Rising light: Kent Meister and headshots as an opening act | Profoto (IN)

Rising light: Kent Meister and headshots as an opening act

29 November, 2016

Written by: Harley Anderson

Rising Light is an article series highlighting promising photography students from all over the world. This month we introduce Kent Meister, at School of Visual Arts in New York .


Most photo majors get hooked on taking pictures early on, while others take a more roundabout route. Kent Meister, currently enrolled in the School of Visual Arts (SVA) MPS Digital Photography Graduate Program in NYC, started out in the world of acting and theater.

Arriving fresh-faced out of Tulsa Oklahoma to pursue a career in Manhattan’s theater district about 10-years ago, many of Kent’s friends had cameras, and before long Kent caught the bug. Since then he’s managed to slowly turn that initial spark into a growing photography business.




Hardly a novice, Kent began paying his bills by taking headshots of friends and actors about 6 years ago. He’s since expanded his repertoire to include a greater range of studio photography. He learned many of his initial lighting skills from Peter Hurley, for whom he has since become an Associate Photographer.

Never one to get comfortable, Kent decided to go back to school in order to expand his technical and creative skill sets in order to further grow his photography business. Up till this point he had been mostly self-taught by experimenting on his own and scouring internet sites such as The Strobist for new tips and lighting tricks. The work of Mark Seliger also had an impact on his approach to picture taking.



A key reason he chose SVA’s MPS program as opposed to competitive photography schools within walking distance was because most every instructor is a working professional. The contents of the equipment locker also caught Kent’s attention.

Already an owner of a Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash system, Kent was eager to become more familiar with the schools Profoto D4 and Acute Studio Generator kits, including light shapers he had yet to play with.




“Profoto is the brand of lights I’ve come to know. My Profoto system makes it easy to shoot on location. I can always count on them – they’re accurate and dependable, and that’s important.”

As for cameras and lenses Kent is a Nikon shooter. Depending on the assignment he uses a Nikon D810 or a D4. His prime shooting lenses include Sigma 50mm/f1.4 and 24mm/f1.4 Art-series lenses along with a Nikon 85mm/f1.4G portrait lens.

Though he makes good use of the school’s Profoto Acute lighting systems, he’s primarily a B1 enthusiast, typically with a Profoto Softbox RFi 5’ Octa and/or a Profoto Softlight Reflector White.




Reliability aside, what he likes most about lighting is the control factors his Profoto system offers. “It opens up all sorts of possibilities in terms of establishing or suggesting the time of day and the overall mood of the image.”

One of his favorite photographs to date is one he captured while working on a personal photo project on Governors Island in NYC in which he wanted to push the envelope of not only his lighting skills, but his directorial skills with his subjects.





To make it work Kent used two Profoto B1 units – one with a large Octa which he used as the key light and the other as a window light, which he gelled a Profoto Zoom Reflector with a Full CTO in order to suggest early late afternoon sunlight. To add an additional dab of drama into the scene he rented a smoke machine to amplify the ethereal mood of the shot.

As for his future Kent hopes to shoot travel and editorial portraiture for magazines. He would also like to spend time in Cuba, a place he has previously traveled to that he finds incredibly seductive. A travel or portrait assignment from Vanity Fair or other prime time publication would truly make his day.

Make that an extended, no-rush deadline assignment in Cuba…

To see more of Kent Meister’s work go to his website: www.kentmeisterphotography.com

or check out is Instagram: www.instagram.com/kentmeister

Kent Meister’s favorite lighting tools:

  • Profoto B1 Off-Camera Flash System
  • Profoto Zoom Reflector
  • Profoto Softbox RFi 5′ Octa
  • Profoto Softlight Reflector White


Written by: Harley Anderson