Inspirational Portrait Photographers You Should Follow Today

What does it take to be one of the greatest portrait photographers in the world? Skill? Talent? Inspiration? Courage? These are all features you are about to discover at our favorite portrait photographers. Some of the professionals featuring our list are world-famous, some are well-known in smaller circles, some tell cultural stories, others more personal ones. But they all have something in common: a unique, thought-provoking and sometimes truly mind-blowing perspective both on the art of portraiture and life.

Our list of portrait photographers you should definitely know about is open to other entries as well. There are, of course, many more portrait photographers worthy of praise and admiration. That is why we cheerfully encourage our readers and followers to reach out to us with any thoughts, ideas or suggestions. Feel free to add names and stories to our lists of inspiring photographers from around the world. Write your own list and send it to us to be published!

Portrait Photographer: Adrian Blachut

Location:  Warsaw, Poland

Bio: Adrian Blachut is a Polish fine art portrait photographer who started his career in photography in 2007 after graduating economics and logistics. He is currently based in Warsaw, the capital of Poland, working as a commercial photographer and videomaker. His series of black & white portraits entitled ‘Faces’ is focused on what eyes say about people. You should definitely take a look at these expressive, intense photographs created in a classical artistic fashion.

Adrian Blachut portrait photographer

‘Faces’ Project © Adrian Blachut

Website: Adrian Blachut Photography, Facebook Official Page

 

Portrait Photographer: Lee Jeffries

Location:  Manchester, United Kingdom.

Bio: Seeing the street portraits signed by Lee Jeffries you would say he has studied photography for his entire life, but he did not. Lee Jeffries is an accountant currently living in Manchester. He became a self-taught and self-funded photographer about 7 years ago. The subjects of his portraiture are homeless people from various corners of the world. He started his photographic project entitled LOST ANGELS with the photograph of a woman praying in Rome, but his first street portrait was the one of a homeless girl on the streets of London.

This brilliant portrait photographer’s work is seen not simply as photojournalism or street photography, but as powerful spiritual iconography. What makes these black & white images of homeless people stand out is the photographer’s use of lights and shadows, as well as the powerful emotions behind the shots. His portraiture work is so emotionally charged that he even declared that: “When I’m talking to these people, I can’t then leave that emotion, so when I get back to my computer so emotionally involved, sometimes I will start to cry when processing the image”.

His work has been featured in top lists of street and portrait photography across the web and praised in major publications such as Time, the Independent, Guardian and Huffington Post.

New York by Lee Jeffries portrait photographer

New York © Lee Jeffries

Watch more of his images in this video.

Website: Lee Jeffries Portrait Photography on 500px.com, Lee Jeffries Photography Facebook Page.
 

Portrait Photographer: Cato Lein

Location:  Stockholm, Sweden.

Bio: Born in Båtsfjord, Norway, Cato Lein is currently based in Stockholm, Sweden. He is one of the most prominent and acclaimed Swedish portrait photographers, having worked for many publishing houses and magazines in Scandinavia. However, his photographic projects took his around the world. He is now working on a project in Poland. He has also exhibited portraits of Polish and foreign writers and translators in the past.

Cato Lein’s portrait photography is highly original, intense, and even provocative. His passion for powerful black & white imagery is his trademark. As concerns the way he approaches the art of portraiture, he says that:

“I often do two takes, one for the client and for myself. With my own, I test the limits of the possible – see how far I can go. This shot shows the person portrayed in a new way, never negatively but not flatteringly either. That’s what lots of my pictures are like: I’ve pushed the look in a direction that ends up surprising the models. Mostly, they like what I do and respect my artistic freedom.”

Norman Manea by Cato Lein portrait photographer

Norman Manea © Cato Lein

Website: Cato Lein Photography on Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr.

 

Portrait Photographer: Jimmy Nelson

Location: Amsterdam,  Netherlands and Ibiza.

Bio: Jimmy Nelson is a British photojournalist and photographer who traveled the world to document and photograph some of the most fantastic tribes left on the planet today. His vibrant and intriguing portraits of indigenous people taken in more than 44 countries around the globe have conquered our attention and admiration. Find out more about his stories and journey in Europe, Africa, South America, Asia and the South Pacific from his speech at TEDx Amsterdam.

before they pass away photo by jimmy nelson portrait photographer

‘Before They Pass Away’ Project © Jimmy Nelson

Website: Jimmy Nelson Photography.

 

Portrait Photographer: Nina Mašic-Lizdek

Location: Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bio: Nina Mašic is a 24-year-old photographer and retoucher currently based in Sarajevo. She sees photography as a means of exploring and experiencing life with more intensity. Her images reveal different aspects of the world around us in pure beauty.

photo by nina masic portrait photographer

Photograph by Nina Masic

Website: Nina Mašic Photography, 500xp.com Page, Facebook Page, Instagram.

 

Portrait Photographer: Maja Topcagic

Location:  Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Bio: Maja Topcagic is the second portrait photographer born in Bosnia and Herzegovina featuring our list. She is currently working as a computer science teacher in Bihac, but also freelancing for Trevillion Images, 500px.com, Art+Commerce/Vogue Italia, and WIN New York.

She began her journey as a photographer at the age of 19 and since then she has invested energy both in hes passion for mathematics and photographic art. ‘Math and art are soulmates, and using these very natural things for a human being we can describe our world and our mind’, she says. It is better to let her images speak for themselves. Let’s take a look at one of  her beautiful, dreamy portrait.

blossom by maya toccagic portrait photographer

Blossom © Maja Topcagic

Website: Maja Topcagic Portfolio, 500px Page.

 

Portrait Photographer: Lisa Kristine

Location:  San Francisco, California.

