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We are often asked: What is the most important aspect of a Portrait? Is it lighting, posing, composition, colour coordination of clothing and background etc.?

Of course all of these things are important considerations in Portrait Photography.

However, at the end of the day there is one aspect that stands head and shoulders above all the rest: EXPRESSION.

A portrait maybe brilliantly posed, but if the expression, or expressions are poor the portrait is of no use.

Lighting can be technically superb, but again if the expression is not good the portrait has no value.

There are lots of technically great photographers who are not able to get great expressions so they will never be great portrait photographers.

To be a successful portrait photographer is to a large extent not really about photography! It is about your ability to get great expressions from your subjects, and this has little to do with photography. It is much more about your people skills, and empathy, and understanding of your customers.

Expression comes from the eyes, not the mouth! No amount of saying ‘sausages’ or ‘cheese’ will get a spontaneous expression.

To become a successful Portrait Photographer requires a lot more than just photographic knowledge.

Remember what matters is: EXPRESSION, EXPRESSION, EXPRESSION.

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Andrew Coe

Andrew Coe is great grandson of Albert Edward Coe who founded the Coe photography businesses 150 years ago. He is recognised as one of the leading teachers of wedding and portrait photography in the UK having been commissioned by City & Guilds to write the first module for the Higher National NVQ Diploma in Portrait in this field. He has also been commissioned to give seminars in New York, Las Vegas, Madrid, Cologne and many other international venues. He owns the franchise for the largest group of wedding and portrait studios in the UK which has photography contracts with many national retailers and other major brand names. He founded the first chain of one hour mini labs in the UK (all with wedding and portrait studios attached), the largest advertising and commercial studio in East Anglia, a leading professional colour lab and has trained more people to become full time photographers than anyone else in the UK.

Andrew Coe

Andrew Coe is great grandson of Albert Edward Coe who founded the Coe photography businesses 150 years ago. He is recognised as one of the leading teachers of wedding and portrait photography in the UK having been commissioned by City & Guilds to write the first module for the Higher National NVQ Diploma in Portrait in this field. He has also been commissioned to give seminars in New York, Las Vegas, Madrid, Cologne and many other international venues. He owns the franchise for the largest group of wedding and portrait studios in the UK which has photography contracts with many national retailers and other major brand names. He founded the first chain of one hour mini labs in the UK (all with wedding and portrait studios attached), the largest advertising and commercial studio in East Anglia, a leading professional colour lab and has trained more people to become full time photographers than anyone else in the UK.

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