One of the top questions I get asked about Flash photography is “Which Flash Should I Choose?” When I tell them I only shoot with Profoto Flashes, the inevitable follow-up is “Cool! How much are they?” And when I tell them THAT answer, their jaws usually drop a little. However, I’m a firm believer that you should think of your Flashes like you think of your lenses. Would you shoot a wedding with a $30 lens? No? Then you probably shouldn’t shoot with a $30 Flash either! After all, your Flash will be impacting anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of your gallery depending on the ceremony time… isn’t that worthy of a little extra investment?
Today I want to share with you 6 reasons I only shoot with Profoto Flashes. This will not be a technical analysis full of numbers of fancy scientific terms. That’s not my style. This will be a practical look at some of the most significant (and subtle) advantages I benefit from on wedding day! These are a few of the main reasons I find Profoto Flashes to be worth the additional investment!
Let’s start with something really practical. When I used to shoot with a Canon 600ex-rt ii and the Yongnuo of the same name, I was guzzling through anywhere from 16-24 AA batteries a night. That’s brutal. (And if you don’t have rechargeable batteries, it is also expensive!) Because my Profoto Flashes run on lithium ion batteries, I get around 300 shots at full power (the newer models get around 500 shots at full power!). That means I swap my batteries out maybe once per wedding!
Another reason I use Profoto Flashes is the faster refresh rate. This is about as technical as I’m going to get in this article, but it’s insanely practical. Have you ever taken back-to-back Flash images, and wondered why only the first one looked bright enough? That’s because your Flash doesn’t recharge quick enough to fire off another shot at the power level you’ve selected. With my Profoto A1, I rarely run in to this issue!
This is the big one right here. The first time I used a Profoto Flash, it felt like the first time I sent a text message from an iPhone. It was magically simple. If your Flash menu looks like something that belongs on a calculator from the 80’s, you will be blown away by the simplicity of the Profoto Flash menu system. It makes it so easy to perform the only 2 functions you MUST know how to do with your flash.
One of those functions, as I outlined here, is setting up wireless connectivity between your Flashes. Going back to my iPhone analogy… think about how easy it is to turn Wifi on or off on your smart phone. That’s how easy it is to setup a Multi-Flash Setup (only shooting with one flash? I share more about why I finally made the transition here!) You can also turn any flash in your wireless network on or off by pushing and holding a button on your on-camera flash! Here’s what the menus look like:
To set up wireless, you simply turn “Air” to “On”. Make sure your flashes are all set to the same channel (I usually put mine on Channel 1, and my second shooter’s on Channel 2), and you’re off to the races!
This extra level of simplicity with the Profoto Flashes keeps me from having to think too hard about my Flash on wedding day. And that means I have more time to think about the people I’m there to serve!
When I’m out on the dance floor capturing reception photos, and I need to tweak my settings on one of my off-camera Flashes, I love knowing that the remote Flashes are actually responding to the adjustments I’m making from my on-camera Flash. With my Profoto A1, the large numbers are easy to read from across the room, giving me an extra layer of confidence in my gear when I’m shooting!
There are a lot of ways to add light modifiers to your flash, and MagMod has become one of the most popular ways to modify the light coming from your Flash. Why? The magnetic attachment makes for simple switching between modifiers. With a Profoto Flash, they have their own magnetic attachment system build right in to the Flash! This takes the simplicity of Flash modification to a whole new level!
Whether you prefer the practical advantages of better battery life and refresh rate, the “WOW” advantages of simple, easy to understand menus and wireless setup, or more subtle advantages like big numbers and built-in magnetic attachment for Flash modifiers, Profoto Flashes are loaded with advantages. And, like Apple products, those advantages only grow as you add to your Mulit-Flash setup, which I’ll be covering in our next post!
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