Bio: Lisa Kristine is a highly appreciated humanitarian photographer. Part of her praised work showcases aspects of modern day human enslavement. She has also gained international recognition for capturing portraits of indigenous people from over 100 countries in six continents. ‘Few artists know how to capture the diversity and dignity of indigenous people. Lisa Kristine’s portraits exquisitely convey their silenced messages’, says Cosette Thompson, from Amnesty International. Lisa has explored the world in search of people, places and stories, creating unforgettable and meaningful images.

freedom, ghana by Lisa Kristine portrait photographer

Freedom, Ghana © Lisa Kristine

Website: Lisa Kristine Photography.

 

Portrait Photographer: Annie Leibovitz

Location: New York City, NY.

Bio: We have already featured Annie Leibovitz in our top fashion photographers list, as well as in out 10 famous photographers you should know about, but it is simply impossible not to mention her again as one of the most talented American portrait photographers today.

Meryl Streep photo by Annie Leibovitz portrait photographer

Meryl Streep © Annie Leibovitz

Website: Annie Leibovitz Photography on Tumblr.

 

Portrait Photographer: Joe McNally

Location: Ridgefield, Connecticut.

Bio: Joe McNally is an internationally acclaimed American photographer, author and instructor, listed by American Photo as one of the 100 Most Important People in Photography. He has worked as a photojournalist for 30 years now and shot cover stories for Time, Newsweek, New York, Fortune, Men’s Journal, National Geographic, LIFE and many more. He is the author of the first all-digital coverage of the history of the National Geographic, called ‘The Future of Flying’.

One of his noteworthy projects we want to bring into view is ‘Faces of Ground Zero’, created soon after the 9/11 tragedy, which is a collection of monumental, life-sized portraits of the heroes of September 11, 2001. As the official page of this projects reads, the photographs show ‘McNally’s brilliance as a photographer and his humanity in capturing everyday people in these historic moments’.

face of ground zero by joe mcnally portrait photographer

‘Faces of Ground Zero’ Project © Joe McNally

Website: Joe McNally Portfolio, Faces of Ground Zero Project.

 

Portrait Photographer: Katarina Smuraga

Location:  St. Petersburg, Russia.

Bio: Born in Vitebsk, Belarus, Katarina Smuraga is currently based in St. Petersburg, Russia. The images she creates are genuine and vivid, disturbing, yet refreshing. Katarina’s photos portray sensitive subjects and have an incredible emotional power.

photo by Katarina Smuraga portrait photography

Photograph by Katarina Smuraga

Website: Katarina Smuraga Photography on Flickr.

Image Sources: photographs featured in this article belong to the portrait photographers listed above and are protected by copyright. 

Photography Contests You Must Enter in 2015

Whether you are an amateur or a professional, participating in photography contests is a great chance to gain both popularity and valuable experience. Check out our list of photographic competitions in 2015, send them your best shots and win some amazing prizes.

 

National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2015

National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is an annual competition gathering best travel photos from around the world. If you have amazing travel experiences to share, this is the right competition for you. Visit Traveler Photo Contest Official Page to have a look at the latest entries and learn more about how to submit your artwork. Give it a shot!

Photo by Anders Anderson for National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest 2015

Photo by Anders Anderson

Closing Date: June 30, 2015

Entry Conditions:

 

  • The 27th annual edition of National Geographic Traveler Photo Contest is now open for photographers who have reached the age of majority in their states and who do not reside in Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan or Syria.
  • In order to submit your image, you need to complete a form and pay an entry fee of $15.
  • The number of entries per person is unlimited.
  • All digital images are required to be 20 MB or smaller and at least 1,600 pixels wide (for horizontal images) or 1,600 pixels tall (for vertical images).
  • Format: JPEG/ JPG.

Categories:

 

  • Travel Portraits
  • Outdoor Scenes
  • Sense of Place
  • Spontaneous Moments

 

Official Prizes

 

  • 1st PRIZE

First place winner gets an eight-day National Geographic Photo Expedition in Costa Rica and the Panama Canal with airfare for two.

  • 2nd PRIZE

First runner-up wins a six-day National Geographic Photo Expedition: Winter Wildlife in Yellowstone for two.

  • 3rd PRIZE

Second runner up gets a six-day cruise from Schooner American Eagle and Heritage for two.

They also have 7 MERIT PRIZES consisting of:

  • A $200 gift certificate to B&H Photo
  • National Geographic Masters of Photography course on DVD

All winners will receive a subscription to Traveler magazine.

Submit your best shots now to win one of these generous prizes.

World Palm Portraits Photography Competition 2015

 

If you think you can increase awareness on the attributes of palm oil through the power and beauty of pictorial compositions, Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) created World Palm Portraits Photography Competition especially for you. ‘Discover Nature’s Gift’ and share your results to win prizes worth $12,000.

Closing Date: June 30, 2015.

Entry Conditions

 

  • The third edition of World Palm Portraits Photography Competition is open to all photographers around the world, professional or amateurs.
  • You must be 18 years of age or above.
  • You are required to use a digital camera capable of at least 8 megapixels. Photos taken with a smartphone camera or PDA are not eligible.
  • You can enter one or all categories of the competition.
  • Image minimum size: 3 MB (minimum resolution of 300 dpi).
  • Format: only JPG/JPEG formatted photos.
  • You may submit up to 20 images.

As regards Copyright terms, by entering the competition you agree to grant MPOC and to its partners full ownership of your photos. Your images may be used to promote the contest or other contests within Malaysia and internationally. The terms do not exclude other purposes as well. By entering the contest, you warrant that you are the owner of the images and these have not been used for commercial purposes before.

