In Retrospect, I Think I’d Look Forward…

In Retrospect, I Think I’d Look Forward…

As Benny Hill once said: ” If I had it to do all over again, I’d do it all over you…”.

Translated into photographic terms, that means that if I was setting up a studio afresh or engaging further in the wedding photography business I would seriously consider using the Profoto lighting systems for professional work. I feel a little twinge of disloyalty to my Elinchrom and Fujifilm flashes when I say that, but the product demonstrations we have seen through Camera Electronic and C.R. Kennedy leave little doubt that this is possibly the best integrated lighting system available in Western Australia.

Not the cheapest, mind – not by a good margin – but likely to be the best long-run value for money for a professional who would use it hard. It is a brand of gear that is not a whimsical purchase – you have to need what it does and then use what it does to make the money that pays for it. It’s probably the closest thing in photography that could actually be said to be an investment rather than just a purchase. Note that ” investment ” here is not used in the same flippant sense that they use the word at the trotting track – this is not a bet disguised in a euphemism. You put money into Profoto, work it, and get money back. How hard you work it and how well you work it defines when the money comes back.

I noted with sympathy that our lecturer – Mr. Ian van der Wolde – has given up wedding photography himself – gleefully. His commercial work has blossomed after he took back control of his life ( working life ) by deciding to bid the brides farewell. But of course, the goods he was demonstrating can still go to the ceremony, gardens, and reception and make the lives of the wedding workers all that much easier.

As Mr. van der Wolde pointed out, Profoto is a company that dominates the rental market for pros throughout the world and provides an impossibly large range of light shaping tools and options for their flashes – 150 types apparently. If you can’t find something in there to suit your style, you are in the wrong business. As he demonstrated – and as you can find out by coming into Stirling Street – the light shapers for Profoto go on and off easily even with hot lights and each head incorporates a multiple of effects with any of the shapers.

 The real stars for me of the Shoot evening were the A1 portable studio light ( AKA speedlight grown-up ) and the AIR control systems. The incorporation of a lithium ion battery that will deliver 350 full power shots is the basic thing that appeals to me. Unfortunately my camera system choice is not going to be supported fully yet, but I can hope for the future. But the fact that the A1 comes with gels, reflectors, and bounces that all clap on with a magnet system – and the fact that it is far lighter than third-party diffusion system – mean that it would be perfect for the wedding worker.

I was also blown away by the fact that it also put out a modelling light – fully controllable from the camera position – and could fully integrate with fixed installations of the B-series and D-series strobes. Truly a portable studio flash.


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