According to the online version Merriam-Webster:
Portrait: (n) a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face.
That definition of a portrait leaves a lot of room for the imagination and the best portrait photographers use every inch of it. Do you really want your portrait to be exactly like everyone else’s? You’re certainly not like everyone else.
If the portrait you hand to friends, relatives and loved ones is just another stiff, posed Sears Portrait Studio $19.99 special, then they’ll politely tell you how nice it looks before it’s consigned to a dark, dusty corner of their curio shelf.
The problem with most “classic” portrait photos is that the photographer often feels constrained by a list of so-called “rules” about how to pose their subjects that often have little to do with how the person actually carries his or herself.
A portrait should look like the person in the picture, and this goes way beyond capturing their appearance. If the portrait doesn’t capture the personality of the individual in the photo, then it’s only half a portrait. The portrait should capture a person at their best, and we are all at our best when we’re relaxed enough to be ourselves.
That’s why I eschew the classic studio portrait in favor of the relaxed, informal environmental portrait. Because I want to capture the real you in a photo that your loved ones will want to show everyone they know.
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