Environmental Portrait: Longmont Welder

JOAN_OF_ARC© Times-Call 2012/MediaNews Group 2012

I made this picture for a story on a local welding company owned by the woman in the photo. It was an idea I had for a while but didn’t have the opportunity to shoot. To create it, I used the cutting torch as the main light and a variety of gelled speedlights to shape the rest of the environment around the subject. It turned out more or less how I had envisioned and it ran at a decent size in the printed edition. Click through to see the final page.

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Environmental Portraits

© Matthew Jonas 2010/Evergreen Newspapers 2010

I haven’t posted anything of value in a while so I thought I would write a little about a portrait I shot last week. I shoot a lot of environmental portraits. In the newspaper industry it is something that is used to illustrate a story where there isn’t an “action” shot to be made. In general, I really like shooting them because it pushes me to step outside my comfort zone and use some of that lighting gear that is usually collecting dust on my office floor.

The subject here is an 18 year old metal sculptor and amateur body builder. Because he wasn’t currently working on a new sculpture I chose to make a portrait instead. The portrait was made in the metal shop outside his home in Evergreen. I used 2 lights. The red-gelled-light on the left was used to signify welding sparks or molten hot metal. On the right side, I wanted a “light coming through an open door” look to give the shop a darker feel. I underexposed the ambient by 2 or 3 stops and filled it back in with the lights. Overall I am pretty happy with the end results. Looking back now I would probably add at least 2 more lights. I would put a light on a boom to illuminate the top of his welding helmet and I would try to illuminate the TIG welder to give a little more definition to the image. Other than that I like it.