My latest photography subject is fresh out of Officer Training School and brought a steeled focus to the shoot. Used to standing at attention for long periods of time, this guy was a breeze to photograph, as you can see from the photo below and in Launchpad’s portrait gallery.


For this portrait I wanted to convey a dark, dramatic ambiance. The background is black seamless and the lighting consists of two gelled rim lights and a large, feathered key light that rakes across the subject. During post I worked my basic retouching and color grading for a movie feel.

While shooting, Johnny recounted adventures from training and how rough military life can be. He had an MRE or meal, ready-to-eat in his duffle and was happy to let us have a sample. This one-day ration had a powdered sports drink that you mix in a bag, cinnamon roll, garlic toast, cheese spread, chicken pesto and patriotic cookies. I can tell you the cookies were exact replicas (minus the Hamburgler shape) of the cookies that were put in 1980s McDonald’s Happy Meals. The other cool thing about the MRE was a nitrogen-based heating unit. Just one drop of water will get the pack piping hot to heat up the chicken pesto. I also had a laugh when I learned every MRE comes with a laxative. While MREs are packed with a day’s worth of protein and other nutrients, it seems like the formula could still use some tweaking.