Environmental portrait is an interesting form of portrait wherein the subject is photographed in a natural environment. By natural environment, that would mean the workplace, residence or favorite getaway spot of the subject. Environmental portraits display not only how the subject looks but what the subject is from the inside – character. An environmental portrait photographer must be able to show the character of the subject.
Because of the thrilling nature of environmental portrait photography, many photographers are gaining an interest in trying it out. Not all of them are successful though since this type of photography requires certain skills and techniques. You can achieve a captivating environmental portrait by following these tips and techniques.
Let the subject choose location and clothes
Your subjects must preferably pick the location because it can make them feel more at ease if they are in a place where they are comfortable with. This will most likely reflect in the photographs. Also, allow the subject to choose clothes to wear so he/she can feel some freedom. Of course, you can give professional recommendations on what ideal clothes to wear on that specific location.
Determine the purpose of the shoot
If you are hired for the shoot, ask your client as to what he expects to be reflected on the picture. If you are hired by a company for a shoot, determine the purpose of the environmental photo session. Is it to showcase the beauty of the place? Is it to promote the model?
Survey the location ahead
Checking the location before the scheduled shoot allows you to know how much available light there is, what best angles to position your camera. You will learn what can possibly affect the outcome of the shoot so you can plan ahead on how to fix it.
Remove distracting objects in background
While composing your shot, make sure to check and remove unwanted objects that can possibly ruin the captured image. Distracting objects can be a litter on ground near your subject or a street lamp right behind your subject. Frame and visualize the image you want to get before you actually shoot. Get ideas from E-Motion Images on how brilliant your pictures should be.
Use wide aperture lens
Since you are aiming to make your subject the focus of the shoot, you need to make sure he and not the background or location stands out in the image. The best way to do this is to use a wide aperture lens like f/3.2 that can give a nice blur to the background when you set it.
Make subject feel relaxed
If you subject feels relaxed, he/she will most likely smile and act natural thus making you able to get your desired natural-looking pictures. Have a short talk with the subject before the shoot and don’t forget to smile.
Shoot in different sizes or variations
Take different shots so the subject or client can have many to choose from later. Aim for a combination of half-body, full body, close up and other similar shots. Wedding photographer Hampshire does this when taking portrait shots.
Pick the right time
Like in other types of photography, it is not advisable to shoot when the sun is too high. Too much light can affect the image and shadows will appear. Try to schedule an early morning or later afternoon session with your client. During these hours, the light that will strike on the subject is warmer.