Having worked with the new Profoto B1 strobes for a short while, I’ve finally challenged myself to ask this question. The B1 brings a lot to the table – self-contained monolights, remote control, 500 watt-seconds of power, and TTL control. Not to mention the expansive Profoto lighting modification capabilities. But how well do they work in the real world?
Being somewhat “old school,” I still prefer to meter my lighting to place my light sources in desired ratios. I’ve been doing this with the B1 lights as well, but recently decided to test the TTL accuracy of the equipment in which I’ve invested. The below portrait of a patient and accommodating Nancy Grab is an example.
After placing my main light in a 45” white umbrella I added my hair light with a 20-degree grid. I set the Profoto Air Remote to TTL and fired my first test shot. To my amazement this is the result I saw. I was able to start working with my subject and concentrate on expressions and angles that would flatter her rather than fussing with lighting and interfering with her workday.
TIP: With the Air Remote and the B1 lights, you can take your first shot in TTL mode. Then when you switch the remote to Manual mode, the Profoto system remembers the power setting of the lights it just fired. So you can easily adjust individual groups up or down to tweak the balance to your liking from your initial TTL exposure. In the above example I didn’t make any further adjustments, and merely switched to MAN and left it there for the remainder of the shoot.
How important is this? In my world, I photograph executives and groups of business people and time is of the essence. I don’t want to keep a CEO or a $400/hour attorney waiting for me to get my lights right. So this system has helped me greatly reduce my setup time, and being able to adjust the lighting from the camera (while I’m shooting) helps me get the busy executive in and out so that they can get back to doing what they do best. Not having to look for electrical outlets (and then tape down extension cords and power cords) is another huge time saver.
On that note, and in the spirit of the season, this final image was a portrait of a man who is quite busy right now. I had the opportunity to photograph him with the employees of the Omni San Diego and a hundred very excited children. He definitely appreciates efficiency!
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a joyous holiday season!
I’ve recently had an opportunity to work with a client photographing a number of different companies for a magazine awards feature. As I met and interacted with the executives and their staff I noticed significant differences in their personalities. Of course the executives and the staff had different personas, but the collective “vibe” is what struck me in particular. Since the companies were all financial planners and wealth managers they all had a sense of seriousness and professionalism. But a few stood out, which led me to the question: does your image represent your company culture?
Below are two different companies and their group portraits. Aside from the differences in offices and demographics, each group definitely had its own style.
On the left is Jason Labrum of Labrum Wealth Management, a Carlsbad-based firm. His team exemplifies modern, hip, casual and comfortable. Their single-story open office space reinforces this progressive style, and they project a team environment. On the right is David Epstein and Bradley White’s La Jolla-based office of Epstein and White Retirement Income Solutions. Their individual offices are located in a high-rise opposite University Town Center, and they exude an independent, professional and traditional environment. Their more formal style is apparent in their boardroom portrait.
As you think about your own company’s culture, does your office image match the personalities of your staff? Do you have individual portraits that showcase each valuable member of your team? What’s your style? If you aren’t projecting the image that you want for your company, find out how Morton Visuals can help you! Comments are welcome.
William Morton, owner of Morton Visuals event photography in San Diego, CA, has announced a new holiday charity drive. For every holiday event photographed between Thanksgiving and Christmas, 10% of all sales will be donated to each client’s choice of two favored charities: St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or the Wounded Warriors Foundation. (See a listing of holiday event photography services.)
The national philanthropy of Morton’sTau Kappa Epsilon (TKE) fraternity, St. Jude’s goal is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Founded by noted entertainer and TKE frater Danny Thomas in 1962, St. Jude’s mission is one where no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay.
The Wounded Warrior Foundation – Freedom Station vows to be the leading force in assisting, honoring and supporting the military men and women who have so bravely served and sacrificed for our country. We are committed to supporting our warriors in a variety of ways, providing quality-of-life items and numerous support services designed to assist them and their families during recovery.
Morton’s personal philosophy of “it’s not what you get in life, it’s what you give that’s important” encourages him to look for opportunities to better the lives of others. St. Jude’s and the Wounded Warrior Project each exemplify this vision, dedicated to giving children and veterans a chance for a better tomorrow.
To book Morton Visuals for your holiday party, please call (858) 964-4664 or email William at MortonVisuals.com today. Remember that there are a limited number of dates available for holiday parties!
As a professional event photographer, I have opportunities to see (and photograph) a wide range of conventions, conferences, awards banquets, and other corporate events. Over the years I’ve noticed distinct differences in each event – what’s featured and emphasized, what’s offered in terms of entertainment and activities, and what attendees do during the event. When a convention or conference includes a trade show you see your normal assortment of booths featuring products and services, and attendees all browse. Conferences see speakers presenting informational or motivational speeches. With awards banquets you have presentations and congratulations abound. One thing they all have in common is a desire to engage – for speakers to connect to the audience, vendors to “put a face to the name” and build personal relationships with customers, and companies to acknowledge awards-winners.
I look for moments. From my perspective that is best illustrated when people meet. Before they start highlighting their goods or talking business there is an initial smile and greeting, usually with a handshake. To me this encapsulates the interaction of networking, and the engagement that sponsors, vendors, and organizations seek. Connecting people – whether for sales or camaraderie – makes events great, and in my humble opinion, successful. I capture this by watching for those smiles and handshakes.
I recently had an opportunity to photograph an event at the beautiful Hotel del Coronado for the Arizona Rock Products Association. This was my first time shooting in this historic Victorian venue, so I was interested in finding something with a different perspective.
