Hard, Punchy Light at the Boxing Club with the Magnum Reflector

Written by Andrea Belluso on . Posted in The Light Shaper

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Andrea Belluso is an experienced photographer with more than three decades in the business. He has shot everything and everyone from supermodels and celebrities to fashion, beauty and stock photography. Once a month, Andrea takes us behind the scenes of one of his most recent shoots. This time he creates a hard and punchy light with the Magnum Reflector!

“Capture the essence of a classic yet modern and active man.” That was the brief I was given by advertising agency JU’NK, who had been hired by Pall Mall Barbers, one of the oldest and most respected barbershops in London, to promote their new line of products.

The first thing we did was to look for a model. Finding a British-looking man with just the right attitude in Sweden was not the easiest thing to achieve. But the second we met male model and rock star Knut, we knew we had our man!

The image was shot in one of Stockholm’s oldest boxing clubs. There is a deeply rooted boxing tradition among British gentlemen, so we figured the location would fit the brief perfectly. But there are certain challenges with shooting at a gym. Gyms are quite sterile, brightly lit environments, so creating mood and atmosphere is not an easy thing to do.

As always, I solved this by bringing my own lights, in this case three B1 off-camera flashes and three Magnum Reflectors.

 

Profoto Magnum Reflector Andrea Belluso The Light Shaper 1 600x400 Hard, Punchy Light at the Boxing Club with the Magnum Reflector

©Andrea Belluso

Profoto Magnum Reflector Andrea Belluso The Light Shaper bts 1 600x397 Hard, Punchy Light at the Boxing Club with the Magnum Reflector

 Hard, Punchy Light at the Boxing Club with the Magnum Reflector

I picked the B1 for a number of reasons, the most obvious being that it is portable and cordless. Its TTL function was also a great help on this shoot. We had very little time and space at our disposal. So what I did was that I used the TTL function to fire a test shot and get the correct exposure of all three lights. I then switched to manual mode to control and fine-tune each light separately directly from my camera. Easy peasy.

The Magnum Reflector was chosen simply because it creates a very hard light with a medium light spread. This would fit the look and feel we were going for perfectly.

I set the lights like I always do: I start with one light, the main light. I then add one light at a time until I achieve the result I want. I put a Grid on my main light’s Magnum Reflector to get a bit more contrast in the picture and to limit the light spread. The light was fine-tuned by sliding the Magnum Reflector along the zoom scale on the B1 until I found the optimal position.

Once the main light was placed and zoomed in such a way that it did not light up any details in the environment (except for the close-by ropes) I placed a second B1 in the boxing ring. This one was also equipped with a Magnum Reflector, pointing at some details on the wall that I wanted to be visible in the final image. The third and final light was also a B1 with a Magnum Reflector. This one was placed camera left and zoomed out to its widest setting, shedding just a bit of light on the details and the smoke in the background.

The whole shoot, including setting everything up, took only a couple of hours. The actual shooting was done in less than twenty minutes. As long as you know what you want to do, and you know what tools you need to do it, everything else just falls into place.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to reply as soon as I can.

 

Profoto Andrea Belluso small Hard, Punchy Light at the Boxing Club with the Magnum Reflector

Ciao,

Andrea Belluso

Andrea’s website

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Comments (47)

  • John Bamber

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    Andrea,
    Thanks for sharing such a great video! I’m new to Profoto (love my B1) and am wondering if you were using the glass domes on the B1′s, or the standard flat glass.
    In your experience, are you able to get the results you’re accustomed to with the Magnums whether using a Pro head (domed glass), or a B1/D1 (flat glass)?

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      Hi John!
      I am actually using the standard flat front. The glass dome does give you slightly more zoom function coverage but the effect of the Magnum is still there, only slightly “shorter” compared to the ProHeads because of the shorter zoom funcion on the B1, just as on the D1 that both have a built-in reflector of 77 degrees.

      Reply

      • John Bamber

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        Thanks, Andrea! I appreciate the follow-up!

