Portrait Photographers are amongst some of the best photographers from throughout the history of photography and with good reason.
The ability to express personal creativity through portraiture can be really exciting and rewarding for artists and a great reason for our Smart members to pick up their cameras.
Whether it is self portraits, images of family and friends, or working with models and businesses there really are no limits to where portrait photography can take you.
Which ever it is, being portrait photographers can be a great way for artists to express their individual creativity through the images that they create.
Our previous blog post was all about Wedding Photography Tips which included some useful information for getting the best out of your subjects.
However, this time we are here with a list of 81 of the Best Portrait Photographers who we think you should know about.
The contemporary photographers listed have forged a path within the industry and consistently produce amazing work.
To demonstrate this we thought we would share their work with you in order to inspire you about the possibilities that can be achieved.
Additionally if you are just starting out in photography and want to learn how to get the best out of your camera for portraits you could always sign up to our photography course.
The photographers listed below are in no particular order.
Check them out and be inspired!
Click to quickly jump/navigate to each section
What are Portrait Photographers?
The definition of what portrait photographers are is a very subjective matter as each photographer has their own particular style.
There are photographers whose portrait work is very landscape based and there are also photographers whose work relies on elements of storytelling or fantasy. Equally, there are portrait photographers who exclusively choose to photograph the nude form and express a strong and powerful message about body positivity.
Wikipedia describes portrait photography or portraiture as “photography of a person or group of people that captures the personality of a subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses. A picture might be artistic, or it might be clinical, as part of a medical study. Frequently, contemporary photographers are commissioned for special occasions, such as weddings or school events. Portraits can serve many purposes, from usage on a personal Web site to display in the lobby of a business.”
The Best Photographers You Should Check Out…
Liselotte is a fashion and portrait photographer inspired by the search for perfection and imperfection. Furthermore she loves to capture models in a natural way while telling a story with fashion. Her passion lies with photographing people and using them in the fashion genre.
Liam’s desire is to capture the very essence of his subject through photography, whether person, product or landscape. His portraits are soft and warm, and evoke a sense of harmony between the subject and the natural environment.
London/South UK based lifestyle, landscape and portrait photographer. Ryan’s photography services are available worldwide, and he is more than willing to travel.
Holly Rose Stones is a fine art, surrealist and conceptual fashion photographer currently based in London/Kent. (and travels to Yorkshire a lot!). Her portrait imagery is simply sublime. In addition Holly also has a Youtube channel where she shares behind the scenes info on how she creates her amazing images.
James has paved a career in fashion eCommerce. Currently working as Digital Production Manager for Jimmy Choo, Belstaff & Bally, he directs and project manages photo shoots for both online and in store content. Moreover his fashion portraiture is damn near flawless and creates a real connection with the viewer.
A young photographer originally from the North West of England, UK. Adam’s strengths lie within his portrait works yet he also has a keen interest in fashion, landscapes, travel and theatre.
If you ask Martin Neuhof, what is important to him, he does not think long. People are. And travel. This photographer is traveling a lot; He likes to discover new places. Be it in his hometown Leipzig, on tours of Germany or traveling around the world.
Passionate about telling and creating stories. Neill wants his work to tell stories of people in new and unique ways.
Currently based in Paris Marta works mainly in fashion. She believes that emotion and atmosphere of a moment make a truly great portrait.
Chris is a fashion, editorial and advertising photographer based in the Cotswolds UK. He has a passion for visual story telling and as a result draws inspiration from the most unlikely places.
Anna’s style mimics that of film with beautiful rich matte tones. Her portraiture takes many forms including, maternity, newborns, babies, seniors and couture.
Through painting and drawing Charlotte found her way into photography and got stuck in the magic of frozen moments. To Charlotte, photography is not merely picture taking. It is capturing memories, the essence of a moment, the smallest glimpse of a person you might have only met minutes before. Moreover her portrait work is dark, moody and inspiring.
Adam Bird is a fine art and fashion photographer currently based in Birmingham, England. He began taking photographs in 2012 when he had discovered his passion for photography. Adam is inspired by both fairy tales and nature. In addition his work consists of dreamlike narrative portraiture and is often composed in surreal landscapes.
Corinna is fascinated by the possibility of capturing a magical moment with a photograph and holding on to it for the future. Her approach is uncomplicated, lively, genuine and unusual. Furthermore her images are about capturing the life, personality and spirit of the people she has in front of the camera.
