Profoto products are usually not associated with color. But the brand new OCF Gels are about to change that. The new product itself is, of course, black and white. But for the first time in Profoto’s almost 50-year long history, you can now shape light in color.
Being creative with color gels is something Portuguese fashion photographer Frederico Martins does almost daily. Using contrasting colors to accentuate feelings is part of his modus operandi. So when we asked him to try out the new OCF Gels, he knew exactly what to do. His plan was simple yet challenging: shoot five different portraits, in five different color schemes, with five different people, in five different locations in his hometown Porto, Portugal.
The OCF Gels include 20 different gels to choose from. Ten of them are color correction gels for balancing flash with ambient light. The other ten are color effect gels used for creative purposes. All 20 gels are pre-cut to fit Profoto Off-Camera Flashes and easily mounted by simply placing the gel in the OCF Grid&GelHolder and then snapped on the flash.
For Frederico, it was important that the gels he chose matched the location and personality of each subject. To get the engaging and dynamic effect he was after, he focused on using only the ten color effects gels.
“I wanted to make use of the fact that we were shooting on-location and not in studio,” says Frederico. “I wanted vibrant and engaging images. I also wanted to show how light and color can be used to convey mood in the pictures in a very powerful way.”
“I used to shoot a lot with heavier, more powerful battery generators such as the Pro-B4,” says Frederico. “But nowadays, I often find myself picking the B1 because of its portability. I do a lot of shoots on location, and as long as I have my backpacks, I can easily bring with me six B1 flashes without any hassle.”
As mentioned before, Frederico had brought three B1 Off-Camera Flashes. Two of them were equipped with OCF Gels and used to light up the background and the subject in contrasting colors. The third B1 was equipped with a Softlight Reflector White, set to a higher power output, and used to overpower the colored background lights in the subject’s face.
That was the basic setup that Frederico used for all shots. But of course, he had to tweak his formula on the fly, based on how the available light and his creative impulses.
“I love how the gels are pre-cut and how everything fits my B1 flashes perfectly right off the bat,” says Frederico. “Before I had to carry around big gels sheets of and cut them in the right seize and so on. All this while trying to set up a shoot. This solution saves me a lot of time, which in turn allows me to be more creative and take better pictures.”