I like people in their environment, and I like to picture them in it. A short word about that, today.

Last night, I made kid and family portraits of a very nice family. Mostly straight four-light portraits against a backdrop, like this:

But at the end, I did some family photos. For which I chose a more “real” backdrop.

No, I do not mean a “bursting through the reality envelope” setting like this (although in a strange way I do like it):

Family photo (Photo: Michael Willems)

But I mean this: a shot of the family in their home, with real items that make it home (the books, the window):

Family photo (Photo: Michael Willems)

I would call this a semi-environmental image. It is environmental in the sense that this is their home, and that I am balancing available light with flash light from my strobes. It is, however, also a studio shot, in the sense that it is posed, and this is the living room (which is never used in most home – a decorative room), and that I set it up and used it as a studio. I used lots of studio techniques – like strobes, and I flashed small speedlites at the ceiling in order to create the catchlights in the subjects’ eyes.

This image also needed a small amount of post work:

  • A little vignetting around the group
  • A part of one of my umbrellas showed as a reflection.
  • I increased exposure a little, also.

In a shoot like this, it is perfectly OK to do such post-work in Photoshop or Lightroom or in what software you choose to use. Don’t sweat it: shoot a competetnt image, then finish it in post.



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