Karolina Henke prepares her shoots in detail. But she considers it a failure if she sticks to the plan. She believes her most powerful images capture something unforeseen and honest. Knowing this, we asked her to try out the fast and easy Profoto B1 Location Kit. Here is how she put it to good use.
“A lot of people say that every photographer has to find his or hers own niche,” says Karolina Henke. “But my niche is that I don’t have a niche. I shoot fine art, fashion, interior, portraits, album covers, etc. I shoot everything. I just shoot it in my own way.”
It is hard to describe what makes Karolina’s images so special. But you do recognize them when you see them. They somehow seem to radiate with energy – energy that accordingly to Karolina is captured in the spur of the moment.
“I prepare my shoots meticulously, but I consider it a failure if I stick to those plans. In the end, it’s the image’s emotional impact that counts, and that’s something you can’t plan ahead. That has to be caught in the moment. In other words, use the plan as a springboard, be receptive and react when the moment occurs.”
Always being prepared to catch the moment puts certain demands on a photographer’s toolbox. You have little or no time to set the light so a fast flash with TTL may save the day. Neither can you know exactly when the moment will occur, so a cordless and battery-powered flash is a huge plus. Put those demands together and you end up with very few options, and in fact perhaps only one: the Profoto B1 off-camera flash.
Not many people know this but Karolina was actually the first photographer in the world to do a real live shoot with the B1. This took place during the hot summer of 2013 on a remote beach on the small island of Fårö in the Baltic Sea.
“I wanted to do something that would’ve been difficult to do with any other flash,” says Karolina. “That’s why I chose that location. You can’t go there by car. You have to walk and carry all the equipment. So we packed the B1 Location Kit and headed out there.”
Karolina’s day at Fårö resulted in two images she is proud to put her name on. One was shot at daytime and one at sunset. Both images were shot using a single B1 and an Umbrella Deep.
“The image of the girl and the horse was shot in the middle of the day when the sun was hitting hard. The first thing I did was to adjust my exposure to the available light. I then had my assistant hold a B1 with an Umbrella Deep Silver XL on my right-hand side as fill. The B1 is great in that way. You don’t need any stands. You can just hold it in your hands, move it around and try things out. It really brings out the playful, creative side of photography.
“The image of the girl on the beach was shot at sunset. Here I had a B1 with an Umbrella Deep White XL as my main light and a slightly underexposed background. The light bouncing from the umbrella hit both model and the nearby rocks, which created this dramatic, surreal feel that I just love. It’s an amazing thing being able to light up the scenery like this. It’s obviously something I couldn’t have done if I’d brought a speedlight. You need a lot more power than that.”
So to sum things up, the cordless operation, the compact size and the power, all of these things seem to have helped Karolina in her quest for catching that intangible … something. There is only one question left, the B1’s TTL functionality, is that something Karolina appreciates?
“Of course! I love the idea of a professional flash with TTL. Anything that makes my job easier is a good thing. It means I can focus on what really matters: the creative part. I’m not a snob. I know the craft. I’ve nothing to prove.”
See more of Karolina Henke’s stunning work here.
Learn more about the B1 Location Kit here.