The 12 Best Philadelphia Portrait Photographers
Philadelphia may be best known for its cheesesteak sandwiches, rich history, and crazy sports fans, but it also happens to be a hub for some of the Northeast’s most creative portrait photographers. What distinguishes the best Philadelphia portrait photographers from their competition is a tendency to put entirely unique spins on the traditional. Whether it’s wedding photography, maternity shoots, or candid street scenes, the eleven photographers we’ve featured here have all established their own singular approach to their craft. If you’re looking for a creative portraitist in the City of Brotherly Love, you can’t go wrong with any of the names on this list.
Erika Carlier is a portrait photographer who seems to have a knack for effortlessly catching expressions of true joy in the faces of her subjects. Nothing about her work seems forced, in other words. Though skilled at wedding photography, she is especially good at shooting families and couples as they bond in real time in their most intimate spaces. Visually, her work tends to be defined by a lot of neutral colors and soft tones, as well as playful explorations with depth of field. Erika’s emotional attachment to the city she calls home is apparent in her ability to infuse on-site portraits with subtle, but clearly recognizable elements of Philadelphia’s historic streetscape and architecture.
Carina Danielle Lieberman is an especially skilled outdoor portrait photographer. Her lifestyle and environmental shots are defined by a keen attention to rich colors and sharp contrasts. Whether it’s her focus on a particular piece of clothing, or a bright backdrop of flowers that are perfectly farmed, Carina’s shots manage to always be in search of a fresh angle or perspective. Weddings are another defining realm of her portfolio, as is her tendency to sometimes delve into fine art portraiture. She’s not just one of the best Philadelphia’s portrait photographers—she’s one of the best anywhere.
Maria Teicher specializes in fine art, photojournalistic, wedding, and portrait photography. Having honed her talent at the New York Academy of Art, she currently teaches at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art. Given this background, it’s not surprising that Maria’s portrait work has a distinctly professional feel. She is especially adept at studio work that possesses a distinctive atmosphere and tone, often shooting in black and white, and employing aesthetic elements that are at once gritty, somber, and downright beautiful.
4. Jennifer Janikic
Jennifer Janikic is well known in the Philadelphia region for maternity and newborn portraiture that is at once traditional and boldly innovative. She is especially skilled working with natural lighting in rural outdoor settings, frequently shooting her subjects at sunset or already darkened skies. Her own experience with motherhood has translated into an ability to be highly sensitive to the needs of mothers and children during photo shoots.
Katie Engelhardt is adept at giving her traditional studio portraiture a fine art touch. Studying her work, you quickly get the sense she’s garnered a high degree of trust from her subjects that have allowed her to capture their most authentic expressions—and vulnerabilities. She is a master at tightly framing her shots beneath soft lighting that brings out skin tones and colors in a crisp and professional manner. Her black and white portrait work has a timeless quality that displays a keen sense of style.
6. Mike Styer
With a specialty in headshot portraits, Mike Styer has earned a strong reputation in Philadelphia for shooting creative professionals—especially actors. As an actor himself, he understands the elements of a headshot that are necessary to help obtain jobs within the industry. Many of Mike’s clients have been featured on Broadway, in touring theatre shows, and in television. His work is defined by his laser-focused attention to value, spacing, and framing decisions.
Veronika Paluch’s portraiture is once sexy and classically cool. Her wedding photography has earned her a highly regarded reputation in the Philadelphia region, as have her maternity and newborn portraits that are known for their brightness and incorporation of unexpected visual elements that sometimes lean toward the surreal. Veronika is as skilled shooting in the studio as she is working with natural light in a range of outdoor settings. Her versatility, creativity, and raw talent make her one of the best Philadelphia portrait photographers.
Noelle Andrews heads up Femina Photo + Design, a boutique photography and design studio known for employing a highly creative and sophisticated approach to wedding photography. If you hire Noelle for your wedding, you can count on shots that are full of variety and unique compositional decisions. Noelle prides herself on paying attention to the small but crucial details that arise throughout a couples’ wedding day. Perhaps this is one reason she is so often hired for destination weddings. And while she secures her position among the Philadelphia portrait photographers primarily through the portraits she does for wedding packages (a la bridal sessions), those same techniques can transfer to any other context.
9. Meg Brock
Meg Brock’s photography skills are geared toward capturing moments that are raw and unplanned. Her work has a distinctly documentarian feel that is as much about storytelling as it is framing the perfect visual shot. Although much of her work is focused on weddings and maternity sessions, she captures portraits in a variety of settings and is particularly celebrated for her ability to beautifully document families in their homes. Those looking for documentary style portraits, who want that rawness and realness that comes from it, will love Meg Brock’s work.
10. Nicole Roche
Nicole Roche’s work is about as far from repetitious as you can get. Though she specializes in weddings, maternity, and birth portraiture, she is another example of a Philadelphia photographer putting her own singular spin on long-established genres. Utilizing innovative approaches to framing, balancing, and spacing, her photos are fun and full of visual surprises that never seem accidental or overly indulgent from a creative perspective.
11. Taffy Johnson
Taffy Johnson’s portraiture has an elegant and refined touch that captures his subjects in a wide variety of both organic and posed scenarios. Utilizing lush outdoor landscapes that are full of rich greens and browns, his work pops with color and contrast that is highly pleasing on viewers’ eyes. Overall, there is a warmness to Taffy’s visual aesthetic that seems to be closely related to his ability to zero in on authentic emotions in the eyes, expressions, and gestures of his subjects. Much of his portrait work takes place in the context of weddings, but he’s adept in the studio as well, both in skillfully harnessing artificial light and in bringing out authentic expressions in his subjects.
12. Matthew Hamilton
Matthew Hamilton is a talented Philadelphia portrait photographer who specializes in headshots. After working with businesses and actors for many years, he’s now an expert when it comes to crafting personal branding via images. According to Matthew, he prides himself on his ability to make people feel comfortable in front of the camera, therefore capturing their true unique, quirky essences within their portraits. The best part of Matthew’s work in portrait photography? “Showing clients a new side of themselves that they didn’t necessarily recognize.”
Among the best Philadelphia portrait photographers you’ll find professionals who shoot subjects in a wide range of contexts and styles. Whether you’re looking for an in-studio formal portrait, natural portraits of your kids running around the house, or bridal portraits before the big day, these 11 photographers have you covered.