Creating the Look of Golden Hour Using Profoto B1 Strobes

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Screenshot taken from the video

Why wait for the Golden Hour when you can create it? That’s part of the idea behind a new Profoto video tutorial featuring Pye from SLR Lounge. Pye discusses how at a recent wedding he shot, it was impossible to shoot during the Golden Hour because of events running behind. However, the bride really wanted a portrait session during that time.

So what he ended up doing is quite brilliant.

Using a Profoto B1 monolight, Pye asked his assistant to place it way far away behind the couple. However, the light also needed to be placed somewhere in the scene where one would expect the sun to shine through. That isn’t too terribly tough to do since the sun goes down around sunset. To make the light output look more like the sun, two orange CTO gels were added.

CTO gels not only end up giving the light a different color, but they also cut down on the amount of light that goes through in the photo rendered onto the camera. To that end, a very powerful light source needed to be used. For that, they brought out the Profoto B1 lights and shot at full power of 500 watt seconds. Add in the fact that the light can be controlled manually with the radio transmitter and you’ve got yourself a great tool for the occassion.

In fact, the light output was so cut down that the ISO level needed to be raised to ISO 1600 so that Pye could get an exposure at f2.8 and balance out the ambient light accordingly.

Could this be done with any flash? Theoretically, yes–but it’s incredibly tough to do it and get the color of the light perfectly matching the Golden Hour you’d probably need to raise your ISO above 1600 and shoot at a setting more shallow than f2.8. At f2.8, it’s very tough to get a couple perfectly in focus to begin with and that’s why most photographers shoot at f5.6 at a minimum. Doing this took very careful positioning of the couple and the overall orchestration wasn’t simple for the session. However, Pye made it work and should be commended for a job well done. Overall though, it’s much easier to do this with a powerful monolight and a lower ISO setting.

Other lights that could do this with relative ease are the Interfit S1, Phottix Indra500 TTL, and the Paul C Buff Einstein E640. Profoto tends to have the most reliability and best quality.