Cover story with Jorge Armenteros of A Little Taste of Cuba and founder of Tobacconist University for Tobacconist magazine (a trade publication for the cigar & pipe retailer association.)
Jorge has a beautiful shop in downtown Princeton which is picture perfect. It feels like a small movie set.
I scouted the location ahead of time and confirmed details with the store manager. While the store would be closed during my setup it would open while I was still working. So, I had to keep my intrusions to a minimum. This dictated battery powered lights as running extension cords would not be ideal.
One reason the store is so nice is that it is quaint but that also means the spaces within it are small and would be a challenge for setup and positioning.
I loved the humidor and it presented the best options for getting the store going out of focus in the background and also for a portrait featuring it as the background. Setting up within there – I had just enough space for 1 or 2 lights, my laptop, and my tripod acting as a laptop stand. My assistant waited outside while I shot.
This is the setup for the portrait within the humidor. A Litepanels Astra with a softbox is acting as the key light, a Litepanels Sola 4 fresnel is the fill. The cover portrait was similar. Jorge stood in front of the orange cigar boxes on the left, the camera was pretty much where the stool is, and I had the Astra/softbox as key. The Sola 4 was outside of the humidor, aimed back Jorge, providing the backlight you see on the left side of the cover image (Jorge’s right.)
The store was lit completely with tungsten so the Astra was set to full CTO and a CTO was used in the Sola 4, too.
Going tungsten meant the strong daylight coming into the store would run blue and that was fine. It would make for some nice color contrast within each setup. In post processing I split the difference a bit, letting Jorge go a bit warm which left the background blue but not crazy blue.