The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a portrait as "a painting, drawing, or photograph of a person that usually only includes the person's head and shoulders". I think a vast majority of all photographs taken would be classified as portraits. This would include selfies (self-portraits), head shots, maternity, new born, children, wedding, engagement, boudoir, street, family, couples, fashion, lifestyle, fitness, fashion...am I missing any? If you want to earn an income from photography, you'll be hard pressed to earn a dollar without shooting some sort of portrait. Even if you have no desire to become a professional photographer, you will be making portraits of family and friends. I certainly would like to know how I can make a better portrait, and this is the first in a series of articles different aspects of portraiture. These would be beneficial to any amateur or professional photographer, and especially for photographers that are aspiring to become professionals.
The process of making a well exposed photograph is fairly simple. Would there be a difference between an amateur's photograph and a professional's? Are there differences between photographs made by a professional and amateur photographers? If the amateur and professional photographers used the same studio setup, would there be any differences? Here is a 5 minute video showing some of the differences between the photographs made my an amateur and a professional photographer. Can you spot the professional photographer's photographs? You might be surprised at the number of subjects who correctly guessed which one was a professional photographer.
I found the differences subtle, yet the professional's photographs are much better. This is why I decided to learn how to make better portraits.