Categories:

 

  • Nature & Wildlife
  • People & Portraits
  • Black & White
  • Fine Art & Photo Manipulation

Official Prizes

 

The prizes for EACH category are:

  • 1st PRIZE: $2,000
  • 2nd PRIZE: $1,000

For more information about the competition and how you can submit your work, please access palmportraits.com.my.

 

The Eros Magazine – Fine Art Nudes Photo Contest

 

The TZIPAC team announces the launch of an online digital magazine designed to celebrate and showcase the art behind nude photography. The magazine will also display other forms of art media, including traditional photography medium, painting and digital animation.

Closing Date: 30 Jun 2015

Entry Conditions:

  • Fine Art Nudes Photo Contest is open to all photographers worldwide.
  • Submitting your artwork is cost-free.
  • Photos are required to be 8 bit, 1500 pixels on the longest side, 72 dpi.
  • Image maximum size: 500 KB.
  • Format: JPG/ JPEG only.
  • Color space: RGB or sRGB.
  • You may submit up to 5 images.
  • Ensure there are no identifying borders, marks or logos on your photos.

Concerning copyright, you must warrant that you are the author of the artworks you submit and that you own all the rights to use the images.

 

Categories: OPEN

The competition judges are looking for unique skills and artistic perspectives on nude photography.

 

Official Prizes:

  • 1st PRIZE

The winner of the Grand Prize will receive a 20 page feature in first issue of The Eros Magazine and will be showcased in The Eros Magazine Winners Online Gallery.

  • 2nd PRIZE

The first runner up will receive a 10 page feature in The Eros Magazine – Issue 1, and will be showcased in their Winners Online Gallery.

  • 3rd PRIZE

The second runner up will also receive a 10 page feature in The Eros Magazine – Issue 1 and will be showcased in their Winners Online Gallery.

All finalists will be displayed in the first issue of The Eros Magazine and showcased in their Winners Online Gallery. Make sure you check your email as you will be notified in case you are one of the photographers featured in online winner’s galleries.

For more information on how to submit your work, please check their contest page.

National Park Photo Contest 2015

 

If you are a nature photography aficionado, enter National Park Photo Contest with your best landscape or wildlife picture to win a Tamron camera lens or accessory and be featured in a 2016 National Park Journal.

 

Closing Date: 31 Aug 2015

 

Entry Conditions:

  • The competition is opened to all residents of the US and the entry is free of charge.
  • There is a limit of 5 entries per person.
  • You can help the judges decide on the best shots by voting your favorites online.

Regarding Copyright, by entering the competition your photos become the property of the Sponsor and they have full rights to use your images for various purposes, including marketing and promotion.

 

Official Prizes:

  • 1st Prize – valued at $1069

One grand prize winner receives a Tamron SP 150-600mm Di VC USD (for Canon, Nikon and Sony Full-Frame and APS-C DSLR cameras).

  • 2nd PRIZE – valued at $629

First runner up will receive a Tamron 16-300mm Di II VC PZD Macro (for Canon, Nikon and Sony APS-C DSLR cameras).

 

  • 3rd PRIZE – valued at $449

Second runner up will receive a Tamron 10-24mm Di II (for Canon, Nikon, Pentax and Sony APS-C DSLR cameras).

  • 15 Honorable Mention Prizes valued at $38,50 each

15 mention winners will receive a Leatherman multi tool from Tamron.

Winners will be selected by the end of September 2015.

For additional information on how to submit your work, you can visit the contest official website.

 

Good luck!

Top 10 Fashion Photographers

Both intriguing and gutty, fashion photographers have challenged the concept of beauty over generations and continue to redefine visual art in the fashion industry. Here at Virtual Photography Studio we want to bring into the open the work of successful professional photographers from various niches and places around the globe. After starting with a top selection of travel photographers, here are 10 fashion photographers worth knowing about.

Name: Alessio Bolzoni

Location: Paris, France

Bio: Born in Crema, in 1979, Alessio Bolzoni is an Italian fashion and editorial photographer whose work has been featured in Marie Claire, Office Magazine, Harper’s Bazaar UK, Elle US, Grey Magazine, Numero, Lurve magazine and many more.

Alessio Bolzoni fashion photographer

His photography captures a sense of drama and movement as street art and cinematography are his sources of inspiration. Bolzoni is definitely one of the avant-garde fashion photographer of these days, mixing high style with simplicity. The result – an unusual elegance.

Website: Alessio Bolzoni Photography

Name: Alessandro Dal Buoni

Location: London, UK

Bio: Italian born, Alessandro Dal Buoni is a fashion photographer based in London. He shoots for multiple magazines. To mention just a few: L’Officiel Hommes China, GQ Japan, Amica, L’Officiel Hommes Germany, AnOther Man, Hunter, D Magazine, Dazed & Confused, Mixte Hommes, Rolling Stone, V and V Man. Dal Buoni works with clients like Dior, Yohji Yamamoto, Roberta Furlanetto, KRISVANASSCHE, among others.

Alessandro dal Buoni Photography

© Alessandro dal Buoni Photography

His style is extremely versatile, but as a trademark there’s a sense of purity and grace in everything he captures.  He acknowledges Frantisek Drtikol, George Platt Lynes and Robert Mapplethorpe as the photographers who inspire him the most.

Website: Alessandro Dal Buoni Photography

 

Name: Sebastian Kim

Location: New York City, NY

Bio: Born in Vietnam and raised in three very different corners of the world – Iran, France and Southern California – Sebastian Kim is a renowned fashion and editorial photographer. He immersed in the world of fashion photography as an assistant of Richard Avedon and Steven Meisel.

Sebastian Kim fasgion photographer

Kim has collaborated with many famous publications such as Harper’s Bazaar UK, Vogue, Numero, and The New York Times. His fame grew tremendously after having worked with top fashion designers like Calvin Klein, John Galliano, Nina Ricci and Alexander Wang.

