Posts Tagged ‘Photography’

Common Portrait Photography Styles

Portrait photos capture people in various ways, based on the situation, the purpose of the photograph and the creative vision of the photographer. Let us look at some of the basic styles of portrait photography, and where they are commonly used.


Classic Portraits

Classic or traditional portraits are taken as close-ups of the subject’s face, with them looking directly at the camera. These photos are used as head shots for school yearbooks, company brochures and the like. To add variety, part of the person’s body may be included, but the face remains the prominent feature.


Glamour Portraits

These kinds of portrait photographs are taken for fashion magazines. The stylish and alluring aspects of the subject’s face and upper body are highlighted by playing with background and lighting.


Candid Portraits

Here, the picture is taken without asking the subject to pose, or in some cases, even without their knowledge. There is no advance preparation; the photographer simply waits for the opportune moment to take the shot. Candid portraits make great photographs for travel blogs and while covering events.


Lifestyle Portraits

Photographs of happy faces at a family picnic or a couple dancing in each other’s arms are examples of lifestyle portraits. Here, some emotion of the subject(s) is captured to depict their way of life. The food, clothing and editorial industries use lifestyle portraits to positively associate their products with customer lifestyles.


Environmental Portraits

Environmental portraits capture the subject in his or her natural surroundings. This style of portrait photography has some similarity with lifestyle portraits. The difference is that the former focuses on the career aspect of the subject’s life, while the latter focuses on the personal aspect. In environmental portraits, the surroundings are used to give more meaning to the photograph.


Now that you know the common types of portrait photography, you can experiment with these styles and bring out the uniqueness of each one. For more information and useful tips on portrait photography, visit


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Storytelling in Photography: Part 3 of 4

This is the third of a four-part series of blog posts on Storytelling in Photography. Ira Glass of “This American Life” is a man of insight and created a series of 4 videos for “aspiring” Journalist and Broadcasters, But I’ve been very inspired with what he had to say as I applied his theories to my own genre, photography.  Here are my thoughts on his video. Part 3 here:.

The third video is about good taste and how when we first get started in “photography” we have “good taste” and we know what we like and what looks good to us. The problem comes when we don’t have the skills to match up what we know in our minds is good, and what we actually produce. Many times the reason why we first get started in photography is because we have some sort of vision of what type of work we would like to make. We may see how powerful images can be and we want to speak to people visually. Ira makes the point that it’s normal to have good taste and not have your production match up with our minds eye. The real issue is that many people stop there. They get frustrated that they aren’t producing the type of images that they want to and they give up. He makes the point and I agree with him, that it’s normal for this process to take many years. It’s normal that we aren’t happy with the images that we’re making. I’ve always thought of photography and art as a lifestyle. For the truly committed it’s something that we live, is not something that we participate in. It takes many many years to get to a point where you think you know a little something, and many more years to realize that you don’t know anything. Both Ira and I say don’t be discouraged. Be persistent! Be brave! Press forward! Keep working!

Many times when I’m in the mood of giving myself a good mental lashing, the last thing I feel like doing is work! I feel like stuffing my head into a two-pound bag of Doritoz, like the ones you get at Costco and disappearing for a while! Honestly, sometimes this actually happens, but I’ve learned to force myself to do work. Make images! Produce! Ira stresses this point also. You need to keep producing! You even find someone to help you keep to a deadline. When someone is expecting work from you and holding you accountable, you may have more motivation to not only do the work for yourself but for the other person too. My friends and I use each other as accountability partners. We help each other come up with small project ideas and hold each other too it. You should try this for yourself and see how far you can grow. Maybe it’s like marathon runners that hit the wall, if they are able to push though and keep on running they describe a feeling of a “runner’s high”. I don’t know if it’s exactly like that feeling, but when I’m able to push though my own personal metal blockages, I feel “High”… or at least a sense of accomplishment. I was able to push through my own blockages and move forward. You will have good days and bad days, but my goal always, is to be moving forward.

Are you moving forward?



Storytelling in Photography: Part 2 of 4

This is the second of a four-part series of blog posts on Storytelling in Photography. Ira Glass of “This American Life” is a man of insight and created a series of 4 videos for “aspiring” Journalist and Broadcasters, But I’ve been very inspired with what he had to say as I applied his theories to my own genre, photography.  Here are my thoughts on the second video.

In his second video, Ira Glass talks about how important it is to find a good story and how in your pursuit of a good story, you will need to make dramatic cuts to stories that don’t work as well as make room for luck to come into play.

When I watched this video, I applied his comments on finding a good story to finding a good photo project. I believe strongly that as photographers and image makers, a great technique to keep us fresh and inspired, is to have multiple photo projects “on the fire” that we constantly work on. It’s great for many reasons such as, allowing us to tune our problem solving abilities, practicing our technical skills, and practice setting up shoots, among many others.

