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Scientist in lab

Quick update on the big commissioned science project I’ve been working on – It’s finished! ¬†Around 7 shoots in total and a shed load of ‘sciency’ images later it’s finally done. I’m happy, and more importantly so is the client…

The final few shoots included visits to the Paterson Institute and St Mary’s Hospital, both in Manchester. Labs, darkrooms, scientists, boffins, more labs, boffins in labs, (and more liquid nitrogen) were the order of the day here once more. Did I mention there were labs?

Scientist in lab with liquid nitrogen

Liquid nitrogen - still gets me excited

As this assignment went along I quickly learned one important fact – one lab looks pretty much the same as another. In fact make that exactly the same. I titled this series of blog posts ‘Lighting the Lab’ as I like to use on-location lighting as you might have guessed – mainly Nikon portable speedlights – and for this assignment I used them in abundance, often gelled to get some dramatic colour effects and liven up an often not very lively scene and add some variety.

Scientist in lab

Those pesky speedlights go anywhere. This time in this mini incubator lighting the scientist's face

The image below is an interesting one and a slight departure from the usual labs. This was a darkroom, kept in perpetual gloom as the cells they work with in here are sensitive to daylight. So, no option but to get the speedlights out in here. It might not look it but a hell of a lot of effort went into this shot – 3 separate lights, snoots, gels and controlling the iso and ambient light just enough to let the LCD screen light the scientist’s face. Us photographers don’t just stick it in auto mode and point and shoot you know…

Scientist in darkroom lab

lighting up a 'darkroom' here. Pretty tricky as described above

A few more pics…

Female scientist looking down microscope

coloured test tubes in lab

Scientist in visor cutting cells in lab


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