Chapter 1. Window of the Soul

Window of the Soul

Kinds of Portrait Photos

If you stop to think about it for a moment, you'll realize that there are many different kinds of portrait photographs. While the proof is in the final image, often these differences boil down to the intentions of both the photographer and the subject of the portrait.

Historic European royal court portrait paintings were intended to glorify and flatter their subjects; some modern portrait photography plays a similar role. The portraits of business executives in suits that show up in annual reports are usually intended to show capable executives who are dressed and groomed according to the rules of their station in life, and whom shareholders would trust with money.

Moving away from the realm of the professional photograph, street portraits are often intended to capture a "decisive moment" — to use the phrase coined by the great Henri Cartier-Bresson. While these photographs depict people, they are more about action and composition than character.

Professional photographer, serious amateur, or novice alike, we all want to make portraits of our kids and families in moments of joy. This is a laudable goal—and I'll show you how to have more fun and make better photos of your kids and family starting on page 168.

Whatever kind of portrait photography interests you, the most important thing is to practice making your photos with mindfulness. ...

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