A Brief Explanation of Why Someone Should Have Portraits Done

December 31, 2022

A brief explanation of why someone should have portraits done.


If you are going to do portraits of your loved ones, you should also have them done. But this is not always the case. Some people may be hesitant or afraid to go through with it, due to time constraints or fear of a family member’s reaction, but regardless of the reason, having portraits done can make a world of difference in a relationship. As a portrait and headshot photographer in the Fayetteville area I can a-test to the reluctancy to getting portraits done.


In a recent follow-up post on my blog I wrote that I was surprised by how many people had no idea what they were talking about when they asked me what I thought portrait photography was good for. I think it boils down to something very basic: people don’t know what it is that makes a great portrait. And that means that there isn’t one specific thing that makes one great portrait (or even just a good one). It really comes down to understanding human psychology and getting into the mind/emotions of the person you’re photographing (the camera will not do that for you; you need to make yourself emotionally available for your subject).


If you want to make sure your portraits are excellent, here are some things you need to do:

  • Recognize the importance of emotion in any photograph
  • Recognize that being too technical with your subject is not going to give them an authentic experience
  • Rigorously test and validate every aspect of your portrait technique before putting it into practice on anyone other than yourself (only use yourself as an example)


The above is just one way of doing it. Other methods include: 

  • Photobombing others' photos.
  • Hacking photos where there are gaps in their hair/faces/clothes etc.
  • Where there aren't any faces or eyes at all (but only if they're the first face/eyes etc.) 
  • Using lighting effects at odd angles 
  • Getting close enough so as not to get too close but far enough away so as not to miss anything crucial.
  • More specific approaches such as "I am willing to pierce this object's skin with my camera" because if he does not feel comfortable having someone else's camera poking him in his bare skin then he wouldn't want me taking his photo either!


In short: any photograph will be better than none at all if it accurately portrays its subject's emotions—and this is why portraits are such an important part of documenting life—they allow us insight into who we are and how we feel from day-to-day


The value of portraits: Portraits capture a moment in time that can be treasured forever.

It is a common myth that portraits of a loved one mean little more than a photograph. While that may be true to some degree, the value of having photographs of an important figure in your life should not be underestimated. You can use them as mementos, as reminders of the person who was important to you, or even as travel aids (if you know where they are). In fact, it’s widely believed that many people will go to great lengths to have photographs taken of their loved ones and keep those photos.


The emotion in portraits: Portraits can capture the raw emotion of a moment, something that cannot be replicated with words alone.

In the world of photography, there are several schools of thought. The first is that you should always take portraits. The second is that you should only take portraits when necessary — but it’s important to note that these two schools of thought are actually quite different, and can end up with different results:


Most photographers will tell you they take pictures of people in order to capture their emotions and motions. I think this is a very good idea, and I don’t feel like I have any right to say otherwise (I am just an amateur photographer). But I do think that this is a very limited definition of what portrait photography is.


The truth is, we aren’t taking pictures of people in order to capture their emotions or motions; we are taking pictures in order to capture their faces. And while words are a good thing for capturing emotion, it’s far from the only way we can communicate emotion:

  • We also need to be able to convey information quickly and clearly.
  • We want our products/services to be understood by customers (when they are done correctly)


If you want your company values (or other design principles) to be communicated well enough for people who don’t know what you do well inside-out, then there are two things you need to do: 

  1. define your core values clearly enough so that employees understand them intuitively and 
  2. show them how those values translate into actions on the job. 


For example: "Don't be afraid of going out on a limb" ≠ "Don't go out on a limb." So if someone asks me why we have maroon shirts at work, I can say something like: "When our last shirt arrived with its label ripped off, we couldn't help ourselves — we decided that the colors maroon and tan were just too perfect for the work environment." And if somebody then tells me they want maroon shirts because they're comfortable at work and they look good (and their boss wants them in maroon), I might say something like: "Good afternoon! We would love it if you came in today wearing your new shirt!" At which point I'd ask them what color shirt fits best with the office colors (since most likely it's more than one.) This simple question allows me to get into details about how each shirt should fit with each person's personal style — all without having them leave my office without their favorite color.


The connection in portraits: Portraits can help to connect us with our loved ones, even long after they are gone.

I have a friend who is a photographer and he is working with the Portrait Society of America. The catch? He doesn’t have a portfolio.


The beauty of photographing someone in the real world is that it adds to the authenticity, because we are able to capture them in a way that only they can. Being able to do this takes some technical skills, but there’s no reason you can’t do it if you put your mind to it.


Just remember: portraits are not for everyone, and having one for your friends and family is of course very nice, but don’t be afraid to let them know how important it is when you want them to pay attention to something else.


