Taking Environmental Portraits

Trainer
Trainer

Trainer

Some of the best pictures I think I’ve ever taken are of people in their own environment. Whether it’s an athlete in their element, a musician performing for the crowd, a trainer in the gym, or even a newborn that’s only a couple of days old snuggling up in some blankets. These types of images are powerful.

These types of images aren’t terribly hard to create. Click on through to learn a couple of my tips and tricks on creating these fascinating images.

Equipment

Natural light can be a beautiful thing when taking environment portraits, but I think an off-camera flash can really make these images amazing.  A strobe can accentuate features that you wouldn’t have been able to otherwise.  If you can master artificial light, you photography will improve significantly.

Before you begin, get yourself an affordable flash, a trigger, an umbrella, and light stand. You don’t have to spend a fortune on off-camera lighting equipment to take great strobist photos.

Soccer

Soccer

Subjects

When I first started out, finding a subject was one of the most difficult aspects of this.  My problem was that I was overthinking it, and you may be overthinking it, too.  I found that my own network of people was the best solution to finding a subject.  Update your Facebook status with an idea for a shoot that you need people for, and you’ll be surprised with who responds.

Posing

If I’m not going for more of a model-like look to the image, I won’t do much posing. The main reason for this is that if you’re shooting someone who may not be comfortable in front of a camera, barking at them to turn their head slightly to the right, not that far, a little more my way, no not like that, will intimidate them, make them feel more self-conscious and will kill the mood of the image.

I think this has to be the number one aspect you should focus on when shooting these types of images. Help your subject to feel comfortable enough in front of the camera, so that they forget it’s there. That’s when the magic happens.

Hockey

Hockey

Props

A prop or two could add an element to an image that will take it from great to amazing. Whether you add in a bag for a boxer or textbooks for a student, you’ll create an image that will fully capture the environment of your subject. It’s a good deal of fun, too.

Boxer

Boxer

Conclusion

Environmental portraiture is a great way to learn photography. You’ll be: dealing with off-camera lighting, learning to work with “models”, and improving your composition skills. Taking these images can be a great ego boost as well because  you can make beautiful pictures without too much work and planning. It’s a good investment of time and effort because having these images in your portfolio will show potential customers the breadth of your photographic skills. These types of images can also help you break into the commercial photography arena.

If you found this post helpful and would like to be a part of helping them continue, please consider donating through PayPal.

Please Support The Phoblographer

We love to bring you guys the latest and greatest news and gear related stuff. However, we can’t keep doing that unless we have your continued support. If you would like to purchase any of the items mentioned, please do so by clicking our links first and then purchasing the items as we then get a small portion of the sale to help run the website.