Los Angeles-based portrait photographer Sue Bryce has spent decades creating contemporary fashion-inspired portraiture that makes everyday women look like Vanity Fair fashion models. And she built an international reputation using natural light almost exclusively. Recently, though, she has fallen in love with the Profoto B1.
“When I first started shooting portraits 27 years ago, I used softboxes and vaseline on the lens and soft vignettes,” Sue recalls. “But the modern turn was removing the old style studio lights leaving the 80s behind and developing a natural light look.”
“Then, for more than 20 years, my whole business has been built around shooting portraits inside but around a window and around window light,” she explains.
Contemporary, fashion-style images
Sue says that clients are not necessarily trying to look like fashion models, but they do want to experience what it feels like to be pampered and have a celebrity-styled day or have contemporary, fashion-style images. “My clients are not models,” she says. “But I want them to look and feel like they are in a Vanity Fair photoshoot. And, at the end of the day, I want people to see my work and say, ‘She’s a fashion and contemporary photographer and I want to experience that.’”
After 27 years of building her entire business on natural light, Sue saw fashion photographer Lindsay Adler taking pictures with Profoto lights at a trade show and decided she had to try them herself. “I started seeing studio lights the way I see, use and master natural light,” she says.
“Then it was Felix Kunze who opened my eyes to what I could really do with them. It’s ironic that after leaving old-style studio lights and the 1980s behind and developing a natural light look, my new love is to return to strobes and reinvent my style with them.”
In a recent shoot, Sue used Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flashes with two of her favorite light shaping tools, an Umbrella Deep White XL and a RFi Softbox 5’ Octa. With one light directly above the subject, the octabox was positioned so it was just touching the backdrop, making the light flow down the backdrop.