Recently Mike called me for an updated headshot for his professional profile and social media. We had good chat about his background. It helped me get to know Mike better and visualize the type of portrait that would capture his personality and image. I found out he has a foot in two different but complementary areas: he’s an information technology professional and a professor. We needed a shot for both areas of his career. Right away I knew the situation called for an environmental portrait.
A good description of an environmental portrait is a picture of a person in the situation they live in, or a place which says something about who they are. In my opinion they communicate a lot more about a person than the typical studio headshot, which I find to be bland and unnatural.
Location Location Location
The next decision was the location. Mike was going to be the main subject of the photo but I needed a backdrop that would allow him to express his warm personality and professionalism. And I didn’t want the location to be overly corporate or academic so he could use the portrait for either area. So I visualized the location I needed to find: spacious and well lit, neutral colors, clean lines, professional, simple, and clean. I found a great location and Mike rocked the shoot!
We had a lot of great natural light and the interior was well lit. I made the shot with a 50mm lens on my Fuji X-T1. I also had Yongnuo YN-560 flashes on Mike’s left and right, dialed way back to provide a touch of fill lighting.
As I look at the final images I think they do a really nice job of expressing who Mike is: kind, approachable, and warm as well as intelligent, trustworthy, experienced, and professional. That, in my opinion, is what a good portrait is all about.