Kim’s shooting style is described as sexy and glamorous, yet tasteful.

Website: Sebastian Kim Photography

 

Name: Andrea Klarin

Location: Brussels, Belgium

Bio: Born in Belgrade, former Yugoslavia, Andrea is a fashion photographer, currently on the crest of the wave. Based in Brussels, he travels the world to work for clients like Vogue, Gloss, Flaunt, Harper’s Bazaar, Wallpaper, Madame Figaro and TANK magazines, as well as advertising clients such as Valentino, Louis Vuitton, Guerlain, Swarowski, Lanvin, L’Oreal, Nike, Longchamps and Canon.

Andrea Klarin, fashion photographer, and Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol and Andrea Klarin

With an obsession for perfection, his photographs are meant to redefine beauty by capturing a contemporary mood based on light, shapes, shadows and textures.

Website: Andrea Klarin Photography

 

 

Name: Steven Klein

Location: New York City, NY

Bio: Steven Klein is an acclaimed American photographer. His passion for photography began at the age of 10. Although he studied painting, he started building his career in photography as soon as he graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design.

Brad Pitt Photo Taken by Steven Klein, fashion photographer, for Interview Magazine

Brad Pitt by Steven Klein for Interview Magazine

Highly provocative and subversive, his photographic style brought him to the attention of major brands in the fashion world. Klein has shot for clients like Calvin Klein, Dolce & Gabbana, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, Balenciaga, contributed regularly to magazines like Vogue, i-D, Numéro, W and Arena. He is mostly known for his editorials with Madonna and Brad Pitt.

Klein has also created vibrant images of iconic music artists, such as Britney Spears, Rihanna and Lady Gaga. His photographs are eclectic, sexual and inspiring.

Website:Steven Klein Studio

 

Name: Nick Knight

Location:

Bio: Born in London, United Kingdom, Nick Knight is one of most imaginative and influential photographers in the fashion industry. Over the years he has worked for leading designers including Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Calvin Klein, Lancôme, Levi Strauss and Yves Saint Laurent. Nick Knight also shot for high-profile brands like Audi and Mercedes Benz, challenging not only the conventions of fashion media, but also the conventional notion of a fashion photographer.

Famous fashion photographer Nick Knight

Among his prestigious clients, it is worth mentioning British Vogue, Paris Vogue, Dazed & Confused, Another Man and I-D magazines.

Apart from photography, he is also a renowned filmmaker. He shot videos for artists like Lady Gaga, Kanye West, Gwen Stefani, Massive Attack and Bjork. His style is thought to be experimental, and progressive, or, in another words, at the edge of the avant-garde. He continues to create visionary content on his own fashion website SHOWstudio.com.

Website: Nick Knight Photography

 

Name: Annie Leibovitz

Location: New York City, NY

Bio: Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous female American photographers of all times. Born in Connecticut, she is a third-generation American with family roots in Romania and Estonia. While studying painting at the San Francisco Institute, she discovered photography and started working for the Rolling Stones magazine. In 1973 she became the magazine’s chief photographer, shooting no less than 142 covers in ten years, including the iconic embrace of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Lennon was shot dead five hours after the photo shooting, making Leibovitz’s photograph a memorable moment in the history of visual art.

Annie Leibovitz American fashion photographer

She then collaborated with Vanity Fair, shooting the pregnant Demi Moore, Lady Gaga, President Barack Obama, and more recently, Miley Cyrus, Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

Leibovitz’s portraits are dramatic, provocative and highly influential.

Website: Annie Leibovitz Photography

 

Name: Mert & Marcus

Location: London, UK

Bio: Mert & Marcus is the name of two fashion photographers working together, both born in 1971 and influenced by the renowned fashion photographer Guy Bourdin. Mert Alas and Marcus Piggott are some of the leading photographers in fashion today.

They worked for top publications like Vogue, W Magazine, Pop Magazine, Numero. High-profile brands like Louis Vuitton, Missoni, Giorgio Armani, Roberto Cavalli, Fendi, Kenzo, and Miu Miu are just some of their major clients.

Mert & Marcus fashion photographers

Mert & Marcus are known for a creative and innovative use of digital technology. But what keeps them ahead of the game is their exuberant and sophisticated photography. Their style is highly aesthetic, unconventional and, sometimes, hyperreal.

Website: Mert & Marcus Photography

 

 

Name: Paolo Roversi

Location: Paris, France

Bio: Italian-born fashion photographer, Paolo Roversi is now based in Paris. His love for photography came early, in 1964, while on vacation with his family in Spain. After returning back home, he set up a darkroom and began developing his own black and white work. Years later, he started working as a reporter until he was discovered by the British photographer Lawrence Sackmann.

Paolo Roversi Italian fashion photographer

After nine month of apprenticeship with Sackmann, Roversi started working on his own as a fashion photographer, shooting for Elle, Depeche Mode and Marie Claire. He has created ads for Armani, Dior, Romeo Gigli, Yohji Yamamoto and a many others.

His photographs are acclaimed for a sense of grace, purity and femininity due to Paolo’s technique, which he says to be ‘more subtraction than addition’.

Website: Paolo Roversi Photography

 

 

Name: Mario Sorrenti

Location: New York, NY

Bio: New York City based photographer, Mario Sorrenti was born in Naples in 1971. He is best known for his nude photography featured in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, as well as for the iconic shooting of Kate Moss for the Calvin Klein Obsession perfume campaign. Sorrenti is active in the music industry as well, having shot Shakira, Maxwell, and Drake. He also directed John Mayer’s video for ‘Daughters’ in 2003.

