By analyzing the works created by famous portrait photographers, you can develop your unique style and improve your skills to take professional pics. They know how to capture unique traits that make a model stand out and masterfully use lighting, backdrops, and unusual poses to create visual interest. In this article, the WeEditPhotos specialists described the techniques used by popular photographers to help you find a source of inspiration.
Location: New York, USA
Style: Carefully staged settings, and use of vivid color
As one of the most widely-known U.S. photographers working today, she acquired her fame by taking portraits of actors, musicians, and other celebrities. Her works were published on the pages of Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone Magazine, and other publications.
Annie often uses bright colors, well-thought-out lighting, and unique model poses that give her portraits a distinct feel. You might have seen the intimate portrait of John Lennon and Yoko Ono that she took on the day when Lennon was killed. It became a symbol embodying the spirit of the 1980s.
These days, she works both in the studios and outdoors. Annie Leibovitz is also known as a great retoucher. In addition, she knows how to create a stunning composition and structure the objects in the frame to achieve the desired effect.
Location: London, UK
Style: Luxury realism
Mario Testino became famous in the 90th when he took portraits of Madonna and Kate Moss. However, he became a household name after creating a portrait of Princess Diana.
It allowed him to make himself a name and stand out among other famous portrait photographers. His style is clean and nice.
The photographer knows how to give his photos a vintage feel. Even though he carefully stages his shots, his subjects always look relaxed.
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Style: Documentary portraits
Steve McCurry is a travel photographer whose works were published on the pages of National Geographic. He also works in the documentary genre. His name was propelled to worldwide fame when he took the portrait of an Afghan girl in a refugee camp in Peshawar, Pakistan.
Since then, he created many unforgettable portraits that catch the eye due to their bright colors. The photographer has been creating portraits for over three decades. Many of them were published in books and albums.
Instead of creating an idealized image of a model, he captures unique personalities and focuses on cultural backgrounds. He doesn’t try to hide imperfections as he believes that a realistic approach works best for portrait photography.
Do you want to create portraits that will look like they were taken by famous photographers? Make sure to outsource this task to our professionals. To enhance your portraits, they will retouch the skin, remove imperfections and stray hair, as well as smoothen out the wrinkles on clothes.
Location: New York, USA
Style: Closeups with continuous lighting
Mark Mann is a Glasgow-born photographer who currently lives in New York. He takes attention-grabbing portraits of celebrities. The photographer worked with Bill Clinton, Rihanna, and Willie Nelson.
Besides, his services were ordered by such brands as Reebok, Pepsi and Ford. He often shoots photos and videos during film festivals. Mann knows how to make colors pop and emphasize details. He takes close-up portraits to give them an intimate feel.
The photographer mostly works in his studio and uses warm lighting that hides skin imperfections well. He shows what makes his subjects different from the rest. His portraits were published in glossy magazines, including Vanity Fair and Esquire.
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Style: Hyper-saturated, theatrical, surrealistic portraits
David Lachapelle is different from other famous advertising photographers as he takes portraits with beautiful colors and deep symbolic meaning. His works are full of references to art history and contain many pop-art elements.
In addition, he uses religious and historical connotations frequently. His style is easy to recognize as he practices fine art photography and constantly improves his skills.
Many museums and galleries across the world invited him to take part in their exhibitions. He often takes fashion portraits of stars, so you might have seen the portraits of Amanda Lepore and Angelina Jolie that he created.
Location: New York, USA
Style: Minimalist black and white portraits
Richard Avedon was a well-known American photographer who specialized in fashion and fine art portraits. In the second half of the 20th century, he created portraits of many celebrities, such as Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Andy Warhol, and The Beatles.
However, instead of focusing on portraits of famous people only, he also captured pics of activists and civil rights workers. He invited them to his studio and took portraits during the Vietnam War and other protests.
Nobody before him was as consistent as him when it came to defending his cause. He never considered his subject a mannequin and liked showing what makes each person unique. Most of his portraits are black and white. To take them, Richard used a large-format camera.
Style: Natural, candid images shot in black and white
This portrait photographer set standards for the new realism technique and took iconic portraits that captured the hearts of millions. What makes Peter different from other portrait photographers is that he knows how to show the unique personality of his model. While his portraits of women may seem idealistic, they show that there is more to each person than meets the eye.
Peter Lindbergh redefined the notion of fashion photography as he believes that there is no need to retouch portraits a lot trying to achieve a polished look. Instead, he focuses on what makes each person different from the rest.
He often takes black-and-white portraits, which allows him to convey a dramatic atmosphere. His portraits never look staged as he likes taking candid photos to show the unique personality traits of his subjects.
Location: Manchester, England
Style: High-contrast black and white portraits
Lee Jeffries knows how to capture a human face in every detail. When looking at his photos, you will learn more about the personality of his models and see them as they are.
