Types of Portrait Photography

I have been exploring the uses of publicly displayed portraits. The photos for this edition of my digital sketchbook have been taken with my camera phone. The terminology is my own and may not be appropriate academic terminology.

I am aware that this post doesn’t demonstrate all of the reasons for the making and use of portrait photography, just what I have considered over the past few days.

Going from top left across.

1 – Targeted advertising, brand promotion (young female with financial means (select body size))

2 – Health promotion, discussion, with text relay (bold typeset, bottom right)

3 – Authorship, status

4 – Targeted advertising (family, social)

5 – Promotional, targeted  (young adult, friendship, joy)

6 – Emotional, photojournalism, documentary, relay

7 – Descriptive, relay, photojournalism

8 – Attraction, targeted advertising (male, tradesmen – this was my assumption. However I looked into the demographics of sun readers. 60% of readers are male, readers come almost equally across the NHS social grades. See reference below)

9 – Branding, group identity (reinforces belonging to a social group)

10 – Generic advertising (I have included this to highlight the difference between a portrait as targeted advertising, and generic advertising which doesn’t require a portrait.

11 – Descriptive, promotion

12 – Targeted advertising, leading, relay

13 – Targeted advertising

14 – Promotional, documentary, branding , group identity

15 – Health information, targeted advertising  (employment), statement of brand values (equality/diversity)

16 – Nostalgia, group identity

17 – Targeted advertising

18 – Branding

19 – Promotional, group identity

20 – Branding, targeted advertising  (activity specific)

21 – Branding, targeted advertising

22 – Branding, targeted advertising





Exercise 2.1 Test Photos

I’ve gone out today with my camera phone, to begin exploring the theme of taking photos, on a neutral background. The aim is to remove all identity of the place (context), so that the subject remains as the only focus. Does this draw the eye into the subject detail.

The wind was too strong to do this without an assistant today. I’ll go back out tomorrow and ask a member of the public to help me. However I took some photos trying to minimise the background, and this will at least give me a comparison for when I successfully complete the exercise.

20170913_182118I tried to use the wall as a background. But I didn’t put my phone onto manual, so I have lost the detail with the light.

20170913_182343Too much background distracts from the detail. I may take this into Lightroom tomorrow and see if I can delete the background and enhance the detail, which is there.

20170913_153804This is the better photo. I will go back with my Vello extension tubes and white paper and see what I come back with.

20170913_154033This has the potential to make a good photo. A bit of sellotape to move the background rosehip, string to move some of the foreground, Vello extension tubes for a macro shot with the natural green background. The background will have no detail as the vello ensure an incredibly narrow depth of field.

20170913_160948A natural background that’s too distracting. I will use some of my macro photography for the exercise, because good macro photos with natural backgrounds can be highly effective.


Demonstrating My Process of Selecting Photos for Assignment 1

It’s been a process from evaluating the photos in camera and windows photo viewer, lightroom review, making two series of preferred photos, another review and getting down to 48 photos.

I turned those into undeveloped contact sheets and sought critique and feedback. The aim was to review strengths and weaknesses of composition, subject and technique.

The next step was to develop the photos, select my favourite 12 and then cross reference these with the feedback from others.

The photos that we all agreed on I cut out and put them in one pile, and have then re-evaluated the photos that I preferred and that others gave feedback on.

I know have 12 photos that are probably in the final series and 11 reserves (see below). I have reserves because my series is York – A Photographic History. I intend to cover a wide history so I may take an image or two out once I’ve double checked my history research. The series will be a pdf book format with an image on the left page and accompanying text on the right. I will arrange the photos chronologically so that the book reads as a sequence.

Probable Final Series



20170827_153535I have received input and feedback from several people in relation to photo selection and photo development. My heartfelt thanks

Before and After – Rework – Which is Best?

I have reworked this image following a suggestion from one of my peers. The guidance was to try the photo with the man, but to keep the background without the car through the arch. The first image is the original as taken in camera. I want to keep the same crop ratio as my edited version from yesterday (image 2). I have placed the man further back so that I could include him and retain the crop ratio.

Which works best? Please let me know what you prefer and why?

Many thanks.