Jana Williams overcomes small space challenges with the Profoto A1 and B1 lights
I transformed my living room into a small studio for this fun project. It was a test shoot I set up featuring the model, June, outfitted in a beautiful gown that I had received from a recent New York City- based wedding-dress client, Kleinfeld.
My goal was to create a classic and elegant portrait, and I wanted to get out of my comfort zone a bit and experiment with a new lighting style. To start, I used a Profoto B1 with a 3-foot Profoto Octa Softbox as my key light. I placed this next to me and raised it high and pointed it down toward June to give the effect of natural lighting.
To create more separation between the subject and the background, and to add a subtle edge around her, I used the Profoto A1 facing a V-flat, which was placed behind and to the left of June. This also nicely accentuated my fill light, which was diffused window light streaming in from camera right.
Having set this up in my own living room, the biggest challenge was working in a cramped space. I knew I wanted a larger light source, but the size of the room just wouldn’t allow it. Instead, using the 3-foot Octa Softbox was a great choice because I was able to wrap the light around June nicely, given the tight quarters. Additionally, we kept the props and poses simple to ensure everything could be executed in the small space—and it also kept with the classic theme of the shoot. I was fortunate to have collaborated on several projects with Kleinfeld in the past, so when it came to a personal shoot like this one, they were great about teaming up and providing a beautiful dress. Having the lovely gown and the right light made the challenge of a small space seem irrelevant.
While I love shooting with window light for my weddings, this particular lighting style is something relatively new for me and, as a photographer, I think it’s so important to continue to refine your skills and try new setups. Profoto was the perfect lighting choice for this setup because the lights are not only user- friendly, but I know I’m going to get a quality light with settings that are easy to dial in. I truly feel that I achieved my goal with this shoot and created a portrait that feels timeless—it could have been shot present day or 20 years ago, and I love that. The Profoto lighting is truly what creates that classic feel."
TIPS & TRICKS
TURNING CHALLENGES INTO AN OPPORTUNITY TO MAKE BEAUTIFUL IMAGES.
- RAISE THE KEY LIGHT. The key light should be raised up and pointed down at the subject to get natural and beautiful illumination.
- CREATE SEPARATION FROM THE BACKGROUND. The best way to do this is to use an edge light, like the Profoto A1.
- NEED DEPTH? TRY A V-FLAT. Using a V-flat will help fill in the shadows but also leave enough detail and still create contrast between the subject and the background.
- MOVE THE SUBJECT AROUND. To create more depth of field, try pulling the subject off the background.
- USE THE AIR REMOTE. When shooting with Profoto lighting, the Air Remote can be a lifesaver. If you’re shooting in a tight space, it’ll save you from moving around to adjust light settings.