08 Shoot an environmental portrait of a professional at work
Commercial location photographer Ian Aitken took this image as part of a series for a client. “I took this photograph using a simple lighting set-up,” he reveals.
“By using a one light set-up with a portable softbox I was able to produce a flat, head-on light. When taking pictures of people you don’t want them to feel bewildered, so by using just one light I could get better, more natural, results.”
As this image was part of a series it was important for Ian to get consistent results.
“I lit all the portraits in exactly the same way and set the aperture to f/8. This ensured the background and subject remained sharp. The background is just as important as the subject, as it reveals something about their trade.
“ For each subject I got them to hold what they produce, and to look directly into the lens.”
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- Use one light source. If you don’t have a softbox to fit over your flashlight you can use an elastic band and some greaseproof paper to diffuse the light.
- Be sure to include some important background details to contextualise the worker within their working environment.
- If you’re shooting a series, keep lighting consistent and set the aperture to f/8 throughout.
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