Jeffrey Neal for Government Executive Magazine

Following up yesterday’s post, here is a look at my second of three shoots I did in December for Government Executive Magazine. For this assignment, my assistant Rich and I found ourselves at ICF International in Fairfax, VA where we photographed Jeffrey Neal.

We walked through the building and eventually found two locations that were ideal for the portrait of Neal. Our first location had two interesting walls that really caught our attention. There was a word cloud stretching from the floor to the ceiling with words relating to ICF International’s overall mission. The second wall had stripes behind a bench that spanned the entire length of the wall. Although this was our first location, it was more of a backup option to the more favorable second location.

Like the assignment with Towanda Brooks, Neal’s story is also about the hiring process. With that in mind, we wanted to have a visual element in the portrait that represented people. When we found our second location, my editor and I loved it. We both agreed that the empty seats worked great for the visual element we were looking for. Since I’m not the tallest guy in the room, I eventually had to stand on top of my Pelican case to get the higher angle we were needing. In the end, the magazine chose this shot for the article, which I’m happy they did.

Again, the lighting for these portraits was to look natural and not overly lit. I think it’s a great choice for these assignments because it is a more honest look that also allows you to focus on the subject. And speaking of the subject, Neal was very gracious with his time considering we were what stood between him and his holiday vacation. He had good spirits through the entire shoot and was so kind to all of us while working together. Tomorrow I’ll share the final of the three shoots, and be ready to see some killer boots.

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