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Available light

Portrait on location, reception desk with two lights, Profoto 5-foot Octa. Photographer Stefan Tell

Taking portraits on location with studio lights is something that is 90% setup, 9% small talk and around 1% pressing the shutter. Working in Sweden, I usually bring a couple of lights to every shoot, unless it is a regular assignment for articles in a magazine when natural light feels more appropriate.

The above portrait was an assignment from one of my clients where they wanted a nice picture with the man in a suit standing in their office. I had been there before, so I knew the layout pretty well. Which meant that I only packed two Profoto D1, one 5-foot softbox octa and a couple of light stands, and a Chimera reflector panel.

[Read the full post here…]

Here comes the sun. Soon.

February 28, 2012 · 0 comments

Outdoor portrait with reflector and diffusion panel in sunlight

This is just a reminder that soon a lot of my assignments can be done with just a reflector and a diffusion panel. And not having to freeze while taking a stiff portrait of some poor guy or girl outside in the cold just to use the little natural light that might be available around lunch just before it gets dark again.


Sunlight is very hard to beat when it comes to lighting a portrait, and even if you surround your models with stands and screens, they are a lot more relaxed out in the open than they are in the studio.

I really look forward to be able to work with sunlight again.


This is a portrait from a client’s showroom I took when they needed new photos for their image bank. In fact, this was from the second time I visited them. The first time, they asked me if I could snap a few portraits while I was there collecting new products for a shoot in my studio.

I had my camera with me, but nothing else, and with only very bright spotlights in the ceiling, the test shots turned out pretty ugly. Trying placing them near their windows didn’t help much that day, it was a bit too dark outside. And raining, so that ruled out outdoor portraits.

With a little help from studio lights…


Some of my assignments are for magazines and newsletters, and they mostly consists of  “go there and there, take a portrait of him and her, and send us the picture soon”. In this case it was two people working at a animals hospital together with their latest addition, a X-ray computed tomography machine.

Hearing that I would take photos inside a hospital made me think twice about going there with just my D700 and a Speedlight (which I mostly do otherwise) together with some lenses.

Instead I also packed a light stand, my Profoto AcuteB 600R, a PocketWizard, some ND-filter and duct tape.

Test shots, behind the scenes and all that here…