Top 10 Portrait Photographers You should Know

best portrait photographers of the world

Dream big learn and get inspired with them

Portrait photographers will tell you what’s going in your mind. They know how to capture the essence of your personality. They are experienced with when and how to capture the feelings of the subject.

They portray the emotions of the subject in their photographers. So many photographers have made an impact on this field. But here in this article, we have chosen the 10 photographers only.

These 10 are not the only best one in the world. But the selection has been made with deep research and study. To provide the source of inspiration and learning. Following these people will help you to put your step into the forward direction.

This blog post is for all the photographers who want to learn and excel in life with their cameras. 

Let’s dive in

Top 10 Portrait Photographer to get inspiration

  1. Steve McCurry
  2. Joe McNally
  3. Martin Schoeller
  4. Jimmy Nelson
  5. Eric Lafforgue
  6. Lisa Kristine
  7. Phil Borges
  8. Annie Leibovitz
  9. Rehahn
  10. Lee Jeffries

Steve McCurry

Steve McCurry is a portrait photographer based in the USA. The iconic person is famous for his contemporary photography. He has more than 30 years of experience in this field. 

© Steve Mccurry

His work has been published in many magazines, books, and other publications. Also with countless exhibitions around the world.

After finishing his studies in films from Pennsylvania university. He has worked as a freelancer for several years. During that phase, he has visited India to cover a story and from then he has been there countless times.

© Steve Mccurry

Making his way to another subcontinental, with his camera, exploring the country. Traveled there with a few clothes, bags and rolls of film. Yes, he is so passionate and curious about his work.

He Says:

“ Each picture stands of its own, with its place and feeling”

Steve Mccurry Books and Publications

  • Animals
  • Steve McCurry: A Life in pictures
  • Afghanistan
  • McCurry, NY11 September 2011
  • On reading
  • India
  • From These Hands: A Journey Along the coffee trail
  • The stories behind the photographs
  • The iconic photographs
  • The unguided moment
  • In the Shadow of mountains
  • Looking east
  • The path of buddha
  • Sanctuary
  • South Southeast
  • Portraits
  • Monsoon
  • The Imperial way

You will be surprised when you will go through his gallery. I bet you will hover over many pictures that will be familiar to you. As you must have seen in social media, magazines, or some other place.

Joe Mcnally 

Joe Mcnally is one of the internationally renowned portrait photographer. The award-winning photographer has traveled to more than 70 countries for his assignments.

Joe Macnally portrait Photography
© Joe Mcnally

He is a Nikon ambassador and also contributed to national geographic magazines.

He is popular worldwide as a top photographer of his time with his technical knowledge. Apart from that, he was well known for his charming nature, confidence, and humor. That’s the reason for many CEO’s, celebrities and magazine clients to select him as a priority.

© Joe Mcnally

He has worked for many high-level clients and his work has also got published in many cover magazines around the world.

Joe Mcnally client list

  • General Electric
  • Epson
  • Land’s End
  • Adidas
  • ESPN
  • Sony
  • FedEx
  • Metlife
  • USAA
  • New York Stock Exchange
  • Lehman Brothers
  • PNC Bank
  • Beijing Cultural Commission
  • And many more

Joe Mcnally Awards and Achievements

  • The Panorama of war – Alfred Eisenstaedt Award for Journalistic Impact for a LIFE coverage
  • The world press photo foundation
  • Communication arts
  • POY
  • PDN
  • American photos 
  • Graphics
  • Top 5 Most Socially Influential Photographers-Eye-Fi
  • By featuredphotog.com – Top 20 Influential Photographers

The USA based photographer stayed in Connecticut with his wife. He has a million followers on social media and is still growing. 

You can follow him to learn how he is doing and explorer in this field.

Martin Schoeller

Martin Schoeller is an Internationally acclaimed contemporary portrait photographer. This german man is known for his extra-close portraits. 

Martin Schoeller photography
© Martin Schoeller

He studied photography from Lette Verein and he moved on to New York where he started his career. 

While in Germany he was influenced by the countless portraits of the poor clicked by August Sanders

His work has covered close-up portraits of high-level personalities. Like the world leaders and indigenous groups, athletes and artists, celebrities, and the homeless capturing their real personality.

While capturing portraits on streets his works have got a lot of recognition. It’s been more than 22years now his work has been published in many publications and magazines.

He has contributed to publications such as The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, National Geographic, Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, TIME and QG, many more.

© Martin Schoeller

Schoeller’s work has appeared in major print and motion advertising campaigns from automobile, to entertainment and pharmaceutical. 

Martin Schoeller Awards

  • His work has won many awards
  • Recently Colin Kaepernick image- Nike “Just do it”
  • D&AD Black Pencil
  • Outdoor Grand Prix at Cannes

Martin Advertising clients

  • Jonnie Walker
  • HBO
  • GE
  • KIA
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Allstate
  • Chevron
  • Coca-cola
  • DreamWorks
  • AT&T
  • Mercedes

His work has been exhibited worldwide. And his solo exhibition has appeared in Europe and the United States. And also displayed permanently in the collection of the National Portrait Gallery, Washington DC.

