Using the Profoto B1 modeling lamp as a video light
Looking through the past articles on this blog, you’ll notice that I love using a video light for low-light photography. A video light adds that sense of drama to portraits, and very often blends better with the existing ambient light, than flash would.
Lately though, I haven’t bothered to bring a video light to weddings for the romantic portraits – I already have the Profoto B1 there with a substantial enough modeling light! Less gear to carry with me! Since I rely heavily on my Profoto B1 flashes (B&H / Amazon), I already have them on hand.
To show you how good the light from this looks (with the softbox still attached, but the baffle removed), here are a few images of Anelisa, taken during a Photo Walk in New York. We were using the flash and softbox earlier on, but as the sun disappeared, the light was getting lower, and there wasn’t a colorful sky to use as a backdrop – just the city lights. With the White Balance set to 3100K in fine-tuning the RAW file in post-processing.
In this case, with the light reflecting off the sides of the interior of the softbox, the light becomes a somewhat larger light source with the shadows slightly less hard.
Camera settings and photo gear used
- 1/125 @ f/1.6 @ 1600 ISO
- Nikon D810
- Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens – for Nikon / for Canon
- Profoto B1 TTL flash (B&H / Amazon)
- Westcott Rapid Box 36″ Octabox (B&H / Amazon)
The beauty of using the Profoto B1 like this as a continuous light source, is that I don’t have to set up another light source when photographing the romantic portraits at weddings. Same gear, but with a dual purpose … and I don’t have to bring a separate video light with me. This makes the Profoto B1 even more versatile as an on-location light source.
- More articles on using video light for photography
- Info: Workshops / Photo walks – NYC
- review: Profoto B1 flash
- Using the Profoto B1 flash at a wedding
- review: Profoto B2 Off-Camera Flash – photo shoot
14 Comments, Add Your Own
1Frank Rodrick says
Great idea. I almost used my B1 flashes when shooting a video, but my musician flaked at the last minute. I tested them, though and got a good 45 minutes out of a battery. May try again someday. With a snoot it might look really cool.
2Andrew Miller says
I originally had the Lowel ID video light then sold that and moved to LED lights from DIY stores! 30w with a rechargeable battery, they are excellent for evening work, and for simple fill in when using any kind of flash also.
3MP Singh says
Another great piece of advice, thanks Neil. How do you like Sigma Art lenses as compared to Nikon
4Neil vN says
In my opinion, the Sigma 50mm ART lens beats the Nikon lenses hands-down.
Here is my review of the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 ART lens.
5Ed Shum says
By saying the model light blends better, i assume you mean the white balance?
6Neil vN says
Yes, generally when you shoot in low light in urban areas, the color temperature is very warm. Then the option is to either gel the flash, or use a light source that itself has a warm color temperature / WB.
6.1Ed Shum says
Gotcha, thanks Neil.
I’ve just finished reading three of your books. It was a pleasure going through them, everything so simply explained and full of information.
I live in a small town, Sunchales, in Argentina, where we don`t have many opportunities of taking photography courses or lectures, so your books and all the information via Tangents are of great help.
Your knowldge and teaching style are great!!!!! Keep up with the great educational and informative post.
Once again MY GRATITUDE!!!!!
My best regards….
8Claude Carrier says
What’s the white balance of the modeling light of the B1 ? Did you have to work with 2 differents white balance (city light and B1)? Or was it close enough ?
9Neil vN says
Hi there Claude – As mentioned in the article, the White Balance of the RAW file was set to 3100K in fine-tuning during post-processing. Close enough to an Incandescent environment to give a nice balance between your subject’s lighting, and the background.
Hi Neil. I would like to ask if this modelling light is practical to use in events.
Would it be cumbersome? Or an eyesore for the guest and entourage, if in wedding?
Thanks for your reply and your rich arsenal of photography ideas and knowledge.
God bless you.
11Neil vN says
Alex .. my only concern about using the B1 like that, is that it is top-heavy … and any crash to the floor will be expensive. So I think a lighter, smaller video light that you would dedicate as a light at an event, would make more sense in the long run.
I’m considering purchasing a B1/B1X. In reference to the modeling light, should it be taken into consideration for the purchase? I’ve never used a modeling light, so not sure if a brighter modeling light provides great opportunities.
13Neil vN says
A stronger modeling light (with the B1X) would be a definite boost when using the unit like this as an incandescent light source.