Environmental portraiture needs certain aspects to be effectively executed. It should be simple with limited distractions, well-composed, well-lit and engaging. Produce those elements and it will translate into strong, impactful imagery. Like landscapes, sports or even wildlife, the recipe for success in your pictures is identical with portraiture. Let me discuss the particulars in each of the images provided to help you get to that next level, whether you’re working with your spouse, child or even your pet.
This image of a lovely young lady looking off camera is effective for a number of reasons mentioned previously. First, the composition helps tell an imaginative story to the viewer by showcasing more area to where she’s looking. This is not a hard set rule, but when you have a subject looking off, in more cases than not, leaving “room to explore” works well. The subject’s face is evenly lit (essential for a female), with that light accentuating skin tones and thus becoming more effective. The background contains elements of an interesting environment and could be construed as “busy,” however, by using a small aperture number of 2.8 and making sure nothing is growing out of the young lady’s head (something that’s overlooked a lot) it only adds to the strength of the story. Lastly, the subject’s facial expression is natural and beautiful. Sometimes this is challenging, but it’s where a good work ethic comes into play. Be engaging and you’ll be rewarded with the same.