Portrait Session: 3 Basic Elements by Kansas City based Photographer Kimberly Pimentel of Pimentel Portfolio LLC

A Portrait session that uses  the elements of Concept, Direction, and Environment is necessary in defining a professional aesthetic.   It's so important for a photographer to define her/his point of view.  And, to be able to translate this in a final piece of work is key.  But, equally important is learning to balance the footwork of your shoots.     

You will find that as you define your style and develop your workflow these three steps become your frame of a solid shoot. 


The trinity of Concept, Direction and Environment are key steps on building a strong  portrait session for our clients. Also, these  three considerations will make your work stronger and more consistent, which is necessary to advance your skill.

1.  The first step is Concept.  You need to have an idea, a vision of what your shoot is to become. The difference between a professional and a weekend warrior Photographer is the Pro uses this element of Concept to achieve and drive the session.  Vision boards, combined with discussion from your team will develop and often sail your shoot into the next level. 

2. Direction, direction, direction.  You as the person behind the lens are the wheelhouse of the shoot. It's up to you to make sure the concept is achieved and ultimately delivered.  It's easy to slip back and let a event unfold in front of you. It's the professional photographer who steps up to the plate and calls the shots. If you are currently a solo show, not to worry you are developing skills of all the cast of characters. You are wardrobe, lighting, and tech.  When you develop a team you will know every job and what is expected. And, as I see our images grow, I see my own personal directional skills developing. There's so much more that direction on a shoot entails, but for the sake of hitting the basics here we will move on.

3.  Environment. So you shoot In-studio, be it a 1500 sq ft rented space, out of studio or both, this is your environment.  We vary our shoots from in-studio to out, depending on the look we want to achieve.  Both can be a challenge. Whether you're shooting in-studio or batteling harsh midday danger zone sunlight, as a professional you have to be able to control your environment. And you have to be able to capture your environment and let the world be your backdrop, if you are out of studio. Once you step out of studio to shoot, your images take on a whole new energizing look. That energy is you capturing the element of light, look and idea.

There are many more elements to a portrait shoot. But, if you keep in mind the three elements of Concept, Direction, and Enviroment you learn to develop and control your clinical work flow.  

I am Kimberly Pimentel, Kansas City based Photographer. My current work can be seen: www.pimentelportfolio.com