        Reply

        • iGor

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          John Bamber, I’m using glass dome but only with beauty dish on D1′s. There is a slight difference, light shape and contrast is more similar to previous Profoto heads. Don’t expect big difference but I suggest u to try.

          Reply

          • John Bamber

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            Thanks, iGor! I’ll give it a shot! I’m transitioning over from Bron gear, and just making sure I’m not missing out without an exposed bulb and/or dome. Thanks again! I’m glad to be a part of the community.

            Reply

  • Rick Haithcox

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    I’m located in Dallas, NC. I’m looking for profoto accessories and power packs and would like to know where I can go and put hands on products. Raleigh does not seem to have much. Maybe Atlanta??? Best place that has product to touch, feel and see??? Thanks Rick… Currently own an acuteB pack and head. Would like to replace my black line speedotron system…

    Reply

      • Rick Haithcox

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        Thanks… yes, I have called a couple places, but seems it’s quite hard to find a place that has actual product in stores. They all seem to just be able to order it for you….

        Reply

  • Gene

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    Andrea does great work, and Profoto is great gear. I, on the other hand, would use my gridded 22″ beauty dish on strobes costing 1/3 the price, to get the same results for a fraction of the cost, increasing my bottom line (though not banking ProFoto sponsorship, unfortunately). TTL on the keylight, btw, is completely unnecessary in this scenario as the lighting is entirely controlled and will not change throughout the shoot – shooting this requires just two steps – set up and get a test-shot of your background lighting, then bring in the model and play with the keylight power until it matches the mood of the ‘ambient’ lighting, take a test shot and proceed to the money-shots… I would actually go a step further and gel some of the ambient lights to create a different mood in the gym. There, now I’m a ‘light-shaper’ too! )) Where’s my ‘Jr Light Shaper’ badge?

    Reply

    • Igor

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      Ha, I like comments of guys who say: “I can do the same with cheap light”. Sure you can, many can do. Why people pay 4 mil $ for Bugatti Veyron? They know why and they make enough money to afford it.

      Reply

      • Andrea Belluso

        Andrea Belluso

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        Quite right Igor. One can probably get something similar with less money, but pays the price in other ways such as power output, color temperaure consistancy, zoom function, flash duration times, etc…

        Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      Gene, I am sure you can get something similar to what I am getting with less money as you put it. Personally I prefer to work with equipment that I can rely on, that give me the performance that I need and that I can control exactly as I want in the smallest details.
      I am sure that if you too would try Profoto gear you too would be of the same opinion.
      Sorry but the Js. Light Shaper badge only comes if you really understand the huge difference in using equipment that gives you all these things and the frredom to be creative with your shots rather than focusing on finding last-minute remedies to compensate for budget ;-)

      Reply

  • Igor

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    Ge8 post. Thanks 4 share Andrea!
    By getting older, more I’m considering hard light shaping tools. :)

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      Igor, I must admit I am the same. I got stuck with soft light for many years and now I tend to use more and more hard light. Well, putting it more correctly, now I dare to use the correct lighting according to the shot needed, rather than being scared of using hard light as I used to be…

      Reply

  • Ron

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    Why no hair light for a barbershop ad?

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      Ron, there is no hair light because it is specifically for the new range of shaving products not haircuts/hair products and there should be more focus is on the face. Also the vision is to be more emotional/aspirational/realistic than a traditional ad

      Reply

  • Rick Haithcox

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    Thanks… yes, I have called a couple places, but seems it’s quite hard to find a place that has actual product in stores. They all seem to just be able to order it for you….

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      Rick, I am actually meeting someone from Profoto US this week so I will see what they tell me.
      In the meantime please contact Profoto US directly at
      Telephone: 973-822-1300
      Fax: 973-805-5575
      E-mail: us-info@profoto.com

      Reply

      • Rick haithcox

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        Thanks Andrea. I’m actually shooting something this weekend and wanted to use the profoto large parabolic silver umbrella for my punchy light. There’s just no dealers in the Charlotte area that have profoto products. Even B&H in NY is out of stock for this item. Will resort to my medium chimera soft box with silver interior on no diffusion on the front….

