GEAR TALK: USING PROFOTO

Let’s start at the beginning; Profoto AB was founded in Stockholm in 1968, by Conny Dufgran (a photography equipment retailer), and Eckhard Heine (a photographer, and engineer). Several notable professionals have used different Profoto products during their careers, including Annie LeibovitzHerb Ritts, and David LaChapelle (big names, right).

Profoto founders

PROFOTO

Profoto is dedicated to making every image the best it can possibly be by helping the creator bring the very best quality of light to the image. And when you consider there are literally billions of images taken every single day, you start to truly understand the full extent of their commitment to light shaping excellence.

Because they believe that light is the indispensable heart of all image creation, no matter what the camera, no matter what the situation, the ability to create amazing images is directly linked to the ability to master light shaping.

That core principle is the key to enabling a world filled with incredible images and the purpose of every single light shaping tool they make.

I’ll openly admit that studio lighting used to give me anxiety. Going into a masterclass with Naim Chidiac was like learning to fly by jumping off a cliff, and flapping your arms furiously. It worked though! I can’t actually find the adjectives for how absolutely amazing it is to have hands-on guidance in a small group (almost one-to-one) when the conditions are designed to push your creativity, conceptual vision, and contingency planning.

Jorge Henao

Jorge Henao

Marc Schwarz

Marc Schwarz

The Profoto gear is EASY to use. I mean that you literally attach the controller, power up the lights (the battery is on the B10 itself), and bingo! No cables, battery packs, and distractions. In my first assignment with Naim, I wanted to supplement natural light, and used a Profoto beauty dish to add some definition to Bianca’s cheeks. The idea was only shoot half of the subject – having the other half reflected in the windows as a creative portrait.

Side note: always check your gear! We all went in wild and didn’t realise that the lens was actually faulty (thought it was just our nerves).

Jorge Henao

Jorge Henao

Jorge Henao

Jorge Henao

Red Bull Photography Academy Cape Town 2019

In the Red Bull Music Studios assignment with Naim; I decided to use one of the doors in the studio as a backdrop with a single Profoto B10, and beauty dish, to shoot my portraits with Kujenga (with Mpumelelo’s help). Knowing that the door was somewhat reflective meant that I could emulate a soft halo effect too.

I can’t emphasize enough how easy it is to use this Profoto system!

Jorge Henao

Jorge Henao

Kejunga

Kejunga

In the outdoor assignment with Craig Kolesky; we took the Profoto B10 onto some trails in Meerendal Wine Estate, and shot athlete portraits as well as action shots. This is where I used the Profoto B10 to fill in the shadows supplementing (very unpredictable) natural light with Ryan Sandes (thanks to Wayne, and Mpumelelo for the amazing assistance).

Seeing the other photographers employed this system in their shoots really just entrenched the notion that this lighting system is as versatile as they come! We hid lights under the burm, over reeds, and even as a light “cannon” at one point (right, Wayne).

Isabella Noichl

Isabella Noichl

Marc Schwarz

Marc Schwarz

Marc Schwarz

Marc Schwarz

 Ryan Sandes poses for a portrait at Meerendal in Cape Town, South Africa, on February 27, 2019.

In our assignment with Denis Klero; we were encouraged to be creative by taking a step – nay – JUMP outside of our comfort zone. I’d been itching to try the gels with the Profoto B10s so I grabbed the Profoto A1 AirTTL, and used that as a command unit (go wild, right) for the two Profoto B10s to shoot portraits of B-Boys Meaty, and Man Like B. As you can see from the results below – I’m lank proud of the outcome!

J

J

B-Boy Meaty

B-Boy Meaty

B-Boy Man Like B

B-Boy Man Like B

Huge thanks to the Red Bull Photography team for the opportunity, and the team from Profoto for helping us out with some amazing gear.

You can find more work from Kevin, Niña, Bianca, Wayne, and Mpumelelo by clicking on their names.