As native Texan, I began my photography career in South Texas more than 3 decades ago, specializing in Environmental Portrait Photography. Environmental portrait photographer captures a person in his or her own environment and includes enough of the background to tell a story about that person.
I mainly do environmental portraits where the subject is several stops brighter than the background. I like good clean and sharp photos and hardly, if ever, do natural light photography. I lean more towards a simple approach where the main subject pops from the background and seems to pop from photo itself.
It is common in studio portraiture, candid photography, and natural light photography, to shoot using a shallow depth of field, thereby throwing the background out of focus or as in natural light photography, blowing the highlights in the clouds and sky. The background in environmental portraiture is, however, an integral part of the image and it tells the viewer who the subject is. Therefore, I use small apertures and great depth of field to capture the surrounding areas and the backgrounds are key elements to convey information about the person being photographed.
It is somewhat challenging to photograph people in their own environment specially when trying to control the available light on the subject and at the same time capturing the true nature of the scene. For this reason, I may use a combination of available light, on camera flash, off camera flash, and portable studio lights, to highlight my clients and their environment.
While I take special care in painting my subjects with good light, to convey the mood of the photograph and the essence of the person as they exist in real life, I also make sure to have the right equipment and training to capture the very best possible photographs. I use Canon cameras and L series lenses and replace my equipment every two to 3 years. I have my computers built specifically to edit photographs and optimize graphic cards to run programs like Photoshop, Lightroom, and On1 software. I calibrate all my equipment and color match my cameras with my PCs and my PCs to the printing Labs.
Finally, while lighting, equipment, and software are essential for taking good photographs, nothing prepares you to become a professional photographer as the right training. In 2012, I received my professional degree in photography from America’s oldest and largest photography school, The New York Institute of Photography, founded 1910. I have also attended training workshops and participate in photography groups, collaborate with professional photographers worldwide to keep abreast of the latest photography techniques, equipment, and processes.
My personal beliefs are that excellent portraits and not happy accidents, but are created with careful planning, forethought, and knowledge.