Mario Sorrenti fashion photographer

Among his clients from the world of fashion, he has collaborated with notorious publications and fashion houses like Vanity Fair, Another Man, Lancôme, Paco Rabanne, and Benetton. Currently, he exclusively works for the Art Partner agency and continues to surprise his audience with a provocative, always impressive vision on what fashion photography is.

Website: Mario Sorrenti Photography

 

Image Sources: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10

Tips for Portrait Photography for Shy Models

When looking at a portrait, the first thing we tend to notice is where the subject is looking or what message they are sending through their eyes. This post addresses both photographers and those having their photograph taken. You can use our tips for portrait photography to work with shy models.

Model Tips for Portrait Photography

First of all, it is not uncommon for some people to dread having their photo taken of, especially if it is a portrait. This can either come from insecurities we might be having regarding the way our face looks like, or maybe we consider ourselves totally un-photogenic, when in reality, it might only be about not knowing a few basic tricks.

Referring to portraits, people sometimes tend to look away from the camera, creating the illusion of depth, melancholy or distance. Stop. What you need to know is that looking away from the camera leads to a not so powerful photo, it shows insecurity from both the photographer and the poser, and gives an overall clumsy and unprofessional touch.

Portrait Photography tips

Eyes are the gateway to the soul. So, when you look straight into the camera, you let the viewer see a fraction of your soul. For this to happen, you should learn how to overcome your insecurities by following these simple steps.

  • #1 If you have time to prepare before your shoot, remember that light is the key to taking good photographs. Although natural light is best, there are plenty of ways you could enhance your features using artificial means, such as makeup. It does not matter what gender you are, you still need your face illuminated, corners shadowed and eyes enhanced.
  • #2 Avoid looking straight into the camera, because that pose is really hard to pull off when you are not so confident. Look above the camera, or a bit below, but never straight into it. The viewer is still going to think you are looking in the camera.
  • #3 Also, studies have shown that men who tilt their head backwards and women who tilt theirs forward in photos, are seen as more attractive.
  • #4 A smile is the best makeup someone can wear. But be careful. It has to be a real, candid smile, not the forced ‘say cheese’ one that instantly makes you look like a Japanese couple. Practice makes perfect, and mastering that perfect, natural smile which is an instant beautifier is no waste of your time.

Portrait Photography tips for shy models

To avoid looking weird or completely unnatural when smiling, do this: close your eyes and tilt your head down and count to 3; when you get to three, open your eyes, smile and lift your head. This way, you will seem like a natural and there will be no more awkwardness in your photos.

  • #5 If you want a photo to capture you and your friends and how much fun you’re having, fixating the camera won’t do much for you. Be natural, let you hair down. Laugh, look at each other or, in a relaxed manner, touch them, and create physical contact. Usually, when there are more people in the picture, you ought to emphasize the relationship between you and the link that brought you all there. While a photo of you and your work colleagues could have a more professional touch, given that you work together as a team, you could consider looking into the camera.

Portrait Photography tips for shy models

Adopt a professional, yet relaxed pose and add warmth to your eyes; you surely do not wish to scare the viewer. If you and your significant other want to have your photo taken, you could even consider looking into each other’s eyes. It doesn’t have to be a lustful look; it could be joyful and innocent. It all depends on the nature of your relationship.

Portrait Photography tips for shy models

  • #6 Usually, when you look at something that isn’t also in the pictures, you make everyone curious as to what it is. Of course, there are cases when being distant in a photo can truly capture your delicacy or fragile soul. However, you must make sure this pose suits you and that the context and background are appropriate. If you are in a studio and look up, it may look as if someone was dangling a toy in front of you, to keep you focused. On the other hand, if you’re in a public place, such as Edith Piaf in this picture, you could totally pull it off.

Portrait Photography tips for shy models

Photographers Tips for Portrait Photography

Yes, you too are responsible of how your model looks.

Portrait Photography tips for shy models

  • 1# Don’t intimidate your models. Use music, jokes, and an overall relaxed atmosphere to loosen up the nerves. Let them know that it’s not a problem if you take more than one shot. You would rather have something that both of you like, than make a compromise, try too hard with the post editing and ending up with both of you being disappointed. As a photographer, try to not be arrogant. True, you do possess a great amount of knowledge regarding poses, angles and light. But your model doesn’t, so be patient.
  • #2 As to what setting you should use, keep in mind that a sharp portrait is better than a fuzzy one. Adjust the sharpness accordingly. Too much make be too noisy. Too little puts both you and the model in a bad light. It reads into the model not being expressive enough.
  • #3 Admittedly, the Rule of Thirds, is the key to taking good, aesthetically correct photos. It means that by dividing your frame in three equal parts, your photo have correct proportions. This can easily be broken, because sometimes, placing your subject right in the center of the photo can create a powerful impact, or far right can give the subject room to look into. However, this can also be overlooked. In photography, rules serve merely as guidelines. The rest is up to you. There are no rules to making art.

Portrait Photography tips for shy models

  • #4 Take more than one shot. When taking several shots of the same subject, posing approximately the same, it’s easier to choose a good photo to work with. Also, you could take multiple shots of the same pose while experimenting with lightning or changing angles. You never know what could come out of it.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

5 Maternity Photography Ideas for Expecting Clients

Becoming a mother is a special, special time in the life of a woman who chooses to walk that path. As cliché as it might sound, women who want a child and manage to become pregnant with one are truly experiencing a touch of the miraculous in their lives, and expecting couples are often so touched by this experience that working with them as a photographer can be the source of great inspiration. It is very often that these couples – or women – want to immortalize the special time they are currently experience through a beautiful photo shoot, and this is where you come in. If you take these few maternity photography ideas into account when you get contacted by expecting clients, the results will surely make them happy, and make you a better photographer in the process.

