Oct 19, 2023
One of the best ways I’ve found to get inspired is by looking at great photography and critically analyzing why the images work. Study the works of master portrait photographers for content, emotion, and composition. Remember, less is often more. Simplicity is important. It’s the light and the person in the frame that makes a great photo.
Take the time to dissect how a photograph was lit. Observe where the shadows fall.
Pay attention to what’s in the background and whether it adds to or detracts from the impact of the portrait.
Study the expression on the model’s face and how you react to it. Take note of how she poses, including her hands, torso, legs, etc.
Look at the four main elements of the portrait (expression and pose, makeup and hair, wardrobe, and background) and then decide for yourself if they all tell one story and if that story is a compelling one.
In your journey as a portrait photographer, set aside some money and time to purchase and then dive deeply into fine art portrait photography books.
Below you'll find a list of some of my all time favorite portrait photography books.
1. "Shadows on the Wall" by Peter Lindbergh
2.“Beautiful Disasters” by David Drebin
3.“Tribute” by Frank de Mulder
4.“Money People Politics” by Marco Grob
5.“Profiles” by Marc Hom
6.“The Light Between Us” by Vincent Peters
7.“50 Portraits” by Gregory Heisler
8.“L.A. Style” by Herb Ritts
9. "Portraits" by Martin Schoeller
10.“Richard Avedon Photographs 1946-2004”
12.“Kate Moss” by Mario Testino
13.“Images of Women Parts I and 2” by Peter Lindbergh
14.Azzedine Alaia and Peter Lindbergh
15.“The Iconic Photographs” by Steve McCurry
16.“The Photograph” by Andy Gotts
18.Mert Alas & Marcus Piggott
20.“American Odyssey” by Mary Ellen Marks
21.“Horst Photographer of Style”
22. “Close” by Martin Schoeller