Lola Melani Captures the Beauty of Motherhood With Profoto’s B1X | Profoto (US)

Lola Melani Captures the Beauty of Motherhood With Profoto’s B1X

18 June, 2020

Written by: Shannon Sharpe

“My life has been quite the journey,” muses Lola Melani. Indeed, the world-renowned maternity, newborn and beauty photographer, who has dedicated her career to capturing the beauty of motherhood, has led an extraordinary life. Her path has taken her from a childhood in Communist Russia to studying international business in New Orleans to, finally, pursuing her passion for photography in New York City.

Image created with Profoto B1X and XL Umbrella with diffuser.

Ironically, Lola’s celebrated status in the photography industry was never something she’d planned. “I've been drawn to all kinds of art when I was growing up,” she says. “But I never really thought that one day I would pick up a camera because my parents always wanted me to have a stable office job.”

Out of respect and love for her parents, Lola pursued a degree in business, eventually moving to the U.S. to finish her studies at the University of New Orleans. “My goal was to find a job in business and be the good girl my parents wanted me to be,” she says. She got a job in finance, but, along the way, she’d discovered a passion for photography. “I was just completely mesmerized by what I saw from the viewfinder, this little creative world of mine,” she says. “I would literally count the minutes until I could leave the cubicle and go back to photographing.”

Image created with Profoto B1X and Profoto 5' RFi Softbox Octa with Grid.

It was during her pursuit of photography as a hobby that Lola first discovered Profoto gear. “I started researching lighting and I found Profoto,” she says. “I was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s the Ferrari of lighting.’ I told myself, ‘One day, I’ll own Profoto equipment.’" So, after she took the leap into professional photography and moved to New York City—with nothing more than her camera, suitcase and dog—she eventually purchased her first piece of Profoto lighting gear, the since-discontinued Acute. “I was just so excited, and I saw the difference that it makes,” Lola says. ”There’s consistency in the quality and temperature of the light.”

Top image created with Profoto B1X and XL Umbrella with diffuser.
Bottom image created with overhead Umbrella and Profoto 5' RFi Softbox Octa.

When she first landed in New York City Lola thought she’d focus on fashion photography. “I asked my girlfriends to pose for me and I would create these magazine-style photo shoots,” she says. “It was amazing seeing how beautiful and strong and fierce they looked.” But with limited opportunities in the fashion world, Lola realized that a smarter move would be to find a niche. “I love babies and I thought maybe I could be a baby photographer,” she says. It was upon researching this that she stumbled upon pregnancy photography. “I had this magnificent moment of sudden inspiration,” she muses. “I already had this editorial magazine concept for real women. So I thought I could marry the concept with maternity photography.”

Image created with Profoto B1X and Profoto 5' RFi Softbox Octa with Grid.

Lola’s portraits capture the beauty of motherhood, and lighting is key in doing so. “I prefer to keep things simple,” she says of her portraits, which are set in front of seamless paper or canvas backdrops that allow the subject to be the focus. “I believe that elegance and beauty is created with minimum things. So in lighting, I use the same concept. I love very simplistic lighting. I almost never use more than two strobe lights.”

Top image created with Profoto B1X and Profoto 5' RFi Softbox Octa.
Bottom image created with overhead Umbrella and Profoto 5' RFi Softbox Octa.

For her typical portrait sessions, Lola uses a Profoto B1X strobe with light-shaping tools such as a 5’ RFi Softbox Octa and an XL Umbrella with a diffuser. “I love using an octagonal softbox as key light for my portraits,” she says. “It gives me an even spread of light and flattering catch lights.”

Image created with Profoto B1X and Profoto 5' RFi Softbox Octa.

While the lighting quality comes first and foremost for Lola, she points to another important reason she prefers the Profoto B1X: convenience. “The cordless design gives me the freedom to move my lights all around the studio,” she notes. “I can quickly go from one set to another. And when I have a toddler on set, I don’t have to worry so much about cords being everywhere.”

Lola has discovered over the years that using the right gear matters much more than the actual location. “I started my business out of my tiny living room in Brooklyn and photographed there for two-and-a-half years,” she says. “I like to tell photographers that they don’t need an amazing huge studio. I remind them that you can create your magic anywhere."

To learn more about the Profoto B1X, visit profoto.com/us and follow
@profotousa on Instagram.

To see more of Lola Melani’s work, visit her website and Instagram page

Written by: Shannon Sharpe

Products used in this story

RFi Softbox Octa

Ideal for flattering portraits
From $289.00

Umbrella Deep White

A versatile and zoomable umbrella for a softer light
From $199.00