Inspired by fairytales, nature and strong feminine characters Bella’s pictures lift the veil of the overlooked and reminds us that there’s magic in the most ordinary of spaces.
Jessica Drossin is an internationally-published, self-taught, fine art portrait photographer based in Los Angeles. Once she discovered that she could have the same sort of freedom working on digital images that she had when working on paintings she was hooked.
Nothing makes Alex happier than creating. He is a freelance photographer and his focus is portrait photography, street photography and promotional photos for artists.
Having grown up just outside of Vancouver, Canada, Elizabeth fell easily in love with exploring the surrounding forests, hills, mountains and ocean all of which are heavily incorporated in her photography. Roughly half of her portraits are self portraits and she finds the shooting process rather therapeutic.
Alexandra is a professional photographer with experience in weddings, live and promotional band photography. Additionally she also specialises in actors head shots, product photography, events, fashion, look books, beauty and self portraiture.
Based in Sheffield Shelley is content to travel the length and breadth of the country (and globe). Available for all kinds of projects and adventures, commercial or private but she especially loves shooting out on location in the wilds of the Peak District.
Julia Trotti is a fashion photographer based in Sydney and available worldwide. This photographer specialises in fashion campaigns, look books and portraits as well as lifestyle and travel photography.
Influenced by playful narratives, colour and elegance, Lara enjoys creating stories with a cinematic approach. Furthermore she is inspired by strength, unique beauty and timeless style.
Nirav uses light in a very unique way within his portrait imagery. His images are very cinematic and at the same time create a quiet place for reflection on the subject being photographed.
Based in London Sandra is an editorial and fashion photographer.
Seth Doyle is a photographer that has great passion for art, drawing, photography, film and pretty much anything creative.
Based in London Ailera always liked to escape into other worlds through books, movies and music, but she found out the best way to do that is by taking pictures. By the same token her photography is a way to capture moments and make them magical, bringing dreams into this world.
Felicia is a photographer and retoucher based in Bucharest, Romania and available for commissions around the world. Just head on over to her galleries on her website to see some truly amazing portraits.
Alex aims to create beautiful photographs that capture mysterious yet dream-like worlds, filled with oddities that encompass aspects of reality.
Oliver creates emotional and whimsical stories through his images. He captures people in dream-like scenarios, adding natural environments to the pieces, where he juxtaposes dreaming and reality.
Fire and Joy
At thirteen she picked up a camera and began capturing the stories around her and fell into obsession. She left school to follow her dreams of being a fashion photographer in another city. However, photography wasn’t a job, it was her life. Her photography is stunning and you can feel a real connection between the subject and the photographer.
Jimmy Bay is a photographer with a varied portfolio of portraiture displayed on his website.
Katharina is a fine-art and portrait photographer from Hermeskeil, Germany. Since February 2013, she has been converting her daydreams into images.
Rosie is one of the best self-portrait photographers out there. Her photography is incredibly ethereal and fantastical. Meanwhile her notoriety as a portrait photographer also means she gets to photograph famous faces. Just check out her website to see why she is one of the best.
Ryan Muirhead makes beautiful imagery using traditional film photography. This video best describes him as a photographer as he talks about the connections he forms with his subject in order to produce his creative, dark yet stunning portraits. Ryan is one of the best portrait photographers out there so definitely check out his ever growing portfolio.
A young photographer and director based in Los Angeles, California. Alex’s imagery intends to evoke an emotional connection in the viewer.
Berta Vicente is a Spanish photographer who started taking pictures of her friends at the age of 14. Subsequently she continues to learn and explore, and currently exhibits her work in art galleries in Barcelona, London and Paris.
Specialising in fine art photography Nicholas is based in Los Angeles. He works digitally and sometimes includes elements of drawing or painting within the make up of his images.
A palm reader in India once told Jessica that she will live the life of a magical gypsy and it’s important for the world that she tells the stories of the many people that she encounters on her journey… That is what she is doing.
Primarily based in Chicago and its surrounding neighbourhoods. He is inspired by everyday life and the noteworthy moments in between. Misael enjoys the process of photography and is honoured by the opportunity to see the joy the finished product brings to his clients.
Her photography has been featured on international editions of Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s Bazaar. Additionally Jingna’s solo exhibitions include venues at The Arts House and Japan Creative Centre in Singapore, and group exhibits include Milan, New York, Hong Kong, and Beijing; with brands such as Vogue Italia, Clé de Peau Beauté, and Tsinghua University.
