Publisher’s Note: We’d like to welcome a first-time author here at Photofocus.com. Charles Maring is an accomplished photographer and fusion specialist and we’re proud to feature his work and teaching.
Guest Post by Charles Maring – Follow Charles on Twitter
Good enough is everywhere! With the number of consumer purchases of DSLR cameras up dramatically, it seems that everyone is excited about their next best shot. As professionals, you can’t blame them either. There is just something magical about capturing moments, people, and places. With that said, more an more people are trying to make a go of it professionally as well. So, how does one compete against new photographers creating work that is simply good enough?
We’ve come to the realization that in order for us to have continued success on the level we were currently working, that we were going to have to step up our game every way we could. At the top of our list, we knew that we were going to have to have extraordinary attention to detail. Secondly, we were going to have to create photographs that even the most gifted consumer couldn’t create with just a camera and a lens. Lastly, we were going to need to make sure, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that our clients had a professional photographic experience affirming that our time and work was worth every penny spent.
With that said, one thing came to mind… We needed to step up our game by making sure our photographs, whether portrait or photojournalistically captured were second to none. That brings us to this post regarding how we are using the new Profoto D1 Air Mono-Lights on virtually every photo-shoot we do at Maring Visuals. Once in a long while, a product comes along that offers us the ability to upgrade our personal shooting experience, as well as that of our clients, and we are excited to highlight some of the cool features that have come to know and love.
But, let me digress for a moment to express why they work so well for us. Our studio is as diverse as one could possibly imagine. On the weekends, we photograph weddings and events on the most intimate and largest of scales. Often we are called upon commercially to photograph celebrities for magazines, book covers, and for advertising purposes. We even have a lifestyle side, in which we photograph food, interiors, and fashion for book publishers. So, we need lights that can go anywhere, and that have the durability to be a studio workhorse.
Not every look requires a detailed setup of 4-6 lights. In fact, you can create some amazing looks with 1 or 2 light setups that are simple and easy. However, I must admit that once you start working with light shaping tools, attention to detail becomes addicting, and clients take notice. We’ve overhauled the way we photograph weddings, commercial jobs, and portraits with the new D1 Air system. One of the main reasons is that we now have the ability to control the output of the lights from the Air Remote that sits on top of the camera.
At first, I didn’t think much about the air remote to be quite honest. So what, I can control the power of light… But, when moments are fleeting, skies are changing, and you notice on your LCD that an extra stop of light would be the difference between good and great it can easily reward you, and often does. I am a big fan of mono-lights as well, because they travel easy, and setup anywhere. With a Profoto BatPac external power supply, I can be mobile with a one or two light setup at an engagement session on the beach, or at an event as well, which allows us to have lighting control even in the most unique situations.
When it comes to weddings, our reception photojournalism never looked so good. The Air Remote not only allows us to control the power of the output from the camera in 1/10th or full stop increments with a 7 stop range, but they fire flawlessly every single time with the exact exposure we’ve dialed in. We’ve yet to have any situation where distance or walls have been an issue. They just work. Another great feature is that the D1 Air has very short flash durations. Not only does this help stop action, but it also means that they aren’t blinding with each press of the shutter. Lighting in this unique fashion actually makes us less obtrusive contrary to what you might think. It allows us to step off the dance floor and work from the back of the room or on the sidelines, and often presents us with angles that otherwise would have remained unseen.
We would like to invite you to enjoy a short series of videos captured on a recent portrait shoot where we get to share some creative lighting ideas, some of our favorite light shaping tools, and just how cool the new D1 Air and Remote Controls really are. Some setups are more sophisticated, and others are more simplistic, but each offers some great insight to the mindset and possibilities. This industry will undoubtedly keep us on our toes with innovations and change for a long time to come. However, it is up to us as professionals to push on past the status quo in order to evolve our industry towards quality and professional practices that are seen as valuable in the eyes of consumers. Great light is one of those important steps, and we hope you’ll enjoy some of the creative ideas expressed.
Editor’s Note: If you want to see how Charles works and gear he uses, here are three videos you can watch…