Environmantal Portraits

IBM Mainframe Magazine hired me to make an environmental portrait of Mike Giglio, a systems specialist with Shelter Insurance in their Columbia, MO headquarters for their July issue.  Mainframe’s style is to put the subject of their stories into context.  So in this case Shelter Insurance underwrites home and auto insurance.  They wanted a variety of poses and locations in a suburban setting with homes and cars out of focus in the background.  I consulted friend and colleague LG Patterson about locations in Columbia and he suggested one of the old brick streets, which was blocks away from the Shelter Insurance campus.

A two-day window was scheduled for the shoot with Mike and the threat of bad weather pushed us into the afternoon of the backup day.  His window of availability meant high overhead sun and hot.  I found an historic home on Greenwood St. that was surfaced in brick and had large oaks to shade Mike.  At the time I scouted there were cars in front but by the time I returned with my subject they were gone, of course.  Gear wise I used a Canon 5D MkII with a 24-70mm f2.8 zoom and two Quantum Trios as fill.  One with a 26 inch Quantum Octobox at left and a main light at right with a Lumodi Beauty Dish attached.  A Pilot on camera controlled things with a 2-1 ratio between the two lights. The exposure was set in shutter preferred automatic at 1/500th at f3.2.  I always leave my Trios set with high-speed sync enabled and love the ease at which you can control the ambient lighting.  This top photo was  the third frame shot at the first location.

The next day using the same technique I also shot a head and shoulders portrait  of a former colleague for use in her social media.  She liked the studio shots okay but thought a natural setting would be more her, so I set up two Quantum Trios as above and shot her portrait on a raised deck with back lit trees as a background.  The exposure was 1/1250th of a second at f2.8.

Most of my photography involves lighting things in a natural manner and working with regular people, not models.  The ease of use with the Trios means I could travel with my subject and set up quickly while keeping him engaged.  No assistant means less expenses so there is also a profit incentive.  Using Qttl in a ratio format means no meter reading or time wasting.  My subject is not sweaty and uncomfortable on a hot day.  I have four Trios and a Pilot so there is always a backup.


Kevin Manning

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