Marie Bärsch captures beauty in India’s stunning Kerala region with the Profoto B10 Plus

Marie Bärsch captures beauty in India’s stunning Kerala region with the Profoto B10 Plus

05 June, 2019

Written by: Steven Hanratty

Germany may be Marie's home, but she spends most of the year traveling on assignment. Here in India, she discovers that with the B10 Plus Duo Kit, she can afford to travel a whole lot lighter.

From the first moment German photographer Marie Bärsch set foot in Kerala on the west coast of India, she fell in love with the place. "They call it 'Gods own country,' and I can see why - it's absolutely magical. Especially a place called Munnar with its endless rolling mountains of tea plantations and the backwaters of Kumarakom where you can go on countless boat trips."

Inspiration is all around you

Being a fashion and beauty photographer, Marie combines beautiful models with stunning locations. "I get inspired by all sorts of things I find around me, it might be an exotic flower I happen upon by a walkway in Cape Town or a street lined with palm trees in Los Angeles - I take all these things and try to incorporate them into a stunning fashion shot or a sensual portrait."

Both Munnar and Kumarakom have such stunning visual impact Marie knew she had to shoot there, and she knew exactly which lights she would be taking with her. "Travelling with a huge kit would be quite a hassle, so this was the perfect opportunity to test drive my Profoto B10 Duo Plus Kit. Having two 500Ws battery powered flashes that fit in a backpack with my camera and lenses is just the perfect setup."

Making the most of an opportunity

Marie captured her first images on the way home from a recce the afternoon before the actual shoot day. "I liked the way the sun started to fall softly through the palm trees that lined the canal; luckily we had an outfit with us, so I asked Cami, our model, to sit down on the front of the boat."

Marie placed one B10 Plus to the right of the model firing into an Umbrella Deep White S. "I used the umbrella to create a soft beauty light that would perfectly balance the low sunlight and bring out Cami's features."

Among the tea fields 

The next image was the one Marie had in mind when she first planned the shoot. She liked the way the tea plantations in Munnar formed beautiful patterns as they surrounded the mountain rising in the background, and decided to shoot the model in amongst them to create a striking image. "We used the power of the B10 Plus to overpower the sun which allowed us to maintain detail in the sky while perfectly illuminating the model."

She positioned one B10 Plus high on a stand directly behind her shooting position firing into an Umbrella Deep White S to create a soft beauty light and to balance the light on the model with the background. The second B10 plus was positioned high and to the left, and slightly behind the model, to separate her from the background.

"The small battery size is amazing, especially when out in the field you can pack a few extra batteries and it hardly makes any difference to the weight of your kit - that's so convenient."

Balancing light on the balcony

While they were scouting the location, they came across a small hut overlooking the endless fields of tea plantations. "I wanted to capture the model on the balcony railing with the sea of green behind her."

Since it was close to midday, there was a lot of light coming in from behind the model, and it was very dark under the roof of the hut. Marie elected to place the first B10 Plus behind her firing into a Deep White Umbrella S to again create that soft beauty light. The second B10 Plus was held by her assistant outside the hut high on a stand to recreate some natural looking 'bounced' light for the image.

Power when you need it

Marie captured the final image of the shoot as they returned from a boat trip in Kumarakom. They discovered a small canoe and asked the local man who owned it if it would be possible to use it. "Not only did he allow us to use his boat, but he was also kind enough to provide the coconuts we used as props."

"This shot was a great example of why it helps to have power in reserve because we couldn't get the flash close to the model because she was in a moving boat."

Marie used one B10 Plus high and to the right of her camera position firing into a Umbrella Deep White S on close to full power to provide a soft and even light. In addition, her assistant used a collapsible reflector to bounce a little extra light from the sun setting behind the boat into the models face and upper body.

Lots of positives

There were so many positives Marie took from her shoot in Kerala with the B10 Plus Kit. From being able to use all the standard Profoto modifiers to the luxury of remote controlling the power output on the flash from her smartphone via the Profoto app. But one thing really stood out, and that was the combination of a lightweight and compact package with power.

"Before the B10 Plus, bringing flash to a remote location when you have limited luggage size meant you had to compromise between size and power. Now with 500Ws in such a small package, I don't have to compromise - and that's one less thing to worry about.

Written by: Steven Hanratty

Products used in this story

Umbrella Deep White

A versatile and zoomable umbrella for a softer light

Air Remote TTL

Wirelessly connects your AirTTL light with your camera