        Reply

        • Andrea Belluso

          Andrea Belluso

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          Hi Rick!
          Do you men the Giant Reflector or the Umbrella Deep XL? The latter, being the new model of the “normal” umbrellas is not parabolic and it should be available at B&H and also in closer dealers to you, maybe you saying the word parabolic made them think you where talking about the Giant Reflector, which is parabolic. Ask for the Profoto Umbrella Deep XL Silver and I’m sure the’ll be able to help you…
          Please let me know.

          Reply

  • WLennonPhoto

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    Once again another fantastic BTS/ Educational video Andrea. Thanks.

    Just a quick question relating to Gene’s comment, did you use the TTL on the main light to counter the movement of the model and to keep the exposure constant on him?
    as the background wouldn’t move but he would.

    Wayne

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      Thanks WLennonPhoto!
      I actually used the TTL only as a speedy way of taking the exposure instead of a flash meter, I then switched to maual and set the lights exactly as I wanted them. Had I wanted to use TTL throughout I would have set the main light on group A, B or C and the background lights on any group above those so that they would not be affected by the TTL and I would still be able to fire them and control them exactly as with a standard Air Remote.

      Reply

  • chrome

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    why 1/125 ?

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      So as to avoid the ambient light from interfering.

      Reply

  • Rick haithcox

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    1/125 to be able to override the ambient light. Cloud just as well been 1/90 or 1/200. So, only the light from the flashes is being used. The f stop is what’s controlling the light.

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      Almost right… :-)
      Correct regarding the overriding of the ambient light, but the f stop only controls my depth of field. What’s controlling the light is the amount of power I decide to give to the generator, in this case the B1 that is an off-camera flash with a built-in generator of sorts…

      Reply

      • Rick haithcox

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        Yes, I used the wrong choice of words there. I ment controlling in that the light output is measured by the selected f stop. The shutter speed has no bearing on exposure…only the f stop. Which of course is dictated by the output of the flash. Which is totally controllable by the selected power chosen on the flash to achieve the desired f stop in use.. :)

        Reply

  • Rick haithcox

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    Sorry…Could have been…..not cloud…:)

    Reply

  • Susan Merrell

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    Dear Mr. Belluso,

    Thanks for sharing your Boxing lighting, it’s beautiful and strong at the same time. I like the frame you selected because it looks like he’s about to leave the studio with his other hand on the bag strap.

    Can you give me your input. I’m a staff photographer at UC San Francisco, and taking studio pics of young scientists for the university’s 150th anniversary website. The theme is “30 innovators under 30,” and the feel I’m going for is edgy, like your shoot, portraying the 20-something researchers as creative, ingenious, modern, revolutionary. My editors want a simple set-up, horizontal portrait against a grey background. I want to make it richer with more depth and creativity (like the scientists) than a typical 3-key set-up. The subjects have to be pretty evenly lit, which is also a limitation.

    I’d like to produce an image that’s edgy and sensual, a combination of your hard light shot here, and your gorgeous “Lars Wallin” photograph: http://www.belluso.com/gallery#2. I’m renting a Leica S, instead of my Mark IV, and Profoto lights, in combination with two white lighting 600 strobes that I’ve used since the 90s.

    Do you have a recommendation for a simple lighting set-up. I understand if my question is too involved, or I’m copying you too much!

    Thanks again for the tips with your boxing shoot.

    Susan

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      Dear Susan,
      I am glad you like the boxing shot :-)
      I could come up with an answer to your problem but I have just landed from a long haul flight and that sort of problem solving is what my clients book me for ;-)
      If I have some time in between trips and jobs I promise to answer your question. I hope you understand.
      But one quick thought that comes to mind is why not mix a hard light with a soft light? I mean that you have to deliver evenly lit pictures, which is what your editor wants, but you highlight the details you want to come through with a hard light…
      I often mix hard and soft light and it’s beautiful!
      Good luck!

