Portrait photography is a great passion of mine. Ever since flicking through the photography books of great portrait photographers such as Richard Avedon, Irving Penn, Gordon Parks, and Arnold Newman, I have appreciated the skill it takes to capture another through the lens. This inspired me to forge a career by doing the same.
Every photographer is different in their approach, and I have learned to appreciate that this is not always aligned with my own – which is a great thing!
As social media has become a larger part of my job, I am always on the lookout for great portrait photographers to follow for inspiration, and I have compiled a list of 10 that do just that in the hopes it may do the same for you. The majority of these photographers are not solely 'portrait photographers', they may be documentary or fashion-focused, but capturing people is a large part of their practice.
The list below is comprised of photographers at various stages of their careers, some high profile and some in the process of blazing their path, but all are extremely talented.
Stephan Vanfleteren is a photographer whom I have followed for many years and who produces incredible portraits. His social media features a wide range of portrait subjects, some well-known faces and some unknown, but you are unable to tell the difference as they are all captured with the same character.
His latest book Altelier, features 12 years of work captured in his home studio and is a masterclass in studio portrait work - I highly recommend it!
Camila Falquez is a US-based artist. The use of bold punchy painted colors has seen her work grace the covers of many renowned publications and she has developed a unique and recognizable style.
Carmuega's work blends fashion and portraiture, with the same characteristic style. His work photographing gauchos in Argentina is an exquisite body of work that has been recently published into a book titled Doma.
Pie Aerts a.k.a @because.people.matter on Instagram, travels the world capturing portraits of native people. His approach and execution enable authentic portraits of authentic people and provide a glimpse into their world. He also integrates moving portraits, which offer another dimension to his already exceptional work.
Roman Jehanno is a master of the environmental portrait, providing the viewer with a lot of information in each image. By combining natural and artificial light seamlessly, he has developed a signature style throughout his work.
UK-based Karina Barberis is establishing herself as a portrait photographer who captures beautiful portraits on film. Whether photographs of her family or strangers, she can capture incredibly intimate portraits that connect with the viewer.
Laura Pannack has an amazing ability to capture representational narratives with her portraiture, which is evident in her recent photography book - Youth Without Age and Life Without Death.
Max Miechowski photographs portraits with a documentarian approach, photographing people to enhance the story. His recent book Land Loss, follows the artist’s deep interest in the British landscape, exploring themes of time, community, and resilience, capturing its people within the land.
Szilveszter Makó creates stunning painterly studio portraits that are both high concept and unique. When this is paired with fantastic subjects like his recent shoot with actor Willem Defoe, it's magic!
Dan Winters is a photographer whom I have admired for a long time and is one of the most recognized portrait photographers working today. Often capturing some of the world's most famous faces, his location and studio work seamlessly intertwine due to his masterful lighting skills. The use of tone, design, and connection with the subject is a tour de force - a true master at the craft!
So here is my list of 10! There are many more that would have made an even linger list, but I feel these picks offer something for everyone and I hope that at least one can inspire you as they do me.