Whether it’s smiling portraits of family members at a gathering or studio portraits of world leaders on the cover of magazines, candid travel snaps of interesting souls or millions upon millions of selfies on Instagram, portrait photography is ever-present. It threads the wonderful moments and memories of our lives, connecting us to loved ones and strangers in mysterious and memorable ways.

What is it about portrait photography that makes it so special for both photographers and our audience? Why do some portraits make themselves a permanent home in our visual memory? And what makes the difference between a decent ordinary portrait and an extraordinary one?

In this guide, we attempt to find some answers! Through conversations, advice and tips from some of the best photographers today and other experts around the world, our aim is unravel some of the mystery around portraiture.

Within these pages, we’ve curated fantastic interviews, stunning photo essays and lists of helpful resources to arm you with information and inspiration. Our hope is that this guide will help expand and challenge your own portrait-making, now and in the future.