What’s specifically is a portrait?
Let’s start by defining what a portrait is. According to Wikipedia, "Portrait photography or portraiture in photography is a photograph of a person or group of people that captures the personality of the subject by using effective lighting, backdrops, and poses. A portrait picture might be artistic, or it might be clinical, as part of a medical study. Frequently, portraits are commissioned for special occasions, such as weddings or school events. Portraits can serve many purposes, from usage on a personal Web site to display in the lobby of a business."
Based on the Wikipedia definition, portrait photography is not only for a private residence or personal in nature. However, we see portraits every day on magazines at the grocery checkout. Covers of most magazines such as W, Woman’s Fitness, Latina, GQ, Alive, Malibu, etc. are portrait images of celebrities. In most cases, the story images of a celebrity were set up to be a form of portraits on location.
As a commercial portrait and celebrity photographer, I have been asked to creatively produce a session of celebrity and non-celebrities. These include distinctive portrait ideas and props, to full creative license, to trying to create an “iconic” image for each celebrity. Portraits can be so much fun due to the nature of having time to create and creating an ambiance for the client to simply enjoy a moment of time. Not to mention that these types of images usually survive for decades. I and other celebrity photographers have seen our images repurposed numerous times in different publications. Recently, I have posted on Instagram images of a couple of celebrities from well over 5 years ago that had gone unseen but were beautiful and expressive in personality.
Portraits have been around for centuries. Some of the most famous painters of the Renaissance era painted self-portraits and portraits of the elite of the time. Today the most common tools used is digital photography, however, the creation process for the artist/photographer is very similar.