1. Combine the maternity photography niche with the boudoir photography niche.

1

Sometimes, the altered body appearance of a pregnant woman is the main thing which she wants to immortalize in the special photo session, and posing semi-naked for it almost comes naturally. Although for most photography outsiders, the ideas of maternity and of boudoir photography don’t mix very well, in professional practice they mix perfectly, and quite often (as we’ve shown you before in a post about boudoir photography). If you think about it, it actually makes perfect sense: a woman who wants to document her journey with professional photographs wants to beam with joy over her swollen belly, but wants to feel feminine and attractive too. Therefore, nude or semi-nude photos (perhaps just with a silhouette) are one of the best maternity photography ideas ever.

2. Make the belly important, but don’t make it your sole focus.

Styled maternity session at the Propel Workshop 2013

One of the most common novice mistakes when it comes to experimenting with maternity photography ideas is making the belly the main focus of each photo. Sure, the unborn baby is sort of the main point of the shoot, but if you center your photos on it, all of them will end up looking the same, and you will have missed other crucial aspects which should have been captured. Try alternating the focus and concentrate on other things like the people’s facial expressions, how your props are making the whole setting change and so on. Speaking of props, when shooting indoors in your studio (though it shouldn’t be a must, as we’ll develop further on later), some of the best maternity photography ideas include using unlikely pieces of furniture for comfortable poses. If the woman feels very comfy in an armchair, try creating the same pose with her in a kid’s wagon, for example, and so on.

3. When photographing couples, make the other partner feel important as well.

Butter Media Inc.

Another potential mistake you could make is to overlook the other partner or make them just a supporting character within the photos. Maternity photography ideas should be more than simply photographing the pregnant woman with her partner behind her and holding her or her belly. Ask them to play around until you find the potential for something funny, like the partner’s surprised facial expression being the focus of the photo, right next to the pregnancy itself. In real life as well as in photographs, the non-pregnant partner of expecting couples can sometimes feel like the third wheel, and it’s part of your job to counteract this effect in the photographs and make everyone feel like the united family they are.

4. Help your subjects relax and feel attractive.

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Keep in mind that your subjects are not only non-professionals who don’t know how to pose and how to not get tired by it, but they are also pregnant women who may have some trouble feeling attractive during this delicate time. The better they feel while posing, the better will the photos be, so do our best to help them feel relaxed, to prevent exhaustion and to keep their spirits up.

5. Don’t settle for classic poses and try something creative.

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Your first two or three couples who come to you for this kind of photos may challenge you enough just by requiring a classic maternity photo shoot, but after you become a bit more experienced in the field, you will soon notice how all studio photos will start looking more or less the same. After gaining a steady hand, try a more creative approach. Your artistry and your customers will both have to gain from the fresh view. For example, go outside the studio: try shooting the photos on the beach, if conditions will allow it, or simply somewhere outdoors. Some of the most creative maternity photography ideas we’ve seen around often involved being outdoors, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Have fun and good luck!

5 Sensible Ideas for Couples Boudoir Photography

During your career as a photographer working with people, if you manage to successfully transition from doing this as a hobby to becoming a pro, you will be approached by couples quite often. When two people feel happy together, when they are at the beginning or when they have simply reached a new relationship milestone, it is quite often that they want to celebrate that feeling by commissioning a series of couple photography. But on that note, you shouldn’t be surprised that sometimes they want to try couples boudoir photography, since it’s one of the most popular commercial trends of the present. It can’t be all wedding photography or classic portraits; but on the other hand you shouldn’t feel queasy about it: boudoir photography is by no means erotic photography, which is much more explicit or debatable. To prepare a bit for the time when you’ll receive a request like this, here are 5 sensible ideas for couples’ boudoir photography to achieve the ideal balance between enticing and tasteful.

1. Combine the niches of boudoir photography with maternity photography.

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Sometimes, pregnant mothers want to contract a photographer to help them immortalize their new bodies in a beautiful light. It is a way for them to feel beautiful at a time when their bodies are going through miraculous and tremendous change, and you need to be highly imaginative as a photographer to be able to capture the exact angle that will produce a suitable photo. The final result must be neither too revealing or overtly sexy, nor too abstract, as if you don’t want to show the body at all, nor focusing entirely on the belly. The good news is that if you get this right, your client will love it, and you will add a very desirable niche to your portfolio.

2. Use lights and shadows to highlight only one area or shape of your subjects’ bodies.

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When photographing bodies in a delicate and non-overtly erotic manner, the play of lights and shadows can be your friend. In the example above, the shadows help make the photo not too explicit, while the lights make the contours stand out in an alluring way. Tasteful boudoir photography can be easily achieved through light and shadow play, so it’s a trick you should keep in mind for every such photo shoot.

3. In couples’ boudoir photography, your people skills must be extra sharp.

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Brushing up on your people skills to make sure your subjects are relaxed enough to pose and to also prevent their exhaustion is an important part of any kind of photography work, but in the case of boudoir photography, perhaps it is even more so. A person’s body is the thing they often are the most self-conscious about, and it is your job to make them feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible. They must feel so throughout the photo shoot, and the results have to make them feel beautiful. Perhaps a talk with your subjects about the body parts they feel most self-conscious about or the body parts which they are proud of and would like to bring into focus can prove itself useful, if you are as tactful about it a possible.

4. Try shooting the photos from partially concealing angles.

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If you manage to tactfully find out what areas of their bodies your clients are comfortable with and what areas they would like concealed, you can use this as a guide. If there isn’t anything to be concealed for this reason, then just try to follow this rule of revealing something and concealing something else, in order to make sure the final result is tasteful and just slightly erotic. In couple’s boudoir photography, you have to deliver a result which will make your clients happy with their decision of posing for you even after a long while has passed.

