Portraiture Approaches. There are essentially four approaches in photographic portraiture: constructionist, environmental, candid and creative. Each approach has been used over time for different reasons be they technical, artistic or cultural. The constructionist approach is when the photographer in their portraiture constructs an idea around the portrait — happy family, romantic couple, trustworthy executive.
Environmental Photography depicts the subject in their environment be that a work, leisure, social or family one. They are often shown as doing something, a teacher in a classroom, an artist in a studio, a child in a playground.
It is the approach used in most studio and social photography. It is also used extensively in advertising and marketing when an idea has to be put across. This revealed about the subject. Environmental pictures can have good historical and social significance as primary sources of information.
Candid Photography is where people are photographed without their knowledge going about their daily business. Whilst this approach taken by the paparazzi is criticized and frowned upon for obvious reasons, less invasive and exploitative candid photography has given the world superb and important images of people in various situations and places over the last century.
As with environmental photography, candid photography is important as a historical source of information about people. The Creative Approach is where digital manipulation is brought to bear to produce wonderful pictures of people. It is becoming a major form of portraiture as these techniques become more widely understood and used.