Environmental Portraiture – Final Portfolio

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Thursday (Halloween) was my last day for one of my classes this semester, Environmental Portraiture. Short review with the instructor of my final portfolio of images and I was free to go. Overall it was a great class and I really enjoyed it.

I’ve collected together all the images into a single gallery and I want to thank everybody that helped out by letting me photograph them. Literally couldn’t have done it without you. Thanks to my two groupmates as well, it was great working with you. :)

Visit the whole gallery or just click on an individual image to quickly jump to the full screen version in the gallery.

A1 – Working The Character

The first assignment had us taking photos, 36 specifically, of our groupmates and then making a contact sheet of all the images. After that we needed to pick out one that we thought was the strongest and present it full size. So here’s the shot I chose. Anybody else feeling the film era origins of this assignment? Heh, it’s aged well I suppose.

A2 – Natural Light

“Natural Light” is kind of a deceptive name for this assignment. My first thought was that we just had to go out and shoot a portrait with sunlight. That’s partially true, but we had to use a reflector or diffuser to modulate the light. I know it’s still natural light, but I’m just saying that “Modifying Natural Light” would be more fitting. You can read more about this image (and the next one) in my Railroad Portraits post.

A3 – Utilizing Small Strobes

The other image from my Railroad Portraits post, this assignment emphasized balancing the ambient/environment light with the light from a pocket strobe (speedlight, flashgun, etc.).

A3 – Utilizing Small Strobes (Part 2)

We had to do one of the assignments twice and I chose to do the small strobes one again. Mostly because they’re much easier to carry around than larger strobe systems and I already own one.

A4 – People, Places, & Possibilities

Photographing a stranger and using some sort of light device. A pretty frightening combination the first few times you do it. Be sure to read the A Strange(r) Problem post for the full story behind this image!

A5 – Color Conversion Gels

This involved using a color conversion gel (never would’ve guessed, right?) to either blend the color of the strobe light in with the ambient light or to create a color effect. I opted for the color effect route, so the strobe had a CTO (color temperature orange) gel on it and my camera was set to Tungsten white balance. Using a tungsten white balance adds blue to the image, so a normally orange looking tungsten light (aka incandescent, like a regular house light bulb) will appear white. What about non-orange light sources (like the light outside)? It’ll make those lights bluer as well, so normal daylight will go from white to blue and the blueish color of overcast skies will become an even deeper blue. It was getting dark pretty fast so the light you see outside through the door wasn’t as deep a blue as it could have been. When I processed the image I pumped in a lot of this greenish blue color to make it look even more dramatic.

A6 – Environmental Portrait

Designed to be the epitome of the class, utilizing the techniques learned from all the other assignments and creating a complete, polished environmental portrait (not that the others weren’t). We also had to use a bigger strobe system than pocket strobes. The college has Profoto Pro 7b battery packs with Acute something or another heads. Basically a really expensive, oversized car battery with controls and light heads. They put out a lot of nice light though, so I’m not complaining (too much 😉 ).

A7 – Campus Life (Group Project)

I had a couple of groupmates I was working alongside of all semester and for our “final exam” type assignment we all had to work together to produce a shoot about an aspect of campus life. I plan on writing a full blog post about it since there are so many aspects to cover. Suffice it to say, the whole experience was pretty fun and just a little bit stressful.

A12 – Location Composite

No, I didn’t skip a bunch of numbers. Ok, technically I did but that’s not the point. Assignments 8 through 12 were optional, with the stipulation that we had to do at least one of them. It actually only went up to 11 at the start of the semester and it’s pretty much entirely my fault that a 12th was added. Long story short, I originally created this image as a composite for assignment 5 up there. However, since the class is more about lighting techniques and not so much about Photoshop my instructor said I couldn’t use it for that assignment. He agreed to meet me halfway though and let me use the image for the extra assignment, and apparently it spawned a whole new assignment option. I think that’s pretty cool but I might be a little bias about it. 😀

Discount On Prints!

So there you go, pretty much everything I’ve been working on since the beginning of September for this class. Wrapped up and sent straight to you in a single blog post. I’m rather proud of the work I produced and I hope you enjoyed seeing it! I’m definitely going to miss being in the class but to celebrate how much fun I had I’m running a special discount on prints. Save 20% on prints for any image (yes, any, not just the ones in this post!) available in The Observation Deck galleries. Just enter the code ENVIRONMENTAL at checkout. Take a look around and see if there’s something you like!

P.S. I’d recommend picking the metallic paper option for almost all the images I have in there. It gives the image an extra bit of “pop”. That’s the technical term. :)

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Posted in Behind The Photo.