Friday, March 19, 2010

Weekend Assign: Enviromental Portrait

An environmental portrait is a portrait executed in the subject's usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject's life and surroundings.
Spend time getting to know your subject
Before you select a location and start shooting, spend some time getting to know your subject. Find out where they spend their time, what the rhythm of their life is like and observing their personality. Out of this you’ll not only find appropriate locations but will begin to get a feel for the style of shots that might be appropriate and you’ll begin the process of helping your subject relax into the photo shoot. If possible it might even be helpful to accompany your subject to some possible locations to see both how they look but also how your subject behaves and interacts

Sometimes a location chooses you (it’s easy) but on other occasions you need to be quite deliberate and purposeful in making your choice (and it can take a lot of searching).
When choosing your environment you ideally want to get one that says something about your subject – after all that’s what this style of photography is all about.
The environment that you place your subject in needs to provide context and interest without overwhelming the subject. Sometimes the location can dominate the image so much that it distracts your viewer away from your main focal point (the subject).
Try to avoid cluttered backgrounds (and foregrounds), colors that are too bright etc. Keep in mind that you might be able to decrease the distractions with clever use of cropping, depth of field and subject placement

Larry Sultan
Arnold Newman
Tina Barney

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