Classic Style

When discussing portrait posing techniques with professional photographers, one of the names that always seems to be mentioned is Monte Zucker. Monte's timeless portraits have earned him international acclaim, and his thirty-five year commitment to educating other photographers has made him an important and often-mentioned influence among today's leading professionals.

Although it's not always easy to nail down what makes a "Monte Portrait" (the term he uses for his images), there's something about his work—and the posing in particular—that stands out as uniquely his own. Never gimmicky or overwrought, Monte's images are, nonetheless, almost instantly identifiable.

"A Monte Portrait," says Monte, "is simple, elegant, void of distractions, and flattering to the subject. It makes a statement mostly about the subject, but at the same time reflects my interpretation of that person. A Monte Portrait is one that shows the subjects naturally but also depicts them as I would like them to be. I can photograph reality when it suits the subjects, or I can

Monte Zucker's portrait's have a classic quality that makes them timeless in their beauty.

MONTE ZUCKER was a professional photographer who specialized in wedding and portrait photography. During the course of his career, which spanned over five decades, Monte was bestowed every major honor the photographic profession can offer, including WPPI's Lifetime Achievement Award. He was also an acclaimed teacher, and is the author of Monte Zucker's Portrait Photography Handbook (Amherst Media). To learn more about Monte and his work, visit

above and facing page—A great pose rarely calls attention to itself; it simply enhances the composition and supports the expression.

idealize them when I feel it is appropriate. Either way, it is a simple statement. I want you to feel a Monte Portrait as well as see it. If you are emotionally connected with my subjects when you see their portraits, I feel that I have done my job."

Monte feels strongly that this is the goal you should strive for with every person in front of your lens. This is not a goal that you are likely to achieve by stumbling around blindly, trying this and that. Instead, you must master the technical skills that will enable you to concentrate on each subject.

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