Portrait Photography Ideas

Portrait Photography Ideas

portrait photography ideas

Looking for creative and fun portrait photography ideas for your next photoshoot? To find inspiration, I’ve gathered the top 50 unique portrait photography ideas that will help you take amazing portrait photos.

50 Creative and Fun Portrait Photography Ideas

Do you want to add some fresh breath to your portraits? Then invite a model and devote some time to shooting at home or the studio without tons of decorations. The main aim here is to try all possible portrait photography poses and find the most winning ones.

Studio Portrait Ideas

If you’re going to take studio portraits, check out these simple but amazing photography ideas that can be repeated by both male and female models. These portrait photography ideas will be a good start for your personal ones.

1. Take a Full-Length Shot

creative portrait ideas studio

I recommend devoting some time for good preparation in order to take shots similar to those which are taken by professionals. Interesting portrait photography isn't only about turning the camera towards the subject. Start with setting proper lighting and exposure. Next, think of an ideal composition and ask the model to pose in the way he/she will look great.

2. Use Natural Frames

portrait photography ideas

It goes without saying that framing is an important aspect of unique portrait photography composition. But the situation changes when the process takes place in the studio. So you should pay special attention to any available frames, like a window, doorway, own hands or a hole that can serve as a frame.

3. Take Portrait Series

portrait photoshoot ideas

Want to realize many portrait photography ideas? Then try the burst shooting mode on your camera. Feel free to use it while taking portraits. It is very convenient, as allows for taking several photos and then choosing the best one. Finally, you can make a collage of these portraits.

4. Experiment with Reflection

unique portrait photography

Any kind of mirror, even a broken one, can help implement creative portrait ideas. Take it and hold at the arm's length. Take an interesting photo of a model reflected in a mirror. Judging by personal experience I know that it's better to leave some room for extra details in the background.

5. Use Various Colors of Light

portrait pictures ideas

Fun portrait ideas are easy to realize, using ordinary things. Color gels, for example, are often used by photographers to get stunning shots. I always try to play with different colors to present my clients with jaw-dropping portraits. Start with two colors of light that come from various directions.

6. Shoot Through the Prisms or Crystal Balls

photo portrait ideas

Looking for portrait photography ideas, you’ve probably heard about prisms. A photographer needs to take a prism and place it in front of the lens. All in all, you will get a spectacular reflection and add some glare effect to portraits.

portrait photo with crystal ball

If you are going to take portrait photos with the help of a prism or crystal ball, read my guide about shooting creative crystal ball photography.

7. Edit Photos to Get a Surreal Effect

portrait photography inspiration

Photoshop is as a very powerful tool to realize your creative portrait ideas. Use it to add amazing effects to any picture, especially to self-portraits. It usually takes a few minutes to adjust different parameters to get a brilliant portrait.

8. Add Dynamics

portrait photography inspiration

This is one of the easiest portrait photoshoot ideas. Ask a model to move and slow down the shutter speed to capture motion blur. Be accurate to avoid spoiling the shot.

9. Take Some Close-Up Shots

interesting portrait photography

Another secret of getting interesting portrait is focusing on one feature of a model's face. Choose whatever you want: lips, eyes etc. In such a way you'll leave the whole face out of the frame, but get a very interesting result.

10. Get a Soft-Focus Lens Effect

creative portrait photography

Household items may also help you express portrait photography ideas themes. This technique doesn’t require any special efforts. Take any clear plastic and place it over the lens. Use an elastic band for additional safety. Finally, add Vaseline on this plastic next to the lens edges.

Striking The Pose

striking the Pose book

Forget about dull portrait photos. Read this Posing Guide to discover all universal and creative poses you may suggest your models at the portrait photoshoot. Find out how to direct people right and make them feel easy and open.


Outdoor Portrait Photography Ideas

If you’re going to take outdoor portrait photographs, check out these ideas that will be very useful while taking photos on the street, in the park, woods, near the sea, etc.

  • Before taking your camera and going out, read these basic outdoor portrait photography tips to take natural light photos professionally and make them pop.

11. Stay Lifestyle

portrait photography poses

Outdoor portrait photography ideas include one simple tip – move! Just don’t be afraid to explore all available areas outside. Suggest your model to run, jump, spin or something like that. In the long run, you will surely get amazing shots and the person will be able to feel comfortable, relaxed and natural.

12. Play with Light and Shadows

portrait photography techniques

It is impossible to take advantage of portrait photoshoot ideas without natural light. Think twice before making an appointment with a model. Take the sun’s location into consideration. Don't be afraid of possible shadows as they may become a fantastic addition to the shot.