The story in portraits: Portraits can tell the story of our lives, and the lives of those we love.

There seems to be a lot of talk around what people think about portraits here at MacRumors. This post is an attempt to answer that question.


The post is written for a more general audience than the typical Mac Rumors reader and does not address every possible scenario of who, why and why not to have portrait in your product’s app. It was written with a focus on the story that an app can tell about its user and the user’s relationship with the app and the world around them.


I wrote this post as part of my ongoing series on Product stories, which I do for others as well (see Twitter feed for all my pieces). I hope you find some value in these stories, especially if you work in UX or UX-related fields (or even if you run a company of any kind).

So let’s get right down to it: defining our product stories:

  • What are we trying to accomplish? Why are we trying it? And how should we approach it? The most important question here is ‘why us?’ Why do users want our app and what will make them want to continue using it? If this is not answered, there may be no story worth telling.
  • Where are we located? What sort of people use our product? What sort of budgets do they have? Where do they live and work? How much time do they spend with their devices and apps throughout the day, week or month? How often are they updating their accounts or replacing their devices? How are they spending their money on apps — through subscriptions or ad-supported or in-app purchases, etc.? What sort of social/mobile habits are involved (e.g., how many notifications come across their screen while they're watching TV; how many minutes per day they spend on social media; how many hours per day they spend on gaming)?
  • Who's involved in developing our product — team members, developers, designers/artists/etc.? What skillsets do we need for this application (e.g., UX design) and what kinds of skillsets does Apple need for making compelling apps like ours successful ? How well equipped are we with solutions such as music recognition software (it's easier than you think)? How much money does Apple need behind iOS 8 music recognition ? Does iPhone maker even know how much users actually pay for music services like iTunes Radio ?


The legacy in portraits: Portraits can be passed down from generation to generation, becoming a part of our family history.

Portraits have been around since the early ages, and their presence in our lives can be traced back to the Bible. The Bible is a collection of books written during the 10th century BC by several authors. They contain the story of creation, with Adam and Eve being expelled from the Garden of Eden by God.


The book tells us that Adam and Eve were made out of clay, but had a choice – to become as gods or suffer death (killed). Since then, portraits have been used to show people’s faces and keep in contact with family members.


Although there are many different types of portraits, some traditions are still maintained today. Some examples are:

  • Portraits: A portrait is an image that shows a human face without clothes.
  • Images: Images include photos, paintings and drawings (called hand-made art).
  • Poster: A poster is an image that isn’t usually meant for personal use but instead for public display.


This tradition is like how some countries show their flags on TV (even if it’s just a live shot). It would be impossible for anyone to keep track of all those portraits from each country, so people make up their own traditions based on what they feel comfortable with. I personally find this interesting as I grew up completely ignorant about how other people do things around me – I was raised in an Asian family where we didn’t have a TV or internet at home, so we made up our own traditions based on what we felt comfortable with (such as “I hate communism”). Or perhaps this is just simply my own view?


In any case, whatever you do, don’t try to compete with another culture; stick with your own traditions! And if you want to share your stories with other people in the world via photography or painting – go ahead! But don't forget that your photographs will only connect you with very limited amount of people at any given time; as such it's really important not to lose sight of who you are at all times (in other words, embrace yourself!).


A final thoughts on why someone should have portraits done.

I’m a photographer in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and have been for many years. A few years ago I received a call from a customer who wanted to have portraits made of her daughter, his wife, and their son. It was a request that had been coming in regularly since they moved to the area. Now that they had made the move up North, he needed them completed quickly.


I did the photos in about 2 hours. I was quite surprised by the quality of the photographs: not only were they beautiful, but it showed how much thought and care had gone into choosing what would be done with those portraits. The pictures were done for a very reasonable price and we were able to schedule them very quickly so that someone could enjoy them as soon as possible (which is always my goal for customers). I think these photos will be appreciated by all who see them — especially those who are looking for something special.



Thanks,

- Darin

d2lifephotography.com / fayettevilleheadshots.com / fayetteville-photographer.com

Professional photographers in the Fayetteville, NC area specializing in Headshots, Portraits, Real Estate, Art, Black and White, Social Media and photo editing.

Serving the following areas in North Carolina: Fayetteville, Fort Bragg, Spring Lake, Sanford, Hope Mills, Raeford, Lillington, Lumberton, Dunn, Southern Pines, Sanford, Pinehurst, Southern Pines, Raleigh, Fuquay-Varina, Laurinburg, Eastover, Vander, Anderson Creek, Wilmington, NC - and all points in between.