Posts tagged as:

Ring Flash

Test shot, portrait of a comedian, with Profoto ring flash and a beautydish

Swedish comedian Lasse Nilsen is a guy I have been working with a couple of times now. And it is always a pleasure. He has studied mime in Paris, and works full-time as a standup comedy entertainer, both for companies and in clubs.

He needed new portraits, both the usual headshots, but also portraits with an idea that I can’t write more about right now. Will show you as soon as I am allowed to.

Having taken portraits of someone before teaches you a bit about how they are in front of the camera, but maybe more interestingly, how their face (and skin) reacts to light. That sets the limits for what kind of light setup you can use.

For this session, I used a gridded beauty dish as my main light with a ring flash as fill. Maybe not the combination I would use for company portraits, but when you have the time to adapt it to new ideas, it is very rewarding.

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Ring flash portrait on green background with gradient (Profoto AcuteB)

This is just a quick sample from my latest test shoot using my new Profoto ring flash, will write a longer post soon with more details and maybe a diagram.

Getting to know how to use the ring flash takes some testing, but I really like the possibilities that opens up with it. Especially with bringing out a lot of detail with an on-axis fill which helps to keep the shadows open even with a gridded beauty dish as main light like in this shot.

But it is not for everyone, I found it a bit hard on the eyes when I used myself as a test model setting the lights. So I guess I won’t use it on every assignment. No use annoying clients by flashing sharp light straight into their eyes.

More examples later.

Profoto Ring Flash with PR Widesoft Ring Flash Diffuser, profile studio portrait/headshot.

Finally I have bought a Profoto Ring Flash, together with a PR Widesoft Reflector. I got both used at two different stores last week, by pure luck, and payed a little more than half the price they cost new. So I am happy.

Having only used the Orbis for my Speedlights before (mostly for fun portraits of my kids), this is a big step for me. I have tried using the Orbis in the studio, but never really gotten any good results. This was completely different, and quite difficult.

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Vacation is over

August 6, 2012 · 0 comments


After six weeks of vacation with my family, it is time for work again. Keeping the twins (now 7 months old) and their older brother (soon 4 years) happy and entertained has been a full time project itself.

My plan was to spend some nights of the vacation making a great plan for this autumn, but after the last photos were delivered I soon found myself switching to full vacation mode. Even if vacation no longer means rest in the same sense it did before (kids).

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Orbis Ringflash, test at home with Kid Batman. Photographer Stefan Tell

I recently bought an Orbis Ringflash, to use with my SB-800. Exactly for what, I still don’t know. Maybe to explore the ringflash world a bit before I go out and spend a lot more on a “real” ringflash for my Profoto system to use in the studio.

Using it is not real that easy, together with a Nikon D700, a heavy lens and a battery pack, my arms ache after a short time. I didn’t buy the arm/bracker to mount it properly so I have to hold the camera with one hand and try to get the SB-800 not to fall out of the Orbis while I hold it in position around the lens.


This was just a quick test with one of my sons who is extremely reluctant to act as a model usually, but a strange looking thing around the camera and a Batman suit later, he didn’t want to stop modeling (doing his best Nosferatu impression as well).

I have tried it once in the studio, but using a portrait lens doesn’t give the usual bright eye with the big catchlight effect I wanted. It might be good for on-axis fill.

Or it might be good for the same reason my son liked it, it transforms the scary camera into something strange that is more fun. Which might come in handy when photographing subjects that usually don’t like cameras?

Anyway, I think with just this session, it payed off for me. And made the whole thing of taking pictures of my children at home funnier. Just switch on TTL, set the camera to Program and move in really close, or up against a wall.