When I started this series of portraits, some of the people I most wanted to photograph were the members of the García Family, as to me they represent some of the most influential people in the cigar business today. I was able to photograph Pepín with my first portrait, but the other members of the family have eluded me.

Until last week, when I heard that the wonderful Janny García would be in town for a few days at a few different shops. I traveled to the Up In Smoke in Irving, where I asked if she had the time to sit for a few photos.

Janny García was amazingly gracious with her time, and just a great person to be around. We talked for about an hour after the shoot about her family’s history and their view on cigars, as well as discussing some of the upcoming releases they are trying out.

The photo itself was a bit challenging, as I needed three different light sources to accomplish what I had in my mind. The only place to photograph was in the back lounge, and there were TVs all over the walls. Great for a cigar lounge, not so great for the background of a portrait that I knew I had to get rid of somehow.


I decided to go with a very dark background, and basically try to expose just for García in the portrait, thus rendering the background black. However, I still needed to light Janny and the smoke. In order to light the smoke coming off her cigar, I put a Quantum on 1/8th power directly behind her shooting up, which provided two very different and important things: it backlit the smoke and also provided a nice rimlight to separate her from the black background.

One thing I wish I had done differently, I needed a bit more rimlight on the back of her head, I should have bumped up the light behind her to about a half power or so.

Janny García herself is lit with two different video lights, one camera left and one camera right.

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Brooks Whittington

I have been smoking cigars for over eight years. A documentary wedding photographer by trade, I spent seven years as a photojournalist for the Dallas Morning News and the Fort Worth Star Telegram. I started the cigar blog SmokingStogie in 2008 after realizing that there was a need for a cigar blog with better photographs and more in-depth information about each release. SmokingStogie quickly became one of the more influential cigar blogs on the internet, known for reviewing preproduction, prerelease, rare, extremely hard-to-find and expensive cigars. I am a co-founder of halfwheel and now serve as an editor for halfwheel.