Photographing A Working Man

A working man in the lovely, albeit wild, grounds of the Botanical Gardens in Kolkata, India.

Photographing an interesting person in an environment to which they seem to belong makes for a compelling image. This style of photography is commonly referred to as an Environmental Portrait and it’s important to compose your image around those two essential elements: the portrait and the surrounding environment.

Lens Choice and Technique

The trick is to stand close enough so that the person in question is clearly identifiable while, at the same time, ensure you’re able to include a sufficient amount of their environment to better tell the story. The best way to achieve this is to move in close with a wide angle lens.

I made the above photo of a worker in the Botanical Gardens in Kolkata (i.e., Calcutta), India. It looks very much like a clearing in the jungle when in fact the gardens are in the middle of one of the world’s largest cities. But this is not England and these gardens do evoke a sense of the wild. 

Of course lens choice is only the beginning. Just as important as the focal length is the way you use it. Under normal circumstances the closer you get to the subject the more dominant they’ll become, yet the more of the background that will be excluded from your composition. That’s the beauty of a mild wide-angle lens (e.g., 35mm on a full frame camera) as it’s wider angle of view will include more of the surroundings (i.e., above, below, left and right) than would be the case with a normal or telephoto focal length.

So by selecting a mild wide-angle focal length and moving up close to your subject you can depict them within their environment. A further tip is to place your subject off centre. If they’re in the middle of the frame they’ll likely be blocking the background and, as a consequence, much of the environment.

India Photography Collection Updated

This photo is part of my updated India Photography Collection. There are currently 30 photos in the collection and more will be added over time. You’ll notice the collection includes portrait, landscape, architecture and religious subject matter.

I really hope you’ll love what you see. If you do be sure to share widely and wildly. That’s what the social media icons at the bottom of the post are there for. The more folks that visit my site the more content I’m able to produce and share. And have no doubt, as the numbers grow so will the quality and variety of the images, articles and reviews.

Improved Viewing Experience

Regular visitors will have noticed a number of recent updates to the various portfolios within this site. In many cases new images, many of them previously unpublished, are being added. But a far greater change is being undertaken, a little bit at a time.

I’ve made a number of major changes to this site over the last year. I’ve always believed that for a site to offer the best possible experience for visitors it has to be built upon the best designed and strongest structure (skeleton, if like) possible. I think this is my seventh year of blogging. I’m what you might call prolific. This is now my third major site, and all the images and posts from those previous two sites are contained in this most recent reincarnation of the Travel Photography Guru.

Now the Problem

But there’s a problem. As technology has changed so to has the ability to improve the basic structure (e.g., backbones) of the site. Sounds good? Well, yes, but it means completely updating the previous six years of posts (image size, headings, text layout, etc) to fit in with the new site’s capabilities. If ever you find yourself looking at one of my older posts you’ll see what I mean. The photo, the primary element in all my posts, may be displayed at around one half or less the size of photos in current posts. In addition text formatting might, on occasions, be a bit astray.

I’m sure there are few bloggers, particularly those who do it for the money, that could be bothered with updating all these older posts and galleries. But, for me, this is very much a labor of love. And, as such, it’s essential to me that your experience remains consistent with each page and gallery you visit. I’m also very aware that so many of us now have large desktop displays (e.g., 27” widescreen). There’s just no point placing an image in a post if it can’t be clicked on and viewed, nice and big, without the loss of quality.

The plan is to update all my current galleries, a task which should be finished within the next month. From there I’II add new galleries, in line with my current display criteria, and begin to update the many hundreds of blog posts throughout the site, one by one. I expect it will take the rest of the year before the task is completed. Together with a number of other changes and additions, that will begin to come on line over coming weeks and months, it’s going to be a really beautiful site that will meet my mission of sharing the beauty of our natural world and its people with an ever wider audience.

Organizing Your Photos

One major upside for me is that, together with a more cohesive and beautiful site, the work required to update all my images is allowing me to better organise them in line with my current, and significantly improved, workflow.

The dream of being able to organize, locate and output images will finally be accomplished. And it will be done by the end of 2014.

Having a lot of great images is good, but having immediate access to them will be incredible. And the program I use to import, organise and undertake fundamental image processing is Adobe Lightroom.

I’ve been using Lightroom since it was first released. It’s now version 5, and I can’t imagine what I’d do without it. I firmly believe that

Lightroom is the software application most appropriate to the enthusiast and professional photographer alike. It's intuitive and extremely powerful.

If you haven’t already done so, you can check out my India Photography Collection HERE.

Glenn Guy, Travel Photography Guru