“I’m really bothered as to what really makes a photo a portrait?”
I saw this at one of the photography forums that I am a member of. Having at one point wondered about it as well I decided to put down my thoughts on the topic.
I myself follow a quick guide, which I found on yet another forum:
Candid = The subject was neither prepared nor ready.
Snapshot = The photographer was neither prepared nor ready.
Thus leaving us with the definition of a Portrait – both the subject and the photographer are prepared and ready.
For the subject, prepared and ready means he/she is posed and positioned as the photographer has instructed. The subject has been “arranged” to get the desired effect, which may sometimes require the assistance of a make up artist, or any third person who will take care of what the subject should look like.
For the photographer, it means that he has adequately positioned and lighted his subject for the desired effect, and that he has determined the correct settings for his camera.
For example: the following photos are of my friend Evangeline, with whom I had a funshoot a few months back.