He often takes close-up portraits and uses advanced lighting techniques to emphasize lines on the faces. He took his first pictures when he was 35. Lee snapped photos of bicycles to promote his business.
As he liked it a lot, he started walking around the city and taking portraits of homeless people. The photographer prefers snapping black-and-white pics and strives to give his models some hope by making them visible and ensuring that their voice is heard.
Location: Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Style: Indigenous portraits in earthy tones
While some members of the international community consider his approach controversial, Jimmy Nelsson still believes that it’s important to bring his message across. Being one of the top portrait photographers, he captures pics of indigenous people from all over the world.
He worked in over 16 countries. Being an avid travel photographer, he captures rich traditions preserved by tribal people. Jimmy likes taking portraits of people wearing traditional outfits. He masterfully captures every detail and preserves ancient traditions.
When working, he mostly uses a film camera. While the photographer spends a lot of time trying to find the right location, it makes it easier for him to take amazing portraits in magnificent settings.
Location: Normandy, France
Style: Mix of fine art and documentary portraits
Rehann is famous for capturing the essence of his models. Instead of acting as a detached observer, he establishes a personal relationship with his subjects. He visited Vietnam, Rajasthan and Cuba frequently. The photographer took his most famous portraits there.
He enjoys telling stories about his models and learning more about different cultures. It allows him to find a common language with his subjects. Being interested both in fine art and documentary photography, he takes captivating portraits that tell people more about the world around them.
He invites people on a wonderful journey across different countries and continents. By capturing the daily lives of ordinary people, he widens the horizons and demonstrates that our world is full of heartfelt moments and wonderful discoveries.
Location: Los Angeles, USA
Style: Elegant compositions in outdoor locations
Thanks to his well-developed style and ability to create perfectly balanced compositions, Herb Ritts won worldwide fame in the 1980s. He took intimate portraits, captured fashionable outfits, and snapped stylish nude pictures that allowed him to become one of the best-known American portrait photography artists.
Ritts masterfully emphasized lines and shapes to create stylish compositions where everything is in place. While he preferred a classical style, he enjoyed experimenting and knew how to make his works stand out.
You must have seen his portraits of actors, singers, and other famous people. Ritts took iconic photos of Madonna. In most cases, he captured candid portraits to show his subjects in context.
Location: Boston, USA
Style: Posed classic portraits
Yousuf Karsh was a famous Armenian-Canadian photographer known for taking iconic portraits. Whether you are interested in photography or not, you must have seen his portraits of stars, writers, politicians, and activists.
He won worldwide praise for his amazing portrait of Winston Churchill taken in 1941. He has a distinct style that is easy to recognize. While his portraits are carefully staged, it gives them a creative feel.
Yousuf Karsh knew how to capture the personality of each of his subjects and created advanced studio lighting setups to snap portraits with perfect contrast. He often pointed lights at the hands of his models to emphasize them in the frame.
Location: New York, USA
Style: Environmental portraits
Arnold Newman is believed to be one of the most consistent celebrity portrait photographers who specialize in environmental portraiture. He pays attention to the composition and uses advanced lighting and framing techniques. Arnold makes sure to portray a subject in a way that shows their life and work.
He always puts his models in context, which makes his portraits stand out. Newman uses a range of portrait background ideas to add visual interest to his images. He captures his subjects in the surroundings. It allows him to show what they do for life.
For instance, when taking a portrait of a musician, he may capture them in the studio or during a live performance, while a portrait of a politician will be taken in their office. Newman knows how to create a well-balanced composition to drive attention to his works.
Location: United Kingdom
Style: Lifestyle portraits
Lorenzo won international acclaim after creating stunning portraits of Ewan McGregor and other actors working on the popular movie “Trainspotting.” The photographer has a unique approach and knows how to make his models relax in front of a camera.
His subjects often forget that they are taking part in a photoshoot and behave naturally as if they were simply talking to him. While he puts a lot of effort into creating his portraits, the results look effortless.
His models assume natural poses, which is why portraits don’t look staged. Lorenzo knows how to show the unique personality of his subject and take engaging portraits.
Location: New York, USA
Style: Closeups with hard lighting
Martin Schoeller is a world-known photographer who specializes in taking close-up portraits. He captures facial features with a high level of detail. The photographer shoots regular people as if they were famous celebrities. He has a recognizable style, which makes his portraits stand out among the rest.
Instead of focusing on working with well-known people, he spends more time exploring the concept of value and shows that there are many subjects that are worth being capture. Martin conveys strong emotions using flamboyant colors and harsh lighting.
He perfectly creates a warm atmosphere in his shots and captures the inner light of his models. The photographer uses two main approaches. He either creates minimalist portraits with a basic background or captures more stylish images using exquisite settings and props.