Portrait Photography

Portrait Photography courses available through ACS Distance education.

here for more information about these courses, or click here to enrol.

When we think of photographing people, we automatically think of taking a portrait; but not all people photography is portraiture".A portrait is (according to one dictionary definition), "a painting, drawing or photograph of a person, often only the face or a description

A photographic portrait focuses on the person and attempts to convey an image of what or who the person is, whether physically, or perhaps spiritually or emotionally.

Whereas a portrait is usually of one or perhaps occasionally a small number of people (eg. a family portrait), people can be photographed in other ways, where the focus of attention might not be so strongly on who the person is (or persons are), for example:

  • A nude photograph which shows just part of the body (Here your attention is on shape and form, line and perhaps texture. The body is of interest because of its photogenic shape, rather than because it is a person with a unique character)
  • A crowd scene may have more in common with a landscape than a portrait.
  • The inclusion of people in a street scene (or any other type of scene), may utilise people as simply components which together with other components such as buildings, plants or animals, etc; contributes to create the overall image (eg. consider a farm scene with a farmer driving a tractor beside an interesting barn, while a group of animals look on. The farmer need not be the main focus of the photograph, but he will contribute along with the other components, to the overall image which is created.
  • Basic principles of any artistic composition, involves things that influence the way in which the components are used
  • In a landscape the components are such things as ground form, structures and plants.
  • Inside a building, the components are the walls, floor, ceiling, furniture, doors, perhaps the people in the room etc.
  • When photographing people, the components are the background (sky, wall, tree etc), the foreground, the person, their clothing, anything they might be holding etc.


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Photographing People Course - Available through ACS Distance Education


This course is designed for persons who already have some experience with photography; to help them develop their ability to take better photographs of people.
Duration  100 hours
(study at your own pace, on average taking 4-6 months part time)
To take better photographs of people
There are ten lessons as follows:
1.Introduction to Photography and Human Subjects
2.Equipment and Materials for Photographing People
3.Basic Techniques
4. Portraiture
5.Wedding Photography
6.Candid Photography
7.Nude Photography
8.Sports, Street & Action Photography
9.Fashion Photography
10. Folio Project
Amongst other things, you will do all of the following:
-Consider your needs for accuracy, speed, graininess, sharpness and colour
richness etc. in film for taking different types of people photos.
-What type of camera and setting would you suggest most appropriate for each of the
following situations:
a/ A wedding reception, indoors, in a restaurant.
b/ Family shots at a family picnic, (with aunts, uncles, grandparents,
parents & children etc) in a national park.
c/ Photographs of your spouse (or boyfriend or girlfriend) taken
at the beach, mid morning in summer.
d/ Portraits of a pretty girl standing in front of a city building at
-How does the positioning and lighting of the eyes affect a portrait?
-Choose two different people who you know, and who are of very different ages and personalities, and describe each.
-Explain how you would plan to take a portrait photo of each of these people, with the
aim of creating a unique image that reflects their personality.
-Explain the equipment, film, location, lighting and technique you would use for
each, and how these things would all come together to create the image you plan for.