The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (or PAFA) is a museum and private art school in Philadelphia. Since 1805, this landmark sits on Broad Street just north of City Hall as the first art school and museum in the United States.
Whether you’re admiring or creating art at PAFA, it is one of the best museums to explore in Philly.
The PAFA museum inside the Furness-Hewitt Building, which features gothic, Victorian architecture. The exterior of this structure is a masterpiece with stone engravings depicting old-world scenes and a gothic stained-glass window. Passing the Furness-Hewitt building is breathtaking and entering the museum through its antique brown doors feels sensational.
The Furness-Hewitt Building was designed by Frank Furness and opened in 1876. The interior design features an array of gold ceramic tiles against a crimson red wall that ascends two-stories. Upon entrance to the museum, a large staircase provides access to art galleries. PAFA displays various styles of artwork in small chambers that stretch extend from its circular ballroom at the center.
As an event space, the Furness-Hewitt Building fits the requirements. Weddings, corporate gatherings, and other social celebrations meet in this glass rotunda at the center of PAFA. The high ceilings are a photographer’s best friend. Natural light pours in from the glass ceiling and illuminates the main gallery inside the Furness-Hewitt Building. Aside from a top museum in Philadelphia, PAFA serves as a creative space for artists and event planners.
Notable PAFA alumni include artist Benjamin West, the painter of Benjamin Franklin Drawing Electricity from the Sky, and director David Lynch, the creator of Twin Peaks, Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, and other classic movies. The museum displays a wide range of creative paintings that range from 18th century classics to modern expressionism. Art styles from many eras and movements are on display for visitors to appreciate throughout the museum halls.
PAFA has one of the most luxurious stained-glass windows in Philadelphia. Whether viewing the window from inside or outside, it is a masterpiece of Victorian gothic architecture and design. Portrait photography with the stained-glass window in the background is one of the best angles for photographers at PAFA.
In this portrait, a team of two divorce lawyers pose together with the window in the background. The window—though stained-glass—feels like a medieval castle in Game of Thrones than a religious church. Avoiding religious connotations is important to fit the branding of this divorce firm. Portrait photography of divorce attorneys should have a serious tone, but also an epic twist that distinguishes them as professionals.
Portrait photography of lawyers needs to convey professionalism and knowledge. Clients should gain trust in their expertise after viewing their portrait. The grand background and dramatic lighting techniques express the power of this law firm. As a photographer, a captivating portrait of lawyers must demonstrate confidence.
And as always, the most important part of a fashion-forward portrait shoot is to have fun. Complimenting the subject on their efforts and drawing forth a comfortable conversation are great techniques for capturing emotional portrait photos. Photographing two lawyers adds more interaction to the session because both subjects share the spotlight together.
The clothing selection for this portrait photo at PAFA plays a big role in making it so breathtaking.
A go-to business-casual look that fits any style trend is always the open-collar white shirt. Complimenting this garment is a sage green suit with blue checkered lining. Lastly, a floral pocket square pops on the suit as a small accessory that ties the look together. The lawyer partner wears a emerald green dress with four delicate buttons along the skirt. Green hoop earrings blend the full outfit into one clean fit. The divorce lawyers experiment with a green color palette to pop against the maroon walls inside of the PAFA museum.
George Washington, as all American citizens know, is the first President of the United States. During the Revolutionary War, the country appointed him as Commander of the Continental Army against the British forces. Washington resided in Philadelphia as the first President, so the city honors his great contributions to the country.
At the PAFA museum, the third-floor gallery displays two George Washington paintings, and they hang adjacent to each other. These large Washington paintings tell two sides of the Founding Father’s life as a man of diplomacy and war.
One of these famous paintings is known as “George Washington (The Lansdowne Portrait)” by Gilbert Stuart. In this depiction, the first President extends his hand while clutching a sword in its sheath. Stuart portrays Washington as an aristocrat at peace and flourishing in a new independent democracy after the bloody Revolutionary War.
The famous Washington painting that we use as a background is “George Washington at Princeton” by Charles Willson Peale. We hope that Peale—who painted the work in 1779—feels flattered by our studio using it in the photograph. Peale’s painting of Washington shows the Commander-in-Chief resting his hand on an artillery cannon after a decisive victory at Princeton.
This portrait photo of a lawyer with the victorious Washington painting demonstrates power and quick wits. These are qualities that the general needs to win at the Battle of Princeton while against the ropes.
The lawyer stands in front of “George Washington at Princeton” and poses in the same stance as the first President. Though he strikes the same pose, he leans against the iron railing at PAFA. The gesture channels the same energy as Washington in this painting: a battle-ready patriot willing to fight the odds. Any client searching for a top firm in Philadelphia would hire this kind of powerful lawyer to represent their case.
