Do I want to meet this person? Is their photograph asking me to sit down and talk? I’ve said before that a good portrait beckons interaction. If, after seeing your photo, I want to meet you then that is a success.
An effective portrait is the beginning of a conversation. It’s an unspoken invitation. I can read it in your face and in your body language. I can see it in your eyes. I want to feel welcome to participate in your life. That’s the intention you need to set and the message you must convey.
I say ‘need’ and ‘must’ but I only mean that in a way to suggest that you consider the results you want. To think about what you hope to communicate. An effective portrait starts there. Who is your audience? What do you want them to feel? I am approachable. I am intelligent. I listen. I suggest that it’s as simple as that.