Photo: Julien Apruzzese

Portrait

Profoto D2 and Fuji X-T2: A colorful combination

07 August, 2017

Written by: Jens-Linus Lundgren-Widén

Commercial photographer and Fujifilm ambassador Julien Apruzzese was asked to shoot McDonald’s internal communication campaign. With a vibrant powder shoot in mind he saddled up with seven Profoto D2 monolights, an Air Remote and the Fuji X-T2 to create a unique photography experience for the employees of McDonald’s.

It all started at a meeting in White Dog agency’s Boulogne office. The objective of the campaign was to reward McDonald's staffs by offering them a unique photography experience. The agency wanted the dynamism of the company and its multicultural richness to be reflected in the portraits. That’s how the original concept, based on colored Holi powder commonly used in Indian festivals, came to life.

In order to get the technical aspects right, Julien did a proper colorimetric study, to harmonize the well-known colors of the brand. In collaboration with the Artistic Director of the agency, Jean-Christophe Letraublon, they decided on Holi powders and BD background papers. In the meantime France Hofnung, the stylist of the project, began her research to dress the models.

To really get the effect of the powder and capture the movement and reaction of the models he needed to be able to freeze the image pin-sharp. That would allow him, not only to show the details of the color cloud but also the playful expressions of the staff when they got blasted by the powder. Getting the perfect image is not something you want to leave to chance and timing both the powder and the facial expression of his subjects was tricky. Using the Profoto D2 he could get the shot without risk of missing that perfect moment and at the same time he could freeze the movement with a flash duration of up to 1/63,000 of a second. Some look surprised, some look shocked and some express plain happiness. And clearly everyone where “lovin’ it”.

After four hours of installation, including setting camera and computer up in small boxes to protect the equipment from the powder, and light testing, he was finally able to begin to shoot. He shot the images with a Fujifilm X-T2, with XF 90mm F/2 R LM WR lenses. The camera was set to F/11, 1/250s and ISO 200.

The setup consisted of seven Profoto D2s. To create a vertical contrast as main light he equipped the first monolight with an Umbrella Deep White XL with a diffuser. To create a transparency through the powder he used two D2s, each with a Softlight Reflector White and with a Grid 25°. For the background he used two RFi Softbox Strip 1x3’. Further, to accentuate the faces of the models he used the Softlight Reflector Silver and to control the density of the sweater he used yet another RFi Softbox Strip 1x3’.

Accompanied by the entire White Dog team his assistant The Dandy Smiths, who also shot the BTS images, Julien produced six stunning visuals after four intense hours of shooting.

A few days later, he started the post-production of the images in his studio. The main challenge was to bring the colors closer to those of the colorimetric study. Shooting with consistent light from the D2’s, the process was much smoother.

Photography & Retouching: Julien Apruzzese Studio
First assistant & BTS images: The Dandy Smiths
Stylist: France Hofnung
Make-up: Julie Common
Studio: Studio Bercy
Assistants: Camille Roger, Nino Marina

The White Dog team
Artistic director: Jean-Christophe Letraublon
Film maker: Louis Beaugé de La Roque
Production director: Jean-Baptiste Violet
Making-of images: Ouriel Benaroch
Stage officer: Pierre Cometti
Project directors: Dominique Rubio et Lisa Taupin

Written by: Jens-Linus Lundgren-Widén

Products used in this story

Profoto D2

Softlight Reflector White

Grid 515 mm

Umbrella Deep White

Umbrella Diffuser

RFi Softbox Strip

RFi Speedring

Air Remote