There's an incredible amount of helpful content on Profoto's blog and so many of the posts are timeless, as artists from around the world share their expertise and experiences.
With summer well underway and many of you traveling all over the world, this article by Fredrik Franzén out of the archives seems so timely. Fredrik's post is about Jasper Doest and features the B1 Off-Camera Flash System. As I've written many times before, the B1 and B2 are "game-changers" especially in remote shooting locations.
Having the ability to shoot with off-camera flash, especially as an outdoor wildlife photographer, is exactly what makes Profoto's off-camera flash systems game-changers. As Jasper Doest writes:
"Profoto calls it nothing more than a off-camera flash, which is exactly what it is. But after testing I found it is way more than that. This flash has the maximum output of 500Ws, roughly ten times stronger than an average portable speedlite. That might seem like an overkill, but since the energy range can be brought down as low as 2Ws, the light can be adjusted beautifully well."
Click on the Off-Camera Flash System image to the right to find out more about the B1 and B2 family. Better yet, find the closest Profoto retailer and check out the system hands-on. And, wander over to Profoto's blog. It's loaded with outstanding content and can be searched by application, getting you to the most relevant information as quickly as possible.
Profoto doesn't just make outstanding lighting equipment they're helping to make more creative and outstanding artists!
Fashion photographers, commercial photographers, product photographers – they all shoot with flash. Amongst nature photographers, on the other hand, the use of flash is less widespread. But Jasper Doest shoots with flash. And he just tried the Profoto B1 off-camera flash. Here is what he has to say of it, in his own words:
In the field of nature photography, there’s still some hesitance against the use of artificial light sources. I don’t agree with this. Just as long as you use your flash in an appropriate way.
Try to practice balancing the light on a stuffed animal or a human model. You’ll notice that if you point your flash directly at your model at full power he or she is not going to be happy. It could even cause temporarily eye damage. So be careful with this. Another reason why you do not want to do this is that it creates very harsh flat light. Artificial light is meant to control the quality of light, not as a compensation for lack of light quantity. When you learn how to control the quantity and to balance the light from the right angles you will find that using a flash unit in a natural environment does not cause any problems for you and the welfare of the animals.
Then, the announcement of the Profoto B1, at the end of last year, draw my attention. Perhaps this flash unit is best described as a battery-powered, cordless flash. Profoto calls it nothing more than a off-camera flash, which is exactly what it is. But after testing I found it is way more than that. This flash has the maximum output of 500Ws, roughly ten times stronger than an average portable speedlite. That might seem like an overkill, but since the energy range can be brought down as low as 2Ws, the light can be adjusted beautifully well. While doing so, you gain a lot in recycling time compared to a regular speedlite. This is a huge advantage. You often start firing a short burst of frames when the action starts, shooting through the actual moment. Often you’ll find that at the ultimate moment your speedlite didn’t fire. The quick recycling time of the B1 makes firing bursts up to twenty frames per second a piece of cake. Now your flashlight will be able to keep track of fast camera’s like the Canon EOS-1D X.
It gets even better when used with the Air Remote TTL-C, although it is a pity this only works with Profoto flashes. It would have been great if this would have worked with speedlites as well, so that you can easily combine different lightsources. But one has to switch to the optical slave mode on the Profoto B1 in order to do that. However, the Air Remote TTL-C remote proves to be a great tool. The remote allows you to control multiple flashes remotely from your camera to find the right balance for your shoot.
At one point the wind did get a bit too strong though and got grip of the reflector. The whole set hit the rocks and for a second I thought I would have ruined my photoshoot. While there was some cosmetic damage on the outside of the flash unit and the reflector, I was amazed to find out the B1 worked just fine after the incident. It was the ultimate test. The B1 was Jasper-proof. Something I can’t really say for some of the equipment I’ve used over the years while working under rough circumstances.
That convinced me. The Profoto B1 is now part of my regular toolbox. Later this year Profoto will announce a firmware update for the B1, which will enable HiSpeedSync. After this update, I will only use speedlites when a compact system is required.