Are you looking to spice things up in your photography portfolio? Discover the different types of portrait photography.

Portrait photography and its different types have one focus: capturing people and their being. However, this style of photography is more than just creating an image of someone. It is also a versatile photography niche that enables an artistic representation through the use of light, setting, backdrops, poses, and others.

Knowing how to capture your subjects is crucial to achieve professional and high-quality results. Being aware of different types of portrait photography can help you craft your own portraiture style.

Discover below a list of 10 different types of portrait photography.

Traditional Portraits

When most people reflect on portrait photography, the traditional style often comes to mind. This type of portrait normally includes the subject’s head and shoulders. Oftentimes, traditional portraits are shot in a studio and include a formal backdrop.

A sub-genre of tradition portraits is the formal portrait style.

Lifestyle Portraits

Creating a great contrast to traditional portraits, lifestyle portraits focus on capturing a person or a group of people in an everyday environment. The subjects are oftentimes candidly depicted when performing day-to-day activities.

For this type of photography, lifestyle photographers usually do not position their subjects. As these images are supposed to reflect authenticity, they should be spontaneous and captured at places such as a family’s home, a restaurant, or any other social setting.

Environmental Portraits

Environmental portraits focus on capturing the moment in a meaningful environment to the subject. This genre of portrait photography offers the viewer an insight into the subject’s personality.

Not only is the location important in this type of photography, but the posing techniques have a significant impact. Environmental portraits are not as informal as lifestyle photography. The photography capturing the moment typically establishes the pose and lighting.

Candid and Street Portraits

It is probably the purest form of portrait photography. This is because candid and street portraits are not planned. This sub-style of photography doesn’t require any posing. Street photographers often take spontaneous images of people they have met or run into on the street.

Candid and street portraits do not require any setup. Photographers that practice this type of genre get inspiration from the style and poses of the subjects. It is important to capture spontaneous and unique moments.

different types of portrait photography
Florian Schüppel Hamburg, Germany

Glamour Portraits

When hearing the term glamour portraits, many people think of beauty portraits. However, the great focus on the glamour aspect involves extensive planning of the wardrobe and makeup looks.

Glamour portraits can also reflect a sensual vibe, as the subject’s beauty is placed into the focal point. Glamour portraits can be set in a range of locations — either indoors or outdoors.

Fine Art Portraits

Traces of fine art photography can be reflected in any style of the craft. Fine art portraits take an extremely artistic approach. This style encompasses conceptual portraits, as well as surreal portraits.

It is important that any photographer who is interested in this style of portrait photography should get in tune with their creative side.

different types of portrait photography
Jaqueline Larsen Madrid, Spain

Conceptual Portraits

Conceptual portraits catch the illustration of an idea. This style seeks to create imagery through a sort of abstract representation.

If you are looking to reflect a powerful message through your photography, then it would be recommended to take conceptual portraits into consideration.

Surreal Portraits

Surreal portraits are an artistic style of photography that seems dream-like. In order to achieve this fantasy imagery, it is necessary to add special effects and invest in post-production after the images are captured.

Although it can be difficult to achieve the desired results, props, wardrobe choices, and makeup styles can help turn your dreams into a reality.

different types of portrait photography
Nikk Martin Berlin, Germany


In recent years, selfies have shed a dim light on self-portraits. On the flip side to the traditional selfie, photographers who capture self-portraits must pay great attention to the planning of the shoot.

In order to capture a beautifully composed self-portrait, it is advised to focus greatly on what is happening in front of the camera, as well as the equipment that you are using.

different types of portrait photography
Matteo Valle Milan, Italy

Couple, Family, and Group Portraits

Couples, families, and groups are usually photographed during important holidays or life events, such as birthdays, weddings, and other celebrations. This style of portrait photography does not place a focus on capturing a single person.

Here it’s also important to keep a certain level of spontaneity and authenticity.

Let’s sum it up!

The 10 different types of portrait photography include:

  1. Traditional portraits
  2. Lifestyle portraits
  3. Environmental portraits
  4. Candid and street portraits
  5. Glamour portraits
  6. Fine arts portraits
  7. Conceptual portraits
  8. Surreal portraits
  9. Self-portraits
  10. Couple, Family, and Group portraits

To discover portrait photography poses, take a look at the blog post here. Learn more about portrait photography and get inspired by the talented work of some of our London-based creatives, here.

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Posted by:Cherrydeck Editorial

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2 replies on “10 Different Types of Portrait Photography

  1. I didn’t realize there were so many. As important as all of the other type of portraits are, my favorite are still candid portraits. I just love taking shots of people in their rawest and unrehearsed moments. It feels priceless.