Martin currently lives in New York USA. If you are a photographer and love to capture different faces and want to make more in life. Then you should follow him to learn and explore.

Jimmy Nelson

“If you change the way you look at people, the people you look at change. And if that change is powerful enough, it will gather momentum to affect the whole of humanity”

Such a unique paradigm this person has and is still exploring to find the unnoticed ones.

Jimmy Nelson is a famous English portrait photographer who loves to capture tribal and indigenous people.

Jimmy Nelson Photography phodus
© Jimmy Nelson

He was born in Sevenoaks, Kent England in 1967. He has spent his childhood in South America, Africa, and Asia, traveling around the world with his father. His father was a geologist at the International Shell of the British government.

At the age of 7 years old he was sent to a boarding school. At the age of 16 due to a disease Alopecia Totalis, all his hair fell off.

At the age of 17, he left his boarding school and went to Tibet for trekking and came back after 2 years with lots of images collection.

©Jimmy Nelson

His work got published in National Geographic and many other magazines.

Let’s check out his books

Jimmy Nelson Books

  • Homage to Humanity
  • Before they pass away

Jimmy Nelson captured People and places

  • Himba
  • Huli
  • Mustang
  • Tibetans
  • Wodaabe
  • Kaluli
  • Khudi Netes
  • And many more… it’s countless

If you love to explore and portraits of humans. Then you must follow him. You will get mesmerized by the level of perspective and work he has done.

Go check out his galleries and read his books. You will know the value of the unseen humans.

Eric Lafforgue

Eric Lafforgue is a France based portrait photographer who travels the world to capture the change. Since 2006 when he started publishing his pictures on the internet. He got featured in many magazines and publications.

Eric Lafforgue photography
©Eric Lafforgue

He has worked with many big companies and organizations like Lonely Planet, National Geographic, Grands Reportages, Le monde, Der Spiegel, times, and many more.

Eric approaches humanism in his pictures and the travel stories that he captures visiting different countries.
Eric is a Hans Lucas studio member. His work has been exhibited in many places and published in many magazines.

Eric Lafforgue Books

  • Ethiopie
  • Banni de Corée du Nord
  • Out Of Focus
  • Papous

Eric Lafforgue Exhibitions

  • Mount Hagen, Visa pour l’Image, Perpignan, France
  • Hands – Vacheron-Constantin, Maison du Voyage, Paris, France
  • La Fête, Bangkok, Thailand
  • Asmara: Africa’s Secret Modernist City, Royal Institute of British Architects, London, UK
  • Europe Galeria, Poland
  • Sleeping beauties, Fowler Museum, USA
  • Tribal portraits, Soho Loft, NYC, USA
  • With Their Heads Held High – Headgear from all over the World, Technisches Museum der Pforzheimer Schmuck, Germany
  • Kazakhstan, Central Asian cultural festival, Doha, Qatar

There are many more exhibitions held on his work.

Eric Lafforgue portraits and country

  • Afars Danakil
  • Akha- Laos
  • Anuak-Ethiopia
  • Bana-Ethiopia
  • Bandari-Iran
  • Bashara-Ethiopia
  • Batwa-Rwanda
  • Beja- Sudan
  • Bodi- Ethiopia
  • Borana-Ethiopia
  • Chin-Myanmar
  • Dan-Ivory coast
  • Tibetan
  • And many more

It looks like he wants to portray every individual on this planet. If you want to excel in capturing personalities of different countries and cultures. Then do follow this ongoing photographer.

Lisa Kristine

Lisa Kristine is one of the most famous portrait photographers. Also known as internationally acclaimed fine art and humanitarian photographers. 

She is a strong activist and speaker. Who has experience of 30 years of documenting the indigenous culture and social causes? She has traveled to more than 150 countries around 6 continental.

Lisa Kristine Photography
©Lisa Kristine

As a child, she was influenced by her mother’s book and National Geographic magazine.

Lisa’s work has been showcased in many exhibitions and also published in many magazines and books. She has worked on major issues of the societies to document them and spread awareness among the other people around the world. Like :

  • Environment issues
  • Human Trafficking
  • Indigenous Wisdom
  • Global Unity

Lisa Kristine Achievements and Awards

  • Lucie Humanitarian Award
  • Greatest achievements of master photographers
  • Archbishop Desmond Tutu
  • The Queen Mother of Bhutan
  • Amnesty International

Lisa Kristine Books

  • Bound to Freedom 
  • Slavery 
  • One breath
  • The Intimate Expanse
  • Amnesty International

“Few artists know how to capture the diversity and dignity of indigenous people. Lisa Kristine’s portraits exquisitely convey their silenced messages.” – Cosette Thompson,

You will love the way she captures the essence of the human spirit into her photographs. You should follow her and see how she is bringing change in the society. You can learn a lot from her work.

Phil Borges

Phil Borges has been documenting indigenous and tribal culture for over 25 years now, seeking to create an understanding of the challenge they face. He is an internationally acclaimed portrait photographer from the USA.

