What could be more simple and more complex, more obvious and more profound. Charles Baudelaire – 1859
Portrait Photography (also known as Portraiture) is the name given to the type of photography that aims to capture a person or sometimes a group of people where the facial features and facial expression are the focal point of the photograph.
What looks seemingly straight forward can in fact often be quite the opposite. With portrait photography the success of the image, although largely based on the photographer’s talent with regards to lighting and composing, is also greatly based on other elements that are unique to portrait photography. The most notable of these elements being the relationship and interaction between the human subject(s) and the photographer.
Human beings are inherently unpredictable, emotional creatures. Therefore, unlike non-human photography, capturing the right expression and look for a portrait heavily leans on how the subject feels at the time. And this is largely determined by how well the photographer can aid the subject in feeling how he/she needs them to in that moment, in order to evoke the right expression and emotion from them for the shot, to create the image that’s needed.
As mentioned above, the photographers talent with regards to lighting and composing play a role, but unlike much other photography where the emphasis on unpredictable human expression and emotion are no way near as great, portrait photography plays on more than just the photographers raw photography skills.