Strip Lights Poolside – Profoto Tutorial by Greg Heisler
We love Profoto’s Master Series Youtube tutorials featuring portrait photographer Greg Heisler. One of our favorites walks viewers through his Time magazine cover shoot with Olympic gold-medalist swimmer, Michael Phelps, and Heisler’s explanation of his thought process for the shoot. He wanted to capture the essence of Phelps as a powerful Olympic athlete, and wanted to shoot him in his natural environment —poolside. Unfortunately, the pool they planned to use was not available, so they headed to the studio.
Heisler teaches viewers how he managed to still create the desired effect for Phelps in a studio location. His creative and innovative use of lighting and backdrops allowed him to capture a powerful portrait of Phelps while achieving the desired look and feel of a pool environment. While looking at the image, you would never guess that the blue background is actually a painted backdrop, and not real water. To get the look he wanted, Heisler created his own strip lights from foam core and used Profoto flash heads as the light source. He then used blue gels to enhance the lights and produce a look that one would expect from pool water. He also talks about what he did to showcase Phelp’s physique as an Olympic athlete.
By watching this video, it’s easy to see why Heisler is a true master at his craft and how he was able to achieve the desired look and feel he was after for this particular shoot by falling back on his talents and experience.