The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography – A Review

Where Was This Book When I Was Starting Out?

I have a confession. I originally ordered this e-book to figure out how I might want to format my own e-book about photography. Then I received it and thought ‘well why bother now?’ Because every single thing that can be thought of and covered about the topic of portrait photography, HAS been thought of and covered in this jewel of perfection. This is a seriously good book covering all the basics of portrait photography. It is the kind of book I would have hunkered down with all those decades years ago and DEVOURED. Over and over. It is essentially a slice of the ‘best of’ ProBlogger’s digital photography school website.

The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography

I know I just said this was a book about the basics of portrait photography. However, it is in no way a ‘basic’ book. It is, in a word, beautiful. Let’s face it, if you’re the kind of person who reads this type of material, you’re a photography fanatic. You live, breathe and sometimes drool imagery, and The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography does not disappoint in this area. I have no idea what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this sumptuous, visual feast of an e-book. Here is an example of one of the interior pages:

Essential Guide to Portrait Photography 1

But this tome is not just another pretty face either. The information offered in this book is top notch and comprehensive. Just listing some of the chapter titles will give you an idea of the wide array of portrait photography topics covered:

  • 20 Ways to Take Stunning Portraits
  • How to Bypass the Portrait Mode on Your Digital Camera and Get Great Portraits
  • 4 Quick tips for Portraits
  • Photographing Children – Composition
  • Is Portrait Formatting Always Best for Portraits?
  • Add Interest and Movement into Your Shots with Wind
  • How to Photograph People When Traveling
  • Asking Permission to Photograph People
  • How to Take Environmental Portraits
  • What the Mona Lisa can Teach you About Taking Great Portraits
  • A Posing Technique From a Girl With a Pearl Earring
  • A Fresh Look at Depth of Field
  • Portrait Photography’s Power Posing Parts I & II
  • Where is Your Subject Looking and Why Does it Matter?
  • “Does My Butt Look Big in This?” – What Clothes to Wear in Portraits
  • 11 Tips for Better Candid Photography
  • Self-Portrait Photography Tips
  • 12 Tips for Taking Great Group Photos
  • Shooting Portraits Like a Pro on a Budget
  • 13 Tips for Improving Outdoor Portraits
  • Introduction to Portrait Lighting


And if that wasn’t enough, there is a bonus interview section at the back of the book with 5 serious heavy hitters in the industry – David Duchemin, Neil Creek, Jack Hollingsworth, Kris Krug, Chase Jarvis and Bert Stephani. These busy and successful working pros sat down and gave some very interesting thoughts, ideas, tips and philosophies. Well worth the read.


Covers a vast amount of information and presents it in an easy to read and understand format. The Essential Guide to Portrait Photography is a great book for beginners/intermediates and a really good ‘reminder’ for the advanced amateur or pro.


Not many. It doesn’t go into extreme depth on any one area, but certainly makes up for that in its breadth.

Would you like to read more? Then check out these articles:

How to Photograph Large Groups in the Studio

High Key Portrait Lighting Tutorial

Low Key Portrait Lighting Tutorial

Depth of Field – Photography Tutorial

Photographing Babies, Birth to One Year – Tips and Techniques

Photographing Young Children with Low-Key Lighting – Tutorial

Studio Lighting for Headshots – Tutorial

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