The conference’s big dinner was held in the Crown Room. Built in 1888, the sugar pine wood ceilings contain nary a nail – formed entirely by tongue-and-groove, pegs and glue. A real tribute to the craftsmen of the day, it presents a real challenge to photographers. Namely how to light a massive 9300+ square foot room with over 30’ dark ceilings.
Images of the entire room were quite unevenly illuminated. However, by paying attention to some of the key features of the room, I was able to find some interesting angles on the speakers at the podium in the middle of the room.
It’s all about perspective. I think they’ll enjoy these images. Hopefully it won’t go to their heads. What do you think? FYI you can look up ARPA on their website or on Facebook. Check them out – they’re good people!
Yesterday was a very interesting day. I had an opportunity to work with the great people of Right Hand Events and Kaiser Permanente San Diego covering the groundbreaking of a new hospital here in San Diego. Aside from a terrific event with local business and political leaders, I was tasked with capturing a very challenging scene. The actual “shovels in the dirt ground breaking” happened a few minutes before noon – I know, every photographer’s favorite time of day to shoot outside – with backlit subjects and a highly reflective facade above and behind them.
Now in older days I would have brought out an Alien Bee and powered it with a Vagabond battery pack. Unfortunately this setting was the middle of a large parking lot, and I would be unable to ground the battery pack. And 640 watt-seconds was not going to match the harsh sunlight. So I brought out my trusty old Dynalite 800ws pack along with a Dynalite inverter (which doesn’t need to be grounded) and powered a single 4040 head with all 800ws blasting directly from the 7″ reflector. That’s a lot of power, but it was approximately 20′ from my subjects. And did I mention it was almost noon? Knowing the importance of these shots to Kaiser Permanente, I opted for photographic redundancy. I decided to photograph these key moments using two cameras and two lighting setups.
I added a PocketWizard to my new Nikon Df to trigger my Dynalite pack. A PocketWizard TT5n fired my Nikon D3 mounted on a tripod at a slightly lower angle. Atop the D3 was the Profoto Air Remote, which fired a pair of new Profoto B1s. Their combined 1000 watt-seconds was almost enough to match the sun, even at that distance. With a little adjusting in Lightroom I was able to produce a pretty good image – in the middle of a parking lot in midday sun, with no wires. The example below is from the D3, showing the hard-working ladies of Right Hand Events after successfully executing the groundbreaking. (The key images of the Kaiser Permanente team will need to be approved by their Public Affairs office before they can be shared.)
The B1s are impressive. Two lights with remotes and chargers fit neatly in a backpack. Their batteries are mounted “in to” the head, so nothing is left dangling and there are truly no cords whatsoever. These units are able to work in TTL mode – although currently only with Canon DSLRs. The Nikon version of their remote won’t be available until late this year. (Note that the strobes themselves are identical, only the remote differs. So even though you can’t purchase a Nikon version of the remote now, you can purchase the B1 strobes – and they will work with the Nikon remote as soon as that is available.) The TTL was impressively accurate in a studio demo with Canon cameras last week. The B1 also has an incredible recycle rate, able to keep up with the Canon shooting at high fps in the studio. Granted that wasn’t full power, but it was impressive nonetheless – and should be of tremendous benefit for anyone shooting action. If you have used these units please feel free to share your experience in the comments below.
If you’re interested, these are now on my birthday list and my Christmas list… ;-)
There’s no question that social media rules marketing in today’s world. A few good articles have recently emphasized the importance – the critical importance – of visuals (such as photography or graphics) in social media:
2014 is a new year, with untold new opportunities. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions, but do aspire to improve myself every year. I make a conscious effort to learn more, work more, perfect more, and contribute more every year. This year is no exception — I will strive to improve my photography skills, the images I produce, and the clients I help. I also intend to give back more. This past holiday season’s fundraising efforts were very rewarding to me personally, and I am looking for other ways in which I can improve the world around me.
This video came up in my Facebook news feed today, and inspired me. Although it looks way too staged, the message is very clear — and the idea is not lost on me. See what you think.
Perspective, and attitude — can change everything.
One of the things that I really enjoy is celebrating. Pretty much any occasion. But the holiday season is particularly fun, as it’s far more decorative and pretty universally enjoyed. This is one reason I love doing photography at holiday parties, and meeting so many happy people. Once again this year I joined the employees at the beautiful Omni San Diego Hotel to celebrate the holidays with them, photographing singles, couples and groups and printing 5×7 portraits on the spot. It’s reassuring to be able to view the image seconds after capture and ensure that no one blinked and everyone likes their smile, hair, and so on. It’s also rewarding to see their excitement as they hold a print in a folder and “ooh and ahh” at the results, just a minute or two after we shot the image. Fellow photographer Tammela Loy captured a “behind the scenes” shot of me at work.
Below are a couple of images captured at this event — I think the fun is apparent!
This holiday season is always hectic, as we struggle to find those “perfect” gifts for our loved ones. Often it’s easy to overlook the important things, and forget about giving the one thing that money can’t buy — our time. There’s not much that I can think of to ask for from my family or loved ones, so I fail miserably at making the infamous Christmas Wish List. But I DO know what I really want this year, and every year — some quality time with those I love, whether here in beautiful San Diego or back home. This year I won’t be able to make it back to NC for the holidays, so I’m sharing a little view of San Diego.
This image is one I’ve wanted for four years, and I finally got access to a vantage point to photograph it. This is the ice skating rink set up at the Hotel Del Coronado. Two images were captured, one to lighten the ice skating rink and one to darken the sky. They were processed in Adobe Lightroom 5 and merged to HDR Pro in Photoshop, where the blend was refined and some spot image adjustments were added. Life is Southern California is pretty good! 🙂