One of my favorite challenges in photojournalism is the portrait. It is the single most useful, challenging, rewarding, frustrating, awkward part of my job. It usually starts with a name and a subject line a often little else. From there I'm tasked with dreaming up a concept, formulating a strategy, then transferring these ideas into some kind of coherent digital file. I've driven through snow storms to photograph someone on the side of a highway in sub-zero temperatures. I've battled heat, humidity, mosquitoes, awful light, high winds and uncooperative subjects. Despite the struggles I can say that every portrait I've made I've walked away learning something. Lately, it seems, I've been doing a lot of portraits. Considering my great access to equipment and my general interest in improving my location lighting skills it has been truly wonderful. A blessing. By in large every experience recently has been good. I'm getting a better grasp of how to use the equipment available to me and more and more I feel like it is becoming a tool, and less an obligation to tote around the strobes and light stands. Generally my setup is a trio of 1600 White Lightning strobes powered by a vagabond mini battery pack. Occasionally I'll use a soft box as a modifier but more often it's a combination of umbrellas and grids. This approach is yielding about the same look every time but gradually I'm trying to tweak the setup to achieve something new. Here are a few from the past couple of weeks.