13. Include Surroundings

portrait photography ideas for projects

Dusty surroundings may look great in the photos due to the hard edges that add some contrast and texture. Such a trick will be perfect for portrait photography black and white. Use everything that surrounds you: small parks, high verticals and rough backdrops. All this will help add some dimension to the shot.

14. Take Backlight Portraits

outdoor portrait photography ideas

One of the best portrait ideas photography ideas is to use backlighting for exposure. Use a handheld light meter or proper metering setting and two light sources for addition fill-in flash. Thus, you’ll get a 3D effect.

  • If you are going to take portrait photos with harsh natural light, I recommend you reading these 10 basic backlit portrait tips to make photos look perfect in high resolution.

15. Shoot at Different Angles

portrait photography ideas themes

Every person dislikes something about his/her appearance, so ask your model about it before trying any portrait ideas. Use this information while placing the person.

16. Help Models to Place their Hands

portrait photography ideas with hands

Remember that taking good family photos or individual portraits is impossible without proper communication with models. People, as my practice shows, often do not know what to do with their own hands, so guide them at the photo session. This will definitely help people feel more relaxed and confident. Suggest they to play with their hair, cross their hands or simply lean against a tree or a wall.

Professional Lightroom Presets for Portraits

lightroom preset collection for portrait photographylightroom preset collection for portrait photography
Download Presets

This will definitely help people feel more relaxed and confident. Suggest them to play with hair, cross hands or simply lean against a tree or a wall.

17. Practice Surface Lean

creative portrait photography

It is a really simple thing to do. Either your model is sitting or standing, suggest that he or she lean against any available surface to get a more relaxed look.

18. Take Portrait in the Car

portrait photos

Try creative pic ideas in the car. It is a simple and 100% way to get astonishing shots. Prefer a sunny summer day.

19. In the Grass

outdoor portrait photography

Most creative portrait photographers like this idea as it helps get playful, lively photos in a quick way. Suggest a girl put her hand on the man’s face or ask the models to close their eyes while cuddling. Choose any variation you like.

  • Are you a beginning portrait photographer who is going to provide professional portrait photography services? View more about the portrait photography genre to become a true expert in this area.

20. From the Back

photography ideas for people

Many shooters believe that a face is the most important element of a portrait. Actually, it is not true. Shots that are taken in the movement or from the back look very interesting. Just remember the “Follow me” trend which was so popular among other portrait ideas on Instagram.  If looks especially beautiful on bridal portraits.

Watch this professional portrait photography tutorial about Senior Portraits: Background, Props, and Shooting Ideas by James Schmelzer to know to take high-quality portraits in motion.

Self Portrait Photography Ideas

Self-portrait photography ideas have no limits, so don’t repeat one and the same idea all the time. You can experiment with locations, props, backgrounds, outfit, make-up, etc. Still, if you need some motivation, keep on reading and find 10 top ideas to take wonderful self-portraits.

  • If you like to take self-portraits, check out these surreal and unusual self portrait ideas that will be in handy while taking your next portraits.

21. Enjoy Rainbow Effects

creative portrait ideas

If you want to take interesting portrait photos, it doesn’t mean that you have to buy expensive accessories and props, for example, a prism. I'm sure you have some CDs at home. You can create a brilliant rainbow effect using disks and a flashlight. Move a CD until you see colorful stripes on the face.

22. Capture a Silhouette

cool portrait photography ideas

Why not try to create a beautiful silhouette, while taking self-portrait photos? Simply pose against a bright background and you’ll achieve the desired result. This idea is great if you want to get unique photos in which you pretend to be somebody else.

23. Try Double Exposure Silhouettes

photoshop action for portrait photographyphotoshop action for portrait photography
Download Actions

A silhouette is a great way to create a Double Exposure effect. Use a dark outline against a bright background. Finally, combine an outline shot with an image that matches your photograph.

24. Experiment with Make-Up

portraits photography

Do you like awesome portrait photography but aren’t eager to take shots of yourself? Then experiment with appearance and try to become someone else. Different costumes surely look great on self-portraits. You can also use a wig. It may not look very good in everyday life but is nice in photos.

25. Concentrate on Details

self portrait photography ideas

Remember that funny picture ideas of yourself shouldn’t be related only to your face. A shot may demonstrate your hands, elbows, feet, ear, etc.

26. Take Photos through Various Objects

photo portrait ideas

Portrait photography techniques are really endless. You can cover the lens to get creative shots. Branches, hands and lights will be great. Besides, you can get a more noticeable effect with the help of windows to achieve beautiful reflections, bokeh or something like that. The final result depends only on your imagination and experience.

27. Hide Some Parts of the Face

portrait photography inspiration

Trying to take an intriguing portrait photograph, you may simply hide any part of your face. This will look rather creative and will surely attract viewers’ attention.

