I shot a few portraits of colleagues the other day for one of our core funding grants from Research to Prevent Blindness. From a photographic perspective, shooting in a laboratory environment can be difficult with atrocious light from a mixture of fluorescent, tungsten, xenon, sunlight and LED sources, all with different white balances. The trick is to get rid of as much of it as you can and then build up what you want alá a Strobist approach. This shot of Jun Yang was made by shutting off all of the overhead fluorescent lighting, adding in some accent lighting on the microscope base to highlight her hands and then filling in the rest with two strobes behind simple umbrellas as fillers behind and to the left of the camera. Shades were half opened and drawn over the South facing window at back and the aperture opened up to f/2.8 to blur out the lines from the shades while still allowing some fill on the shelves behind Jun’s head.
As an aside, I love Jun’s work. Her lab focuses on the genetics of retinal degeneration, focusing specifically on the mechanisms of a set of inherited diseases called Usher Syndrome where people go blind and deaf due to defects in the cytoskeleton of photoreceptors in the eye and hair cells in the ear. Jun’s work is clean, focused and precise and always a pleasure to read.