Indy Photo Coach 8:33pm, 28 July 2009
The environmental portrait makes a great portrait-style image. In this type of portrait, the subject is doing something and not just looking at the camera.

Examples would be the subject:

*reading a book
*tying flies for fly fishing or

Have the subject doing something consistent with what people who know the subject would expect that person to be doing.

Because more of the person’s surroundings are included with this type of pose, a wide- angle lens in the 28-35mm range is a good choice. Also with environmental portraits, because the background helps tell the story, you want the background and/or foreground to remain in focus, so use an aperture of at least f8 or greater.

Experiment with viewpoint. Shoot from both a higher and lower angle than a normal eye-level position. This can result in excellent photos with a different look.

Environmental portraits are a more visually stimulating type of portrait as the subject is doing something while being photographed. For the viewer, it evokes more of a feeling like he or she were actually there.


This assignment involves thinking about a friend or family member you would like to shoot as an environmental portrait. Set up the scene with natural light coming in through a window. Position your subject working on their craft, and background so both are illuminated by the natural light. With your DSLR aperture set to f8, capture several images using different viewpoints. Also experiment by using other apertures such as f11 and f5.6. Note the differences in the apertures and viewpoints.

By Ron Kness

These tips and more can be learned in any Indy Photo Coach class or lesson.

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