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Everything You Should Know About Portrait Photography

Updated: Jan 16, 2023

Portrait Photography

Portrait photography is one of the most intimate and unique types of photography and can serve various purposes, from professional portraits to sophisticated family photoshoots. If you are considering hiring a professional photographer for a portrait photography session, you should educate yourself on all there is to know about this style of photography.

There is much more to portrait photography than meets the eye, and you’ll have no shortage of options for your photography session. If you’re curious about hiring a professional portrait photographer, you’re in the right place. This article (~10 min read) will cover everything you should know about portrait photography and how RayCee the Artist can work with you to create a beautiful portrait.

What is Portrait Photography?

Portrait photography is a style of photography where individuals or groups of people are positioned and photographed to capture their unique personalities, emotions, and identities. Portrait photographs appear natural and use effective techniques for lighting and positioning to present a window into the subject’s soul.

Portrait photography also uses complementary backgrounds and atmospheres to capture the subject’s essence. When executed correctly, a great portrait photograph is a sophisticated, stunning, and valuable artwork you can cherish for years.

Keep in mind that a wide angle lens or more telephoto portrait lens may be used for shooting portraiture photographs. Also, the portraiture photos may undergo post processing to process the portraiture photos into black and white photos.

Types of Portrait Photographs

A portrait photographer typically offers different types and styles of portraits to guarantee that you can find a style that suits your personality. Below is an overview of the most popular styles of great portrait photography to guide you toward the right decision.

Traditional Portraits

Portrait Photography

Traditional portraits are likely the style that comes to mind when you think of portrait photography. Traditional portrait photography predominately focuses on the subject from the shoulders up and looking into the camera (lens should have sharp focus on subject's eyes/subject's face). These portraits are often shot in a professional studio with a formal background and flash light source lighting setups (soft light source is best), and give off a sophisticated aura unique to this type of portrait.

Candid and Street Portraits

Portrait Photography

Candid portraits, also known as street photography, are one of the unique options for anyone considering a portrait photography session. Street portraits are typically candid and have minimal planning. Though you and your photographer might plan the location and craft a loose approach to the session, your poses and actions are natural.

Many consider candid portraits as a “pure” type of photography. Because of the lack of planning and posing, street portraits can depict an individual as their honest self, providing a unique window into their soul and essence.

Lifestyle Portraits

Portrait Photography

Lifestyle portrait photography is unique because it transforms an individual’s everyday life into a stunning, intimate environment where they are captured in their most natural state. Lifestyle portraits can capture an individual or a group of people. Similar to candid portraits, lifestyle portraits are typically not positioned and appear spontaneous. The goal of lifestyle portraits is to show a subject’s authentic self in different settings, such as their home, work, restaurant, or other personal environments.

Environmental Portraits

Portrait Photography

Environmental portrait photography captures subjects by emphasizing the surrounding environment to depict what the subject values and finds meaningful. Environmental portraits are similar to lifestyle portraits but are less spontaneous and require careful posing to capture the subject’s essence.

The environment for this type of portrait is usually a location with sentimental value to the subject or subjects. Because of how essential the environment is for this portrait type, environmental portraits can offer the viewer profound insights into the individual’s personality and passions. Natural light is also a common characteristic of environmental portraits.

Family, Couple, and Group Portraits

This portrait style focuses on the chemistry and bond between multiple subjects, whether they are family, a group of friends, or a couple. These portraits are ideal for significant life events and holidays and require a delicate balance of posing and spontaneity. Group portraits emphasize the connection and chemistry between multiple subjects and how they interact.

Glamour Portraits

Portrait Photography

Glamour portraits are sophisticated beauty portraits focusing on extensive wardrobe and makeup planning. Glamour portraits are applicable in various situations and are often used for high-end brands. Unlike other portrait styles, these portraits make the subject the focal point of the environment and can provide a unique sense of intimacy and sensuality. Glamour portraits are often highly professional and can be set in various environments.

