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The Art Of Portrait Photography.

Portrait photographers create beautiful works of art, destined to adorn the walls of your home. Ever walked into a room and seen a large wall portrait, virtually life size?  It dominates it’s space, and it’s hard to look away from it.

That’s what a successful wall portrait should do, demand your attention, grab you by the collar, hold your gaze.

Portrait photographers create beautiful works of art, destined to adorn the walls of your home. Ever walked into a room and seen a large wall portrait, virtually life size?  It dominates it’s space, and it’s hard to look away from it.

That’s what a successful wall portrait should do, demand your attention, grab you by the collar, hold your full attention.

Studio & Location Portrait Photography.

Outdoor photo sessions are of course always available, and I do a lot of those. But for that polished studio feel, a classical studio portrait, proper lighting and a good background are a must.

The portrait studio, even a portable one, offers many advantages over outdoor photography, the biggest benefit is control of light. I can shape and direct it to achieve any result I want for my clients. Portrait photographers definitely do their best work when they have total control over the elements of the shoot.

Control of lighting aside, another benefit of working in a studio environment with a portrait photographer is being able to bring and change into as many outfits as you like. Comfortably. You can come to me with as much clothing as you want, and of course if I come to you, everything is on hand.

And let’s not forget the weather. Rain or shine, we can still photograph your session and produce beautiful portraits in a studio setting. Yes, a portrait studio really does have it’s benefits.

Can’t decide?  There is also the option of a combo session, a little indoors and a little outdoors. Either all on the same day, or split into different days. Ask for details.

Portrait of a young lady in a leather jacket. Hugh Anderson Photography.
Portrait of Arianna. 02. Hugh Anderson Photography, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan
Portrait of Travis. 03. Hugh Anderson Photography, Bloomfield Hills, Michigan

Headshot and portrait photography expectations.

Once the image you like best has been selected, it’s on to the polishing of the final product. That involves dealing with stray hairs, removing those pesky blemishes that decided you show up on the day of your business headshot session, and making any other tweaks that you request. The headshot image of course has to represent you, but a little retouching is always appreciated by our clients. Our headshot and portrait photography sessions will always be fun!

For more information on the importance of a solid headshot check out this page. There is also a LinkedIn headshot article that explains things beautifully. 


So what is a portrait? Well, a portrait can be just the head and shoulders, as well as a three quarters and even full length image.

Right, then what is a headshot?  It’s just that, a head, with some shoulders thrown in for good measure. Let’s settle on headshot portrait. Wait, maybe portrait headshot! You get the point, it goes by many names.

There is a little crossover, depending on how an image is cropped.  A full length image can’t be called a headshot, but a head and shoulders image can be called a headshot AND a portrait. So headshots and business portraits are really interchangeable in many ways. 

That’s the gist of it all, though I think that if you want your corporate business headshot to be a three quarter length portrait, as shown on this page, then why not break the rules a little? As long as it is an accurate representation of who you are.

A good portrait photographer will be able to advise you, and coach you through a session that will result in great images that you can make your final selection from.

Portrait session details.

Portrait sessions are a bit more in depth, and can take from one to two hours on average. Whereas a standard headshot session is for the most part, though not always, aimed at producing a single digital image, a portrait session often involves different outfits and looks, hair and make up if applicable, and a selection of final portraits.

Some clients want to hang a large wall portrait, others want smaller framed photographs, and sometimes a small album is the goal. There are of course many options available for you final portraits.

Prior to your session, it’s always best to have some discussion about outfits, colors, accessories, what your goal is, among other things.

In person, email or phone consultations to discuss the details of your portrait shoot are complimentary.  We are happy to advise in order to create a smooth experience for you on the day.


I hate having my photograph taken.

Virtually everyone feels self conscious about having their photograph taken, unless you happen to be a professional model or actor.  Nobody has ever walked in front of my camera and said “I love having my photograph taken, let’s do this!”

The reality is that we all have features that we feel less than comfortable about, perhaps we think our nose is to large, or too sharp, or our arms are too big. Whatever it is, the job of great portrait photographers is making the strong features shine, while diminishing any features you don’t relish.

A profile (side on shot) of someone who feels that they have a large nose would not be a good plan for example. That would be a feature that should be minimized, not highlighted. Without getting too deeply into the technicalities of it all, a longer lens will compress perspective, and make larger features appear smaller. Professional lenses really do make a difference when properly used.

Then there is angles. The angle that a person is photographed from can make a considerable difference to the shot. Straight on, slightly from above, it all contributes to the desired affect.

Lastly, at the heart of any great professional portrait is solid portrait photography lighting. It truly does make a massive difference. Professional portrait photographers know how to sculpt with light.

So if you would like to have a beautiful portrait taken, but have personal reservations, please get in touch and let’s discuss what they are, and what we can do to make you happy.  Creating stunning portraits of you or a loved one is what professional portrait photographers do.

How long will the photo session take?

That’s a great question. The answer is actually very varied. Typically, I would expect a session to be around 45 minutes to an hour, unless a client asks for it to be shorter. The portrait studio is a comfortable environment, so there really isn’t any rush.

However, if there a desire to keep going, and everyone is happy to continue, then who knows how long it could be. At the end of the day, if we go past the 1 hour mark it’s likely we are having a blast! And that’s fine.

What about hair and make up?

There is absolutely no doubt – hair and make up can transform a good session into a great one.

It’s not just for the girls either, we males can benefit greatly from getting our hair tidied up. But a word of warning – never get a new haircut right before a shoot. It will look like a fresh cut, and it’s very likely that you will dislike the results. Allow at least a few days for your new haircut to settle down.

