Iain Crawford is renowned for his stunning high-speed beauty photography. He is also one of those photographers who thinks big. This time, the recipe for his grandiose idea involved 60 kg of holi powder, a strong compressor, a daredevil model and an army of new speed redefining Pro-10 studio generators.
Iain has made a name for himself with his high-speed beauty photography. He has a knack for capturing the emotion in the moment and is famous for his stunning images of frozen liquids, paint and powder. He is highly experienced in high-speed photography and its technical challenges, having developed many unique techniques to set up and capture his striking imagery.
“I find it interesting to capture moments of controlled chaos. That’s why I find flash a particularly powerful way of doing it because it allows me to capture that exact moment which only exists once. You’ve taken a moment in time and frozen it.”
We asked Iain to come up with a creative idea on the concept of “Color your beauty.” The result was not to only be a fabulous and colorful final image but was also to demonstrate the speed and power of the Pro-10. This time Iain’s idea was a beauty shoot of pastel colored powder that exploded onto a model’s face, coloring her cheeks and face beautifully, with every particle of powder perfectly frozen. A make-up advertisement that would blow you away.
To capture his images, Iain takes the creative concept and develops inventive technical solutions to deliver the perfect result. High flash durations are an integral part of this process. This made him the perfect partner for this project, and a real authority when it came to exploring the capabilities of the Profoto Pro-10.
Iain and his assistants turned the studio into a laboratory, mixing powder and liquids and mounting homemade contraptions inside a cage of plastic film. Outside the cage, six Pro-10 studio generators with ProHead Plus where waiting to be put to the test. Anyone peeking in through the studio windows might have thought that sci-fi flick was being filmed.
Iain placed a Softbox RFi 1×1,3’ with a softgrid slightly angled above the model’s face. By also using a Softbox RFi 1,3×2’ with softgrid on the model’s face from underneath he could avoid shadows under her chin and turtleneck sweater.
To achieve that classic diffused fashion and beauty light he lit the model’s face with three TeleZoom Reflectors: one placed high above her head and two placed in each back corner approximately 2 meters away. Iain lit the background with an Umbrella Shallow White M.
To get the shot Iain tethered up his Canon EOS-1D X Mark II with a USB 3.0 MicroB cable from Tether Tools and made a peep hole in the plastic film that surrounded the cage. Inside, the brave model was bombarded with heavy chunks of powder that exploded on her back on impact. She needed to be a real daredevil to stand in this limelight.
“Having the confidence to know you can freeze anything pin sharp at the power you want opens up a whole new world of creative possibilities,” Iain says.
Working on studio shoots as complicated as this you need intuitive equipment that is easy to set up and with the ability to change settings in a millisecond.
“I’ve grown up using Profoto ever since my assisting days. I love it. The Pro-10 takes it to a whole new level. The durations it has are astounding. Extraordinarily you can actually go to 1/80.000 of a second, which can freeze anything,” Iain said after the shoot.
The final image shows the different colors and textures beautifully composed together with the face of the model, as if her favorite rouge had fallen to the floor and was crushed into millions of atoms. Ian caught the exact moment when the powder hit her cheeks. It was just the dynamic Iain was aiming for. We are all excited to see what his next spectacular shoot will hold.