What Makes a Great Portrait Photograph?

There are a many things the photographer is looking at when they shoot a portrait.  When you see the image for the first time those things will not be apparent, it will just be your likeness-or not.  It will be obvious if the photographer caught you, only you will really know it.  These pictures will be your favorite.  

Some will say that there needs to be a gradient of light across the face, there needs to be catch lights in the eyes and there should be a certain head tilt for a male or female person.  For me, I shoot to catch a emotion or a connection.  Sometimes they can be crisp or a soft focus, it all depends.  I love when you can do something unique based on who the person is.  Capture their essence with the location, the lighting, the props, whatever you can to tell their story in a different way than you would tell any others.
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