10 Types of Portrait Photography You Need in Your Repertoire

Do you want to diversify your online portfolio by adding some different types of portraits to the mix? These portrait styles are sure to help you stand out.


Portrait photography is an excellent style for every photographer should master, since there are so many potential markets you can appeal to by providing an array of different types of portraits. The more portrait photography styles you are familiar with, the easier it will be to make money with your photography. Whether you’re new to photography or just looking to expand your horizons, here are some of our favorite types of portraits to spruce up your online portrait photography portfolio and bag more clients!

Got the Right Gear?

But first, let’s make sure you have the right equipment for the job. We have an array of guides on portrait photography gear, including:

Now that you’re sorted on equipment, let’s get into the portrait styles you should master!

Self Portrait Photography

Self portrait photography is one of the simplest types of portrait photography because it only involves one person: you! This is a really good way to get started when you are just beginning to familiarize yourself with portrait photography styles, as there will be a lot less coordinating and planning for you to do when you don’t have clients to consider. There are a ton of different types of self portraits, so don’t think that once you’ve done one you’ve done them all. Some popular self portrait styles include silhouettes, extreme close-ups, or surreal effects added in post-production. These types of portraits will push you out of your comfort zone by encouraging you to create something beyond what is expected. Take a peek at these self portrait photography tips and ideas to get your creative juices flowing.

Traditional Portrait Photography

When most people think about portrait photography, traditional portraits are what they picture, making it a great place to get started. This type of portrait generally includes only the subject’s head and shoulders, although this is not a strict rule. The photographer will typically select a solid colored backdrop, and the emphasis of the photo is mainly on the subject’s face. A combination of studio lights and a simple background will enhance the features of your photography subject, making it a popular type of portrait photography among artists and clients alike. Gather inspiration for this portrait style by checking out some of the best portrait photography portfolios out there.

Environmental Portrait

An environmental portrait is all about capturing your subject in an environment that means something to them. Whether it’s their favorite restaurant or leaning against a wall of graffiti, the setting in this portrait photography style is almost as important as the subject. Talk to your client to get a deeper understanding of what the location means to them, as this will help you capture their emotional connection, making for a more effective and memorable photo.

Candid Photos

Unlike more traditional portrait styles, candid photos are not staged or posed. This type of portrait photography is more about capturing genuine moments between people, so you may find yourself attempting to blend in so your subject is less aware that they are being photographed. Candid photography is often the result of a photographer being inspired in the moment by their surroundings, so it’s always a good idea to keep a camera nearby, even if you’re not anticipating spending the day taking photos.

Glamor Portrait

Glamor photography is all about capturing the beauty of the subject. As a result, this type of portrait photography will often involve thorough planning regarding hair, makeup, and styling. Boudoir photography takes things a step further by focusing on bringing out the subject’s sensuality, and will often take place in a bedroom.

Pet Portraits

Recently, there’s been an explosion in demand for pet photography. If you like animals, this can be an awesome way to capture the personality of your client’s pets and give them a memory they will treasure. Plus, people love sharing photos of their pets on social media, so you’re likely to get a whole bunch of new eyes on your work by offering this portrait photography style.

Wedding Photography

Wedding photography is another really good niche for photographers to get into since it can be a huge moneymaker and offer the opportunity for creative photoshoots. Even the simplest of wedding ceremonies are likely to have a photographer of some sort, so why not get in on this booming business? While some clients might prefer very simple and traditional photos for their wedding, more and more newlyweds are getting creative with their photos and are looking for shooters with wedding photography portfolios that show they can think outside the box.

Newborn Photography

Newborn baby photography is a beautiful way to document the miracle of birth, and it’s something that parents will truly cherish for the rest of their lives. That being said, newborn photography comes with a very particular set of challenges. You may have had to deal with difficult clients in the past, but there is nothing quite like trying to capture a heartfelt moment when a baby is crying nonstop. Some parents may want to dress their children up in cute or funny outfits, while some will prefer a more laidback lifestyle photography vibe. Because of the added complications that newborn baby photography brings, it’s even more important than usual to go over expectations with your client ahead of time, and organize your photography studio and set before the baby arrives.

Family Portraits

As with maternity photos and newborn photography, family photoshoots are an awesome way to celebrate a family and create lifelong memories in the form of photos. Stiff, overly posed family portrait poses are things of the past! Family photography has evolved quite a bit, and there are now a ton of ways to make this type of portrait photography fun and creative. Get your family portrait ideas flowing by connecting with your clients and finding out what is important to them. Whether it means including the family pet or creating an environment for candid family portrait photography, let the beauty of your client’s family shine by including them in the process.

Headshot Photography

Offering professional headshots as part of your photography repertoire will open you up to all sorts of new clients and relationships. People in almost every profession benefit from having a headshot photo for their social media and LinkedIn profiles, from actors and musicians to lawyers and doctors. Headshot photos are always in demand, but they can tend to blend together and not make the intended impression. With that in mind, carefully consider the artistic choices you make, so that your client can walk away with a professional corporate headshot that still manages to capture their unique personality.

Get that Portrait Photography Portfolio Up and Running

Now that you’ve got a handle on all of these different types of portraits, go ahead and upload your work to your online portrait photography website. Don’t have one yet? No problem! Just choose a website builder that allows you to create a professional website in minutes. Make sure you pick one with the features that matter to you, like beautiful templates and built-in client proofing, which allows your clients to pick and choose their favorite shots, right on your website. Still not sure which website builder is right for you? Go with an online portfolio website with a free trial so you can test it out before making the investment.

Ready to build an online portrait photography portfolio that will kickstart your photography career? We’ve got you covered. Start your free trial with Format today!

If you’re looking for even more ways to connect with potential clients and collaborators, use an online portfolio website with blogging capabilities. You can even blog about your process and favorite portrait photography techniques! While your online portfolio is the #1 way to get more clients, you need to know how to promote your work so that people actually find their way to your website. Check out our guide to marketing your portrait photography for more helpful tips.

We can’t wait to see all your gorgeous portraits!

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