Ira Glass stressed the importance of killing stories that don’t make the cut. Sometimes when we come up with a great idea for a project and do our first couple of shoots, something about the idea doesn’t seem to come together. As image makers, I for one am guilty of this, tend to fall in love with the idea and have a hard time letting go. Ira says we should be ruthless in the killing of these projects when they don’t work, and by killing them or setting them aside for the time being, we’ll be able to move on to something that does work. Some may think of this a failure, I don’t see it that way. I see it as an opportunity to do better. Either way, the point Ira makes is that we should be happy with this “failure” because it allows us the freedom to move forward, and this is a good thing. He also states that there is a added benefit to being so ruthless in cutting ideas that don’t work, the benefit being, it allows the element of luck to come into play. The idea of luck in photography is not an unique one. But it takes constant production from us, the image maker, for luck to come into play at all. There is an old adage “Luck is where preparation meets opportunity”. So the more we prepare (produce) the more chance (opportunity) we have for luck to show up in our work. What do I mean by luck? Well, to me luck is one of those moments where the results are more than we expected. It can be a technical thing where shooting something a certain way gives us a result that may look better than we expected. Or it can be a combination of elements that come together in a way that it give us a moment of epiphany, where the idea has grown and evolved more than where we were initially intended. It grows to be something special, and we want our stories or projects to be special.

Constant production, in our case as photographers, is the backbone of increasing our skills as image makers. The saying, “Practice makes Perfect” applies to photographers in a direct way, especially considering photography is a skill of matching the image that we make in our minds with the image we produce in its final form.

So find yourself a personal photo project! It will be one of the best things you have done for yourself.

Please use the comments below to tell us about your personal project. We love to see people making images that they are passionate about, and hey, it may get you in our magazine!! We love when image makers push their own limits and push the limits in photography. Can’t wait to see what you’ve been working on!



Storytelling in Photography: Part 1 of 4

For those of you that have heard of Ira Glass and have seen his videos and listened to his radio show “This American Life” know that he’s a very insightful person with a lot to offer. I’ve been the type of person to search for inspiration in all things and in all mediums and try to apply it to my own medium which is photography. A few years back, Ira Glass did a series of videos about story telling in broadcasting and it’s meant for people who are getting started in the broadcasting industry, but I found it profoundly inspirational for myself in relation to Photography. I wanted to share my thoughts with you about how I applied his theories of storytelling in broadcasting to Storytelling in Photography. You can find the videos on YouTube Here: Ira Glass on YouTube or click here to see on this page. I suggest you take a look and see if it was as inspirational for you as it was for me.

In the first part of the video, Ira Talks about the building blocks of a Story:

1. The anecdote or sequence of actions. It’s the story in its purest form. It’s literally the sequence of events one step at a time.

2. The moment of reflection. Why are you telling the story. Why should the person/viewer be listening/looking.

I was reflecting on these building blocks and how we could apply them to photography. I’ve always admired the narrative qualities in the works of Keith Carter, Duane Michals, and Josef Koudelka. They use some of the same techniques that Ira Glass talks about just in a much more subtle way.

Ira talks about raising questions in your stories as well as the need to have both the anecdotal side of the story as well as the moment of reflection working together in order for the whole piece to be larger than the sum of its parts. This is the way I see it as well for photography. Having a great individual images that tie into each other can be used to create a body of work, such as the works of Keith Carter, and Josef Koudelka, that tells a story about a particular place or time, and gives you the reason why that work is important. Presenting the work as a whole makes it more important then if you just saw individually great images. You could also be more specific and sequential such as Duane Michals which uses a series of images to tell a story about a specific subject. By presenting the images in sequence he strengthens the series itself. He also makes each of the images more important as you compare them to the others to try to find the story. I always wondered why I cold look at a Duane Michals book and not put it down for hours. I got caught up in his world and I found it fascinating to find little bits and pieces of a story that I may have missed in previous viewing, or depending on my mood or where my mind was, the sequences meant different things to me.

Many great wedding photographers and photo journalists use these techniques also. They may raise visual questions throughout an event and answer them visually. You may have heard of these techniques as “Tying” elements. It could be as subtle as a color that repeats itself throughout a wedding album or more complex such as a certain logo that appears in all your documentary images about a “down on their luck family”. Having “Tying” elements in your work can be a technique you use to raise your photography to the next level. Using these ideas will give your body of work more relevance if done properly. Also consider using this technique in your portfolio. Some of the strongest portfolios that I’ve seen use these techniques to showcase a body of work as a whole giving the portfolio a much stronger impact then just the individual images on their own. In my experience a softer hand when using these techniques works best to avoid being “campy” unless that’s what you’re going for.

What do you think of these techniques and how have you used them successfully in your own work? We’d love to see it, so please leave a comment below or contact us and give us links to your work. Lets share with the community how you’ve been successful or where you may need some help.


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