As fas as make up goes, it’s capable of all sorts of fantastic enhancements. Bringing focus to your eyes, smoothing out skin, enhancing lips and cheekbones, and so much more.

You can have your hair and make up done before you come to your session, or, we can arrange someone for you. It’s well worth the effort and the investment.

I feel uncomfortable being the center of attention.

I received an email today from a girl that was photographed two days ago with her boyfriend. She wrote:

“Thank you for the beautiful pictures, and most importantly, for making us feel so comfortable!” 

It’s absolutely critical that you feel comfortable, and are at ease. That’s a skill that all portrait photographers should have, the ability to relax people. So though you will be the center of attention, you will be having so much fun you wont even notice. A portrait session should always be fun.

What should I bring with me?

Everything! Well, not quite everything, but bring a lot! You are coming to a portrait studio, bring whatever you like.

Seriously, you won’t be judged for dragging in three suitcases stuffed with clothes and accessories, because not everything is going to make the cut.  The number one rule is this – bring what you feel good in. That outfit that makes you feel like a million dollars – bring that. The outfit that you always keep having to adjust, and you are not entirely comfortable wearing it – that can stay home.

There are a couple of side notes. Firstly, avoid patterns. There are some small patterns that will throw up a weird effect in an image (moiré). Secondly, there are others like plaid that will compete with you in the image. Plain colors are best, and not too vivid if possible. That shocking pink shirt will be all that a viewer sees, and the only time that is fine is if that’s the effect you are going for. So muted colors work well.

Also, make sure that clothes are well pressed. Hanging your items is better than folding. A heavily creased piece of clothing wont look good in your images. However, if you need to use an iron when you get here, you can.

Accessories can really make an image too, so again, bring all you want. Just like clothing, simple is often best. There are many options though, including hats, scarves, necklaces and all manner of things. If it’s a guitar that people always see you with – bring that too

Do I Get To Choose My Images?

Yes. The images from a session are edited down to what are described as “keepers”, images that make the grade.

If you blinked in an image, or were captured not at your best, that isn’t something you need to see.

This is where the experience of the photographer is important, in making the basic choices for you.

From the final set, you then make your choices. 

Why Portrait Photography Is Important.

Portrait photographers, good ones, are important to have around. They can create stunning images that can be hung on your walls, or perhaps framed as a small desk portrait. They record what’s most precious to you – your family.

Whether you want traditional portraits, or something with a more contemporary style of photography, your chosen portrait photographer is there to produce beautiful, professional photographs of you and your family.


The Most Important Thing Is Capturing The Images.

I’m old enough to remember those times where we were sitting around as a family, browsing the boxes of family photos. We laughed a lot at how people had changed, it really was a fun time. And the photographs were priceless then, even more so now.

Digital storage has taken a lot of that away, however, people I think are turning more to printed work again. Most of us have felt the pain of a crashed or lost computer drive, and the chunk of our memories it takes with it.

Life does get busy, but try to take the time to capture a little bit of life as we go along. “I wish that I hadn’t had that beautiful portrait taken” is NOT something that I have ever heard before.

Perhaps you would like a portrait studio session, or an outdoor location environment. No problem, and if you are unsure,  have a chat with us and we can discuss the differences. There are benefits and drawbacks to both.


Regular Portrait Studio Sessions

Your photographer is someone that you should have regular contact with, at least once a year. Our children grow and an astonishing rate, and before we know it, we are planning their wedding! Let’s make sure all of the stages of their lives are captured, beautifully.

Take time today to book your professional portrait session.  You will love the beautiful photographs that come out of it, and you will even have fun in the process!


More About Style.

The images on this page are there to display some different styles.

There is a traditional, formal portrait style, as well as a casual outdoor shot. Have a close look – there are also images that have been digitally overpainted, to give the finished print a “painterly” look. When printed on to canvas, the end result is stunning

There’s a photographic style to suit a variety of tastes, please call and have a chat if you are unsure about what you would prefer, and would like some guidance.


What Makes The Best Portrait Photographers?

The best local family portrait photographers are hard to define. Photography after all, like all art, is subjective. Where one photographer may be considered the best by one person, another may not like them at all.

So in looking for the best portrait photographers, look only for what’s best for you. Who do you like? Does their style fit with your taste. And then there is the question of personality.

A lady called a few days ago to discuss a session, and it would involve a two year old boy. An active two year old boy! She had already spoken with two other studios, and discounted them. Why? Because they displayed an aloof attitude. The interpretation was, if this person is aloof with me on the phone, how on earth will they be able to get on the same level as a two year old? This is critical – to be able to get the attention of a child, like those on this page, there needs to be a little craziness. So it’s not always about the best technical photographer, is often about the photographer that can draw out an expression. A natural expression.


The Perfect Studio Portrait?

A good, solid photographer will employ many skills, much more than just photography. Of course great photography is a must, but as I just mentioned, it’s getting the expression from a person that makes people look at an image and exclaim, “that is so them, perfect!”

Pulling out genuine expressions from someone is a skill in itself, and one thing is for sure – it requires some personality to do it. I’m sure you can’t imagine someone with a dull personality making you, or your children, sparkle in an image? Neither can I.

Spend just a little time chatting to your photographer, even on the phone, before arranging a session. They will either be someone that you can’t wait to get off the phone with (don’t book them!!!) or you will enjoy the chat. And that’s a good sign.

You can fill out an enquiry form at this link.