10 Famous Portrait Photographers You Need to Know About

Human imagination is not always as limitless as we would like so sometimes, the best way to create something unique is by checking out other people’s work. There are no shortcuts when it comes to photography, you need to work hard and practice as much as you can if you want to reach perfection. Portrait photography is not about snapping pictures randomly and see if you managed to get a good picture, it’s about capturing the moment, about bonding with the subject of the photo and surprise real emotion.

For your daily dose of inspiration, here are some of the famous Portrait Photographers you need to check out. This top is dedicated to both living portrait photographers and also photographer who have passed away.

Diane Arbus b. 1923 – d. 1971

Diane Arbus found beauty in all people and dedicated her life to capturing photos of people with different abnormalities and medical conditions such as dwarves, transgender people, nudists or circus performers. Through her photography she managed to surprise the different faces of people and created true beauty. She died tragically, ending her own life at the age of 48.

famous portrait photographers

More of her work can be found here.

Richard Avedon b. 1923 – d. 2004

Richard Avedon was a portrait and fashion photographer who is best known for the photos he took of Marilyn Monroe. He worked with many big names of the fashion industry such as Gianni Versace or Calvin Klein. His work was concentrated on capturing the highest quality pictures of different fashion icons of his time and he did an amazing job doing it.

famous portrait photographers

More of his work can be found here.

Cecil Beaton b. 1903 – d.1980

Sir Cecil Beaton was not only known for his photography skills but he was also a painter, diarist and interior designer. A man of many talents, Beaton turned to war photography after he was fired from Vogue for including anti-Semitic phrases in one of his photographs. However, he managed to continue working and he was actually named a Knight Bachelor in 1972.

famous portrait photographers

More of his work can be found here.

Angus McBean b. 1904 – d. 1990

Angus McBean is called the best photographer of his era by many people. He initially worked in the antiques section of a department store while creating masks and taking photographs in his spare time. Actually, his photography skills became known after he was first hired to create the masks for a show. He spent most of his career being the photographer of actress Vivien Leigh.

famous portrait photographers

More of his work can be found here.

Herb Ritts b. 1952 – d. 2002

Herb Ritts was a photographer who mainly dedicated his work to creating not photographs but stories. He was passionate about black and white portrait photography and introducing the style of Greek sculptures in his work. During his lifetime, Ritts worked with many famous people such as Madonna, Jach Nicholson or Tina Turner, making him one of the most notable portrait photographers of our time.

famous portrait photographers

More of his work can be found here.

Annie Leibovitz b. 1949

Annie Leibovitz has an impressing portrait photography portfolio but one of the most notable pictures she ever took was a picture of John Lennon and Yoko Ono who appeared on the cover of the Rolling Stones magazine. Leibovitz was actually the last photographer who ever took a picture of John Lennon alive, Lennon being shot five hours after this picture was taken.

famous portrait photographers

More of her work can be found here.

Steve McCurry b. 1950

Steve McCurry is best known for his portrait photograph entitled “Afghan Girl” which appeared in a number of National Geographic magazine. What most people don’t know is the fact that McCurry actually has countless other portrait photographs just as or even more powerful. He travels the world and tries to capture pure emotion through his photography. He’s been doing beautifully so far.

famous portrait photographers

More of his work can be found here.

Cindy Sherman b. 1954

Cindy Sherman is one of the contemporary portrait photographers who sold some of the most expensive photographs ever. Her work revolves around how women are often seen or treated in the modern society and she has many portrait photography series in which she tries to raise awareness on these matters. Even though we are still struggling to make equality between sexes even more achievable, we are not there yet and maybe we will never be and this is what Sherman tries to accentuate through her portrait photography.

famous portrait photographers

More of her work can be found here.

Gregory Heisler b. 1954

Gregory Heisler is a portrait photographer whose work has been published on the covers of several magazines, some of his most notable work being published by Time magazine. Heisler is currently dedicating his time to teaching the wonders and the secrets of portrait photography and photography in general to students who are passionate about the subject. He can be found at the Syracuse University and he is a distinguished photography professor.

famous portrait photographers

More of his work can be found here.

Peter Hurley

Peter Hurley is currently named the best head-shot photographer in the world. While looking through some of his pictures you can actually figure out why. He initially wanted to pursue a career in acting and he had no idea on what he was going to do after graduating from the University of Boston. However, destiny, chance and a photographer friend of his made him acknowledge that his true passion lies in photography and he has been growing as a photographer and as a person ever since.

famous portrait photographers

More of his work can be found here.

What other portrait photographers have inspired you and your photography?

 

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About

With a background in Theater and Literary Studies, Geta is a photography enthusiast taking great pleasure in writing on photographic art related subjects. She is an active contributor for Virtual Photography Studio, always looking for inspirational ideas and creative tips on how to develop skills and gain valuable experience in the field.