Creating Hard, Punchy, And Dramatic Light With Profoto & Andrea Belluso (BTS)
Modern day Britain, much like its tea, is steeped in tradition. People don’t flock to the former capital of the free world for the Tate Modern or The Shard. They go for the Beefeater, Dixon Of Dock Green police helmets, Trafalgar Square, and a general sense of pomp and circumstance. As the meeting point where east meets west, it’s also a business hub, so wandering London’s streets there’s a real sense of style and utility. Style from tailoring to hair, arguably, makes birth in the UK. Milan may have be the fashion hub, but fashion is fleeting and style more eternal.
Pall Mall Barbers is famous in old London town partially because it’s been a respected part of it for so long. To promote their new product line, they hired well known photographer Andrea Belluso to, “Capture the essence of a classic yet modern man.” In effect, to encapsulate much of the British Gent. Capturing all of this in a photo series, or a photo, is a tall order, but Andrea, fueled with experience between London, Milan, and Stockholm, padded by three Profoto B1 off-camera flashes and three Magnum Reflectors breaks down how he did it with a detailed BTS video.
Background & Breakdown
In a post on Profoto’s site, Belluso explains the whole process starting from the model search. He said a challenge was to find a British looking man with the right sort of attitude in Sweden. One assumes David Gandy wasn’t available for the day or was busy being ‘really really, ridiculously good looking,” for someone else, but male model Knut was found a brilliant fit.
The Profoto B1s are cordless and portable with built in TTL ability. This makes for a rather quick and seamless set-up, hugely beneficial when time is limited. The Magnum Reflectors were chosen due to their hammered interior surface which produces a light output that keeps all light focused and hard, and all eyes precisely where you, the photographer, wants them. Working with TTL and fine tuning manually, the effect is obvious.
I really like this shoot. I like the hard light, and I like the hard attitude. The boxing theme mixed with a well tailored suit make for a compelling juxtaposition of sport and civility. Profoto gear isn’t inexpensive, but there’s something to be said for the amount of utility and thought behind something like the B1 and the Magnum. I do like that Andrea, always open in his Light Shaper series, shows how a shoot like this doesn’t need to be an enormous ordeal – provided you have the right tools and knowledge-base. I could certainly see this as a good fit for Pall Barbers, and frankly could see it in a number of editorials.