Oh the elusive skill of portrait photography.

I like to consider myself a decent photographer most of the time. That is until I stumble upon an image so striking that captures not only personality but a storyline all in one glance.

one of annie liebovitzs amazing shots. her book is full of these.

There are loads of skills Im constantly trying to improve while snapping away but non so elusive as capturing people in a beautiful and meaningful way. There is something intangible about that ability and since I have an uncooperative cat and no children, I am serious bereft of practice subjects.

Anyone have some success with this want to share some tips for capturing a good (even if not great) shot?


  1. Bringingprettyback2:40 PM

    It's funny, that photo is so very beautiful... yet , it feels so lonely to me.
    Oh my! I have a cheap 100 dollar camera that I can zoom in and out. I don't even know if it does more than that. Although , I doubt it does any more. I would love to learn to take even a decent photo. My family has decided I am the worlds worst photographer in the world. And I agree. So, I have NO tips for you. But I admire those of you that do have the gift of photography.
    Have a pretty day!

  2. I am no professional, not even close, but I did just recently do a family photo shoot for a friend.  Just yesterday I posted on my blog tips about what learned.  Some are quite obvious, but still may be helpful to some. Here is the link:

  3. MrsLimestone3:14 PM

    Very lonely but I think that's the point. She lives a lush but secluded life, always wary of the public eye. Sad.

  4. Jill Stigs4:12 PM

    Check out Katie Bower's blog!



  5. I've found that a great way to capture emotional and great shots, regardless of your camera or expertise is to catch people watching OTHER people.  Whether it's parents watching their children, a husband watching his wife, even the expressions on locals faces as they observe tourists, it's an easy way to capture all kinds of candid expressions!  Good luck!

  6. MrsLimestone6:53 PM

    Great suggestion! Never thought of that.

  7. ILP (http://ilovephotography.com/forums/index.php) is a great resource to read about portrait photography, and the JSO side is free which is good.  It is geared towards child photography but there are amazing photographers of all kinds on there. 

    I think one of the hardest things, but the most important is to strive to tell a story with a photo, which is exactly what the example you posted does.  You have to tell the story with just enough stuff to make it work, but not so much that it gets "busy". 

    Portrait photography is SO not my thing at all!  But I do really admire people who do it well.  Do you want some inspiration blogs as well or just tips? 

  8. MrsLimestone7:41 PM

    Thanks. I'm open to both. I really enjoy reading what skilled photographers have to say on the topic.

  9. Lavenderandlilies9:28 PM

     I think that photo is gorgeous in the composition.  Annie L is fabulous at that.  I wish I knew how to do that as well. 

  10.  I love photography and used to really work at it but life with 3 kiddos is BUSY  and I am taking their photos all the time so now I get no cooperation and cheesy faces.  But I love Leah's suggestion.  It is not something that can always be done (like when you need a Christmas card photo of your child) but a GREAT suggestion.  My daughter's b-day party is this weekend and my Mom willl be here so I am going to try to capture her taking it all in:)

  11. doris6:19 PM

    Annie Liebovitzs does a ton of planning for her portraits. Typically for a commissioned portraiture, her assistants will have to have the set built days in advance (in this case I guess they just used one of Queen Lizzie's digs... ah the perks of being royal.) Just to test the lighting alone, I've read that she will spend tens of thousands of dollars in test shoots to get the right exposure (she uses film still.) This is not to say that she isn't a good photographer, but I just want to point out that to take that kind of photos take a lot of time, money, and assistance from other people.

  12. MrsLimestone7:46 PM

    Oh I can appreciate that. I don't actually expect to ever be able to
    recreate something like this. I was just using it as a good example of the way
    the image tells a story. There are countless examples that are less
    elaborate - this was just the one that jumped out at me first.

    In a message dated 5/21/2011 6:19:11 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time,


  13. Laura Fenton9:15 AM

    Actually, if you want to know about that portrait of the Queen, Annie Lebowitz talks about it in an amazing amount of detail in her book At Work. In fact, the book's a great read all-around.

  14. MrsLimestone9:28 AM

    Yes agreed. I was totally engrossed in one of books when I found it at a hotel library.


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