15 Most Famous Portrait Photographers in the World

portrait photography artists

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.

1. Annie Leibovitz

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.

anna leibovitz famous portrait photographer

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.

anna leibovitz famous portrait photographer

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.

2. Mario Testino

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.

mario testino famous portrait photographer

It allowed him to make himself a name and stand out among other famous portrait photographers. His style is clean and nice.

mario testino famous portrait photographer

The photographer knows how to give his photos a vintage feel. Even though he carefully stages his shots, his subjects always look relaxed.

3. Steve McCurry

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.

steve mccurry famous portrait photographer

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.

steve mccurry famous portrait photographer

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.

4. Mark Mann

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.

mark mann famous portrait photographer

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.

mark mann famous portrait photographer

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.

5. David Lachapelle

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.

david lachapelle famous portrait photographer

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.

david lachapelle famous portrait photographer

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.

6. Richard Avedon

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.

richard avedon famous portrait photographer

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.

richard avedon famous portrait photographer

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.

7. Peter Lindbergh

Location: Germany

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 famous portrait photographer

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.

peter lindbergh famous portrait photographer

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.

8. Lee Jeffries

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.

lee jeffries famous portrait photographer

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.

lee jeffries famous portrait photographer

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.

9. Jimmy Nelson

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.

jimmy nelson famous portrait photographer

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.

jimmy nelson famous portrait photographer

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.

10. Rehahn

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.

rehahn famous portrait photographer

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.

rehahn famous portrait photographer

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.

11. Herb Ritts

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.

herb ritts famous portrait photographer

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.

herb ritts famous portrait photographer

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.

12. Yousuf Karsh

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.

yousuf karsh famous portrait photographer

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 famous portrait photographer

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.

13. Arnold Newman

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.

arnold newman famous portrait photographer

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.

arnold newman famous portrait photographer

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.

14. Lorenzo Agius

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.

lorenzo agius famous portrait photographer

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.

lorenzo agius famous portrait photographer

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.

15. Martin Shoeller

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.

martin shoeller famous portrait photographer

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.

martin shoeller famous portrait photographer

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.

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