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Portrait of a Canine X-ray Expert

One light portrait on-location with Profoto AcuteB 600r. Photographer Stefan Tell

A magazine I work for a lot sent me to a clinic where they are specialized in x-raying dogs, and the vet above is well known in Sweden for being very good at positioning the dogs right, which is important, I have learned.

The assignment was for an article, and usually I try to deliver realistic photos using only available light. But, for some photos, it is nice to bring your own light and not have to rely on the dark skies of Sweden or the un-flattering light from fluorescent lamps.


The light in his clinic was as it usually is in hospitals, fluorescent lamps from above and yellow walls. Outside it was a pretty dark and grey day, so the mix of window light and the available light inside was quite boring.

Most of the photos I took for this article, I did without the help of my Profoto AcuteB 600R, mostly because we did the interview during examinations, and scaring sedated dogs with flashes didn’t like a good idea.


For the portraits (that might end up on the cover, hopefully) I placed the AcuteB 600R on a stand with a Zoom Reflector behind a Chimera panel with diffusion fabric to soften the light a bit.

To miminize the light from the lamps and the windows, I set the shutter speed to 1/200s and used aperture f/5. With such a large light source coming from camera left, there was no need for additional reflectors or fill light.


For some other photos, I used the AcuteB as a constant light source, turning on the modeling light just to add a little more light to the room, from a different angle. It doesn’t scare the animals, even if might be a little irritating. One thing that I have learned about using the modeling light is that it drains the battery pretty fast. Not that fast, but it is easy to forget how long you have it on.

A fun assignment in many ways, very interesting, but working with a camera from behind a lead glass screen is not something I would try to do again, my auto-focus had big problems of finding focus, but then again, the glass is designed to stop x-rays, so it might not be that strange.

Sooner or later I think I need to learn more about using Speedlights for assignments like this. Even if I like the AcuteB, together with some light modifiers, a camera bag and stands, it is hard to call it portable.

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