High School Football Portraits

© Times-Call 2012/MediaNews Group 2012

I’ll admit it. I used to hate my speedlights. The first one I bought sat in my camera bag for 6 months before I even turned it on for the first time. I didn’t understand how to use it, when I should use it or what it was capable of. I got over my hatred but only after a lot of experimentation and studying the work of other news and editorial photographers. Once I understood what could be accomplished using speedlights, modifiers and a solid knowledge of lighting, I never approached a portrait the same way again.

Click through for to learn about how the picture above was made.

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The Next Big Thing?

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

With more than 325,000 views on his YouTube video for Jonah, 18-year-old Graham Stookey might get his wish to play Red Rocks. I had the pleasure to make a few pictures of him for an upcoming story in the Columbine Courier (which is still a free online publication).

When I first started to light portraits, I used to overpower everything. I cranked up the power on my lights and totally blew away the ambient light. Lately I have been taking a much simpler approach to lighting environmental portraits. I add to what is available. With the portrait above, I was looking for a certain mood. Stookey shot the video I linked to in his basement. His theme has been to make a living playing music to get out of the basement and onto the stage. While not that creative, I chose to shoot the portrait of him “where it all began”.

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The Gallery Owner and the Speedlights

© Matthew Jonas 2011/Evergreen Newspapers 2011

I shoot a lot of environmental portraits and have written about it before. Generally I choose to light a portrait and not include the gear that I use to do it with in the actual picture. I’m not sure where I got the idea or what I was looking at that gave me the inspiration but this time I decided to leave it in. I’m still not sure if I like it or not but think I am going to run it this week as the main photo in a supplemental publication we have called Upslope.

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What is all this stuff?

© Matthew Jonas 2010

I’ll tell you what it is. It’s one of the new Nano rigs from Redrock Micro. In the next couple of days I will have an in depth review of some of their new products including an update to the Microfinder Loupe accessory. Stay tuned for a lot more.