Individual Portraits

Individual portraits can be conducted in various photography styles and focus on a single subject and their likeness. Individual portraits are trendy for various reasons and present a raw, unfiltered look into a subject’s life and soul. Individual portraits are one of the best ways for photographers and subjects to capture the essence of humanity and show an individual who they are and what they value.

Also, adjusting camera settings to achieve a shallow depth of field is a great way to create a great portrait photograph. There are many different types of camera settings which can create an amazing portrait photograph.

Location Ideas for Portrait Photography Sessions

Portrait photography doesn’t have to stay inside the studio, and there are endless possibilities for where you can set your portrait photographs to capture your very essence. If you are considering portrait photography but want to explore outside of a traditional studio setting, you can consider some of the options below for your upcoming session.


Portrait Photography

Anyone living near a beach knows the beauty that it offers, particularly in photographs. If you are considering a portrait photography session, the beach is one of the best options. The beach is a common location for Los Angeles portrait photography because it emphasizes the beautiful environment while still focusing on the subject.

The beach is versatile and constantly shifting depending on the season or hour of the day. Because the lighting and water levels constantly change at the beach, portrait photographers can take advantage of this environment’s versatility. The beach can give your portraits a romantic, sensual aura during sunset, a sunny and happy vibe during the daytime, or a moody and intriguing essence when the sun begins to set. The water’s changing tides perfectly add a dynamic, lively element to your portraits. Beach photography portraits are excellent options because they leave no shortage of possibilities for how your portrait will turn out.


Portrait Photography

Parks are excellent locations for a portrait photography session, especially when you find a quiet, intimate spot in your favorite setting. Park portraits are fantastic for many reasons and are the perfect option for outdoor lovers that want to capture stunning nature in their portraits. Setting your portrait photography session at the park allows you to create a natural, peaceful environment with vibrant colors or a candid-style portrait if you prefer a busier setting.

Parks are perfect for individual and group subjects, making the possibilities endless. If there is a park you are particularly fond of, consider setting your portrait photography session there to capture a stunning environment that holds deep value to you.

At Home

Portrait Photography

If you are considering a lifestyle portrait, holding your photography session in your home is the perfect option. Portraits taken in your home provide an intimate and authentic experience with a worthwhile outcome. This setting is also ideal for many seeking a family or couples portrait. By selecting your house as the location for your portrait photography session, you can depict yourself in your most natural state and capture stunning, candid portraits of memorable moments.

Stairwells and Staircases


Stairwells and staircases are accessible and unique locations for your upcoming portrait photography session. A portrait photographer can help frame stairwell shots to convey different moods or messages about your personality. A benefit of this location is the versatility you will find in different stairwells. No matter where you’re located, you can find a modern, vintage, or rustic staircase relatively easily.

Stairwells are also valuable options because your portrait photographer can take advantage of the natural lines in staircases to frame the photograph. Different buildings will offer unique staircase designs, such as straight or winding stairwells.

By the Water

Portrait Photography

Having your portrait taken near a water source is one of the best options to capture a stunning, intimate moment with your portrait photographer. There is no shortage of water sources for your portrait photographs, no matter where you’re located. Even if you aren’t near the beach, water sources like lakes, rivers, ponds, or fountains are viable options to bring your portrait photography session to life.

Water can be a stunning backdrop for your portraits or used experimentally by photographers, such as capturing your portrait in the water’s reflection. This location is versatile and can convey various moods depending on the time of day, lighting, and surroundings. For instance, portraits near a water source can be dramatic and moody, calm and relaxed, or warm and comforting. Water is the perfect backdrop to create a stunning environment while guaranteeing that you are the photograph’s focal point.

On the Street

Portrait Photography

While it might seem too simple, the street is a beautiful place for your portrait photography session, especially if you have the right photographer. Streets offer various options that you might have yet to consider previously. For instance, you can take your portraits on a quiet, residential street for mellow and peaceful photographs. Busier streets are perfect for adding a unique element to your photographs if you want lively and authentic portraits.