Capturing beautiful moments is something that Noah loves the most. Allowing others to see themselves as the masterpiece fills him with joy.
Cat is a UK portrait photographer specialising in a relaxed and natural-light approach to creating tailor-made images.
Mixing art and fashion, Miss Aniela creates a fine balance of contemporary creativity. Her work centres on a fusion of traditional imagery and digitally enhanced motifs, interweaving in a surreal composition.
Helen’s photography is deeply influenced by story telling, supernaturalism and the Irish landscape. Consequently with the use of inexpensive materials and props, Helen manages to create fantastical and emotive images which seem to capture the crescendos of many untold stories.
A professional photographer based in Norwich, UK. Rekha utilises her stunning portrait photography for book covers and has had her images used on more than 300 book covers to date.
Andrea focuses on people and nude photography which is a sphere that began to captivate her and until now remains an inexhaustible source of inspiration for her photography practice.
Marie Hochhaus is a fashion and portrait photographer currently living and working in Hamburg, Germany. In brief her work portrays the powerful as well as the subtle and dreamy nature of the moment in a strong visual language.
Something to consider:
Smart is the world’s leading online photography course offering in-depth training, mentoring and classes to creatives of any skill level. Furthermore with a dedicated module for portrait photographers it is sure to help you on your way to becoming a better photographer. Smart’s one to one mentoring programme also puts you in touch with some of the best portrait photographers whose industry knowledge is second to none.
For more information be sure to sign up to Smart today!
Gosia just adores people and likes to immortalise those moments of magic and inspiration in which everything just “clicks”. Her intention is to capture as much happiness as possible whilst at the same time peeling back the layers of reality and emphasising what our eyes don’t commonly see.
Joran enjoys beautiful scenery and beautiful light which he incorporates in his portrait photography.
Samantha Little’s incredible portrait work can’t help but overlap with her stunning wedding photography with one informing the other. Moreover her portraits are timeless and really bring out the personality of the subject.
Nadine Berns is a travelling portrait and wedding photographer based in Houston, Texas.
Being able to capture a moment, a feeling with a single push of a button has always blown Nicola’s mind. Finding beauty in everyday scenarios that most people tend to overlook or don’t bother to take a second look at is what really interests this portrait photographer.
Stuck between 1963 and 1974, Bob Sala tries to photograph his way out of time and space. He says ‘The grain in a photograph produces the same warm feeling to him as a needle produces on an old Led Zeppelin record. His portraits hark back to a different time and go beyond making a fashion statement on a particular era; they tell a story of society and culture.’
Nicole’s photo shoots are relaxed, fun and comfortable. She thrives on finding ways to customise sessions for clients to make them personal, memorable and meaningful.
Nicole De Khors
Nicole De Khors is a portrait, concert, nightlife, fashion photographer and filmmaker based out of Toronto. Creating visuals is a daily occupation and artistic practice for this portrait photographers work.
Aspen Groen Media
Aspen Groen Media is made up of two portrait photographers, Aspen and her husband Bryson. She focuses on intimate emotions, details and all things beautiful at the same time he is all about the drones, creative shots and stepping outside of his comfort zone. As portrait photographers their images are beautiful and they have been featured on Looks Like Film, The Wild Collective and Tribe Archipelago.
Mallory wants your photographic experience with her to be just that, an experience. At the same time she loves people and getting to know what make them all unique as individuals and as a couple.
With photography Kevin has found a way to express himself and it’s the most rewarding feeling for him. His goal is to tell stories, raw, real, romantic and simple.
Heine Mann is a portrait photographer from Midtjylland, Denmark.
This portrait photographers work captures moments from within. To Azulclarito the camera is only an extension of her being and she tries to put her heart in to each ‘click’.
David is a multifaceted photographer, musician, and urbanist based in San Francisco, CA. His photography services include portraits, lifestyle, interiors and events. He has has his work featured in lots of places such as VSCO, Looks Like Film and the Chicago Tribune.
According to Paul Wilkinson ‘Creating beautiful portrait photography is a subtle art: a balance of artistry, technique and mostly a sense of humour! One of the lovely things we hear repeatedly from our clients, is just how chilled they feel during a portrait session, in spite of how they may have felt initially about being in front of the camera!’
A lifestyle or portrait shoot with Brett & Kristie Harkness is truly a unique experience. Brett understands that people look best when they are relaxed therefore the shoot can take place either in the studio or on location. Be it in your own home, down by the river or on the beach. It can happen wherever you feel most comfortable.
