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The 9 Best Portrait Photographers in Cleveland

Hugging the shore of Lake Erie in northern Ohio, the city of Cleveland offers a mix of urban parks and industrial architecture, all threaded by the Cuyahoga River. From gallery displays at BAYarts to affordable studio rentals, C-town’s artistic virtues are drawing artists from across the nation. As an up-and-coming artistic confluence, the city boasts a number of Cleveland portrait photographers who are incredibly talented. These photographers definitely stand out from the rest of the pack — check them out!

1. Ashleigh Whitt

Ashleigh is one of the most talented photographers we’ve seen in the newborn and family photography world. From bump to baby, she’s offering captures that immortalize the “firsts” of your newest family member! She perfected her style in the most organic way possible: being a mother and capturing moments in her own little guy’s life. Her portfolio includes maternity images taken outdoors with warm golden-hour-tones, as well as newborns napping in adorable baskets and blankets. Her collection of newborn studio accessories give a timeless, almost rustic flavor to her work.

2. Aly C. Photography

Cleveland portrait photographer Alyssa Miller has been shooting for over a decade, and her work reflects her experience! Combining client desires with her extensive knowledge of the Cleveland metro area, Aly brings a collaborative take to every one of her images. One of her strengths as a photographer is that she can cover both intimate and more structured work. Her high school senior photos best exemplify her hybrid style, featuring beautiful headshot and full-body poses in carefully chosen outdoor settings.

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3. Sharon Holy

Sharon often breaks from traditional high school senior portraits by using clothing and settings choices that create a far more relaxed flavor to the images. Styles range from loose-fitting bohemian pants and sandals to chic jeans and leather outfits. More traditional jersey and button-down shirts also make an appearance in her portfolio, yet there’s a continuity to her style as a specialist. Her poses don’t just document but tell a story — her ballerinas take poses from their routines, and we see jersey-wearing seniors on the field! She’s rated as one of the Top 200 High School Senior Photographers Worldwide by Senior Year Magazine 2019.

4. Justina Roberts

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Sneak peek @ Sunday's senior session: Tiana! 😍

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Justina covers an incredible range of photography avenues, from lifestyle and brand photography to weddings and senior portraits. We love the diversity of backgrounds and subject matter, highlighting both her diverse expertise, as well as her familiarity with the Cleveland metro area. Her wedding photography is especially noteworthy, using a mixture of traditional portraiture and a documentary style that’s unobtrusive yet intimate. Justina’s images often come from the angle of a viewer and immerses you in the story of the event. Equally at home in the studio as much as the outdoors, Justina wants to create work that will become, in her own words, “a piece of the personal history” of her clients.

5. Erin Kraly of EK Photography

Photography for young children is what Erin does best; bright colors and gorgeous smiles fill her portfolio. As Erin herself says, her own two beautiful daughters are her inspiration, and her creative eye shows in her work. Her style ranges from outdoor candid work of children at play among the flowers to smiles in the studio with bold backgrounds and adorable outfits. 

6. Cody York

We love self-taught photographers! Cody’s development as a Cleveland portrait photographer is one of the better stories we’ve read. Inspired to pick up a camera by his photographer father, Cody eventually started submitting images to BMX magazines. After being taken on by BMX Plus! and ESPN, Cody’s chosen the freelancer’s path to broaden his creative horizons. His work includes commercial, action sports, advertisements, and editorial photography. There is a fair amount of documentary and environmental portraiture as well, which tells a story as much as captures a smile!

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7. James Douglas

James has a high-end fashion and commercial style that stands out in the Cleveland portrait photography scene. His studio work exudes a bold character that shows in color choices, poses, and diversity of subjects. Operating out of a factory loft in Cleveland, James is an insider of the city’s artistic scene and enjoys collaborating with local artists to help them find their voice.

8. Michelle Babets of Ella Rose Photography

Named for her two daughters and inspiration — Gabriella and Rose — Michelle’s work centers around couples, newborns, children, and high school seniors. Her work has a strong documentary element to it, helping to immerse the viewer in the intimacy of the moment. We especially enjoy the film grain, muted tones, and monochrome photography — all of which highlight Michelle’s unique, self-developed style!

9. Hannah Goodson of gracehannah photography

As a mother of two active boys, Hannah knows how challenging it is to document the joys of parenting. As she puts it, Hannah loves to freeze time, hit pause, and capture unrepeatable moments in her children’s lives. She focuses on family life, from engagements and weddings to children’s firsts. Her style and color hues have a continuity to them, with an emphasis on environmental portraiture. Each image has storytelling context rather than a blurred-out background, contributing to a flowing photojournalistic narrative.  

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