Take a walk down the streets near you and see what you find. The variety of buildings, backdrops, and colors are sure to intrigue you for your upcoming portrait session. Streets are ideal for candid portraits and perfect if you want to represent your most authentic self through your photographs.


Portrait Photography

Outdoor gardens are perfect locations for portrait photographs, especially if you want a bright, lively, and vibrant environment. Whether you have a personal garden on your property or a favorite community garden nearby, this environment can create a dreamy and timeless atmosphere.

Gardens offer no shortage of backdrops for your portrait photoshoot. For example, you can use a flower bed as a gorgeous and colorful backdrop for your portraits or find stunning, ornate backgrounds and architecture to add extra sophistication to your images. Public gardens will have various spots to consider for your portrait photograph, and you can work with a professional photographer to capture the breathtaking environment while remaining the subject of your portraits.


Portrait Photography

If you’re looking for a striking and breathtaking portrait, rooftops are an incredible option. A Los Angeles portrait photographer like RayCee the Artist can find the perfect, tall building for your rooftop portraits with a dramatic and vibrant backdrop. Rooftops can offer a magical sense to your portraits, and the stunning skyscrapers and high-rise buildings are perfect backdrops to breathe life into your photographs.

Rooftops are another fantastic option for those seeking variety in their portrait photographs. Depending on the mood you want from your portraits, you can work with a portrait photographer to capture unique angles and atmospheres. For instance, rooftops on a cloudy day are perfect for moody and severe photographs. Additionally, rooftop portraits taken at sunset or sunrise emphasize the ethereal, dream-like location to add extra intrigue to your portraits.

Colored Walls

Portrait Photography

While it might be a simple option, there is no shortage of variety for portraits taken against a colored wall. Cities like Los Angeles have excellent, vibrant backdrops with colorful and textured walls to make your portraits stand out while keeping you as the focal point. For instance, bright-painted brick walls offer a gorgeous combination of color and texture that is hard to find elsewhere. In contrast, graffiti walls are perfect backdrops for the artistically inclined individual.

Colorful and textured walls offer various options for photographers as they position you within the frame and use lighting to contrast your face against the wall. The right outdoor wall will undoubtedly breathe life into your portraits regardless of color or texture.


Portrait Photography

While outdoor gardens are stunning locations for portrait photographs, nature lovers have other options. Greenhouses are perfect locations for portrait photography, no matter what the weather is like outside. Greenhouses are full of vibrant colors and plant life, bringing unmatched vitality into your portraits while framing you against the breathtaking landscape.

Greenhouses are a dynamic location for your portrait photographs and should be considered when debating where to locate your portrait photography session. Greenhouses are the perfect solution to show what you love and who you are in your portraits if you're a plant lover but want your portraits taken during the fall or winter.

Parking Lots

Portrait Photography

Though they might not be the first location that comes to mind when considering a spot for your portrait photographs, parking lots offer more than meets the eye. Parking lots offer many options and structures to tailor your portraits to your wants and needs. For instance, multi-story parking lots, parking garages, and everyday residential lots provide a unique and dynamic spirit that will make your portraits shine.

Parking garages also offer locations like moody staircases that are perfect for portrait photography. Having dozens of cars with you at the center of the image makes for a lively and colorful portrait you’re sure to love.

Abandoned Buildings


An abandoned building is the perfect option if you want a moody and mysterious backdrop for your portraits. Big cities will likely have many options if you want a photography session with this background. Abandoned buildings add unique moodiness to your portraits, making the images intriguing and eye-catching. Additionally, abandoned buildings are perfect for individuals and portrait photographers that want to get creative with their work.

Abandoned buildings offer no shortage of spots to set as the backdrop of your portraits. Whether you want a rustic background, natural lighting, or more retro photos, abandoned buildings can provide the perfect solution to your portrait photography needs. This location is one of the most unique, one-of-a-kind spots to set up your upcoming portrait photography session.