5. As much of a cliché as it sounds, focus on the feeling of the overall setting than on the bodies per se.

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The décor is very important in couple’s boudoir photography, as it will set the whole feeling for the entire series of photos. Not only will this feeling be visible to the viewer of the photos, but the subjects themselves must be successfully be immersed in it to relax properly and glow. This setting includes not only the objects in the room, but also the way you choose to frame the image you want to capture.

If you manage to apply these few ideas for couples’ boudoir photography, your clients should feel very happy with both the shooting experience and the results of your work, and your reputation as a reliable photographer will have nothing but to gain from it.

The Best Photographers We’ve Encountered Online in 2013-2014

Talking about something as definite as “best photographers “ can be more than a little bold, if truth be told, since the visual arts in general and photography in particular are so highly subjective that picking absolutes is impossible. But since we’re not claiming to choose the best photographers of all time, but only a few select ones which caught our eye since last year and the months that passed from this one, we dared to give it a go.

1. Davina Palik and Daniel Kudish

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This couple of photographers, based in Montreal and Ottawa, specialize in wedding photography, taking beautiful pictures of couples around the world on their big day. Although wedding photography seem to be a field where you can’t improvise all that much, at least not in a completely innovate or shocking way, these two are some of the best photographers out there precisely because they can demonstrate the contrary.

Take a look at their superb portfolio here and see for yourself how fresh wedding photography can actually be with Davina and Daniel behind the camera. We especially love the occasionally funny moments captured, because one rarely gets to see something funny and romantic at the same time.

2. Spencer Murphy

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For the portrait photography niche, our favorite is Spencer Murphy, one of the best photographers in Britain, in our humble opinion. We especially like the serious air of his portraits, because sometimes, there’s just more to the realm of photography themes than autumn foliage (not that there’s anything wrong with being into that). Pictured above, you can admire the portrait of a female jump jockey right after the jump (part of a wider series of specialized portrait, which won him impressive awards).

You can take a better look at this photo series of his here.

3. Rafael Marchante

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This brilliant photographer from Portugal has reached a famous professional status on numerous websites after this iconic photograph of his was widely distributed in the aftermath of Nelson Mandela’s death. He managed to capture the spirit of the African leader’s legacy in a unique photograph of a well-made graffiti that was serious and playful and full of great impact all at the same time. His niche is taking pictures of seemingly banal street situations and homeless people, as opposed to most of our visitors who are mostly taking pictures of clients, but his images are a great inspiration nonetheless.

Take a look at his Facebook page here to browse some of the most amazing portraits you’ll ever see.

4. Camilla de Mafei

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This brilliant Italian lady truly deserves a spot in the best photographers of recent years. Her work is hard to put into just one box, as she seems to move effortlessly through landscape photography, sad and eerie portrait photography or still life shots.

Her official website, where you can browse more of her photos, is here.

5. Michael Roud

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One of the best photographers of Los Angeles, Michael Roud isn’t exactly a recent entry in the field of famous photography, but his works remain so edgy and impeccable that we couldn’t finish this list without him. Mostly into headshots (but also into wedding photography), he also impresses with his work as a director and with collaborations with celebrities. The one certainty about the work of this incredibly talented guy is that getting photographed by him is certainly an honor and privilege.

His official website and portfolio can be admired at will here.

These were, according to us, the best photographers of the recent years which you should check out every now and then for an inspiration bonus. All in all, there’s no improving your own skills without also getting familiarized with the work of as many photographers as possible, and they might as well be worthy of the attention.

A Short Guide to Interacting with Your Models

Becoming a professional photographer is a hard enough job as it is if you only focus on the technical aspects of the work, but throwing the human relations part into the equation can sometimes make things more complicated. As we mentioned earlier, keep in mind that most of your models (meaning clients) are not professional models and are not trained to find their own focus point without a bit of help on your behalf. Also, they might not be comfortable in front of the camera, especially if this is the first or second time they see you, nor will they know how to properly pose.

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In addition to all this, a pushy attitude on your behalf might disturb the delicate balance within your working relationship and cause them to retract (first by not cooperating properly and then perhaps completely). So, what can you do to make sure your relationship with your models is as productive as possible for both you and them? First of all, abstain from being pushy or too firm and remember that these are either volunteers or even paying customers, so you can’t treat them like they’re your employees. Second of all, take a deep breath and try to follow these three tips or guidelines on interacting with your models.

Have one or two meetings before the shoot, explain the process and negotiate some rules.

Since these people or this person aren’t accustomed to being models on a regular basis, there are a whole number of things related to this lack of experience that can transform into draw-backs during the shoot. Your best way to prevent it is by meeting up with them once or twice before the actual photo shoot and try to discuss these aspects and inform them on what will take place. You can present the meeting as an opportunity for you to explain the process to them in order to create more comfort, and also ask them what it is they expect and want exactly. In addition to this, you can also use this opportunity to negotiate some ground rules which will activate during the shoot.

For example, let’s say that one of your customers wants a boudoir photo shoot. You can have a meeting in which she will outline her preferences and expectancies, and you will tell her how the basic posing takes place, how long will it take, that you can help her pose better by suggesting adjustments and movements and so on. Also let her know that there are some things that will not come naturally – like how to focalize her look – and that you will need to tell her what to do during the shoot. This way, she will know what to expect and won’t feel taken by surprise in a bad way when these things happen.

Show them the pose you want in a printed photo, and then gently guide them into it.

If you feel like your model misunderstood a pose suggestion after you told them the first time, don’t insist verbally the second time, as it will make them feel awkward for not getting it and perhaps they will even see you as pushy. Instead, if you feel like the subject is having a difficult time grasping exactly the pose you would want them to try, show them a picture of other models in the position you want them. It’s not only more efficient, but it’s more delicate to their ego and to the overall atmosphere.

