An email came in.
“We need you to go xxx place to meet with Mr/Ms zzz for a photo session for our editorial work. Are you able to do it at this time and date, deliver by this date?”
Oh yeah, this is the type of work that i enjoyed. I received many last minute request in the past when i was doing editorial work. I usually will agree to it unless i got a job planned ahead.
Rather than working photography as a job. It was more of a fun adventure for me, the opportunity to meet a new person, visiting places that is not accessible to public eyes, all these reasons excite me. Over time i realize i was actually doing an environmental portraits on location.
In 2010, this (left) was one of my first environmental portrait photography for an editorial work in Singapore.
Only a flashlight mounted on camera was used.
Whenever i reach a new location, ring up the person i am going to meet with, exchange pleasantry. Breaking the ice is very important, it can be quite nerving wrecking for the person to meet a photographer for the first time to have their picture taken quickly. These people i met are not a professional model or having their portrait picture taken frequently. I usually will ask the person to show me where are their working area and share with me any nice environment for a photo session. In-between the walk, i have a few questions to ask them about their work to get to know my subject better. This is a way to make them more relax, let them know i am Mr. Friendly.
Environmental Portrait of an engineer inside an aircraft manufacturing factory
Depending on my subject’s schedule. I usually have 30 mins to 2 hours with my subject. I don’t bring an assistant for a short period, no point bringing huge bags of lights to do set-up, which will be a kill of time. I also need to offer a variety of pictures for the clients to select. I need to prepare myself really quickly to familiarize of their working environment. I will bring a tripod in case i want to stabilize my camera while i can communicate with my subject.
Once i had found a suitable background or position. I will start to give some art directions, telling the person what i want. I don’t need them to deliberate pose, i usually demonstrate simple poses for them to follow, also considering the type of attire they are wearing. Make use of the props such as books, laptop, and files if needed if the person is uncomfortable standing or sitting down for a picture. If possible i would also try to portray the environment they are working if the place is neat.
Regarding the lighting – direct flash can be harsh in a controlled environment, rather than directly firing the flashlight on the subject. I will turn my flash head to a certain angle and have the light bounce it off the wall or ceiling to create a softer tone.
Portrait picture of a radiographer in a healthcare environment
I will also include the company name or branding of the places (2 pictures below) that i am working at, especially when client emphasize it for their requirement. Many years down the road, this became a good habit for me to include branding in the pictures whenever possible.
After so many years of environmental or editorial photography. I am still intrigued today to meet new people such as business owner, CEO and celebrities. I loved to hear more about their job, their thinking about work. There is always a new knowledge to take back home each day. Or even a new friendship.
My Editorial lifestyle portrait photography has a wide variety such as
If you are interested to hire Capture Asia Photography for photography service, drop me an email to enquire. 😉
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Check out my other posts for commercial photography here in Singapore.