Louis Pang is an international, award-winning photographer based in Malaysia. He has previously taking us behind the scenes for some of his shoots. For this photo shoot, Louis went to the Great Wall of China to put Profoto HSS to the test. Here’s his conclusion.
High speed sync (HSS) is not just cool technology but a great creative option. HSS allows our flash to sync with our camera beyond the 1/250 shutter speed limitation and all the way up to 1/8000. So how does this help our photography? Where do we start? When should we use high speed sync? I would like to share two recent shoots where HSS was used.
Before we start, you will need to activate HSS in your camera menu. For Canon users it is activated in the Flash Settings, and for Nikon users the Camera Setting.
Once HSS is activated you can set your shutter speed up to 1/8000 and be in control of the ambient light. Particularly helpful when we shoot in bright outdoors where the sun overpowers everything else. HSS can turn day into night without using ND filters.
In this shoot on the Great Wall of China, the afternoon sun provided a flat exposure where the foreground, subject and the background are equally bright. Thanks to HSS I can set a faster shutter speed and underexpose the scene. The blue sky and red brick wall becomes more saturated, and lighting the kungfu master with a Profoto B1 in HSS mode brings a focal point to the frame.
We hauled over 40kg of equipment and lighting support up the Great Wall in sub zero temperature. The cold weather kept visitors away and we almost had the Great Wall all to ourselves. Han leapt repeatedly on the edge of the Wall until I got the shot. One slip and he would be 10 meters down into the ravine.
At separate shoot in Shanghai, we had Master Qian and two units of Profoto B1 at HSS mode. For the main light, we used a standard reflector to achieve a hard and dramatic light. We also had a low fill with a Softbox Rfi 1×3′ to bring details to Qian’s dark outfit and the underside of his arms. Once again, HSS allows us to reign in the bright outdoors and bring the focus to Master Qian.
HSS bridges our camera’s five-stop world to our eyes’ eleven-stop vision. As you can see from the shoots in Beijing and Shanghai, it is a kicks ass technology to have.
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