Photographer based in Brussels. Delving into the world of self portrait photographers at age thirteen, David discovered his liking for emotional imagery (and dramatic skies). Subsequently his clients include NikeWomen, Vogue Netherlands, Wonderland Magazine, Free Magazine, Numéro, Hunger Magazine, Warner Music, Opéra National de Paris, Adobe Photoshop, and Diez Music.
Sterling Batson grew up in Trinidad and Tobago and now lives in New York. His passion is to capture people and life in a raw and simplistic way.
Brian Ingram is a portrait photographer born and raised in the south and currently based just outside of Athems, Georgia. In just under four years, he has created thousands of meaningful portraits – and from hard work, persistence and an unyielding passion for making images, he has honed his skills inside and out of his personal studio and created an extensive body of work.
Nina graduated at Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo, and although her major was graphic design she quickly realised that photography was her true passion. In recent years she has been actively pursuing fashion, portrait and beauty photography, as well as high-end retouching. Nina currently lives in Sarajevo where I work as a freelance photographer and retoucher.
Dani Diamond has become a household name. His breathtaking portraits and signature style have taken over all forms of social media, from Facebook to Fstoppers.
Maja’s work is inspired by movies, books, music, videos, ordinary people and conversations. She loves to compose several photos into one, or play with multiple layers. Maja does a lot of retouching and is often at her computer for 10 hours or more editing photos.
Portraits by Sam
Passionate about portrait photography in outdoor or in a studio environment. Sam takes pleasure in photographing moments of life and sharing sessions with families, couples, children and newborns.
Emily Soto is a photographer residing in New York City with her husband Vic and Scottish Fold Twinkle. Each image captured by Soto emanates with her distinct visionary and romantic style characterised by a perennial stream of emotively captivating, artistically adept, visual pieces.
Sean Marc Lee
Sean Marc Lee is an American photographer specialising in portraiture, lifestyle, editorial and street fashion photography currently based in Taipei, Taiwan.
British photographer/videographer working internationally. Dan is currently based in Seoul, South Korea.
David is a London based freelance photographer. He takes portraits for magazines mainly but loves to work on his own projects which sometimes get exhibited and published.
Mat’s goal as a portrait photographer is to look past the face we present to capture something deeper. Sometimes this results in creating a bright, eye-catching image, and sometimes a more poetic study of the face. Mat often uses simple lighting setups and uncomplicated poses.
Helen’s work is based upon a very strong belief in the value and importance of photography, a medium through which, in a fraction of a second, we can freeze time and record forever moments of joy, wonder, happiness, quiet contemplation, and great humour.
Rather than taking an ordinary portrait, this photographer utilises the quirks and distinguishing features of each unique setting to add an interesting aesthetic within the frame. Alessio’s portraits appear simple and refined, yet intriguing at the same time. The women in his shots are not merely pretty faces. They add value to each portrait through the emotions they convey.
Richard Boll is a highly professional and passionate, award winning, advertising and editorial photographer based in London.
Michela Riva photographs portraits and fashion shoots for advertising campaigns and editorials at national and international levels. She personally handles the end-to-end artistic and organisational process of each photoshoot, from concept to end product with outstanding quality and care. Through her love for photography and visual story telling, Michela has created a uniquely recognisable, romantic and original style full of emotion.
Alberto Monteraz is a self taught photographer whose work focuses on the beauty contained in all forms of silent decay.
Tips From Two Of The Best Portrait Photographers
Lara Jade had this sound advice to say in her interview with Shot Kit –
“There are many photographers out there who claim they don’t have the best equipment – you do not need the best equipment! If you don’t own lighting learn to master natural light. If you don’t have a great camera, work with what you have – visually striking and well thought out images often count for more than technically perfect images.”
This sort of advice is really helpful to hear from top portrait photographers such as Lara. It can be quite daunting when just starting out as you think you need all the top gear to make the best images but that isn’t always the case.
This next tip was from one of the best portrait photographers around and it is all about advice for new photographers –
“My best advice would be to seek out as much specific feedback as you can from people you respect and whose work you admire. Apply that feedback to your next shoot and then ask for more feedback. It’s easy for us to get offended by criticism, seeing it as a bad thing, but if you think of it as an opportunity to develop, you will propel yourself forward at a much greater rate.”
Learn how to become an awesome portrait photographer with Smart by earning your photography certificate. Find out more here.