Spanish photographer Roberto Garver got commissioned to shoot some images for Real Madrid C.F. and Brazilian national team player Marcelo Vieira’s social media accounts. He took the opportunity to test some technical and conceptual ideas with different Profoto generators. This is his words about the experimental shoot.
The shoot I did with Marcelo was somewhat improvised. As you might imagine, the agenda of a famous footballer is pretty tight, and we had to plan the shooting with less than a day in advance. I was requested to take some pictures form Marcelo’s social media accounts. Knowing that he is a generous and easy-going person, I thought I ask him if we could play around a bit and execute some technical and creative ideas I had wanting to try out. I wanted his cheerful nature tom really come out with these images. And it did.
On a shooting with a subject of importance, like football players, actors or TV presenters, there is no room for mistakes. It sounds like a cliché, but it really is true. Their time is so valuable and a photographer cannot waste it. That’s why you really need reliable gear. My first encounter with Profoto was about 11 years ago when I rented a fully equipped studio. The day after I sold off all my old gear. Usually my working conditions are difficult: going from here to there, plugs of questionable reliability, cold or hot temperature, and people stepping on the cables. Profoto is robust and reliable, I have never had a breakdown. With the support from Daylight Studio and Innovafoto the one-day shoot went smooth and without any predicaments.
The four pictures I’m going to talk about aren’t spectacular on a first glance. They are made to provide information and inspiration. They are the ones I’d like to see when I’m thinking about how to develop my skills and creativity as a photographer.
The first jump
My main light for the first jumping image was a Pro-B4 Studio Generator and ProTwin Head fitted with a Giant Reflector 240 lighting Marcelo from one side, as you can see from the image. Using a Collapsible Reflector Silver/White L I bounced light back on him from the other side. The white background I lit with another Pro-B4 and two ProHeads with Zoom Reflectors. Just for fun, I wanted to get the Profoto logo in the shot. For that I used the ZoomSpot and Pro-8a Air Studio Generator. The three Pro-B4’s were set to 1/25,000s and shot with a camera that could do 12 shots per second.
The second jump
A pretty straight forward setup, a spotlight created with the ZoomSpot fed by a Pro-B4. Same concept behind the jump as the previous image. I wanted to catch Marcelo on his way up.
This shot was a complicated one. It’s a close-up and his hair (such a hair) moving at full speed. In the picture you can see the curly hair sharp and every pore of his skin. Can you ask for more? Over my subject I fitted a ProTwin Head with a RFi Softbox 5’ Octa and RFi Softgrid 50° 5′ Octa powered by a Pro-8a. In front of Marcelo I put a diffused Giant Reflector on a Pro-B4 connected ProTwin.
I had two alternatives: doing the typical, throwing water at him and doing something visually spectacular – a great temptation as I won’t be able to do something like that with another top player as him – or doing something more technical and test the gear. At the beginning I was dragged by passion, and wanted to have a super picture for my website, but Marcelo’s arching eyebrow, after I told him that I would wet his hair I knew my options. I’d have to feed my ego another time.
I wanted to get the player in focus, not the water dollops but even when blurry you can clearly see that there are perfect circular shapes of the drops, thanks to the magical Pro-B4 speed 1/25,000.
The water’s light comes from two crossed backlights: a Pro-B4, ProHead, and Magnum Reflector with Grid 337 mm 10 degree on each side. In some pictures, where the water went out of control and was closer to the body, was lit with a RFi Softbox 5’ Octa. These out of focus drops weren’t circles. However, the experiment was to push the Por-B4’s 1/25,000s to the limit and check if it was just an impressive figure or something that I could really use during a session.
Pleasantly surprised by the results and a little bit sad because I couldn’t splash Marcelo (next time I will do it for sure, the gear is tested), I want to thank all the people involved. I’m always looking for new products that help me with my workflow. I’m a photographer, as I expect that the most of you are. I don’t want to get lost in figures and specs, I want something that I can plug in, turn on, and shoot off without any other distraction but the subject I’ve got in front of the camera. Give me stability and safety, and then I’m pretty sure that I will be the fastest. Profoto provides me stability and safety, doesn’t limit me at all. You wanted speed, so here it is!
See more of Roberto Garver’s images on his website.