The city of light provides the perfect backdrop for Hannah L’s wedding portraits | Profoto (UK)

The city of light provides the perfect backdrop for Hannah L’s wedding portraits

17 December, 2018

Written by: Steven Hanratty

A romantic shoot in the world’s most romantic city allowed Hannah L to create wedding images with that glossy ‘right out of a magazine’ look.

About an hour's drive from Frankfurt you'll find wedding photographer Hannah L. After studying journalism Hannah served as an intern for a fashion photographer, and it was there she first encountered flash. She soon became fascinated by how the photographer would use flash to shape light in the fashion images he created.

Character driven light

Those early influences would help shape Hannah's style as a wedding photographer. "For me, light is a way to emphasize the emotions in my clients; I like to think of it as 'character-driven light.'"

When Profoto asked Hannah to test the B10, her first thought was Paris. "I fell in love with the city when I visited a few years ago; it's just the embodiment of love, romance, and light - so it seemed the perfect location to shoot my bridal couple."

Hannah was struck by how light the B10 was for such a strong flash, and how easy it was to use. "For the purposes of this shoot, Profoto didn’t provide me with a user-manual, so I was a little worried that I wouldn't find my way through the menu, but it was so incredibly intuitive and hassle-free, I just started shooting straight away - loved it."

An iconic location

It seemed only natural that the Eiffel Tower should play a role in Hannah's images and she chose to shoot the couple walking to camera backlit by the sun that had just risen next to the iconic landmark. She set the B10 to high-speed sync, at full power and positioned it to the right of the couple with a half CTO gel. "I wanted to bring contrast to their faces, a little shape, and shadow."

Hannah, shooting with a wide aperture and a fast shutter speed, was impressed by how the B10 performed in high-speed sync. "It was remarkable; it gave the image real punch and clarity."

Playing with shadow and light

The Pont de Bir-Hakeim is a bridge that crosses the Seine River connecting the city's 15th and 16th arrondissements. It was amongst the ornate iron colonnades that support the viaduct, with the Paris Metro rattling and clacking across it above their heads, that Hannah created the next image. The perfect place to play with light and shadow with the Eiffel Tower almost observing the couple from a distance.

Here, with a single B10 positioned to the left of the couple, as high as she could get it on a stand, Hannah elected to use an OCF Grid with the B10 so she could focus the light more precisely on the face of the bride.

The high position of the B10 in combination with the grid modifier helped Hannah to compensate for the strong backlight the sun was providing and bring a three-dimensional quality to the couple. In addition, Hannah used a warm gel on the bride and groom to make sure they would pop against the cool tones of the blue Parisian sky.

Lots of lights, and one perfectly natural flash

Hannah has always enjoyed using flash at night to highlight the subject she's shooting, especially if there's something about the environment that's unusual or distinctive. So, in the shadow of the illuminated Eiffel Tower, she was delighted to discover a beautiful old carousel covered in lights.

She placed the couple in front of the carousel with a streetlight lighting them from behind. Then, just out of frame from the left she lit them using a single B10 from a high angle, almost a meter above her assistant's head to bring light and shape to their bodies and faces.

"I thought about using a beauty dish here, but in the end I chose not to because the light from the B10 is already very natural, all I added was a quarter CTO Gel to ensure the light on the couple matched the warmth of the surroundings."

Small wonder

For her final image, Hannah thought it would be fun to continue the Eiffel Tower theme by improvising a still-life with the wedding ring.

With the B10 on its continuous light setting from the right-hand side, Hannah again used a grid to focus the light, which brought shape to the ring and illuminated the sparkles in the jacket acting as a convenient backdrop for the shot.

Who would have thought that a tacky tourist souvenir could become such an evocative image?

Hannah was delighted with the images she created in Paris and equally as pleased with how the B10 performed.

"I love the super-fast recycling times, the power and the flexibility - and having no misfires at all. And my clients love it because they know they can have their sunset session - even on a cloudy or rainy day. Most of all it gives me the freedom to shoot the images I want, and that’s great."



Written by: Steven Hanratty

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