What is Portrait Photography? What is the best type of Portrait Photography? There are so many answers to that question and a lot of it is based on your perception. But, let’s talk a little about it. Hopefully this will help you understand what we do better. Portrait photography has been around since the 19th century. The goal is to capture the subject and tell their story in some way. How this is done is up to you.

Now there are many different types of portrait photography. It can capture a bigger picture, like celebrating women and diversity. Or it can capture a moment in someone’s life, and everything in-between!

A portrait photographer can encapsulate it all. They usually capture a single subject, but this is not always the case.

So, how do you decide on a portrait photography type? Whether you want senior photos, a bridal portrait, or a random shoot, there is something for you.

Keep reading to learn more about the best types of portrait photography. Not sure why you should hire a pro? Click here to find out: Why You Should Hire a Professional Photographer.

Types of portrait photography
types of portrait photography

Traditional Portraits

Traditional portraits are probably what come to mind when you think about how to take a headshot. It is when the subject is looking at the camera and is usually a headshot, but it can also be a full-body shot. 

It continues to be a popular choice. For graduation portraits and other formal portraits, a studio is usually the setting. You will have a traditional backdrop and professional lighting.

The portrait photographer will know the best portrait poses and can help direct you if you want this. 

types of portrait photography

Candid Portraits

Candid photography shoots are when the subject does not pose. It usually appears natural. Sometimes the portrait photographer gives prompts to capture the moment. But apart from this you relax and enjoy the shoot.

Candid shots can be anywhere. Candid portraits can happen when a portrait photographer meets someone on the street. Check out one of the best portrait photographers for this type of documentary shot. 

Or you can plan the shoot but pick to be somewhere you feel comfortable. Maybe it is while you are doing something you enjoy or at an event. The goal will always be to capture the raw emotions and encapsulate the memory.

types of portrait photography

Environmental Portraits

One of the best types of portrait photography is when you pick an important environment. It could be your university, a place you do a hobby, or a local area important to you. Lifestyle portraits are similar to this style.

For example, in Erie, PA, you could head to Presque Isle State Park. Or you could go somewhere like State Street and the historic Boston Store to capture your story.

Your portrait photographer can give pointers for the best portrait poses for you. They may still use lighting, as this style of portrait is not entirely informal. Check out these engagement portrait photos in Frontier Park, Erie, PA, for inspiration.

types of portrait photography
types of portrait photography

Beauty Portraits

Beauty portraits, also known as glamour portraits, aim to capture the subject’s beauty. Linked to this style is fashion portraits that capture beauty but also what they are wearing.

Beauty and fashion portraits involve planning make-up and outfits. They can take place outside or inside. 

Some women also opt for a boudoir style of beauty portrait. This usually happens inside the home. Some brides opt for a boudoir shoot instead of a typical bridal portrait

types of portrait photography

Conceptual Portraits

Conceptual portraits usually involve props and editing. The goal is to capture an idea with the subject. This could be something like a portrait photographer’s idea of time or a specific emotion.

Because of the possibilities editing offers, there is a lot of creative freedom. Conceptual portrait photographers may use levitation, enlarge props, or even use perspective manipulation. 

types of portrait photography

Fine Art Portraits

Fine art portraits often link to overlap with conceptual portraits and surrealism. While people debate what constitutes fine art, see it as something similar to a painting in a gallery. Sometimes people call fine art photography ‘photo decor’ for that reason. 

The portrait photographer acts as the artist. They do not have to have a specific concept in mind, but maybe they have an idea, story, or setting they want to portray.

The subject may also share ideas, but there is not a sole focus on the subject. An example is this photo, which has a subject, but the photographer also portrays an idea. 

Photographers may also use editing software in this form of portrait photography. They also use location and lighting to achieve their intended effect.

Fine art photography is an ideal type of portrait photography to display in your home

types of portrait photography

Group Portraits

Group portraits are also one of the most popular types of portrait photography. Shots can be harder to compose. But with the right portrait photographer, you will have photos that last a lifetime.

Group photos could be with family, friends, your partner, or even your pets! People choose to do them for different occasions, like holiday cards or an event. 

Group portraits tend to be shot in lifestyle form or environmental style. It can take more than one session, especially if you want a series of photographs.

types of portrait photography


With the rise of selfies, the self-portrait is another way to capture your own portraits. However, self-portraits take more time and planning.

It is essential to consider lighting and your equipment. A tripod or sturdy surface allows you the freedom to find your best portrait poses. It can be helpful to have a remote or wifi connection linked to your phone to set up and get the perfect shot.

If you do not have the confidence to hire a photographer right now, a self-portrait shoot can help improve it. If you are wondering how to choose a portrait photographer, meet up with a few to see who you connect with.

Not sure how comfortable you’ll feel in front of the camera? Don’t worry! Our team is trained to teach you how to model like a pro. Still worried? Check out our blog: Photoshoot Tips for Even the Most Camera Shy.

types of portrait photography
types of portrait photography
types of portrait photography

The Best Types of Portrait Photography

Explore these types of portrait photography and see what inspires you!

So, how do you choose a portrait photographer? The most important thing is that you feel comfortable with them. Look at their portfolio, and check they specialize in your desired portrait style. Here are some helpful things to ask when talking to a photographer to see if they’re the best fit for you: 5 Questions to Ask Photographers

A portrait shoot can capture memories, achievements, and moments. Our professional photographers can make this happen. For more information, contact us!


Check Out Our Portrait Gallery 

Book Erie Photography, Photographer Services for Your Portrait Shoot.

Erie Photography™

Erie Wedding & Event Services
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These amazing moments in life are fleeting. Capturing who you are in this moment is a must. Contact us today to book your session and preserve your memories. We can’t wait to talk to you about which Portrait Session you need.

About Erie Photography

Erie Photography is a team of talented local photographers. We proudly offer photography for every moment of your life. In addition, we offer a combination of photography styles to suit your needs. Further more, we happily edit in a number of popular styles to complete your success story! Above all, our clients satisfaction is our primary goal.

Family Photography

Our Family Photography focuses on preserving your family’s milestones. Your photographer will work with you so they understand what will make your photo session a success.

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Your Wedding Photography will capture your love story. Your Wedding Photographer will work alongside you to ensure that your personalities and story are elegantly captured to share.

Portrait Shoots

Our Portrait Photography covers everything from Maternity Photos to Newborn Sessions to Senior Photography. Celebrate your milestones with a Professional Portraiture Session.

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Now that you understand more about Portrait Photography, are you ready to book your session? We’re waiting to capture YOUR unique story with a Portrait Photography Session that fits your needs.

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