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Famous Portrait Photographers of All Time

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Below is a list of the most famous portrait photographers from around the world. Each photographer in this list is well known for producing a collection of masterpieces in portrait photography.

Many photographers are fascinated by portrait photography because it is a great chance to display a multitude of personalities, expressions and moods within a subject. By nature humans are most drawn to portrait photos. It’s amazing how even the slightness change of expression can offer and endless amount of different types of portrait images.

The photographers that have been chosen to be on this list are well known for being masters at their art. Each photographer is amazing at combining the personalities of their subjects with unique texture, composition and lighting techniques that results in gorgeous portrait photos.

If you want to learn how to capture amazing portraits we recommend you study the work of these famous portrait photographers. Each of their individual styles and techniques offer unlimited inspiration.

Top 10 Famous Portrait Photographers

yousuf karsh famous portrait photographers

1. Yousuf Karsh

Yousuf Karsh is one of the masters of 20th century photography. His body of work includes portraits of statesmen, artists, musicians, authors, scientists, and men and women of accomplishment.

eve arnold

2. Eve Arnold

Eve Arnold photographed many of the iconic figures who shaped the second half of the twentieth century. Most well known for her photos of Marilyn Monroe.

edouard boubat

3. Edouard Boubat

Edouard Boubat is often described as a humanist photographer. He was a master at capturing both beauty and dignity within his subjects.

philippe halsman

4. Philippe Halsman

Philippe Halsman took amazing portraits of politicians, celebrities and intellectuals during the 1940s-70s. Many of his photographs appeared in magazines such as Look, Esquire, Life, Parish Match and more.

cecil beaton

5. Cecil Beaton

Sir Cecil Beaton was an English fashion photographer. In the 1920s, he worked for Vanity Fair and Vogue, where he developed a unique style of posing sitters with unusual backgrounds.

irving penn

6. Irving Penn

Irving Pen was an American photographer most known for his fashion photography, portraits, and still life photos.

antonin kratochvil

7. Antonin Kratochvil

Antonin Kratochvil was a photojournalist and that founded the VII Photo Agency. He received numerous awards and grants for his photography work.

mary-ellen mark

8. Mary-Ellen Mark

Mary-Ellen Mark has traveled extensively to make pictures that reflect a high degree of humanism for over four decades. Through her photography she has helped raise awareness for the homeless, drug addicts, prostitutes, and more.

annie leibovitz

9. Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz has photographed musicians, actors, and writers since the early 1970s. Most well known for her images in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair and Life magazine.

steve mccurry

10. Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry is a master at capturing the essence of human struggle and joy. Many of his images have become modern icons, including his famous portrait of, “Afghan Girl”, which became a symbol of the trauma suffered by the Afghan people during the Soviet invasion.

Who Are Your Favorite Famous Portrait Photographers?

Do you have a favorite famous portrait photographer that did not make it on our list? Leave a comment below telling us your favorite below!

5 Comments

  1. Roger Maillette

    April 28, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Douglas Kirkland

  2. Photographer Durango CO

    April 29, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    Not sure if he’s technically a portrait artist, but my favorite photographer (and he did photograph lots of people) is Henri Cartier-Bresson.

  3. Seth

    April 30, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Arnold Newman and Richard Avedon needs to be on any top 10 portrait list.

  4. H. William Lewis

    May 10, 2012 at 2:19 am

    How could you not include George Hurrell!

  5. Famous Photographers

    July 20, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    Lisette Model is my favorite portrait photographer. She has this very unique style of photography wherein her common subjects are sympathetic portraits of the blind and homeless.

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