Behind the Scenes | How to take an environmental award winning family portrait

This image was a part of a family session, right from the time of booking Dad was keen to have a shot in their garage with his boys.  I love environmental portraits, they offer a real window into the life of the subjects.  This image won a silver award at the recent 2016 National Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPAs).

Time of Day & Location notes

As we were also shooting outside family portraits, the session took place late in the day, around 4pm.  The garage door was open behind me throwing a lovely soft light inside.

Setting the scene

This was all about the them, Dad’s garage, cars and boys.  They set the scene, I merely suggested where to stand and what to do.

The tech stuff

I used a tripod so I could shoot as narrow a depth of field as possible, and a wide angle lens to include as much of the garage as possible. Using my 35mm f1.2L, 1/50sec, no one was moving fast, f9, ISO1600.


First I corrected the image for the distortion the wide angle lens gave on the yellow struts and roof.  Then a reasonably strong HDR effect was applied to the image on most areas of the garage.  I also softened & darkened the strong light that came from the roof and highlights throughout the garage.  The image was printed on a matt paper that softens the effect so I went a little further digitally then I normally would.

How to take an award winning family portrait

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