Chapter 8: What Kind of Portrait Do You Need?

Chapter 8
What kind of portrait photography do you need?

Business portraits can be broken down into four areas:
  1. Traditional Head and Shoulders Portraits
This is the standard in the business world.  This formal portrait is normally used for web bios, news releases, magazine articles, brochures, etc.
  1. “Character” Portraits
This type of portrait shows more of the body.  By showing more of the arms and body, “body language” can be used to convey greater personality and activity.  For example:  A man in a business suit sitting behind a desk can give the impression of a conservative long-standing institution.  A man with rolled up shirtsleeves working at a desk can portray a hard working active representative, ready to serve your potential client.
  1. “Environmental” Portraits
These are portraits that use the background to help communicate your message.  Backgrounds can be done in the studio with a set, digitally, or on location.
  1. Group Portraits
At times, it is necessary to show a larger group, such as a staff or group of directors.  This can be done in a large studio, on location, or even digitally with each person photographed separately.


A good business photographer should be able to do all of the above.  What type of portrait you choose will depend on your specific need, whether it is a web page, bio, brochure, billboard, etc.  Good communication with your photographer will facilitate receiving an effective portrait.