In the Newsroom

How to create a descriptive environmental portrait

Photo by Ben Jackson ’11 Danny Riggs ’11 leads a tough Brophy defense and strikes fear in the eyes of opposing quarterbacks, racking up four sacks in three games this season.
Photo by Ben Jackson ’11 - Danny Riggs ’11 leads a tough Brophy defense and strikes fear in the eyes of opposing quarterbacks, racking up four sacks in three games this season.

By Ben Jackson ’11
Photo Editor/THE ROUNDUP

In The Roundup’s October edition there was an article on Danny Riggs ’11, a defensive end on the football team.

I took the photo of Riggs to accompany the article.

Normally a general rule for photos in The Roundup is that we use candid photos that are not setup or posed.

The exception to this rule is environmental portraits that typically go along with feature stories.

An environmental portrait is a photo that not only shows what the person looks like but shows who they are too.

The player profile is considered a feature article and is one of the few times an environmental portrait can be used.

For this photo there was a lot of planning and setup required.

Before the photo shoot I contacted Riggs via e-mail to find a date and time that would work for him to take some pictures.

I then had to decide what position to take pictures of him and the lighting to use.

Since Riggs is a defensive end I knew he should look as intimidating as he possibly could.

Photo by Ben Jackson '11 - Taken in the fall of 2009, Peter Kelly '10 is a receiver and team captain on the varsity football team.

For positioning, it was best if Riggs was in a three-point stance.

Last year I took a photo of Peter Kelly ’10 for a similar player profile article.

With Kelly I used two flashes with a wireless trigger that caused them to go off whenever I took a picture.

I put a red theatrical gel that normally is used for theater stage lighting on one flash that was behind him to make the lockers glow red. The second flash was to Kelly’s left.

I used a similar setup for this portrait.

I had Riggs stand in a three-point stance with a single wireless flash on his right side.

This time I did not use any theatrical gel and I only set up one flash.

My hope was to create the most descriptive photo possible by adding intense lighting to an already scary pose.