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Profoto Softlight Reflector

copying-the-style-of-an-old-portrait

Recently a guy contacted me on Facebook and asked if I wanted to help him with a challenging portrait he wanted to make. It was a portrait of his grandfather when he was in the Swedish Air Force.

My client is working in the military as well, but the Army, and this is now around 80 years later. So there are differences in uniforms and especially how portraits look.

But that was the fun in it, trying to emulate old portrait lighting with a little (maybe a bit more) retouch to make it look like they had been to the same studio photographer in the 30’s.

How I did it, step by step…

outdoor-portrait-sunny-day-one-light-profoto-b1-beautydish-wedding

I am not a wedding photographer, but I have helped a few friends with portraits from their big days from time to time. My latest example is from a wedding in Stockholm near the lake Mälaren where they had a ceremony at their house and we decided to take the arranged photos near the water.

They were really lucky with the weather, and I was lucky that I had brought a big light to compete with that sun on a nearly cloudless sky. It has been quite windy lately in Stockholm, and working without an assistant, travelling light, using a beauty dish and a heavy lighting stand is the best combination trying to reduce the risk of expensive equipment falling and breaking.

One light on a sunny day…

portrait-beauty-dish-kid-boy-studio-photo-two-lights-profoto

Recently one of my sons visited my in the photo studio, and I took the opportunity to shoot some portraits (can be fun to try something arranged with good lighting instead of the thousands of snapshot in my iPhone).

My lighting was simple, one Profoto D1 with a white Softlight reflector (beauty dish) camera left and a strip softbox behind him as rim light camera right.

That done, the problem was to get him into the sweet spot of the lighting and staying there for at least one minute. Luckily I had some props left from another photo session, one of the a heavy fabric with some brown/golden pattern.

Two lights and some fabric…

actor-headshot-portrait-one-light-profoto-beautydish

This is another headshot from the portrait session I had with an aspiring Swedish actor a couple of weeks ago. I often work this way, from a prepared set to something simplified where I have removed almost everything I started with.

In this case, all that is left is the Profoto D1 with a beauty dish camera left.

Make it simpler and simpler…

actor-portrait-two-profoto-lights-black-and-white-beauty-dish

Recently I was asked by an actor to shoot some headshots for him that he could use to promote himself with. Good portraits are always a good start, and I started as usual with a much more complicated lighting setup but removed light after light until there only were two left.

We did a lot of different portraits that session, and I will probably show them later, this post is about this setup which can easily be modified in small steps to produce a good range of portraits, just by adjusting some angles and moving the main light a little bit. I always like to deliver variation.

More portraits and a diagram here…