Most of the time when I’m creating a portrait I work hard to not let the background to have the same weight as the subject.
Doing this more than 2000 times has made me quite adept at placing my subject in the right place and then removing the influence of the background with a rather short depth of field.
Placement within the frame is art, f/stop selection is craft. The proportion of art and craft for my portraits varies by location and subject.
Once in a while, I’ll find myself with the right subject and the right environment to show more of the place.
The location for this session was an old-school service station that hasn’t changed much in decades. Certainly not within the lifetime of the person in front of the camera.
Once I saw how this young man fit into the surroundings, I knew that giving the portrait a sense of place by showing more background would be a creative enhancement.
About the author: I am Stephen Kennedy, an experienced photographer specializing in creating environmental on-location portraits and corporate photo libraries for blue chip companies.