      Reply

      • Susan

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        Thanks Andrea! I figured after I posted my question that I was asking for you to shoot it for me. :) Since writing, I’ve calmed down considerably, and decided I could do this. After watching your other portrait videos I got a sense for what I want to do, which is mixing hard and soft light, like you say.

        Thanks for the good wishes. Happy traveling, and I look forward to your next video.

        Susan

        Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

    Andrea Belluso

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    Sorry I have been travelling and I am still travelling, I will reply all the comments in order as soon as I manage to. Thanks for your understanding…

    Reply

  • Rick Haithcox

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    The deep silver umbrella. Large. 51″ they do not have it in stock at B&H . I wound up going with a photoflex parabolic shaped soft box.. Small with no diffusion on the front and silver interior . I got the hard light I was looking for ….kinda sorta… The images turned out great with just enough shadow I think. I would like to find the profoto deep silver large to compare the results.

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      Rick, using a softbox without diffuser will give you a direct light, whereas using an umbrella, like for instance the wonderful umbrella Deep Silver Large (though the XL is my absolute favourite), gives you a reflected light. This means that the light hits te subject in a totally different way.
      I am sure you should find it at B&H as you most probably would at any Profoto retailer.
      Give it a shot and let me know what you think of the difference.

      Reply

  • OK

    |

    Thank You for sharing
    I Support You
    I Like Boxing

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      OK, hank you for supporting!
      Spread the word ;-)
      I hope you like lighting as much as boxing :-)

      Reply

  • ice

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    Thank you for sharing.

    Reply

    • Andrea Belluso

      Andrea Belluso

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      ice, more than glad to share the knowlege, please do share my films ;-)

      Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

    Andrea Belluso

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    Dear all,
    as usual I wish to apologise if some of my comments reach you a bit late. At the moment I am on an extensive tour of South East Asia so it can take a few days before I answer your comments. Thanks for being patients :-)

    Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

    Andrea Belluso

    |

    Dear all, as I am trying to figure out which films I will post in the future, it would be great to find out if you have any special requests. Any light shaping tools in particular you’d like to see? Any particular type of light?
    I use most light shaping tools in my work, so it won’t be hard to satisfy your requests, I’m sure…

    Reply

  • Rick Haithcox

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    Maybe do a comparison..Like two similiar light shaping tools on the same subject and show the differences between the two???

    Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

    Andrea Belluso

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    Thanks Rick!
    That’s a great idea! Please keep in mind that it takes some time to produce a shoot and also, since these films are done in real work situations, I also have to have the right job to do any of the proposed ideas, so be patient and please keep following me :-)
    But I really like your ida and I’ll definitely try to make it happen soon!
    Have a great weekend!

    Reply

  • Rick Haithcox

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    Here is a link to the images I made with the profoto acuteB and a xs parabolic soft box with diffusion material removed….I love the light and think I will use it again… http://on.fb.me/NLq0gD.

    Reply

  • Natalia Robba

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    Hi Andrea,
    Fantastic website and tutorials, with very handy tips. I was wondering if you would be doing one that catered to muscle photography at some stage? Have been trying to find the perfect lighting setup for a low light, muscle enhancing setup for a while for bodybuilding and it would be great to get your opinion on this.
    Thanks!
    Natalia

    Reply

  • Andrea Belluso

    Andrea Belluso

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    Hi Natalia!
    Glad you like the videos :-)
    It’s a good idea to some day do something on muscle photography in terms of light shaping films. I’ll keep it in mind and see when I’ll be able to do one.
    Otherwise, to answer your question, I would actually go for something like a Magnum reflector since it produces a hard light with deep shadows, which would give some nice definition to the muscles and their shapes.
    But in general I would go for hard light just to enhance the muscle shapes with hard shadows.
    Good luck!

    Reply

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