In the Creating the Right Light series, Click Pro photographer Meg Loeks explores lighting using the Profoto A1, transforming from a natural light shooter to one who finds new inspiration in creating and shaping her own light. Based in Michigan, USA, Meg lives with her husband, three boys and a Saint Bernard. As an image creator, she is drawn to environmental portraiture, lifestyle photography, landscapes, and moody low light and color. Inspired by the changing seasons and the beautiful landscapes in her surroundings, Meg is a true storyteller who loves capturing her children and bringing out the beauty in her everyday life.
Experimenting with light feeds the creative part of my soul. Before using the Profoto A1, I was at the mercy of natural light, which we know is not dependable. And like many photographers, I’m drawn to backlight. It’s a bonus when elements such as rain come into the mix.
Turning day into night
For this shoot, I had the opportunity to turn day into night within seconds and it all took place in my backyard. I placed two Profoto A1s directly behind my son, Leo, who was playing with the water hose. To protect the lights, I simply placed an umbrella over them. I then attached a third A1 to my camera to light Leo from the front. Since I had nothing to bounce the on-camera light off in my backyard, I attached the Soft Bounce to provide more soft, directional light.
As usual, I was able to easily control the strength of the A1s off camera with my on-camera light used as a remote. This helped me to move quickly and get the shot I wanted. While shooting, I was careful to make sure Leo’s body completely blocked the A1s behind him. That enabled me to capture gorgeous rim light around him along with the backlit rain.
So, how was I able to turn a very sunny midday into night? It was simply the A1s overpowering the sunlight. In addition, there’s a treeline in my backyard, which provided a dark background behind my son. The setup was simple and quick, and within seconds I was able to turn day into night and capture gorgeous backlit rain.
Freeze that moment in time
If you asked me about my favorite shoot with the A1s, this was it. Everything just came together here so beautifully and easily. The shoot took place in the meadow behind our house with my three boys and Saint Bernard Juni. My children love to give her a bath, so I set up a hose along with a tub of soapy water and bubbles. Even though it was several hours before sunset, I wanted to create golden hour backlight. I placed one Profoto A1 in the woods behind my boys with a warm CTO gel. I made sure to place this light at the very edge of my frame and filter through the trees to provide soft, golden haze that I’m drawn to.
In addition, I set up another A1 on a tripod to the right of my boys, just outside my frame. I attached a Profoto Umbrella Deep Translucent L for the light to filter through to provide soft, directional light. This is something I was never able to achieve before the A1. I’ve always had to settle for flat light in this meadow because of the big open sky. With the A1, I was able to provide directional light on my boys.
The third A1 was on my camera and used as a remote to control the other lights. One feature I absolutely love is the ability to select High-Speed Sync on my camera. I like to keep my aperture wide open because of the compression, but my images become overexposed. Once I selected HSS on my on-camera A1, I was able to speed up my shutter speed to 1/320 for correct exposure, all while keeping my aperture close to wide open. All this simply took minutes to set up, and I was able to capture golden hour haze and soft directional light on my boys washing Juni several hours before golden hour.
Creating the right light anywhere, anytime
When I took on this challenge, I had my doubts. As strictly a natural light photographer, I’ve always been dependent on time and weather. I had my preconceived notions of artificial light. I truly didn’t think there was a way I could make the light with the Profoto A1s look soft, directional, and natural. I didn’t see how it could be useful to me as a mom of three boys who is always on the run.
The A1s changed everything for me. Their simple, small, lightweight design made it easy for me to carry them anywhere. I was able to capture in seconds the soft, directional light that I love with the A1s on or off camera. The big moment for me was the shoot in my basement. I knew that at that moment I was no longer restricted to only shooting in areas with great natural light. The Profoto A1 allowed me to shoot in places I had never been able to before. It allowed me to shoot in certain times of day that I had typically avoided. More importantly, it gave me the flexibility to photograph my children anywere and anytime, without missing a moment.