Behind the scenes with Raph Nogal using the Profoto B1X | Profoto (CA)

Behind the scenes with Raph Nogal using the Profoto B1X

31 August, 2017

Written by: Raph Nogal

When I studied Visual Arts through high school, I always gravitated towards the moody, dark and dramatic images; I found them to be full of mystery. As I progressed from my earlier career in environmental consulting into photography full time, I realized I was once again drawn towards photographs with a dramatic lighting style. As a full time wedding photographer in Toronto, I now fully embrace the drama and moodiness that I create in my images with hard light – this is also what my clients hire me for.

During this particular wedding, we couldn’t have asked for a better and more dramatic sky. It was perfect. I often utilize High Speed Sync to bring down the ambient exposure of the scene outdoors that I’m about to photograph. This is exactly what I did here. 

Wedding days are extremely fast-paced and high-pressure situation, so my workflow for the dramatic images needs to be solid and usually consists of the following:

  1. developing a concept
  2. picking the right equipment and modifiers
  3. position and direct my clients
  4. take down the ambient exposure
  5. add flash 

This particular shot of the Bride and Groom was taken on a raised platform in a parking lot. I lowered my perspective as I laid down on the ground to framed them against the sky. 1/1600th shutter speed was enough to take down the ambient exposure and bring out the details in the clouds. Utilizing the HSS (High Speed Sync) on my Profoto B1X, equipped with the OCF Magnum Reflector, I was able to balance the light in the image and bring out the couple out of the shadows. My assistant Oliver is an expert veil thrower and was able to throw the veil camera left to help create movement and add another visual element to the image.

I love using the OCF Magnum Reflector for 3 reasons: first, the fact that it adds up to 2 f-stops of additional light output; second, that its extremely light, small and portable; and third, that it creates a punchy light that can be shaped by using the zoom function from 40 to 80 degrees. It’s a modifier with amazing versatility and it’s the one I gravitate towards most often outdoors on location.

This particular photograph of the Bride was taken just beside a fountain at a popular Toronto wedding venue. Fountains can be so cliché in wedding photography, but I’m always looking for a different perspective. I placed the Bride just at the edge of the fountains beside the “DANGER” tape that was places due to recent renovation/gardening. I simply love that my clients trust in my sometimes crazy ideas. My angles were quite limited but I wanted just a hint of the fountain, mainly the statue, and more of that dramatic sky. 

Again, utilizing HSS in combination with the Profoto B1X and OCF Magnum Reflector at 1/1600th shutter speed, I was able to create this dramatic portrait of the Bride.

Wedding photography doesn’t’ have to be boring. Being able to create something magical and something that your clients can’t initially see with their eyes is the result of light shaping. Having the imagination and the right tools can help take you further in your creative journey as a wedding photographer.

More of Raph Nogal’s work can be found on Instagram and his Website.

Written by: Raph Nogal