How-to Environmental Portrait Photography

Environmental Portrait Photography – Communications Toolkit from Virginia Community Healthcare on Vimeo.


Introduce your staff to your social media audience by using a picture of the employee and a compelling caption, share what makes these staff members Health Center Heroes! For reference, check out the “Humans of New York” Facebook page, which has great examples of environmental portraits and captions. An environmental portrait, as opposed to a professional or traditional portrait, is one that shows the subject at work in their natural environment.


Portrait Tutorial*

  1. Choose a Natural Setting

Take a picture of your subject in their natural environment. For example, if you’re taking a picture of a provider, consider doing so in an examining room.

  1. Use Natural Light

If possible, have the subject face towards a window to utilize a soft, natural light source. (Depending on how strong the light is, you may have to ask the subject back up so they aren’t overexposed.)

  1. Hold Your Phone Sideways

If you’re using a smartphone to take the picture, make sure to hold your phone sideways.

  1. Frame Your Shot

Most cameras and smartphones have a grid that can be turned on to help you frame your shot. Traditionally, portraits are framed with the subject’s eyes on the intersecting two-thirds lines.

*A brief, accompanying video tutorial for this guide will be available in the Media Toolkit Dropbox.


Sample Questions

Ask a few questions to explain why your featured staff person is a Health Center Hero. Record their answers and later choose a compelling quote of theirs to include as the caption. Example questions may include:

  1. How did you get started in health care?
  2. What drew you to Community Health Centers?
  3. What is the most rewarding aspect of your work?
  4. Why do you value CHCs?


Media Release Form

Make sure you have all featured staff members fill out a Media Release Form before posting their image on social media.

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