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Portraits & Spontaneous Moments – See How These Photographers Create People Pictures

Photographing people in the decisive moment or making unique portraits is challenging. It can feel overwhelming to work with a model or impossible to capture an image that's compelling. Try sparking your own creativity by looking at others who are creating eye-catching images in the same genre. From fairy-tale-like self portraits to moody street photography, these Alpha Collective members are making breathtaking images using the Sony Alpha 1 and the Sony Alpha 7R IV. They also offer up insight into lenses that can make strong portraits, touching on prime classics like the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master and the versatile zooms that you might not think of for portraits like the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master. Check out their accounts below, and follow them to add some inspiration to your Instagram feed. Tag your Sony photo posts with #BeAlpha for your chance to be featured on AlphaUniverse.com, and follow @sonyalpha for your daily dose of creative inspiration.

Spark your own creativity by looking following these photographers who are creating eye-catching people and portrait images.

Jude Allen – @jude_allen

Jude Allen is a travel and landscape photographer as well as an Alpha Collective member. He is passionate about photography because it allows him to be creative and artistic. “From traveling, meeting other creative minds, overcoming challenges working with companies and brands to bring a vision to life, the possibilities and excitement are endless.” Check out what gear Allen uses here and follow him on Instagram to see more of his creative vision.  

Ashley Brehm – @ashleyinwanderland

Ashley Brehm is a boudoir, portraits, and weddings/elopements photographer. The Alpha Collective member is known for her dark, dramatic, and romantic editing style that you can see in these images. She shot these images on the Sony Alpha 7 III with the Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master lens. Follow her Instagram to see more fairy tale feeling images and take a closer look at her gear

Jeremy Cohen – @jermcohen

Jeremy 'Jerm' Cohen is an Alpha Collective member and a New York City based photographer and filmmaker. Cohen focuses on uplifting and amplifying untold portrayals of humanity. We came across this Instagram Reel that put a smile on our faces of fans at a concert headbanging and rocking out. Cohen used his Sony Alpha 1 with his Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master lens. Read about Cohen’s advice on making a stronger portrait and check out more of his work

Philip Edsel – @edsel

Award-winning photographer and director Philip Edsel made this image on the Sony Alpha 7 IV. When describing his work the Alpha Collective member states, “My work captures empowered people in motion, through fashion, fitness, and portraiture, using new technology to push my art forward.” His graphic imagery is always a feast for the eyes. Check out more of his work by following him on Instagram.

Matt Ferr – @matt.ferr

Matt Ferr is a creative content producer and Alpha Collective member who travels and tells impactful stories through photography and filmmaking. Ferr has long been drawn to creative portraits such as the ones below. He states, “Since my very early days shooting I have always been fascinated by creative portrait photography. At first mention it would seem that shooting a subject up close would limit your view, but in reality it can help focus your attention on the details that make an excellent composition.” We love that these three images gradually get closer in on the subject and tighten the composition. Learn more from Ferr about making strong creative portraits and about what gear he uses.

Paola Franqui – @monaris_

Paola Franqui is an Alpha Collective member and photographer. Combining her passion for visual storytelling and photography, Monaris has developed a distinct creative style focused on composition and color theory that lives to transform brief instances of reality into movie-like scenes. Her artist statement draws out the feeling we get from this image when she states the “[I am] always curious, and wondering what the people I capture are experiencing, what emotions they are going through, and I try to share their stories. A snapshot of a passing moment that will never happen again.” This image was taken on the Sony Alpha 7R III with the Sony 55mm f/2.8 lens; she was at ISO 800 and her shutter speed was 1/125-sec. Learn more about Franqui’s technique, gear, and style in this #CreatorConversation.