The angle of the photo requires our team to shoot over the balcony on the third floor. It is fortunate for us that the subject is comfortable with high heights because the railing is low. The beauty dish hangs over the staircase as our camera snaps this portrait from across the gallery room. The execution is a balancing act, but we place the light where necessary. As a result of this lighting technique, we capture a glamorous portrait of this top injury lawyer at PAFA.
Injury lawyers dedicate themselves to battling large-scale corporations to earn their clients justice. Portrait photography for injury lawyers needs to embody these values while capturing an authentic expression.
The lawyer’s most captivating wardrobe accessory is the Versace tie. The tie blends intricate geometric shapes and colors ranging from purple, gold, green, red, and blue. This luxury accessory is a statement piece against the pinstripe suit. In the center, a Versace logo rises above the intertwined green and gold emblem. The tie is formal while trippy with its various shapes, patterns, and color combinations.
The PAFA museum in Philly merges old-world art with modern expressionism. This distinct variety makes it the best location for portrait photographers to capture photos that fit all kinds of professions. The largest paintings at the PAFA museum are on the third floor and hang across both sides of the room. These classic paintings fill the entire wall space for viewers to admire the fine details and artistic strokes.
Portrait photography in fine art museums have a prestigious air to them. Capturing photographs with classic art takes you closer to history and creativity. Make it a priority to location scout for three-dimensional angles that add depth-of-field to the photo. Do this before adding the subjects because it prepares the lighting exposure and camera diagnostics.
The family law attorneys pose in front of the largest paintings inside of the PAFA museum. This artwork is known as “Death on the Pale Horse” by Benjamin West and illustrates the Apocalypse. According to the Book of Revelation 6:8, there are four horsemen—Death, War, Famine, and Pestilence—who devastate the Earth. It is a dramatic war with Jesus armed with a longbow as he rides a pale stallion through the war zone. It is one of the top pieces of art at PAFA for its sheer size and attention to detail.
Sections from West’s epic scene, “Death on a Pale Horse,” creep into the portrait’s background. The colossal painting adds Romanticism to the photograph. As the painting evokes feelings of awe and wonder, this same sublime feeling translates to the portrait of these two lawyers. The two law partners feel confident beside grandiose architecture and West’s doomsday masterpiece at PAFA.
The business partners keep their wardrobe selection fresh and modern to shine in the Philadelphia style world. One of the lawyers opts for dark blues: a checkered navy suit, light blue tie with geometric designs, and a sky-blue collared shirt. The partner lawyer compliments this with a brown leather dress with tan heels. The stylish outfits represent their high-quality law firm.
The most beautiful design inside of the PAFA museum are gold ceramic wall tiles that wraps around the main staircase. These gold ornaments decorate the grand entrance leading to the world-famous American art galleries. The wall design is architectural art just like the framed masterpieces by Benjamin West, Thomas Eakins, and Andy Warhol.
This site serves as the backdrop for wedding ceremonies, keynote speakers, lectures, and in this case, luxury portrait photography. The photo subject, a Philadelphia lawyer, poses at one of the best locations for photography at PAFA. Viewers recognize the iconic red and gold interior as the PAFA museum. Photographers always search for texture-rich backgrounds to create portrait photos with prestigious ambience.
Location is everything when it comes to capturing the professional portrait photography in Philadelphia. Fitting the right subject in that special location is the next challenge for photographers. In this portrait, a top Philly lawyer poses in all-black and pops against the red and gold wall at PAFA. The black dress features a vertical, mesh texture to contrast with the background’s diagonal design.
The classic black dress fits the high-fashion style of this fine art museum in Philadelphia. She dangles a white fur coat at her waist to break the dark colors and add interesting shapes to the portrait. This power stance enhances the authority of the photograph, while the white fur coat gives it some tasteful, edgy glamor. The coat is another layer of texture in the photo along with the vertical dress creases and gold wall ornaments.
A fun experience on set is a key ingredient to creating a portrait where the subject is confident. Photographing lawyers requires the correct coaching to release personality, but also retaining authority. Slight movements of the head and tipping the back boot forward are a few directions that we recommend on set. Our studio’s coaching methods and creative approaches create the best portrait photography for industry-leading lawyers.
If you’re searching for portrait photography in Philadelphia, considering hiring our studio for your next production. We specialize in fashionable commercial photography and cinematography for corporate clients seeking bold lifestyle or luxury portraits photos.
Every portrait shoot involves an in-person location scout, a planning discussion with the client, a storyboard design session. We want to understand your vision, while providing creative input that builds upon these ideas to create the best photo. Producing portraiture that captures your high level of skill will change your influence on others.
A portrait photograph that displays your reputation, matches your style, and captivates viewers is worth everything. Phil Kramer is a photography and cinematography studio in Philadelphia with service extending to New Jersey, New York, and nationwide.