In the era of the 'selfie' the professional portrait has taken on a new significance. Where the selfie is unashamedly a 'snapshot', capturing a moment in time, often with little regard to the sense of place and taken as a symbol of fun, the professional portrait aims to say something more profound about the sitter.
Although may people still look for a beautiful or glamorous or flattering image, the main aim of the serious portrait is surely to capture something more fundamental than just the surface image. Consider the contrast between a mask that hides what is happening beneath and a face that reveals what is being felt or thought.
Achieving a balance between an artistic pose and the expression of a person's nature, what makes them look 'natural', is an art that requires winning the sitter's trust so that he or she will show vulnerability as well as strength, attitude as well as character, a sense of enigma as well as an unguarded revelation. The difference between a portrait that looks beautiful but resists the involvement of the viewer, and one which welcome the viewer into a silent dialogue with the sitter is often a matter of tiny detail - the edge of a mouth, the tilt of a shoulder, the inner light in the eye.
Which is why portraiture is such a wonderful challenge.