Phil Borges Photography
©Phil Borges

His works have been published in many magazines and books. His works have been exhibited in galleries and museums around the world. He has written award-winning books. Which has been published in four languages?

The books are Enduring Spirit, Tibetan Portrait, Tibet: Culture on the Edge, and Women Empowered.

He has also hosted tv documentaries for National Geographic and Discovery covering indigenous cultures.

Phil has graduated from the University of California. Currently, he lives in Seattle with his family.

Phil Borges Achievements and Honors

  • 1998-Photo Media Magazine “Photoperson of the Year”
  • 2003-Lucie Humanitarian Award at the 1st Annual International Photography Awards
  • 2005-Named Giraffe Hero
  • 2007-Purpose Prize winner
  • 2007-Named one of the “10 photographers that inspire us” by American Photo Magazine
  • 2012-Winner of Banff Film Festival’s Mountain Images category for Tibet: Culture on the Edge

Phil Borges Books

  • TIBETAN PORTRAIT the power of compassion
  • WOMEN EMPOWERED
  • TIBET culture on the edge
  • ENDURING SPIRIT
  • THE GIFT

He talks about social issues being the voice of them through his photographs. Do check his work and follow him to learn and grow in your life.

Annie Leibovitz

Annie Leibovitz is popular as a celebrity portrait photographer. She is based in the USA and is famous for her intimate poses and settings. 

Annie Leibovitz photography
©Annie Leibovitz

She has a great year of experience in this area. She has portraits of world-famous leaders, celebrities, sportspeople, and popular personalities. Her work has been published in many authorities and magazines like the Rolling stone.

She is the one woman who has been featured in the Washington National portraits Galleries.

Annie Leibovitz Achievements and Honors

  • 1999- ADC Hall of fame
  • 2003- The Lucie Awards
  • 2009-The Royal Photographic Society
  • 2013-Award for communications-Prince Asturias
  • 2015-Paez Medal of art VAEA
  • 2018-Honorary Doctorate of fine Arts

Annie Leibovitz Books

  • Annie Leibovitz At work
  • Photographs
  • A photographer’s life
  • Pilgrimage
  • Women
  • Olympic Portraits
  • Life in Photographs
  • Nudes
  • Images of lost human epoch
  • And more

Annie Leibovitz is one of the most famous personalities in the field of photography. If you want to know how she has made this far. Do check her profile and follow her to learn and grow more rapidly.

Réhahn 

Réhahn is a documentary-style portrait photographer who captures the soul of his subjects. He has got a unique style of photography where he combines fine art with the documentary style to portraits the people.

Rehahn Photography phodus
©Rehahn

He has visited more than 35 countries before making Hoi An, Vietnam as his home in 2011. 

Wanderlust travel magazine says “ He is the person who captures the soul of his models”. 

Behind his every click there is a story. He is a player of portraits who knows how to capture the personality. His pictures are more than an image to him. Whether capturing a woman pulling a needle, a child playing in the street, or a girl smiling in her world. 

These are the collection of his experiences. His stories represent his passion to learn more about culture, changing tradition, and diversity. That’s what drives him to be exceptional.

Rehahn Awards and Achievements

  • 2016 Permanent collection at the Hanoi Women’s museum
  • Top 5 most celebrated portrait and travel photographers worldwide-Bored Panda
  • “Vietnam, Mosaic of Contrasts, Volume II”
  • the second most popular French photographer
  • And many more

Rehahn Books

  • Children of Vietnam
  • Face of Rajasthan
  • The Collection, 10 Years of Photography
  • Vietnam, Mosaics of contrast Vol I
  • Vietnam, Mosaics of contrast Vol II
  • 100 Iconic Portraits

Rehahn’s work has been published in many magazines and books. His work has also been displayed in many exhibitions. Like

  • The new York times
  • BBC
  • South China morning post
  • National Geographic
  • Der Spiegel
  • And more

If you want to feel the story of different cultures and traditions. Go check his work to get inspired and learn from his work.

Lee Jeffries

Lee Jeffries is a self-made portrait photographer from Manchester. It has been more than 10 years when he has started his mission to tell a story of homeless people and their culture.

Lee Jeffries photography
©Lee Jeffries

His work has been published in many magazines and blogs like :

  • The independent
  • British Airways High Life
  • Time Magazine
  • The Guardian
  • Nikon Magazine
  • BBC News night
  • Huffington Post
  • Broadcast on CNN
  • Telematin

Lee Jeffries Books

  • Portraits

He has also contributed in a few movies The voyage of Time and NCIS season 11. If you want to excel in portraits photography. Follow him to learn and grow. He is also available on social media Instagram and Facebook.

Conclusion

There are many inspiring portrait photographers in the world. You might be following or knowing a few of them. Here in this article, I will be limited to publish 10 best portrait photographers of the world.

The list is based on the deep research made by our Team. We have followed a few parameters to select these renowned photographers. 

The content is produced to provide deep value to the budding and inspiring photographers. Who wants to learn and grow.

If you are a beginner and want to establish, do study about these photographers and see how they have made it.

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