Photography News issue 25

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Photography News Issue 25

Profoto B1 & B2 Taking the pressure Tom Dymond spends much of his time on TV sets, shooting portraits in-between takes. The pressure is on, but his Profoto B2 kit is up to the challenge and capable of overpowering the studio lights


As the B2 is so versatile, lightweight and powerful, I’m finding myself preferring that

Tom Dymond’s family was very involved with motor racing and, that exposure developed his interest in photography, not just shooting action shots but also making portraits of the drivers and cars. This then led on to a press and editorial photography course at Falmouth University, where he had the good fortune to be tutored by renowned portraitist Gered Mankowitz, who encouraged him away from the sports arena and more into general portraiture. You shoot a lot of portraits of stars on TV sets. How did you come into this line of work? I was shooting a lot of PR photography and in the course of this I found myself on the set of TV advertisements where I would be shooting behind-the-scenes images. Over time I got put into that box, and I enjoy it. The pressure can be pretty heavy, but you get used to having just three minutes with someone, or jumping in between takes to get

what you need. You’ve just got to be comfortable with your kit, know it inside out and be ready to go as soon as you get a chance. What do you hope to come away with on a TV shoot? I like to shoot with three layers in mind. The first layer is a really clean unit still, and from there I like to capture a more behind-the- scenes image. Then I look for a nicely lit, clean portrait, with eyes looking straight into camera. I need to make sure that I get a strong set of images for newspapers and magazines and then possibly a nice behind-the-scenes feature for magazine or online use and a few shots that are more promo style. Some of my favourite portraits have been simply shot against a wall outside a dressing room, or I might just tape a small roll of Colorama up on a door. What lighting are you using? I mainly use a Profoto B2, usually with just one head and a brolly for portraits and then the Profoto Softbox Mini Octa for everything else. The Octa never leaves my kitbag; its weight and size is amazingly manageable, and I can add it to my camera belt and have it ready for whenever I need it. I use my Profoto 7b light when I’m on location and shooting bigger set-ups, but as the B2 is so versatile, lightweight and powerful, I’m finding myself preferring that now, and I’ll shortly be looking to swap the 7b for a B1. Do you use manual control or TTL flash with the Air TTL trigger: and why? I try and use manual where possible, as I like to meter the shot properly, but I have found the Air

TTL to be a lifesaver. It enables you to get that first exposure when you’re working under time pressure, and once you’ve grabbed that first frame with the TTL you can set to manual. How long might you usually have for a shoot? The stills often get put to the back of the queue, so you’ve got to work fast and be confident in your kit. I’ll always get a brief, but most of my clients trust me to understand intuitively what they are thinking, and thenaddmyown littlepersonal touch as well, be it the way I light, the expression I get or the process or feel I put on my images. What has been the most memorable shoot you’ve undertaken using Profoto lighting? I did a shoot for UNICEF a few months ago with Liam from One Direction, Jack Whitehall, Sue Barker and Andy Murray, who were jointly performing a sketch. I was using the B2 as my key and

all of a sudden they stated messing around and throwing tennis balls about and, as the B2 recycled so quickly, I was able to catch all the action as the balls flew everywhere. You’ve also worked with some major charities and NGOs over the years? I’ve worked with a few NGOs such as Comic Relief, Save the Children and UNICEF, mainly in Africa but also documenting projects here in the UK. With these trips you’ve got to travel light as it’s hot and there’s a lot of walking involved, and the B2 has been perfect for this kind of work since I can leave it in my bag and set it up really quickly when I need it. If I am travelling overseas then size andweight are the biggest issues, and again the B2 ticks all the boxes. Even the batteries, which are the li-ion type, operate at a low wattage, so there’s never been a problem from the airlines in terms of me travelling with them.

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