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Profoto B10 for Winter Portraits in the Swedish “Alps”

Bringing lighting equipment on family holidays is not something I do all the time, but once a year it happens. My oldest son is kind enough to model for me, and this time in front of a Profoto B10. Last year it was with the then new A1.

One of the days on the ski resort gave us fantastic weather, the same harsh sun as last year with the same deep blue sky. But working against the sun without flash tends to wash out almost everything, and I really wanted some lens flare again.

Overpower the sun = HSS

What I wanted to get out of our brief but good photo session at the top of the mountain was about the same as last year. Lots of deep blue sky and lots of snow, with my son in the middle of it. Plus the sun.

I really like sometimes to have the sun in my frame, even if that means that I need a lot of light. Or rather, being able to work with a quick shutter. Profoto B10 can do High-Speed Sync in the same way as B1/B2/A1 etc. and that is very useful in a situation like this.

Behind The Scenes

With me this day I had one Profoto B10 (plus one A1 as backup), a Manfrotto Nano light stand and camera. All this including radio transmitter, batteries etc. fit perfectly in my LowePro ProTactic 450AW with the Nano strapped on the outside.

Test without flash

This time I worked a little backwards, but started as usual with the standard test shot without the B10 turned on. Not so fun, yet.

Testing different exposures, I settled on 1/4000s and aperture f/2.8 on ISO200. Then turning the light on, I directly set the B10 on full effect, that is 10 on the display.

It was a bit windy that day, so I left my Deep Umbrella on the ground and worked with just the built-in reflector. Instead of fiddling with my large gloves on the small buttons of my Air Remote, I just moved the B10 closer until I got the flash exposure right.

Freezing snow with HSS

I knew that my schedule was tight, any moment my son could have said that enough is enough, so I saved some snow throwing until last. It is fascinating how hard it can be to instruct someone to throw snow in exactly the way you want it. But it worked reasonably well.

And working with HSS and a very short shutter speed, I can, if I want, count the snow flakes in the air.

Same scene with Profoto A1

Last year at the same time, I didn’t have a B10 (nobody did, I think), so I used a Profoto A1 in the same way. Which makes it interesting as a comparison, even if the settings differed slightly.

Here is my blog post about using Profoto A1 for winter portraits.

In short, Profoto B10, compared to A1, allowed me to have a greater distance between the model and the light with the exact same camera settings. Sure, the A1 is a really lightweight solution, but the B10 is just about twice as heavy. And that is still around 1,5 kg (3 lb -ish?).

But it is interesting that I can do stuff like this with small and lightweight flashes that fits in my backpack (with a tiny stand on the outside).


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