a person with a leaf on their back.

How to Take Great Faceless Portraits (+ Posing Ideas)

Get inspired to create your next mysterious faceless portrait with these essential tips and examples. We've even included faceless portrait apps.

A faceless portrait is a creative way to capture your models. It can be mysterious, mystical, fun, or surreal.

It’s also a helpful fashion or product photography technique because the customers can ‘see themselves’ in the picture.

In this article, I’ll tell you some tips to make the perfect faceless portrait.

Before we get started, make sure to brush up on your portrait photography skills too.

What is a Faceless Portrait?


Faceless photography is the type of portrait where you can’t see the face of the person in it.

Faceless photography may or may not include the subject’s face inside the frame. When it’s included, the face is covered, in the shadows, or otherwise ‘invisible’ to the viewer.

Another interpretation of a custom faceless portrait is to create a 2D illustration from a photo. You can turn a picture into an illustration following a few simple steps. For it to be a faceless portrait, you only outline the face but not the details.

What is the point of a faceless portrait?

Faceless photography is about finding a creative way to depict a person. The point of doing a faceless portrait is to find other elements that show the person’s identity beyond the facial features.

What does a faceless portrait do better than a normal portrait?

Faceless portraits show different sides of a subject – they help you tell their story differently.

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Also, a faceless portrait makes it easier for the viewer to see themselves in the picture and relate to the story.

A faceless portrait adds a surreal effect that helps you create a specific atmosphere.

Another thing that a faceless portrait can do is draw attention to other parts of the body or the photo’s environment.

They also push your creativity and help you to imagine different ways to showcase a subject.

How Do You Take Good Faceless Pictures?

Here are some examples of portraits where the subject’s face is hidden or deliberately not shown.

1. Crop

a close up of a person touching her neck.

Photo: Kristina Paukshtite

The perfect way to make a faceless portrait is to do a tight crop. This creates an element of mystery to your photos because there’s a hint of the face, but then you crop right before any recognisable features appear. It will pique the viewer’s interest.

2. Silhouette

a silhouette of a person standing in a field.

Photo: Ryan Holloway

You can do a faceless portrait by turning your subject into a silhouette. All you need to do is search for a light source. Then, ask your model to stand before it and take the shot.

An excellent way to do this is by using the sunset. It will create a custom faceless portrait with a beautiful background.

3. Cover the face

a black and white photo of a woman holding a cell phone.

Photo: Alexey Demidov

As your model to cover their face to make a faceless model, they can do it with their hand or pull their hair to the front.

4. Turn your back to the camera

a man flexing his muscles in the dark.

Photo: Pixabay

An easy way to make a faceless portrait is by taking the shot from behind. Ask your model to turn around and give the back to the camera.

5. Change perspective

a man sitting in a field with a dog.

Photo: Scott Web

A variation of the previous faceless portrait tip is to change perspective. Instead of moving the subject, move the camera so you can’t see the face from where you’re taking the photos.

6. Use props

a man standing in a field with a scarf around his head.

Photo: Alteredsnaps

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Another easy way to create a faceless portrait is by using props. You can use anything to cover the subject’s face -flowers, hats, a book, etc.

7. Body parts

A hand holding a flower.

Photo: Kristina Nor

Photographing a body part is another way to make a faceless portrait. It can be a hand, the feet, the abdomen – it depends on what story you’re trying to tell.

8. Motion blur

a black and white photo of a woman dancing.

Photo: Mariana Montrazi

This is a creative way to make a faceless portrait. Use a long shutter speed and ask your subject to move their head throughout the shot. The motion blur will prevent any details of their face from showing in the image.

How do you pose without showing your face?

There are different ways you can create a faceless portrait with your pose.

  • Turn away from the camera.
  • Use your hands to cover your face.
  • Turn your head away from the light.
  • Arrange your hair so it covers your face.
  • Stand in front of a bright light source.
  • Hands and feet are some of your best resources for posing for a faceless portrait.

What App Do You Use for Faceless Portraits?


Before, I talked about faceless portraits in photography, but there’s also a drawing technique called faceless portraits. It’s also called 2D or flat illustration.

Using a photo as a base, outline the person in the drawing and add some colour and textures. You won’t be adding any details or features on the face.

You can see in the above video how it’s done in Procreate. Here are some other apps you can download to create your custom faceless portrait drawings.:

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