Contribute to their confidence, but don’t exaggerate with the compliments.

If you’re dealing with a particularly shy subject, you can try punctuating the photo shoot with a few discreet compliments every now and then, especially when you intuitively feel it would be needed most. But make sure you don’t splurge on the compliments, or you risk giving off a creepy or at least unprofessional vibe. The point of working with a customer is precisely to make them feel as confident and amazing as actual models, at least for a day.

Take Precautions to Prevent Your Subject’s Exhaustion

As most of our readers are amateur photographer trying to make the transition to professional ones, we address this post to them as part of the things one must learn at the beginning of the journey. There are many things to learn, it seems, so many that at times all the effort you’re making can feel a little overwhelming. While no one can guarantee that you’re going to make it as a pro in the business, what we can promise is that if you do, things will get easier, and they only seem overwhelming for now, when paid gigs come in very rarely if they do at all. To most of us in the beginner days, putting that much effort and money into something that is still only a hobby can seem hopeless at times (especially if you also need to maintain an unrelated job for the time being). Since this post is about exhaustion, this is a point when you can feel a sort of exhaustion yourself, but if you persevere, better things will come, eventually.

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The point we are trying to make is that amidst all this info which you’re supposed to acquire, it’s easy to get lost in the technical details of ISO and lighting and forget the people skills which a good photographer needs. Helping your clients relax while you photograph them is very important, both for preventing exhaustion and for making sure the photos are actually good and don’t feel artificial or forced. The so-called bedside manner is indeed a requirement in many professions and photography is definitely one of them. Moreover, if you lack this quality or skill as a photographer, this can modify your whole work for the worse, unlike the other professions who only require it to make the people you work with be comfortable. Not that we’re implying that’s optional or anything.

The one thing to keep in mind is that most of the people you will photograph will not be professional models, familiar with the whole drill. They will be people hiring you to help immortalize a precious moment of their lives, like, for example, if you will become a wedding photographer. Since they are not used to the routine of posing, exhaustion will catch up with them rather quickly, leading to the portraits being less good than they could be, leading in turn to a lessened satisfaction with your services. But the good news is that you can keep this in mind throughout the photo shoot and take little precautions at all times to prevent your subjects from getting too tired too fast.

These precautions you can take would depend a bit on your personal style too, but an example of a good strategy you could develop is this: spend the first 10 minutes or so helping them relax and feel comfortable enough to pose, then ask for the poses you want in a series of more intense minutes, then tone down the rhythm and suggest breaks.

During the breaks, you could suggest refreshments like water or juice, then, after removing the drinks from the scene, you could allow a semi-break by telling them to act more natural or pose whichever way they feel like it. This may lead to very good photos (which is a win-win situation), or to not that good photos, which are still useful for the respite and for allowing you subjects to become more and more comfortable with posing. Few things beat exhaustion better than being allowed to pose however you want to every now and then, so if you only take one tip out of this post, take this one.

Making the Most of Your Wedding Portrait Photos: 3 Trends in 2014

As many artists will tell you, wedding portrait photos are an art in and of themselves. They are very important to the clients, of course, and can also greatly enrich your portfolio and enhance its overall value. That’s why, for today’s post, we’re taking a look at three trends that have been dictating the rules for this segment over the past months. They’ve been confirmed enough for us to assume that they’ll also be around until the end of the year; so, pay heed and make sure you’re doing everything right, in order to make the most of your wedding portrait photos.

1. Posed shots are the past

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It’s not just wedding portrait photos that have become more dynamic and focused on storytelling. In fact, as seasoned family or pet photographers will confirm, the entire niche of photographic portraiture has become far more focused on natural settings and dynamism. Most photographers nowadays choose to photograph their clients in natural outdoor environments, thus lending an air of freshness and vivacity to their shots. It also helps place the subjects in a setting they love, since this will help them feel far more relaxed in front of the camera.

Another trend, which only comes to complete the above, is that of wedding portrait photos that could easily pass for photojournalism. What does this mean, in terms of actual images? It means that both the photographer and the clients take on a more candid approach. The end images are more natural and raw, less processed, more creative, and with a more ‘in the moment’ feel to them than ever before. Since photojournalism is all about spontaneity and capturing a good story within an instant, it goes without saying that the photos created like this are far more unique, fun for everyone involved and creative.

2. Pricing goes up with experience

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Given today’s rather harsh economic climate, many wedding photographers are reluctant to increase the pricing of their services overall – and of their portrait sessions in particular. However, as seasoned pros will tell you, this is not necessarily a good approach. After all, if you’re investing in your business, it’s only natural to expect the prices to match your level of experience. What’s more, portrait photography can even be regarded as a separate niche within the wedding photography segment. It requires specialized equipment and technical skills. If you’re committed to creating ever better wedding portrait photos, you’re probably also investing in this. Classes, lenses, accessories and other investments should be reflected in your pricing options. What’s more, as you continue to grow your wedding photography business, it’s probably also a good idea to book more clients – in the long run, this increasing roster of customers will also act as an argument in your favor, when it comes to asking for higher fees.

3. Don’t underestimate the power of the print

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Sure, everyone is online these days: wedding portrait photos garner impressive amounts of likes on Facebook, they’re shared by your clients over Instagram, and maybe even featured on Pinterest. But the problem is that they all too often end up forgotten on a CD or DVD somewhere. To help your wedding portrait photos enjoy a longer lifespan, but also to help increase your business, you should perhaps try offering a special print as a bonus to your clients, thus encouraging them to print more photos.

Also, one clear 2014 trend is experimenting with print materials. Canvas is very popular at the moment, but there are so many options the list is virtually endless. Some photographers over shadow boxes, others print on glass or wood, while others are experimenting with artwork products like metal and acrylic.