How to get pro results with Caroline Tran and Profoto C1 Plus | Profoto (US)

How to get pro results with Caroline Tran and Profoto C1 Plus

15 June, 2020

Written by: Allan Weitz

It wouldn't be wrong to call Caroline Tran a ‘soup-to-nuts’ Profoto Featured Photographer. For her studio work Caroline depends on her Profoto B2 flash system, which is powerful enough for assignments in the studio or out on location via battery power. When needed, she adds her Profoto B10s into the mix, which she loves for their impressive size-to-output ratio. Weddings? Caroline has her Profoto A1X flash units ready to go for weddings and other on and off-camera flash needs. And for her iPhone? A Profoto C1 Plus, which she considers one of the neatest flash units in her lighting arsenal. Like I said, Caroline Tran has a Profoto flash for every occasion.

Caroline’s enthusiasm for using her iPhone and Profoto C1 Plus has led to a collaboration with Profoto to produce tutorials on how to maximize one’s photography skills using a device we carry around all day – our smartphones.

Caroline’s new Profoto tutorials cover a range of subjects on how to maximize the picture-taking abilities of your mobile phone when photographing food, flat lays for presentations and media feeds, and one of her favorite topics – how to avoid ‘icky’ lighting habits.

“Everybody takes photographs with their mobile devices and just like you get better looking photographs when you take the flash off the camera, Profoto’s C1 Plus enables you to take far more dynamic-looking photographs by bypassing the smartphone’s built-in flash and syncing with a Profoto C1 Plus.”

“Smartphones are in everybody’s hands. The C1 Plus tutorials show you how to document through photography the everyday events of our lives using a device we always have with us.” The way Caroline see things, if we’re going to go through the trouble of documenting the world around us and sharing it with others, we should at the very least make sure the photographs are good enough to make you pause and take a second before swiping or turning the page.

“I love the C1 Plus. It takes the picture-taking abilities of my iPhone to such a higher level, and as far as I know, Profoto’s C1 Plus is the only flash that will sync with an iPhone."

Caroline, who actively teaches and produces ‘A to Z’ lighting courses and seminars, wasn’t always a cheerleader for flash photography. If anything, flash photography intimidated her. It wasn’t until she was introduced to the Profoto B2 flash system she was astonished as to how intuitively simple it is to use. Her Profoto lighting system has since expanded to match the needs of her growing business and Caroline will be the first to agree you can’t beat the compatibility between each of her Profoto lighting kits including many of her light-shaping tools.

A trio of tips for getting the most out of your Profoto C1 Plus from Caroline Tran

Tutorial Tip 1
How to create beautiful photos in the ‘yuckiest’ lighting

Try as you might, you can’t take a beautiful picture if the light is ‘yucky’. In this video Caroline Tran suggests the following tips on how to use your Profoto C1 Plus to turn ugly light into flattering light.

  • Determine how much of the ambient light you want to include in the final image and adjust your exposure accordingly.
  • Aim your Profoto C1 Plus towards your subject from an angle of approximately 45-degrees.
  • Using the modeling light as a guide, move the C1 Plus to-and-fro, and perhaps closer or further from your subject until the light does justice to the features and contours of your subject, and snap away.
  • Your results should be well exposed, flatteringly-lit photographs with clean color and detail.

Tutorial Tip 2
Quick-and-Easy Lighting Set-Up for Professional-Looking Flat Lay Photography

Flat lays take time and intercut detail to plan and design. In this video, Caroline Tran offers a few quick and easy tips to improve your l for flat lay lighting techniques. Two main ways to light your flat lays: indirect and direct light. Caroline Tran shows you how to create soft colors and contrasts for even tones or beautiful bold colors and strong contracts using flash for your smartphone.

  • You first must determine the quality of light you want – do you want the light to be soft and diffused or hard-edged?
  • If you want a hard, contrast lightsource, aim your C1 Plus flash units directly at your subject.
  • If you prefer a softer, more diffused light source, aim your C1 Plus away from your subject and bounce the light off a reflector.
  • Lights for Flat Lay photography typically work best when placed at 45-degree angles to the subject and positioned far enough to distribute an even spread of light corner-to-corner across the entire image field.

Tutorial Tip 3
How to Use Flash for Food Photography

Color and texture are among the key elements of photography and that holds especially true when it comes to food photography. The problem is that the food you want to photograph is not always lit as if it’s the star of a Broadway show. If anything, the lighting is most likely lacking. The good news is that having a Profoto C1 Plus in your pocket is like having a lighting studio in your pocket.

Here are tips on how to instantly improve your food photography:

  • Depending on how much spill you want falling beyond your main subject, bring your C1 Plus in as close as possible without crossing the frame lines.
  • Position the light at about a 45-degree angle from your subject. Depending on the texture, color, and reflective qualities of the food, take the time to move the flash higher, lower, to the left, to the right, closer, or further from the main dish until you find the ‘sweet spot’.
  • In order to lighten shadow areas, position a white reflector card just out of camera view opposite the C1 Plus. By moving the reflector back and forth you can adjust the degree of brightness within the shadows. Use the C1 Plus’s continuous light feature to preview the final results.


 To learn more about the Profoto C1 Plus, visit and follow @profotousa on Instagram.

To see more of Caroline Tran’s work, visit her website, Instagram page, and videos.



Written by: Allan Weitz