28. Place a Pet near You

creative portrait photography

There are many portrait photography themes that involve your pet in the shooting process. Animals are really photogenic. The photos will look truly energetic and will evoke many joyful memories. Besides, you will feel more relaxed and can behave naturally in front of the camera.

29. Play with Shadows to Get Spectacular Shots

unique self portrait ideas

Experienced portraiture photographers know how to use the shadow-play. It allows for making great experiments. Plants, hats, curtains or any other things will help to take creative images.

30. Create a Diptych of Several Photos

unique self portrait ideas diptych

Can’t decide which photo to choose? Then create diptychs. It is a “collage” made of two images. This is really helpful when you have two favorite shots, so you can use them both at once.

Christmas Family Photo Ideas

Want to capture the most beautiful moments with your relatives and get an unforgettable experience? Here are unique portrait photography ideas and unusual family portrait poses you can repeat for your family photoshoot.

31. Wear Pajamas

family photo ideas what to wear

What can be more lovely and sweet than children in beautiful, cute, themed pajamas, together with their parents wearing the same style? Imagine the whole family dressed in soft home pajamas with deer, Christmas tree, snowman and snowflakes. Think about the suitable background with Christmas decorations, come up with some fun portrait ideas, put on family pajamas and enjoy the shooting.

32. Employ Scandinavian Style

family photo ideas what to wear

Such a pleasant, calm and peaceful photo shoot will remain in your hearts forever. Mixing white and warm colors, light, delicate decorations and background along with interesting studio portrait ideas, you will get very cozy photos. Keep in mind that a special outfit, such as warm knitted sweaters, simple patterns and natural fabric will add more uniqueness to the portraiture.

33. Try Something Classic and Elegant

christmas family photo ideas

Classic photographs with black and white outfits are still in fashion. Moreover, in this way, you don’t need to worry about creative portrait ideas. Just wear a delicate dress or a suit and pick up suitable clothes for your soulmate and children.

34. Organize an Outdoor Photo Session

taking family photos outside

Dream of taking good family photos but are tired of studios and home shooting? Come out in the street! Put on warm clothes, big comfortable boots and red mittens, take red-checkered blankets, a thermos, cups for tea and convey a great mood.

35. Take Lifestyle Portraits at Home

portrait photograph

The candid style will free you from needless (in this case) portrait photography poses. You don’t need to invent special outfits and decorations. This style of photography highlights genuine feelings, smiles and the love of family members in their natural atmosphere, whether it is a sweet home or a favorite park.

36. Incorporate Props

creative portrait ideas

Special requisites are an indispensable part of every successful photo shoot. Different simple objects which a family associates themselves with, such as blankets, books, candles, sweets or even favorite pets will help create new portrait photography ideas to make your family photo session unforgettable.

37. Involve Pets

taking good family photos

Our “little brothers” is a great, inseparable part of almost every family. Various cats or kittens, dogs, puppies, parrots, hamsters or aquarium fish can add a special uniqueness to pictures and become the reason for renewed portrait photography ideas themes. Of course, shooting some nimble and active creatures can be a real challenge sometimes, but the result will be worth it.

38. Play Around with Background and Foreground

portrait photography poses

Changing the background or the foreground of the image is an excellent way to emphasize something important and highlight the main object. Focus the camera on some tiny details which help you convey the primary meaning of your portrait photo ideas, for instance, joined hands. Or use the depth of field to concentrate on more important subjects instead.

39. Group People with the Help of Triangles

portrait photography ideas poses

In order to locate each family member properly in the photo, you may use diagonal lines or triangles. It will help fit every person in the image conveniently and successfully implement the portrait photography ideas poses. Pick a suitable place and posture for each family member depending on their height.

40. Open Your Childish Soul and Let Yourself Have Fun

outdoor portrait photography ideas

Smile, laugh, dance, jump, hug and kiss. The intimate and dynamic moment with your nearest and dearest is the best idea for interesting portrait photography. Organize a photo shoot against the background of your favorite place in the garden or in the park, and show nothing but the true love and interests of your family.

Creative Baby Portrait Ideas

Babies are the most beautiful creatures on earth. In order to capture their sweet naturalness, glimmering eyes or a peaceful dreams, you may use one of these 10 best creative baby portraits ideas and let the beauty of your child bloom forever.

41. Capture a Sleeping Baby

creative baby portrait ideas

Photograph your beautiful peacefully sleeping child along with home decorations. Show imagination by means found at hand, such as blankets, pillows and towels. Besides, you may create fancy flowers, kittens, suns, stars or clouds and surround a baby with them. This is a special kind of portrait photography ideas for creative people!

42. A Baby Plus a Pet Equals the Most Adorable Photo

interesting portrait photography

Children and home pets are often very good friends. So capture their close friendship in the shots. These two most active creatures in the whole world will get you extensive variations of cute portrait pictures ideas, for they are always on the move.

