Fresnel Portrait

Just starting to use my Profoto fresnel small attachment on my flash heads for portraits. I’ve always been a fan of classic black and white movies and love the distinctive quality of light and contrasty lighting setups. Movies like Citizen Kane (1942) and Casablanca (1942) are iconic to me for lighting (not to mention the films themselves).

However, I am dreaming if I that think I can recreate lighting from those movies. They had huge budgets, big crews and used powerful and extremely expensive fresnel lights. Whilst big fresnels are way out of my price range, I can start to explore a much more practical solution whilst learning the lighting techniques for my portraits. Modifiers for flash heads like the Profoto fresnel small and Profoto magnum reflectors are a great place to start. Ok, these are still flash heads whilst fresnels used on movies (and for portraiture) are continuos, but investing in both lighting options is way beyond my budget.

This is a simple 2 light set up. The Profoto fresnel was the main light and attached to a Profoto B1 behind me and camera left. It was positioned high, focused to a very tight spot and angled down 45 degrees. However, I directed the focused beam into the mirror and to the right of the models face. The bounce gave me a slightly softer tone and also some nice shadow detail in the background.

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The fill light, a Profoto B1 with a Profoto 1×3 strip box and 30 degree grid, was set of the other side of the wall partition (Which acted as a nice flag). As always, I prefer to use modifiers with grids that give me control of my lighting.


Equipment used:  Hasselblad H4D-40 + 80mm f2.8 lens, Profoto B1’s, Profoto fresnel small, Profoto 1×3 strip + 30 degree grid.

To view more of my images, please visit my web esam hassanyeh

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