How to shoot a supercar in New York with the Profoto B1 | Profoto (IN)

How to shoot a supercar in New York with the Profoto B1

08 August, 2016

Written by: Michael Roscoe

Start with one Pagani Huayra, an uber-cool urban location, the world’s highest resolution camera system and a Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash.

When supercar manufacturer Pagani Automobili wanted to create the first photographs of their new Huayra BC model they didn’t take any shortcuts. Getting the right ingredients for the shoot was vital and their first decision was to hire Los Angeles based automotive photographer Richard Thompson III. Richard, renowned for his innovative approach and attention to detail, set to work and after months of planning, location scouting and team selection, the day of the shoot arrived on the 21st May 2016.

Lights, camera…

The shoot started as soon as the car was delivered at 9am and Richard armed himself with the new Phase XF 100MP camera system and a Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash. During the day, the sun ran parallel to the overhead rail track, so the B1 was primarily used to create some selective pools of light, shadow projections as well as control reflections and fill in any darker areas.


But what made Richard choose the B1 OFC ahead of other lighting options?

“The B1 is quick to use, really portable and offers just enough power for a situation like this. And it’s great while working in an unknown or unfamiliar location where power isn’t available,” he explained.



During the shoot fellow car photographer Andrew Link assisted and positioned the B1 according to directions (via walkie-talkie) from Richard who was up to 50 meters away. Richard then adjusted the power output via Profoto Air Remote to light multiple frames so that they could be composited together later in postproduction. Normally Richard would have used a soft cast of light on a car like this, but the matte white paintwork meant a harder light using a Profoto Zoom Reflector worked more effectively.




Got the look?

By 7pm the shoot was finished, but was all the hard work worthwhile?



Richard enthused: “I’m very happy with the finals! This project gave me the opportunity to try something I’ve been after for a while, which was to see how much focal compression I could put on the car through a medium format camera. With standard DSLRs telephoto focal lengths aren’t that uncommon…

”But you don’t see 480mm on a Phase One camera system very often. It does have a different look about it and the lighting really helped the effect. As a result my favourite shot is the head on image, it presents the car in a way that is rarely seen.”





See more of Richard Thompson’s work on his website.

The Gear

1 x B1 Off-Camera Flash
1 x Zoom Reflector
1 x Collapsible Reflector L
1 x Air Remote
Light Stand
Phase One XF 100MP
Schneider Kreuznach 55mm LS f/2.8
Schneider Kreuznach 240mm LS f/4.5 with a 2 x teleconverter










Written by: Michael Roscoe