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Studio Headshot using Profoto Giant 180


Hanna is a Swedish jazz singer, and she contacted me for updated headshots and publicity portraits. After a quick search on Google, I saw that she already had a lot of good portraits, but mostly outdoor and in natural light.

So I prepared a lighting setup in my studio using my new Profoto Giant 180 reflector as main light, in this portrait quite close (just look at the big catchlights).

With the fantastic focused light from my new favorite lighting modifier, despite its size, the facial features got the right amount of contrast in my taste. Especially highlighting the cheekbones nicely.


Profoto Giant 180 and rim lights

I used three lights during this photo shoot, the Giant, a beauty dish with grid and a strip softbox with grid. Starting like this makes it easy to get a good variation in the portraits just by moving the lights around or adjusting the light output.


Behind The Scenes

As usual, I tend to squeeze myself into some tight spot between the main light and the model, and this day was no exception. Having the camera (and my head) right in front of the Giant and Hanna on a chair got me in a position slightly above her so the large main light could really fall on her face from a nice angle.

The two lights behind was used as rim lights to create some kind of halo around her. What I did miss this time was to turn the lights from behind off, in hindsight it would have been interesting to see how this would have turned out with just the Giant.

Regarding the behind the scenes shot above it is not showing exactly how it was during when I took this portrait, the black Molton fabric in the background was not there, just the white wall (that turned out blue after tweaking the white balance in post processing).

Here you can see the results from the exact same setup with a Profoto Giant but on black background.

If you want to listen to Swedish jazz, here is Hanna on Soundcloud.

{ 10 comments… add one }
  • Robert Altman September 1, 2017, 13:52

    I just purchased (used) the Profoto 7′ Giant Silver- have you had a chance to test the output pattern with the varying extension rods (4 basic positions).

    Not much that is out on the web re that modifier…so any info you have learned would be great!!


    • Stefan Tell September 19, 2017, 01:08

      it has been a while since I used that Giant, but I did try some different settings with the rods. At least with the one extension I have. The main difference is that a B1/D1/D2 head fills the inside more and even spills light outside it. In my small studio, that was not something useful for me.

      Sorry, but that is all the help I can provide. And I agree that it is hard to find information about stuff like that. Probably best just to test by yourself, every setting is unique in combination with the studio etc.

      • Robert Altman September 19, 2017, 18:13

        Interesting that you find the D1 heads fill the 7 foot more- I actually find that they don’t spread as much as a bare bulb would and don’t fill the modifier as well (unless backed up by the extension rods- the longer of which I am still awaiting delivery of).

        No question the 7 foot ‘Giant’ is not for controlled moody lighting- but it is great for full length hinger-key fashion where 1 light can do it all…

        • Stefan Tell September 20, 2017, 08:37

          I have the Giant 180, that might be the difference that makes it possible for me to fill it properly when using the extension rod?

  • lynn T. June 7, 2018, 21:26

    This portrait is beautiful and is exactly the look I’m going for in an upcoming shoot. I’ve been searching the internet for the perfect blue backdrop and came across this image. The backdrop looks blue to. If it’s white paper (per your setup diagram), how’d you get it to look blue? Thanks for any info you can offer!

    • Stefan Tell June 20, 2018, 11:47

      Hi Lynn,
      it is a white cyclorama, but not so much light directly on it that it looks a bit grey. The blue-ish tint comes from playing with the white balance in post processing.

      Hope that helps.

      • Lynn June 20, 2018, 21:15

        Thanks Stefan!

      • Lynn June 20, 2018, 21:17

        PS Now that you mention it, I can see the blue tone in the whites of the eyes. Diagram is very helpful. Thanks for posting!

        • Stefan Tell June 21, 2018, 23:17

          Sometimes even I cheat a bit in Photoshop, but most of the stuff I do with lighting, not so much in post-processing.

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