The photography sister duo Mira & Thilda have spent almost a decade capturing dreamy portraits professionally. Read the full story about their latest photoshoot to understand their method, settings, placing of lights and just how hands-on anyone can work when creating images with gear that is engineered to make photography easy.
During the Profoto Live shoot in February, we all had the opportunity to follow exactly how Mira & Thilda take on an assignment, using Profoto A10’s. The photography sister duo set out to capture the concept ’Storm’ in three different scenes in an industrial warehouse, using Profoto A10’s with accessories, Profoto light shaping tools, vintage props and their own signature method of exploration and fun. Or as Thilda puts it: ”Today we’re going to walk you through this shoot, step by step, and give you all the tips and tricks we wanted to hear when we started out shooting”.
Scene 1: The cloud
For the first shot they had a giant polyester cloud as a prop, which they filled with air, and one of their A10 flashes. They also placed an A10 in a large Umbrella Deep White with an Umbrella Diffuser, as key light, in a 45 degree angle on a c-stand. Mira wore a dramatic red outfit which they accentuated with wind machine and smoke – and as they experimented their way toward the perfect setup, you could really sense the mystery and fairy tale vibe filling the spacious industrial attic that was their studio for the day. Thilda started shooting, only briefly adjusting angle of light and directing her sister. Camera settings somewhere around 1/100 and f/4.5 created the desired look and depth.
For this first image, Thilda wanted the umbrella to be in frame. ”I want these pictures to be kind of wide, and I also like that you can see the Profoto flash in it because I think it looks good”, Thilda says. Then, she decided to go for a second image of this cloud scene - adding two more A10’s to the interior of the cloud, really making it pop - while also framing tighter on her sister.
Scene 2: Red wind
Up next was Mira directing Thilda. They took turns behind the camera, as they always do - with one posing as the subject. For this scene, they opted for a red background and a light fabric-rich outfit which really came to life in the wind. Here, they had brought a pair of really cool vintage lamps and stuck the A10’s inside along with Clic Gel Full CTO, creating snoots out of the old props - which produced a truly cinematic beam effect as the A10’s power blasted through and hit Thilda exactly where they wanted. The model light helped out with the aiming. As key light, the umbrella and A10 got the job done in the same positon as the previous scene. Mira backed up and framed it all, with backdrop, rim lights and key light all in frame - which added to the drama.
For a second shot of this same scene, Mira backed up for an even wider shot and they added more props in frame, a revealing setup that has become the duo’s signature look. ”We placed two ladders in the foreground to create a more of a behind-the-scenes kind of picture”, Thilda explains. Mira & Thildas way of working is playful, efficient and super focused on one thing: experimenting until you nail the vision of the shot. The simplicity of the gear helps them focus on this, and not on technology.
Scene 3: A break in the weather
In a final scene, they’d constructed a sort of see-through gloria to resemble a giant brim of a hat, while letting rays of the carefully placed back lights shower the image with romanticism and mystique – recreating the sun that shines throught clouds after a storm has passed. They used one A10 with Clic Gel and a second A10 with Clic Gel in the old vintage lamp from the back. Then another A10 in an Umbrella Deep White from the front. Mira avoided light spill into the camera by placing herself so that the A10 was covered by the hat. The light then went down, throught the holes and onto Thilda instead of into the lens.
How the storm came to life
Throughout the shoot, Mira & Thilda remained around a speed of 1/100, and an aperture between f/4 and 4,5. They also shot, using the Profoto Camera app to change the power of the A10’s, which was particularly useful when the flashes was placed in the cloud - and hard to get to. In all scenes, they also relied on the model light which effectively guided them toward desired results.
As a duo, having collaborated for some ten years professionally - you can really sense how much they get out of being a team. Constant access to a reliable second opinion, a subject they both know and can direct almost without words, and a partner who shares the love of creativity over technology. Today it’s hard to imagine the sisters’ catastrophic first experiences with speedlights, which made them avoid flashes for many years. Now they work intuitively, much thanks to the extreme user friendliness of the Profoto A10, and the all-around workability of Profoto umbrellas. A last piece of tech that really came into play in this setup, was the Profoto Connect - a state of the art transmitter with no buttons, no screens, no fuzz. It just works.
Mira & Thilda – playful explorers of lighting creativity
There’s much to be inspired by, through the work of Mira & Thilda. The images of course, but also the path to get there. Through having fun, experimenting, not taking things too seriously and forever leave the scepticim toward flashes in the dust.
”Flash opens up for entirely new possibilities, and all of a sudden we can photograph in a whole new way without the limitations of natural light” they say, and continue: ”According to us, in the world of photography there is no right or wrong”.
Now, make sure to see them in action – watch the full shoot here!