Environmental portraiture can be challenging. At night, with multiple light sources on the subjects – and when it’s so cold you need to make the photo fast for the convenience of the family. Knowing this and taking the time for the required preparation makes for a professional photograph.

First I decided to frame this live family portrait in front of the antique locomotive at the Essex Steam Train and Riverboat well before my son Luke’s family arrived. Choosing a low ISO rating for the best quality image meant a low shutter speed and firm foundation for the camera. 

The next challenge was to consider the various colors of the outdoor lights in the area that ranged from warm tungsten to cool mercury vapor lights. It was obvious to me that it was most important to record the faces of my son’s family with a pleasing color balance. To accomplish this I added just the right amount of fill light with just the right color.

Today’s cameras and that includes cell phone cameras, do a great job of capturing moments and doing all the technical calculations for you. Most of the resulting pictures will fill our albums of memories just fine.  I pride myself on going beyond the technical capabilities of my equipment and to actually think about what I need to do to make the best photos. That includes my work for my family, friends and all the clients who hire me for professional work.