Lizzy Gadd – @elizabethgadd

Alpha Collective member Lizzy Gadd is known as a self portrait artist, creating magical images of herself that feel just out of a fairy tale. Gadd is deeply passionate about the outdoors and incorporates it into her imagery. In her caption, Gadd describes some of background in making this photo, “fun fact: It was actually freezing cold and suuuuper windy when I was shooting this - the wind and fog was whipping past so fast, coming from up and over a mountain cliff right behind this tree, and the sun was constantly fighting to shine through. It took several trial and error attempts to finally capture the right amount of light and foggy atmosphere to create this dreamy scene. Also, the tree was constantly dripping massive cold water droplets the entire time I sat there (sooo much fog and dew collected on those ferns and branches!), so I was drenched and shivering by the time I finished this shoot. 😂 ...But I think it paid off.” She used the Sony Alpha 7R III with the Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master (1/4000-sec., f/1.4, ISO 100). See more of Gadds work by following her on Instagram.

Renee Hahnel - @reneeroaming

Alpha Collective member, adventurer, and photographer, Renee Hahnel frequently creates self-portraits in stunning landscapes to tell the story of her travels. In her blog, ReneeRoaming she offers advice about this by stating, “In order to take better travel photos, you should consider adding a human element to an image to show scale and share a story about the adventure. It can entice the viewer to imagine standing in that person’s shoes, experiencing the same magical moment. Additionally, including human figures in landscape photography provides the added benefit of both a focal point and a guide to scale.”

Steven John Irby - @stevesweatpants

Steven John Irby (A.K.A. Steve Sweatpants) is a member of the Alpha Collective, co-creator of @streetdreamsmag, and a photographer. His Instagram feed is filled with stunning black and white documentary-style street photography and this one caught our eye. Check out what gear he uses when he’s out shooting for the day.

Dane Isaac – @dane.isaac

Dane Isaac, a commercial, portrait and street photographer as well as another member of the Alpha Collective. He focuses on the usage of light and storytelling. He has become well known for his creative “segmented portraits,” like the one you can see below. Isaac explains, “Segmented Portraits were initially developed as a challenge to myself, to capture the essence of my subjects via different sections of their bodies.” These images were shot on the Sony Alpha 1 with the Sony 35mm f/1.4 G Master.

Gregg Jaden – @greggjaden_

Gregg Jaden is a travel and adventure photographer and filmmaker, and member of the Alpha Collective. He uses his art to share his stories of adventure and inspire others to go on journeys of their own. What inspires him most is how photography can transform the ordinary to extraordinary while leaving an impression in people's lives. He took this captivating image in Jogjakarta, Indonesia with his Sony Alpha 7R III and his favorite lens, the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master. Take a look at what other gear his uses to document his adventures here.

Dan Joyce - @danjoyce

Dan Joyce is a Houston-based lifestyle and editorial photographer who specializes in social content creation, landscape, tourism and aerial photography. He’s also a member of the Alpha Collective. We love the layers built into the image through the composition. He shot this with his favorite lens, the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master. Joyce has a great eye for powerful portraits, follow him on Instagram to see more of his work.

Jane Kim – @_janekim

Another Alpha Collective member, Jane Kim recently photographed New York’s Fashion Week. She posted these striking photos on her Instagram with a caption that discusses how much she enjoys the unexpected year after year with this event. Scrolling through her Instagram feed feels like walking through high-fashioned New York City. Give her a follow to see more of her fashion and lifestyle work. 

Garrett King – @shortstache

Garrett King is a lifestyle photographer with a knack for storytelling. King works with a unique color pallet that can be seen scrolling through his Instagram and website. We love the colors and soft sun flare in the series of images below, they certainly fall in King’s color pallet. Read more about King’s gear choices here.

Joshua Kissi – @joshuakissi

Joshua Kissi is another Alpha Collective member and portrait photographer. As you can see from the images below, Kissi does not shy away from bright colors and posing his subjects boldly, which has helped him develop a recognizable style. In a #BeAlpha Live Online Creativity Chat Kissi discusses why he believes vision is more important than skill: “you’re more of a voice and less of an echo… technical skills can always be learned but when it comes to vision, that’s a lived experience.” See more of Kissi’s creative vision by following his Instagram account.

