The First Portraits

The First Portraits

Year 9 PhotographyLook At Me

Portrait Photography is nearly as old as photography itself. The first portrait photo recorded was actually a ‘selfie’. It was made in 1839 by the photographer Robert Cornelius.


Soon after, photography got easier, more popular and cheap enough that families were able to get portraits taken by a portrait photographer.


  1. In your Digital Portfolio, display a collection of Victorian Era studio portraits.
  2. Do some research to answer the question “Why is nobody smiling in Victorian Era photos?”
  3. What did parents have to do to get their child’s portrait taken during this time? Show some examples
  4. Find some examples of ‘Headless Portraits” from the Victorian Era. How do you think these were done?