Learn About Different Categories and Styles of Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is an artistic way of preserving the human face, emotions and expressions. Rocco, the founder of Rocco Basile Photography, explains the importance of the knowledge of styles and types of portrait photography for subjects and the photographers. The knowledge about various types or styles of portrait photography helps a portrait photographer in creating better works as well as better management of their work. This information also helps a subject about what they can wish and what can be delivered by a photographer.

The categories of portrait photography

The Portrait Photography can be divided into following general categories for easy understanding

  • The subject based
  • The number of subjects based
  • The shot/frame based

The subject based category of portrait photography

This category involves following portrait photography types

  • Constructionist type of portrait photography – it involves a portrait of a subject that are based on a pre-decided theme or concept with full consent of the subject.
  • Candid type of portrait photography – In this type the subject is mostly unaware of the photographer’s presence. This type of photography is spontaneous and natural.
  • Formal type of portrait photography is a constructionist type portrait photograph that’s created for a formal occasion.
  • Environmental type – This type of portrait photography focuses on the relationship of the subject and their environment. Children and Sports portraits come under this type. Due to their exclusivity they can be classified as different types.

The number of subjects based category of portrait photography

This category is classified on the basis of number of individuals in a portrait. The different types are as follows

  • Individual type – these portraits include only a single subject.
  • Couple type – These portraits involve two subjects and their inter-relationship. Correct interpretation is critical for these portraits for a good portrait.
  • Group type – As the name suggests, this type of portraits involves three or more individuals. There’s no upper limit to the number of individuals. The examples of this type of portraits are batch photos or class photos. These are the preferred form of institutional memorabilia.

The shot/frame based category of portrait photography

  • Facial – a facial shot portrait involves a shot of full face of the individual. The portrait may have the face till the bust or the neckline.
  • Upper body – An upper body portrait covers the area above the waist.
  • Close up – A Close-up portrait captures a part of subjects face by using zoom or macro lens or by taking a shot from a short distance. This type of portrait typically covers the facial edge.
  • Full body – A full body portrait includes 3/4th of a subject’s body.

The other examples of portrait photography types are abstract portraits, surreal portraits, lifestyle portraits etc. According to Rocco Basile, there is no set parameters or clear distinction for classification of Portrait Photography. A type of portrait can be an example of another type like constructionist portrait with a Close-up shot can qualify as a candid portrait. The beauty of a portrait is derived from the perception and will of a portrait photographer.

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