of the frame/shot

A: On the basis of the subject we further classify them as:

01. Candid Portrait Photography

Candid portraits are the ones where the subject may be aware or unaware of the presence of a photographer. However, in such portraits, the photographer does not have much liberty to change the environment or emotions of the person being photographed. Things are natural and spontaneous.

candid-photography - featured
Photo by: Jakub Ostrowski

02. Posed Portrait Photography

A posed portrait is simply a portrait where the subject is fully aware of your presence and selects a certain body posture or costume for the picture.

Senior Portrait - Head & Soulder
Photo by: Anita Brenchley Photography

03. Formal Portrait Photography

This type of portrait is a posed portrait prepared for the business or other formal occasions.

Formal Portrait Photography
Photo by: Boardroom Photography Canberra

04. Environmental Portrait

An environmental portrait normally focuses on the relation of the subject with his environment. The relation between the subject and his environment is more dominant than the facial expressions.

Fashion Photography by Thanh Tran 1
Photo by: Thanh Tran

Sports Portraits and Children Portraits can also be included here. However, they are classified separately only because of their exclusivity. A sporting portrait is only about sports and a child portrait all about that child.

B: On the basis of the number of people in the frame:

01. Individual Portraits

Only one person in the frame.

Desaturated Portrait Photography
Photo by: Lars Krogsgaard

02. Couple Portraits

Two people and their relationship. It is a little complex as the interpretation has to be set right or the whole portrait may go wrong.

Romantic pictures myportraithub 13
Photo by: Ovidiu Bastea

03. Group Portraits

A family photograph, class photos, batch photos, etc. qualify for this category. It may feature three to hundreds of people. Such a picture portrays the feelings of unity and is very famous with institutions as memorabilia.


family photo ideas 11
Photo by: Renee Hindman Photography

C: On the basis of the Shot/Frame:

01. Close-ups

Pictures taken at a very short distance or with the help of a zoom or macro lens. The camera only captures a small portion of your face. It normally covers the face at it edges.

glam portrait
Photo by: raulonet

02. Facial Shots

A facial shot covers the full face of the subject. It may either be up to the neckline or the bust.

Portrait photography by Natalia Ciobanu
Photo: Natalia Ciobanu

03. Upper Body Shots

Upper body shots cover only the area above the waist.

fashion and portrait photography by Tenko featured
Photo by: Tenko

04. Full Body Portraits

They cover the 3/4th portion of the whole body.

Portrait photography by Natalia Ciobanu
Photo by: Natalia Ciobanu














As said above, there is no clear margin for the classification of portrait pictures. A candid portrait might be an individual portrait with a close-up shot. The point is that there may be objective science behind the development of cameras and photography; it still remains a subjective and dynamic art.

It is the will and the perception of the photographer that makes a picture. So go ahead and pick your camera, pack all the lenses, and look for a beautiful location to start clicking.


    • Prad

      Thanks Teehee for your comment. I think what you want to know is “Semi Realistic Portrait”, which is a combination of realism and a form of sketch or drawing. “Semi Realistic” as it depicts a living person or scene in an art form (Sketch or drawing).

  • London professional photographer

    Portrait photography is such a versatile genre which easealy can confuse some people, but at the end it’s just beautiful portraits of people ;)

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