Many assignments take Frøydis Geithus off the beaten track, and that has its challenges. How much gear to bring. What will the weather conditions be? Will the light be exactly right when she gets there? And finally, can the Profoto B10 provide light that's as natural and beautiful as this unique landscape?
Frøydis divides her time between homes in Oslo, Spain and her small cottage close to where she grew up; amongst the mountains, the wildflowers and the fjords of western Norway. You might say, she's a product of her environment.
"Nature has been such a part of my life, I grew up in it, so it feels perfectly natural to embrace it in the work I do."
Frøydis has always been a photographer, starting out with her first camera at the age of 14. In the last 5-6 years or so she decided to specialize in one specific area of photography. "I didn't want to be a jack of all trades and master of none, so I decided to commit to wedding photography."
Travelling light is essential
Today, as a leading destination wedding photographer she travels all over the world, so she needs to select the gear she takes with her very carefully. "Often, when there are no roads I find myself walking to locations, so it's important that everything I need can fit in my backpack."
And it was close to home, in her native western Norway, at a similarly remote location that Frøydis experienced the Profoto B10 for the first time.
Her first impressions were predictably about the size, "It weighs nothing" she said, "It's just like bringing along an extra lens."
Of course, the real test was to come; could the B10 help her achieve the sort of images she wanted to create? "I'm obsessed with light; my style has been referred to as 'Nordic noir' because my images tend to be quite dark, but it's not about darkness - it's about the quality of light you bring to an image."
Frøydis spends a lot of time in Greece and conducts photographic workshops on the island of Santorini, and that gave her an idea. It was working on the Greek Islands she first met designer Atelier Zolotas and experienced the exquisite dresses he creates. So, perhaps there was a way to bring northern Europe and southern Europe together in a Norwegian and Hellenic fusion - with a beautiful handmade dress provided by Atelier Zolotas at the center of it.
A waterside location
Aurlandsfjellet on the banks of the Sognefjorden was the first location. For this image, Frøydis positioned the couple in front of a traditional fjord-side structure where locals store wood and fishing equipment. Directly behind her shooting position, she placed a single B10 on a stand as high as she possibly could, firing directly into a medium sized umbrella with a diffuser which allowed her to bounce a soft and even light into the couple.
Frøydis was struck by the fact that beyond lighting the couple, the B10 was powerful enough to bring out all the detail in the landscape. Also, she was impressed with the quality of light she was able to create. "My background as a natural light shooter means I don't like flash when it feels artificial, but with the B10 the light looked completely natural."
High above the fjord
The location for her next image was deep in the heart of a Unesco World Heritage site overlooking the beautiful Naeroyfjord. It was late, just before midnight and the summer sun was hiding just below the horizon.
Here the B10 was handheld pointing directly at the couple to push light into them, but this time Frøydis elected not to use flash. "With the B10, I can shoot with continuous light. Better still I can adjust the color temperature to match the environment, so I'm in total control of the light."
At the same location, Frøydis changed the angle slightly and brought in a second B10. Still shooting with the continuous light, she positioned the first on a tripod lighting the couple from the front and the second was used as a rim light to separate the couple from the background. Again, having the ability to control the color temperature meant the light on the couple perfectly matched the ambient light - so the image feels completely natural.
Overpowering the sun
The evening of the second day brought new locations in the beautiful wilderness of western Norway. First, in Dalavatnet in the grass by the small body of water surrounded by mountains, the sun was hanging just above the horizon.
Frøydis positioned the couple with the sun in the background. She used one B10 to bounce light into a medium white umbrella with a diffuser slightly to camera right to compensate for the harsh light of the sun directly behind them. She then elected to use the B10 in combination with the Profoto A1 on camera. The A1 would bring a little more light and definition into the faces of the couple.
A close-up was achieved in pretty much the same way using the B10 in combination with the A1 to light the couple; and the sun as the world’s most powerful rim light.
A dramatic portrait
A little further along the body of water at a place called Sogndalsdalen, Froydis wanted to shoot an image in nature that could also belong to the world of beauty and portrait photography. Nearby there was a thicket of purple heather flowers, which also happen to be the national flower of Norway. It was here Frøydis decided to shoot the bride as if she were hiding amongst them.
" I wanted to create something dramatic where I could play with the shadows, so I set up a B10 on a tripod to her right. The conditions had become slightly overcast so to bring a soft almost magical quality of light to the image; I used the B10 in combination with a beauty dish. The beauty dish is perfect for portraits - it gives you studio quality light everywhere you go."
Finally, it was time to shoot the last image. And the hour was late, past midnight late. Here there was an opportunity to create an image that was genuinely atmospheric, something evocative of time and place and the effortlessly dramatic Norwegian landscape. At Eidet in Sogndal, Frøydis positioned the bride sitting in a chair on the shore of the fjord. The summer sun was low behind the horizon, so she chose to use two B10's and again to take advantage of the continuous light feature rather than using flash.
Placing one B10 in front of the bride brought light and warmth to her face and dress while the B10 that was placed directly behind her helped illuminate the smoke bomb that the assistant had passed behind her. The result; darkness, and light working in harmony to create a feeling of drama and mystery.
"I'm no longer held back by the limitations of natural light," Frøydis enthused. "With the Profoto B10 and its combination of lightweight package, power and the control of continuous light I can take great light with me everywhere I go - even on top of a mountain."