FRAMES: Photo Challenge #62: Environmental Portrait

Your challenge this time around is to show us your best Environmental Portrait.

An environmental portrait is defined as “a picture of a person executed in the subject’s usual environment, such as in their home or workplace, and typically illuminates the subject’s life and surroundings.”

(We use the “portrait” part of this term very loosely here. This does not have to be a head and shoulders subject looking directly into your lens photo)

Photographing a person in their natural surroundings enables a photographer to better catch a glimpse of their character or personality by surrounding them with their life, work or passion, be it table full of baked goods or their garage full of classic cars.

This can be any photo of a person, posed or un-posed but the subject must (and this is the most important part hence the bold text and the underline) be aware that you are there focusing your camera on them and only them.

Most people become uncomfortable and self conscious when they are aware the camera is focusing on them. That fact in itself changes the whole dynamic of a photo. I much prefer to shoot candids over portraits because the fact that the subject is very aware that I am focusing on them and when they seem uncomfortable and self-conscious that in turn makes me uncomfortable and self-conscious.

So choose your subject and photograph them in an environment that tells the viewer something about them. This is when your background and/or foreground are almost as important as the subject in the frame so pay attention to everything in the frame.  Feel free to pose your subject and have them look directly into your camera for a traditional portrait, or showcase that nonchalant “I know you’re there but I’m pretending that you aren’t there clicking away so I’m going to continue to go on with my life/work” moment.

I’ll post examples of both posed and unposed environmental portraits below in case my rambling has confused you .

Deadline for entries will be March 4th. and rules and regulations will be posted at the end of this post. Feel free to email me your entries (mreid@kitsapsun.con) if you have a hard time uploading them to the Upload Photo Challenge Pix link to the right of this page.

We encourage you to shoot your challenge entry during the week that it is posted but will accept older photos (begrudgingly).

Stand-outs will be chosen and published in the Kitsap Sun.


Here are some examples of posed environmental portraits from our archives:


Gary Kanekkeberg, a 75-year-old lifelong South Kitsap guy who has 16 classic cars in the garage at his house. (LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN)

Gazzam Lake

Marty Simpson and Tara Prendergast at their Broken Ground Farm in Eglon on Wednesday, March 28, 2012. (MEEGAN M. REID/KITSAP SUN)


Whiskey Creek

Chef Robert Irvine and his Restaurant Impossible crew at Whiskey Creek Steak House in Keyport. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)

Poulsbo Filmmaker

Filmmaker Barry Gregg at work in the office of his Poulsbo home. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)

american pickers

Verne Christopher inside one of his out buildings that is full of old cars, and military vehicles.  He was one of two local’s to be featured on the History Channel hit show American Pickers. (LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN)


Gary Kanekkeberg, a 75-year-old lifelong South Kitsap guy who has 16 classic cars in the garage at his house. (LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN)

Charles Wiggins is the first State Supreme Court Justice from Kitsap County. He is standing on the deck of his Bainbridge Island law office. (LARRY STEAGALL  |  KITSAP SUN)

Rachel Soule, of Poulsbo, was an extra in UK pop artist Cheri Moon’s “One Crazy Summer” video which was filmed at Skateland in Bremerton. (Meegan M. Reid |  Kitsap Sun)

South Kitsap’s Joe rose is headed for the class 4A state tournament next month. (Steve Zugschwerdt | For the Kitsap Sun)



Norma Davis, 90, has vivid memories of the time she was stationed in Honolulu with her Navy husband George Davis.  (LARRY STEAGALL  |  KITSAP SUN)

Here are some examples of un-posed environmental portraits:

Emily Moshay

H. Emily Moshay works in her yard in Bremerton on Wednesday, May 16, 2012. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)

Borrowed Kitchen Baker

Lacey Anders wraps freshly made granola bars at her Borrowed Kitchen Bakery in Kingston on Wednesday April 4,  2012.( MEEGAN M. REID/KITSAP SUN)

Car Club


Larry Waggoner, of Belfair, is reflected in the mirror of a 1959 Thunderbird as he and fellow Saints Car Club members chat in the parking lot of Kitsap Bank in Port Orchard on Thursday, August 10, 2012. The Siants Car Club will be hosting the annual Cruz in Port Orchard. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)

Employer Spotlight David Wade Woodworking

David Buchanan, of David Wade Woodworking, prepares a cabinet door for gluing at his shop in Poulsbo on Wednesday, August 8, 2012. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)


Aarne Bielefeldt from California gets close to the judges at the North American Beard and Mustache Championships at the Bremerton Elks Lodge to show his curled whiskers on Saturday. He scored a perfect score and won first place in the freestyle category. (LARRY STEAGALL / KITSAP SUN)

Monicas Bakery

Monica Downen, owner and operator of Monica’s Waterfront Bakery & Café, gets a cookie for a customer at her establishment in Old Town Silverdale on Thursday, February 2, 2012. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)

Seen through the window of Cornerstone Coffee in Bremerton, Ed Cain talks about when he was a 21-year-old reporter who rushed to Dallas after the Kennedy assassination and was one of the last reporters to see Lee Harvey Oswald alive. (MEEGAN M. REID |  KITSAP SUN)

Point No Point

Jeff Gales is refracted in the fresnel lens as he talks about the restoration of the Point No Point lighthouse in Hansville on Wednesday, May 09, 2012. (MEEGAN M. REID / KITSAP SUN)



***To recap: Every month we will post a new photography “challenge” to help build on all of our current photography skills and to encourage everyone to get out and get shooting (cameras not guns). While we encourage you to shoot the challenge in the week that it is assigned, we will begrudgingly accept entries taken prior to the challenge assignment date…at times.

When you’ve got your favorite shot, login to the Kitsap Sun Your Media Site (if you don’t already have a login, you can quickly set it one up) or click the “Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge Entries” button over there on the right side of the page and upload your image to the Kitsap Frames Photo Challenge Channel (the channels run along the left hand side of the page, again if you can’t seem to get it into the channel just upload it normally and send me an email and we’ll move it).