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Shutterstock Portrait Studio: Lilly Rosenthal at CreativeMornings/Oakland

For the last three years with Shutterstock, we worked with photographers to capture the spirit of CreativeMornings' attendees in chapters around the world. Together, we’ve collected over 2,000 portraits.

A good portrait tells the truth about a person in that moment in time—not the whole truth, but close to it. It’s an intimate dynamic that requires connection, patience, and acuity of the subject’s spirit.

We interviewed each talented photographer to learn to see what they see when they raise the camera.


Meet Lilly Rosenthal, adventure, wedding, and lifestyle photographer.

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What is it about portraiture that inspires you?

Portraiture has been an constant inspiration to me because of the many faces and personalities I am able to interact with. The people themselves are the story, and I am always intrigued to see how I translate their character into the camera.

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Portraiture is a personal exchange—how do you get your subjects to open up? What do you say or do?

One of my favorite parts of photography, is seeing how my subjects open up to me. I am super goofy, and usually say something silly right off the bat. I think in doing this, they relax and realize at that point, it isn’t about sticking a camera in their face, but rather the interaction we have in getting to know each other. Creating trust and comfortability is crucial in capturing a true and honest portrait.

At what moment do you know you successfully captured someone’s spirit or personality? How do you know?

I usually know when I have captured someone’s spirit, when I flip through the images on the back of the camera, and there is an honest expression. Nothing fake or staged. I know I have done this when I hear genuine laughter, or I see a bright smile. I follow the eyes a lot as well — the eyes carry the body’s weight and give us all the answers we are looking for.

What advice would you give to people just picking up a camera, ready to explore the wonderful art of photography?

Shoot shoot shoot! And don’t be afraid to get in the way. Finding boundaries as a photographer is all about pushing the limits, and seeing what you are comfortable with. Find beauty in the little things, and really get to know your subjects.

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See more of the CreativeMornings/Oakland portraits.


Discover more of Lilly’s work on her website and Instagram.

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