Portrait Style Guide

This is a collection of specific guidelines to follow in the pursuit of creating the kind of portraits I really connect with.


The purpose of my portraits is to capture the emotional dimension of humans.

Environmental Portraits. I always want the environment to be part of the portrait I’m creating (mostly).

Candid Storytelling. I want my portraits to feel like capturing a moment. Cinematic, in the sense of a storytelling approach, like you’re looking at a still from a film, or a candid moment from real life. I want to develop some practical techniques for creating poses and facial expressions.

Theatrical Storytelling. Almost the opposite of candid, these are pure performance, with composition/lighting/poses that feel like a movie poster or a beautifully cinematic shot from a film.

Try the Bowie technique. I’m imaging making a bunch of index cards with specific elements to include a a shot (e.g. a particular prop, a pose idea, a facial expression idea, etc.) and then randomly combine them during a shoot.

I wrote out some specifics/logistics here.

More relevant notes about style here.