When Should I Hire a Portrait Photographer?

Portrait photography is a stunning, artistic, and versatile style you’ll love if you hire the right professionals. While the idea of a great portrait photography session might intrigue you, you may hesitate to hire a professional portrait photographer without a specific occasion in mind. While portrait photographers are perfect for any occasion–or even those who want a nice picture of themselves–there are specific scenarios where portrait photographers are ideal. Below are a few of the many occasions you should consider hiring a professional portrait photographer like RayCee the Artist.


Portrait Photography

Hiring a professional portrait photographer is essential if you’re planning a wedding. Whether it’s your ceremony or a loved one tying the knot, wedding portraits are crucial for capturing one of the most memorable days in a person’s life. Wedding portraits capture the beauty of the soon-to-be spouses and can also encapsulate the stunning bridal party and handsome groomsmen. Weddings are a day you’ll want to remember forever, and hiring a portrait photographer is one of the best ways to guarantee that your special day is never forgotten.


Portrait Photography

Celebrating a loved one’s birthday is a memorable and happy moment you can capture by hiring a professional portrait photographer. Birthday portraits are trendy for parents who want mementos to see how their child grows over time and becomes the person they’re destined to be. Children grow fast; before you know it, your kids will be adults planning their own lives and futures. Every birthday should be considered a milestone for you and your child, and capturing these days through portrait photography is essential, so you have mementos to look back on in the future.

Birth of a Child

Portrait Photography

Your child's birth is one of your most memorable and monumental moments. Consider hiring a professional portrait photographer to capture this special moment for the beauty and love it offers. Portrait photographers can take breathtaking photos of your newborn that you can cherish forever or capture you and your baby together as you embark on a new, unfamiliar, and exciting journey. Portrait photography after your child's birth is one way to guarantee that you never forget the love and joy you felt in this moment.

Holiday Celebrations

Portrait Photography

The holidays are the perfect time to hire a professional portrait photographer for you and your family. Many people hire portrait photographers around the holidays, especially for Christmas. If you want to send your loved ones stunning Christmas cards or capture the joy and beauty of this holiday, a portrait photographer is a suitable option.

Holiday portraits aren’t limited to Christmas cards. Parents should consider hiring a professional portrait photographer for holidays like Halloween to capture their child’s fun and creative energy as they flaunt their unique costumes. Holiday portraits can be fun and lighthearted, gentle and calming, or severe and reflective. Whatever mood you’re looking for out of holiday photographs, a professional portrait photographer can encapsulate these moments perfectly.

Graduation Photos

Portrait photographs are perfect for milestones in your child’s life, and graduation is a popular occasion for hiring a portrait photographer. Graduations are joyful, exciting turning points in your child’s life, and they deserve to be captured for all their beauty. Portraits capture your child’s excitement as they reach new life milestones. Graduations are moments that you and your child will want to remember for years to come, and the best way to guarantee that the happiness you feel in this moment is never forgotten is by hiring a portrait photographer.

Get High-Quality Portrait Photographs From RayCee the Artist

Portrait photography is one of the most valuable options to remember special moments and authentically capture you and your loved ones. If you seek a qualified, professional portrait photographer, Los-Angeles based photographer RayCee the Artist is the perfect fit.

RayCee the Artist has a unique and artistic portrait style that you are guaranteed to love. Portraits taken by RayCee the Artist are high-quality, stunning, and cherishable. RayCee offers in-studio or on-location portrait photography services to guarantee that you love how your images turn out.

Along with professional portrait photography services, RayCee the Artist can help you find high-quality digital art, fine prints, and wall art that you’re sure to love. RayCee’s passion radiates into your custom artwork, allowing you to cherish a gorgeous and meaningful portrait for years to come.

RayCee’s stunning portrait portfolio will convince you that you’re making the right decision for your upcoming portrait photography session. To set up a portrait photography session with RayCee, contact RayCee the Artist today for expert services.


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