In contrast to street photography, where your subject might not know that you are photographing them, an environmental portrait is one where the subject is aware that you are photographing them in their usual or planned surroundings.
Usually, an environmental portrait will show the background, and will probably tell us something about the person and their work, or life, or what they are doing.
With an environmental portrait, your subject probably is aware that you are taking their picture. In some cases, you may have been commissioned to take the picture. It might be something arranged for a trade magazine.
They may be posed, and looking at the camera, or they may be working whilst you take your pictures. They may acknowledge that you are there, by smiling at the camera, or they may be looking into the distance, or at their work.
Other types of environmental portrait may be used for fashion or editorial purposes. The person in this case may be posing in an environment that is unfamiliar or unusual for them.
Using a wide angle lens in your environmental photos will mean that you have to get close to your subject, and you will still get lots of the back ground in to tell their story. If you are going to get close to a person’s face, make sure the angle is still flattering to them. Getting closer makes things bigger, which is something you may not always want. Large noses can be made smaller with photo editing software, Portrait Pro, but it’s still better to take a good picture first. Check out our video here.
It’s usually a good idea to do your research on the person that you’re photographing. If it’s for a particular assignment, then you might want to find out what the subject has done, or why they are being featured. This will give you some good ideas about the composition of your image, and if the subject is famous, and often photographed, then you will probably want to achieve something new.
You can use photo editing software to ensure that they look their best for the photo. If it’s a portrait for a magazine or newspaper, then they will want to make sure that you can give them magazine quality portrait retouching. Portrait editing software can enhance any aspect of the face and features, and even improve the lighting of an image.