12 Different Types of Photography Portraits

12 Different Types of Photography Portraits

Do you want to capture a person’s personality through images? You are not alone. Many photographers specialize in portraitures. This particular genre is versatile and appeals to many people. 

Photography portraits come in different types that you can experiment with and master. The most popular styles include self-portraits, traditional, and candid portraits.

But did you know that there are portrait types involving fine art and surrealism? You might also be surprised to learn that pet portraits have been in demand recently. So whether you are new to photography or just want to build your portfolio, you will learn the different types of portraits in this article.

What Is A Portrait Photo?

Before showing our favorite types of photography portraits, we would first explain the definition of this style. 

A portrait photo usually includes a person as the main subject. However, one particular genre is an exception, as demonstrated in the article’s next section.

It also involves various backgrounds. These backdrops are usually minimal or subtle to ensure the main focus on the subject. But in some instances, the setting adds to the overall image.

Regardless of the selected background, portrait photography captures a person’s personality and overall essence.

12 Types of Photography Portraits to Know

Now that you know its definition, let us focus on the different types of photography portraits below.

Traditional Portraits

When most people think of portraits, this style is what they often picture.

A traditional portrait captures the subject looking directly at the camera. It usually includes their heads and shoulders rather than their full bodies. However, that is not always the case.

As for the background, traditional portraits involve a solid colored backdrop. It keeps the focus on the person’s face. 

Traditional portrait photography also uses studio light to enhance the person’s features. 

This mix of posing, background, and lighting ultimately flatters the subject.

Lifestyle Portraits

Lifestyle Photography Portraits

Unlike traditional portraits, lifestyle portraiture involves a person in an everyday environment. 

The background can be any setting that is familiar or close to the subject instead of being restricted to a photo studio. For instance, lifestyle portraits take place in the subject’s bedroom to show their personalities. They can also capture a family in the living room and how they interact with their environment.

Lifestyle portraits resemble real life. They are not posed in the traditional sense, so the photoshoot tends to be more fun and laid back. Plus, they use natural lighting to portray a light and carefree scene.

Environmental Portraits

Environmental portrait photography uses elements from both traditional and lifestyle portraits. It deems the subject and surroundings of equal importance in the image.

Environmental portraits are shot in a setting with a special meaning to the person. That can be a home, a classroom, an office, or a favorite outdoor spot. Regardless of the location, it can show you the subject’s personality.

Additionally, environmental portraits involve posing and lighting techniques. They are not as casual and informal as lifestyle photography. They can combine natural and artificial light to illuminate the subject.


Lifestyle Photography Portraits

Self-portrait photography is among the simplest types of portraiture. The reason is that it only comprises one person—you.

This type of portrait photography is ideal for beginners because you only have to consider a few things. There is no need to coordinate with the client or model and plan the shoot.

Self-portraits can be as simple as you taking a selfie with your phone. Or they can also be on the creative side by incorporating props, unique lighting, and special locations.

However, you may find it challenging to take self-portraits with a camera. Consider using a tripod to mount the camera and a remote trigger to release the shutter. Plus, you can use your phone for image composition if the camera has WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Fine Art Portraits

Do you want to depict human subjects as works of art? Then, fine art portraiture may be the right genre for you.

This unique type of portrait photography has a highly artistic approach. It allows you to use different visual techniques—lighting, posing, and props—for a more dynamic photo. Hence, it is suitable for creative photographers who like to make an artistic statement. 

Overall, a fine art portrait is the photographer’s vision. It depicts emotion in a vivid way and tends to have a timeless look. Thus, it can be a popular style for wall art.

Glamour and Boudoir Portraits

Like fine art portraiture, glamour portrait photography takes a stylistic approach. But instead of focusing on a statement, it highlights the beauty of the subject. 

Glamour shots largely involve wardrobe and makeup to accentuate the subject’s features. Plus, this portrait photography style can take place in different locations, including outdoors. However, the main focus is still on the subject rather than their outfits or the background setting.

Boudoir is similar to glamour portrait photography. As its name suggests, it is shot in a bedroom or private sitting room. Boudoir photography usually depicts the subject’s sensuality. It is an intimate photoshoot, so it helps to talk to the person to make them comfortable.

Surreal Portraits

Surrealism refers to an artistic style that seems dream-like or out-of-this-world. It can also apply to portrait photography.

This portraiture style usually incorporates meticulous planning and editing. The reason is surrealism is difficult to capture with just your camera. You need to use Photoshop or other photo editing software to create scenes that do not naturally exist. You may also want to include props, wardrobe, and makeup for stunning results.

Overall, surreal portraits can turn your abstract ideas and dreams into beautiful images.

Conceptual Portraits

The goal of conceptual portraits is to capture a particular concept or style, hence the name. You can use various props, wardrobe, elaborate settings, and editing to achieve this concept. 

Conceptual portrait photography gives you endless possibilities because it comprises an idea. 

Candid and Street Portraits

A candid portrait is the opposite of conceptual photography. It does not involve planning, direction, and posing from the photographer. Instead, this genre of portrait photography captures genuine moments with the person. There is usually no setup required.

Also known as street portraits, candid portraits usually happen when traveling. Most candid photographers become inspired by the strangers they meet and take photos when they least expect it. You can also blend with the crowd, so the subject is less aware that you are photographing them. The less staged the scene is, the more genuine the pictures can appear.

Close-Up Portraits

Close-Up Photography Portraits

Close-up, or macro, portrait photography takes very close shots of your subject. It can be the person’s entire face in close-up or just a part, such as the eyes or lips.

Close-up portraits are very intimate. You may want to talk to the person and let them relax before taking photos. Doing so yields better results as the subject is more comfortable. 

Couple, Family, and Group Portraits

Portraits are not limited to a single person. They can also involve photos of couples, families, and groups of friends. These types of pictures allow you to capture genuine human interaction. That is hard to achieve when photographing a single person.

However, taking group portraits is usually more challenging. That is because you need to direct more people to pose in front of the camera. 

Nevertheless, group portraits are versatile as they fall under different portrait sub-genres. For instance, lifestyle photography can encompass family portraiture.

Pet Portraits

Pet Photography Portraits

Portrait photography can also showcase pets instead of human subjects. This portraiture style has been popular in recent years as pet owners like to collect photos of their animals.

It does not matter if you own a furry dog, cuddly felines, or exotic reptiles. Pet portraits can capture the animals’ unique personalities.

They also allow you, as the photographer, to interact with animals during the shoot. It is a fun job if you like animals.

However, note that photographing animals can be challenging. Some pets will not stay still and cooperate while you take photos of them. If you find it difficult to capture their attention, then portraiture might not be the right style for you.


Portrait photography is one of the best ways to capture a subject’s personality and essence. However, it is more than a picture of a smiling person. 

You can try different types of portrait photography that fits your subject and vision. These include self-portraits, candid portraits, and group photos, among other styles. 

Do you have more questions? We love to help you out! Do not hesitate to contact us via our website.