I have always loved working with hotlights. There is something about the healthy glow from a tungsten that just makes certain images work better (and off course, lighting up ‘moving pictures’ is another thing altogether.)


Almond berry pinwheel




Pastry-setup-06_ Pastry-setup-02_ Pastry-setup-01_ Pastries by Sean Nel

The problem has always been that they are just that… Hot! And unless you are willing to play around with the cooler (temp and colour) LED light sources, this will remain a problem. I have also worked with some Creative Light Florescent bulb constant lights, which seems to be the golden midway, but power output becomes difficult when you want to shoot at ISO 100… I always ended up pushing it a bit to ISO 400 or so.

But let’s get to today’s shoot and setup:

I was shooting fresh Almond pastries for commercial stock use, so clean lines and copy space to maximize the possible usage.

I prefer simple lighting setups as far as possible… keeping it simple seems to make it easier to also keep it looking natural, so I opted for a single main light source (as you would get in many normal, day-to-day scenes) some fill-in with reflectors to control the shadows and some window light as a secondary fill light.

Having the Profoto Pro Tungsten as a main light has the added benefit of colouring my shadows orange, which was perfect for the look I wanted to create. The ProTungsten was on a boom and bounced against a 1m circular white reflector. Next to it was a 1x2m silver reflector (mainly for background) to the right and under my camera, was a tin foil strip held up with a Wimberley Plamp. I like using tin foil as I can bend and shape it to light up small areas while wrapping it around my lens or tripod legs… very handy stuff!

Lastly, I had a fill window on the left… I could have used a second tungsten light, but it was a cloudy, overcast day, so just enough light to keep everything soft…

That’s basically it… The Profoto ProTungsten Air has a seriously long adjustment throw (10-100) which means you can balance out your lighting beautifully, either on the unit directly or via the Air Triggers. For these shots we were shooting between 1/15 to 1/50th on ISO 100.

One last thing.

You will see that I am shooting on a black table top. The reason for black, instead of white or brown is simply because black reflects colour better as part of the image and gives you more defined highlights in the background (see top image)



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