Light Shaping Tool of the Month: Spot Small | Profoto (NL)

Light Shaping Tool of the Month: Spot Small

03 June, 2013

Written by: Fredrik Franzén

Each month we highlight a certain item in Profoto’s rich assortment of Light Shaping Tools. (Previous articles can be found here.) This month we talk to Marco Fazio about a clever little tool that can be used for creating theatrical lighting effects: the Spot Small.


You can learn a lot about most Light Shaping Tools by just their names. Take the Spot Small, for instance. The Spot Small is a spotlight – a small spotlight. Well, it is not actually a spotlight, but rather a tool with a built-in lens, which you attach to a flash head to create a spotlight-like light.

The result is an even and circular light spread with sharp shadows and almost no fall-off. This makes the Spot Small the perfect projection tool. For instance, it can be used to project shapes and patterns on a background. It is for this reason that the Spot Small was made to accept M sized (66 mm) gobos. But you can of course also use put the spotlight to creative use as it is. The images London-based photographer Marco Fazio shot for Italian designer Carlotta Actis Barone is a great example of the latter.

“Carlotta explained to me that her collection was inspired by the early Twentieth century, the woman’s emancipation movement and the growing awareness of femininity,” says Marco. ”This gave us the idea to work with a spotlight and to use it as a symbol for the woman’s changing status in society during this time. In other words, we wanted to light the subject with a hard and very defined light with sharp shadows, as if she was standing in the limelight on a stage.”

There are several tools that can create this kind of light – the MultiSpot and the ZoomSpot, for instance. But these tools have the flash head built-in and have to be connected to a generator. Marco, on the other hand, wanted to work his D1 monolights. This meant that he needed a projection tool that is mounted directly onto the D1, and the Spot Small is in fact optimized for this very purpose.



So, Marco placed the D1 equipped with the Spot Small on a wheeled stand, operated by his assistant, who did his best to follow the model’s movements and create as interesting shadows on the background as possible. This was Marco’s key light.

For fill he used a second D1 equipped with a Softlight Reflector White (also known as a Beauty Dish), a 25° Grid and a Softlight Diffuser. A third D1 equipped with a Zoom Reflector, a 5° Grid and color gel was used as rim light, while a fourth D1 equipped with a Softbox RFi 1×6’ was lighting the abstract art pieces in the background.

That is pretty much it in terms of lighting. But there is one thing that we have not yet mentioned. Perhaps you have already noticed it? If not, take a closer look at the images…

Yes, that is right. The shadows on the background are not from the model in the image but from a second model standing off-frame.

“I did this to add a twist to the concept,” says Marco. “Plus I wanted to stay true to the tagline I use on my website: “…everyday is hyper-real & imaginary”. So, I came up with the idea of using the Spot Small to light a second model standing off-frame mimicking the poses of the first model, and then project the second model’s shadows on the background behind the first model. As it turned out, this was a good idea. After a while the models started to interact and play with each other’s positions, which created a very nice vibe on the set. Also, I believe it improved the final result, if I may say so myself.”

If you want to see more of Carlotta Actis Barone wonderful collection, check out the images that Marco Fazio shot on the catwalk at London Fashion Week. You should also check out his website and read the interview we did with him not too long ago.

If you would rather learn more about Spot Small, click here.




Written by: Fredrik Franzén