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Profoto Academy Live: the results

Posted on Dec 16, 2020

Teaching yourself how to do things online is fine, but the ultimate way to learn is in person from an expert. We offered three lucky Photography News readers that masterclass opportunity. Here’s what they produced from our very special event.

SPONSORED BY PROFOTO

For our shoot with Profoto and three lucky PN readers, we booked the White Room at the Natural Light Spaces studios at Weedon Bec in Northamptonshire. This gave us a 2000 sq ft area with an infinity curve at one end and plenty of space for other set-ups. You can find out more about this interesting space via the link above.

Profoto ambassador Hannah Couzens and the Profoto team arrived with Profoto B10 and A1X lights and a selection of light shapers, so there was plenty of kit to try.

Of course, we are in the middle of a pandemic, and while the shoot took place before lockdown 2.0, the health and safety of everyone involved was key. Hand sanitising stations, face masks and social distancing were par for the course.

Our lucky readers were Amit Gill, Mark Kidsley and Mike Martin. Each was provided with a Profoto Air Remote TTL wireless trigger and each had dedicated time with our model for the shoot, Nicky Phillips.

Hannah began the day by going through core lighting techniques, such as what short, long and butterfly lighting are and how to achieve them. More importantly, she explained the right times to use them.

As the shoot progressed, set-ups got more involved, with more light shapers being brought into action and ending with some outdoor shots. These showed what can be achieved with Profoto kit outdoors. Amit, Mark and Mike got the chance to take shots and, of course, turn to Hannah for advice on set-ups, flash techniques and much more.

Thanks to Amit, Mark and Mike for coming along to our event, and for the support of Profoto and Hannah Couzens to make it all happen.

Profoto B10

Profoto has a full range of professional lighting gear, from the C1 Bluetooth-controllable LED lights for smartphone photography to top-end, powerful mains power pack flash.

The Profoto B10 is a series of powerful, sophisticated and very compact studio type flash units, powered by rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, so perfect for location shooting.

Two options are available: the B10 or the B10 Plus. The B10 is about the size of a medium-sized camera lens and around five times more powerful than a typical speedlight, with an output of 250Ws and a capacity of 400 full power flash bursts from a fully charged battery. The B10 Plus is a little bigger, about the size of a large camera lens, and has a maximum output of 500Ws and capacity of 200 full power flash bursts.

Both units can be used manually or with the convenience of TTL flash (with a compatible Air Remote wireless trigger), and there’s the option of high speed sync, too. Plus, they feature Profoto’s AirX Bluetooth technology and are compatible with more than 120 Profoto light shaping tools.

Profoto B10

Amit Gill

Amit has a performing arts background as well as a passion for theatre and people. “I’ve always had an interest in photography and began the journey in my early 30s. I’ve never looked back,” he says. “I’d love to be a unit photographer on a film set to work with great actors, and I love capturing moments of storytelling.

“I do have some studio lighting experience,” he continues. “At university, we used Profoto lighting kit and lecturers came in to teach us new skills. But you never stop learning and it has been quite a few years since those days.

“I really enjoyed seeing how the Profoto B10 worked and Hannah showed us how to get the most out of it. I loved using the light shaping tools and gels to get really creative and it was great fun way to learn, too,” he says.

“The B10 is so lightweight and it’s pretty powerful. If I had the choice I’d go for the B10 Plus for the extra power, just in case. Though, the big thing for me is the portability. You can take a B10 Duo outfit anywhere, so it’s ideal for headshots on location and for weddings, too. It’s a very special system and a breath of fresh air.

“I’m so glad to have been selected for this event and I learned so much today, for which I am grateful. So, thank you to Hannah and Profoto for this excellent experience.”

See more from Amit on his website.

Mark Kidsley

Mark’s a professional photographer and his main interests are portraits and live music. “But I do everything and anything,” he says. “I’m pretty experienced in a studio with flash, although normally I’m shooting products. I really liked how hands-on the day was, partly due to the small numbers, but it was great to see Hannah demonstrating the lighting patterns and moving the lights.

“I really like the B10 lights,” he continues. “They are super easy to use and so easy to set up – straight out of the box with relatively little modifying. Now I’ve tried it, I can say Profoto’s TTL system is probably the best I’ve ever used.

“I also enjoyed using the range of Profoto light shapers we had available. I really like the OCF Beauty Dish for its light quality and portability. I do have one but it’s a metal one, so it doesn’t fit in my camera bag. When I’m carrying it around, everyone thinks it’s a wok! So, having a collapsible beauty dish is very good,” he jests.

“I tend to shoot more outside on location or at events – that’s what my business is based on. Being out on location is easier – it’s free and accessible. The Profoto B10 would suit me perfectly,” he adds, “because it is so portable and it fits my camera bag, too. For my needs, I don’t need the power of the B10 Plus, so the B10 would be ideal, especially with the OCF magnum reflector that gives an extra 2EV of light.”

See more from Mark on his website.

Mike Martin

Mike is a keen photographer and self-described image maker. He has a broad range of interests, with people, portraits and street being the mains ones, and enjoys other genres too. He gets a buzz out of model photo shoots and often collaborates with other photographers at workshops. He’s also a keen participant in competitions and international salons. He’s enjoyed success in the latter with his creative portraits.

“I’ve used mains-powered Profoto flash before but not the B10 system,” Mike says. “The B10 is so easy to use with the Air Remote TTL trigger on top of the camera, in terms of switching between the lights and adjusting output. I was particularly impressed with the simplicity and intuitiveness of the controls and layout.

“It was great to see Hannah at work,” he continues. “While I’m familiar with light patterns, it was interesting to see how she used the beauty dish – I have one, but I always use it with a diffuser or grid, never alone. In the studio, my go-to modifier is a softbox; I’ve never considered or used the standard dish reflectors, believing the light to be too harsh, so it was enlightening to see how she used it.”

See more of Mike on his website.

Become a better photographer with the Profoto Academy

The Profoto Academy offers online training courses on the subjects of fashion, lighting, portrait and weddings. Each video course presented by Profoto experts is designed to inspire and inform, covering camera, posing and lighting techniques and gives you the chance to learn from pros working in real-life situations. Courses include personal feedback from the Profoto tutor, downloadable PDF guides and a certificate upon completion of the course.

For more information, please visit the Profoto website.

As featured in issue 83 of Photography News.

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