Dave Krugman – @dave.krugman

Dave Krugman is a photographer and creative whose work spans many genres but particularly focuses on topics including street photography, travel photography, and portraiture. Krugman is an Alpha Collective member with a project specifically focused on rain in New York City. This image is a great example of that project, which is full of blue and red tones. We love the colors shining through the umbrella and playing with the reflections from the water droplets.

Ashley Noel – @nyroamer

Ashley Noel is a travel and street photographer as well as an Alpha Collective member. In the caption of this post, she talks about how the Sony 85mm f/1.4 G Master lens is a great versatile lens for those looking to do portraiture and street photography. She states: “The 85mm G Master by @sonyalpha is most often thought of as a portrait lens, it’s ideal for street shooting as well. The combination of the focal length which creates some telephoto compression and the f/1.4 aperture lets me isolate the main subject while converting clutter in the foreground and background into smooth swathes of color. I can eliminate distraction without losing context. It provides cinema-like depth of field and the sharpness is outstanding. Also, the f/1.4 aperture helps me to keep enough shutter speed in the dark and the autofocusing is fast and accurate.”

Greg Noire – @gregnoire

Concert photographer and Alpha Collective member, Greg Noire is incredibly skilled at taking photos of people. We love the emotion he captures in his images, including this one below. In a Ask Me Anything event with Sony, Noire discussed his goal with concert photography, stating, “With live music the inspiration comes from  the music. At the end of the day, I’m a fan with a camera. I try to translate that same energy into capturing everything with authenticity. Perfection isn’t the goal for me - honesty is.”

Oveck Reyes – @oveck

Oveck Reyes is a multidisciplinary artist and Alpha Collective member. In addition to photography, he works in mixed media, traditional painting, digital painting, and animation. We love the animation additions to this image, it gives a wonderful three dimensional look. The image remains in Reyes classic color palette, making it unmistakably his own. Follow him on Instagram to see more of his work.

Fei Tang – @phives

Chicago-based Fei Tang is a Alpha Collective photographer with a specialty in architecture and dramatic cityscapes. He is known for his polished city images and bold architectural shots. This double exposure caught our eyes on his Instagram feed. In the caption, Tang explains that for both images, he used the same lens and had the camera in the same settings. Both images were taken on the Sony Alpha 1 with the Sony 16-35mm f/2.8 G Master at 1/125-sec., f/5.6, ISO 250. We love how graphically appealing the composition is, with the sky line lining up with the model's eyes. It draws the viewer's eye around the frame, to really take in the full story being told.

Henry Tieu – @henrysdiary

Alpha Collective member Henry Tieu is a destination wedding and adventure elopement photographer. He travels to incredible locales with his couples to document the biggest days of their lives. And he does so with such creativity. The caption for this post discusses what honor he finds in being chosen to photograph someone's wedding. He states, “It’s absolutely an incredible emotion that words can’t fully explain whenever I get to be a part of someone’s story, adventure, life chapter.” Check out what gear Tieu uses to capture his couples stories.

Shauna Wade – @so.shauna

Shauna Wade is a travel, lifestyle, street photographer, and member of the Alpha Collective. She’s also the founder of @moodygrams and @moodyports online communities for photographers to share moody shots with one another. This image follows that “moody” theme, but we love the reflection of the puddle, and how its moodiness seems to capture more detail. The viewer could stare at this image for hours, looking at how Wade flipped the perspective to make it even more visually appealing. Follow her on Instagram for more moody shots on your feed.

Ivan Wong – @ivvnwong

Ivan Wong is a photographer and Alpha Collective member. He creates larger than life images by adding 3D elements and utilizing creative lighting. He shot this image with the Sony Alpha 7R IV with the Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master. In the caption he states that this was “one of my first times using the R4, surprised with how crisp the low light capture was.” Check out Wong’s feed for more vibrant visuals. 

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