43. Cute Pictures in a Soft Cradle

creative portrait ideas

Imagine your tiny angel wrapped in soft pink fabric, while lying in a small cozy basket cradle. These two simple requisites and lovely tiny clothes for your child offer more than one photo portrait ideas.

44. Incorporate the Child's Interests in a Shot

portrait ideas

Create a new universe for your child – pick up a special costume. Recollect all his/her favorite movie characters and choose the most interesting one for your child, beginning with Harry Potter and ending with the Hulk.

45. A Professional Baby-Chef

creative pic ideas

One of the best photo portrait ideas for children is to imagine your child in the field of any profession, for example, as a chef. First of all, a kid wearing a chef’s hat and a kitchen robe is definitely cute. Secondly, you will have plenty of fun preparing kitchen utensils, dishes and food.

46. Capture the Brothers’ and Sisters’ Love

fun portrait ideas

Capture all your kids together with a newborn in one photo. The children themselves are very creative, so you won’t lack portrait ideas photography.

47. Show Baby’s Small Success

unique portrait photography for babies

First steps, as well as first words, are probably one of the most memorable events in the life of children. If you can’t capture the first word with the help of the camera, you are able to shoot the first considerable move. In order to bring this memory throughout history, one of the best portrait photoshoot ideas is taking a picture of your baby’s first step.

48. A Surprise Party

unique portrait photography for babies

All children are fond of shimmering and bright objects, so they will be happy to have fun in such an atmosphere. This turns it into one of the most excellent portrait photography ideas. If you want to make your child look as happy as possible, I recommend creating the most fabulous background and foreground, using all that adorable items (stars, balloons, ribbons, soft toys).

49. Hats Rock!

fun portrait ideas for babies

Another adorable and unique portrait idea is incorporating a hat. Sounds so simple, but looks so cute! Put a funny hat on your tiny baby’s head and be prepared to be in awe of your child.

50. The Parental Love

unique portrait photography for family

What can be better than the genuine true love of two people, which gives birth to a tiny adorable creature? Featuring mommy and daddy in the shot is the best tip on taking family portraits.

FREEBIES for Editing Portrait Photos

Picture retouching is one of the leading and important parts, aside from a magnificent idea for any types of portrait photography. Each photographer, whether he/she is a professional or just a beginner who recently got started, has to be aware of modern techniques for photo editing. In order to accelerate the process of photo editing, you can use free filters, presets, brushes and actions. Below, I prepared you a list of the most frequently used tools for portrait photos post production.

Free Photoshop Hair Brush

It is perfect for any type of portrait shooting. With this brush, you can make your model’s hair volume or add missing hair.

Photoshop Action Portrait "Highlights"

For creating beautiful, shiny photos, which you may confidently add to your portrait photography gallery, apply this FREE portrait PS action. It doesn’t change a separate object, it influences the whole photo.

Free Portrait Photoshop Action "Smooth Skin"

Take advantage of this action in order to make skin look amazing. Get rid of pimples, dark spots and circles, and other skin imperfections. The action won’t affect other parts of the picture, just the necessary area and will improve the awesome portrait photography.

PS Overlay "Yellow-White"

If you want to get the bokeh effect, try this option. An artistic background blur will add some uniqueness to your photos. With the help of this overlay, you will be able to properly realize some cool portrait photography ideas.

PS Overlay "Mirror Glows"

The play of light is a perfect way to convey an intimate meaning in the photo. This effect produces bright patches of reflected light and serves as a perfect way of conveying creative pic ideas.

PS Overlay "Holiday Sparkles"

With the help of different shades of light, this overlay ensures all your portrait picture ideas will be realized immediately. Use this filter and let your photographs shine!

PS Action "Change Iris to Green"

Add some new shade to the mirror of the soul. Make the eyes glare with green or blue, add some peacefulness or passion – let all your creative portrait ideas become true.

PS Action "Cleaning Eyes"

It is another perfect picture editing tool for eyes. Make the eyes an ideal reflection of the deepest emotions of the person. Remove all unnecessary lines, spots or veins and let the beauty shine in all its glory.

Free Lr Preset "Cinematic"

One of the most popular presets for portraiture photographers allows improving the skin quality and correcting imperfections while making it sharper and more clear. Apply this preset to emphasize the perfection of the human’s body and preserve its naturalness.

Free Lightroom Preset "Sun Flares"

This preset is typically used in order to leave a message from the past. These special soft and warm filters will make your photographs look like they are from an old movie.

You have read all these essential tips for producing unique portrait photography. Now you are more than ready to create and take over the world of portraiture.

Ann Young

Hi there, I'm Ann Young - a professional blogger, read more