Smitha Haneef, Executive Director, Campus Dining, Princeton University – photographed this past September for Plate Magazine and the 2016 Idaho Potato Foodservice Calendar.
The assignment directives asked that the portraits be environmental, giving a good sense of the space, and that they set off Smitha enough to keep the attention on her. Any students seen within the frame had to be unidentifiable.
Those requests all pointed to one method, shallow depth of field. The top image, in Princeton’s Rockefeller Residential College Dining Hall, was shot at ISO 800, 1/125s, and f/2.8 on a Canon 50mm f/1.2 L lens. The bottom image, in the adjoining cafeteria, was at ISO 500, 1/125s, and f/2 on the same lens.
The assignment budget did not allow for an assistant so I kept to a smaller footprint. The big lights stayed back at the studio. Lighting in the dining hall was with two Canon 600EX-RT Speedlites. The key, to camera left, was aimed through a translucent umbrella and the backlight/fill was far to camera right, pointed straight up into a small Chimera Lantern. The abundance of windows in the dining hall allowed for keeping the flashes at their native daylight color temperature but some correction of the practical fluorescents was done in Capture One and in Photoshop.
The cafeteria was in use while I shot and it was requested that I go light free for that setup or work very quickly. I chose the latter using the umbrella mounted Speedlite. I gelled it with a CTO to match the tungsten lights in the space and the camera similarly via a custom white balance. You can see some daylight spill in this image (blue light), it came from the upper clerestory windows. I think it adds a bit of depth and variety to the image. The flashes in each scenario were controlled from the camera via Canon’s ST-E3-RT Transmitter.
This was my first assignment will the new Canon 5DSR 50MP camera body. All went well. I’ll report more on the camera in another post but suffice it to say, I am very happy with it. Having the extra pixels helps even if a client does not need that level of detail and the reports of the camera being “studio only” or “low ISO only” because if its ultra high resolution are baloney.