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Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Environmental Portraits Banff Alberta

Pattern shape and texture from the rock give this picture some impact

An environmental portrait is a picture composed of both your subjects and their surrounding environment.  More often than not, it is the environmental portrait that couples print large and put on the wall as a piece of art or keepsake.

I met Holly and Tyler in Banff and we  headed up the tram to the top of Sulphur Mountain.  It was windy, cold, and almost snowing so we didn't have a ton of time to enjoy ourselves as much as we had wished.  We were still able to get down to business and capture some breathtaking photographs despite the numb fingers!.... 

You may have noticed in archived posts that I have worked with Holly and Tyler before and they are used to being in front of my camera.  This helps more than you can imagine which is why I always meet couples for a photo session prior to their weddings.  The couple needs to feel relaxed and comfortable in order to create moments with real emotion.  Of course candid photos are great but there is always some structure and guidance involved when shooting large events and couples during an engagement session.

Creative cropping and an over abundance of textures keep viewers eyes traveling around this photograph

When and how can I capture an environmental portrait you ask?  Well its easy as 1, 2, 3, 4....  just kidding. Of course it's approptiate to capture an E.P. when the area you are working in is beautiful or artistic.  Perhaps you are in a special memorable area where the couple met or walking down a favorite trail where they got engaged?  Either way, as a photographer you need to look at your surroundings and find ways to embrace the couple into the photograph.  Showcase the land or architecture but still position and compose the couple in a way that supports them.  Eventually draw the viewers eye to the subjects using things such as "leading lines" that point to the couple.  IE a river, a fence, or a railing?  Compose the photograph creatively so the couple is not always dead center.  Focus on the couples faces, but re-compose to pull in the surroundings.  Keep in mind you may want to use apertures small enough (F11 - F22) to keep the subject and background both in focus.

Wide angle and up close.  This photograph really shows off the couple but still gives a great description of the path they were just walking up and the memorable view along with it!

Otherwise it is up to you as the photographer to find some interesting locations within your location to incorporate.  Look for things as you would in art.  The elements of design: line, shape, form, textures, patterns, colors etc.   These elements will always help you to create a striking image that you and your clients will cherish and show off for years to come.

Sometimes dead center works.  The couple is framed by the trees flanking them.  Lots of cool colors give this photo an interesting touch.

Please feel free to comment on the photographs or contact me if you have any questions!  I love talking photography and would love to hear from you ;)

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