Are The Profoto B1s Really That Good?

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.

Executive portrait of Nancy Grab for Five Star Professionals' feature
Nancy Grab, Union Bank mortgage banker

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!

Two Profoto B1s set up to light Santa
Lighting setup for Santa — no wires!

Santa is ready to greet children at the Omni San Diego
Santa is ready

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and best wishes for a joyous holiday season!

Executive Portrait for an Annual Report

Banking executive photographed with a First Bank client in the San Diego office.
Senior Vice President and Regional Manager photographed for the First Bank annual report.

William Morton had the opportunity yesterday to photograph Senior Vice President and Regional Manager Bob Jondall in his downtown San Diego office. Destined for First Bank‘s annual report, the client wanted a view of the San Diego bay in the background. Unfortunately the weatherman didn’t get the request, and delivered a thick marine layer over the bay. So we found an alternate view showing Balboa Park in the background. Studio strobes were added to the sunlight beaming in the windows to capture this conversational moment, with Photo Assistant Angela Hess sitting in as the client. The final image was composited and delivered 2 days before deadline, to a very happy Creative Director. I love working on location with professionals!

William Morton Involved In Courtroom Shooting

Breaking news: William Morton of Morton Visuals was involved in a courtroom shooting yesterday. Morton took aim at local attorney Jim Miller Jr., and created a series of new images designed to highlight photography lighting on location for an upcoming class. This wasn’t the first time that Morton had shot Miller – his previous portrait is featured on the Jim Miller for Judge website.

Behind the scenes of Morton Visuals' courtroom photo shoot
Behind the Scenes in the County Courthouse

With a scant two hours of access to a county courthouse courtroom, photographer William Morton worked with the aid of Assistants Kevin Young and Drew Wyeth to create three setups to utilize for the 30-minute photo session. This proved to be no small challenge. If ladies think the lighting in department store changing rooms is unflattering, just wait until you examine the lighting in a courtroom! Morton analyzed the ambient lighting and then matched his main light, effectively neutralizing the color cast. Then he switched up to some slightly more dramatic lighting for our easygoing legal model.

Attorney Jim Miller Jr. poses in a court room of the County Courthouse
Attorney Jim Miller Jr. poses in court
Attorney Jim Miller Jr. with warmer lighting
Attorney Jim Miller Jr. warms up
Attorney Jim Miller Jr. backed by a knowledge of the law
Backed by knowledge of the law

To emphasize the intellectual aspects of the legal business, William brought in the warmth of dozens of law books as a background – proving that lawyers do have the backing of precedents. The 3rd image has been ordered sealed, until Miller wins his seat on the bench of the Superior Court.

Need a civil or criminal defense attorney? Talk to Jim Miller Jr. – his El Cajon office can be reached at 619-590-0383.

Morton Visuals – Photography You Can Bank On

William Morton Visuals photographed the executives of Comerica Bank today. Downtown Branch Manager Ron Davis and Assistant Branch Manager Chris DeJesus served as models as photographer William Morton captured the gentlemen in lobby and attending to the bank vault. Assistant (and Fine Art photographer) Francine Gonzalez shot the “behind the scenes” images for use in an upcoming photography class on location lighting. William and Francine documented the step-by-step process of recording accurate colors in the ambient lighting and special effects lighting in the bank vault.

Photo setup for bank executive photography
William Morton Visuals' bank portrait setup

Executive portrait of bank branch manager Ron Davis
Branch Manager Ron Davis greets customers

Executive portrait of assistant branch manager Chris De Jesus
Chris De Jesus watches over the Comerica vault

William demonstrated a technique to match his lighting to the ambient lighting of the bank’s interior, creating a very natural look that blends well with the environment. Then for a little more excitement he added a “Comerica blue” to the bank’s vault, controlling the color and reflections on the massive steel door.  Natural portraiture or dramatic and colorful, Morton Visuals can present executives in their best light!

 

Morton Visuals Photographs Jim Miller Jr.

William Morton photographs Superior Court judge candidate Jim Miller on the steps of the San Diego Hall of Justice.

Jim Miller, candidate for Superior Court Judge
Jim Miller Jr.
William Morton Visuals photographed attorney Jim Miller Jr. on the steps of the San Diego Hall of Justice today. Miller, a candidate for Superior Court Judge Seat 20, will be using images from the location shoot for his campaign website. To see more, visit www.JimMillerForJudge.com.