Wedding photographer Vanessa Joy has switched from shooting with natural light and speed lights to the more powerful and versatile Profoto B1. Here are her thoughts on how her new equipment has affected her imagery and business.
Wedding photographer Vanessa Joy grew up around photography. Her Mom, Marji Scavone, was a wedding and portrait photographer, so cameras and shop talk were an integral part of the family story line. But it wasn’t until she entered high school that she fell in love with the art and craft of taking pictures.
She soon began assisting her photo instructor, a “weekend warrior wedding photographer”. In addition to schlepping bags, Vanessa was often put onto the front lines shooting second camera, where she quickly learned how to make do with whatever lighting gear the boss wasn’t using at the moment.
Looking back, these lessons in ‘making do’ were the seedlings for her signature-style reputation as an excellent natural light wedding photographer.
About fifteen years and a couple of college degrees later, Vanessa Joy finds herself, along with her filmmaker husband Rob Adams, co-partners in a thriving wedding photography business. Though recognized – and often hired specifically because of her natural light imaging style, Vanessa knows better than entering a wedding hall without back-up lighting. “When somebody hires you, they expect you to show up better equipped than their guests”.
For the longest time, Vanessa Joy’s lighting system consisted of a slew of Speedlites, batteries, cables, and radio slaves along with a few reflectors. The problem was that shooting in bright outdoor settings, which was often the case, there were often communication issues between the cameras, transmitters, and lights, and there’s a limit to how many times you can ‘take five’ at a wedding to trouble-shoot your gear. Add the frequent triple-digit heat/humidity indexes common to summer in New Jersey, and equipment failure becomes more than an ‘inconvenience’.
The bottom line for Vanessa Joy was that while her off-camera Speedlite system did what she needed it to do, when shooting outdoors the sun was still calling the shots leaving her Speedlites to mostly fill in the blanks. And then she heard about Profoto’s new B1 off-camera flash. She tried it. She hasn’t looked back.