A week in a photographer’s life: Hair light in photography | Profoto

A week in a photographer’s life: Thursday – Flair for hair

15 June, 2017

Written by: Jens-Linus Lundgren-Widén

Every new day is a new challenge for a photographer. Will it be a portrait, sports, fashion or something else completely? And no matter what that day brings, it must always end in the same way – with a great shot. Follow acclaimed fashion and portrait photographer Andreas Lundberg over one week as he tries out the new Profoto D2 – the world’s fastest monolight – and see how he overcomes his challenges. Thursday’s studio shoot was a mission to seize the moment with flair for hair.

Every photographer knows that there is a tiny difference between good and great. In order to master the great, you have to be able to rely on your equipment – equipment that is always up to speed.

“Speed is everything. It sets my creativity free,” Andreas Lundberg explains.

A photographer might need to freeze action with absolute sharpness. The D2 brings pin sharp clarity with a flash duration of 1/63.000 of a second. That is fast enough to catch the best of any moment. Ask your subject to jump and you’ll have 20 mid-air exposures to choose from.

The shoot

Andreas and his team set up in his studio in Södermalm, an area of Stockholm that is home to many young artists, creators, and art entrepreneurs. This Thursday they were going to shoot a hair model for an international shampoo brand that wanted images for their look-book.

“There are a million ways to shoot hair, but it is the styling of the hair that adds to the vibe of an image. I always want the hair and make-up to reflect a certain personality,” Andreas explains.

The model had voluminous and beautiful hair with almost a golden shine and Andreas wanted to capture the color perfectly. To really add the feeling of volume he wanted the model to jump and catch the perfect image of her hair, freezing it super sharp. For that he had the Profoto D2 Monolights, with super-fast flash duration.

The challenge

As so many times before, timing is essential for this shoot. Andreas wanted to get it right from the outset to avoid as much post editing as possible. When he asked the model to jump, he not only needed to freeze the image with absolute sharpness, he also needed to get the right pose mid-air not missing out on that one essential frame.

Though he has a background in sports photography and well-honed skills in reading the movement of a moving subject, he wanted gear that would make sure that he would not miss a frame, just to be safe.

Short flash duration is quite often what distinguishes capturing a good image and a great image. Using the Profoto D2, Andreas could freeze the voluminous hair at up to 1/63.000 of a second and shoot burst of 20 images per second, which made it possible to freeze the model right in mid-air.

The solution

Using a setup of four monolights, the short flash duration of the Profoto D2 allowed Andreas to catch 20 versions of the same moment, making sure he got just the right image. As main light he equipped a D2 monolight with a RFi Softbox 3×4’. To add a little edge to the image, a D2 with a gridded Strip Softbox 1×4’ on each side of the subject generated the fill light. Using the RFi Softgrid 50° 1×4′ helped to bring out the contrast in the picture.

For the models face, Andreas fitted a fourth D2 with a Softlight Reflector White, commonly called Beauty Dish due to its flattering beauty light. The beauty dish generated a soft and crispy light that contrasted the make-up of the subject.

Shooting with Air Remote TTL-C, Andreas could change and fine-tune the settings for all his flash units with just the klick of a button.

“In the end, we actually picked one of the first frames we shot, it turned out to be that great one, she looked really fierce.”

Written by: Jens-Linus Lundgren-Widén

Products used in this story

OCF Beauty Dish White

A portable beauty dish for off-camera flashes

RFi Softbox Rectangular

A popular, versatile softbox

OCF Softbox Strip

Ideal for edge or rim lighting, used with off-camera flashes

RFi Softgrid Strip

Limits the light spread from your RFi Softbox Strip

Air Remote TTL

Wirelessly connects your AirTTL light with your camera