Simplifying Portrait Lighting

Profoto sent us a couple of newly released softboxes. Let's test them out. 

Profoto's OCF line of softboxes is their lightweight series of modifiers. The softboxes themselves are made of thinner material that packs down much smaller than previous iterations. OCF modifiers are made to work with smaller OCF speedrings and although all Profoto speed rings will fit on any Profoto light, OCF modifiers will only fit on OCF speedrings and adapters. The benefit of these adapters is that they are smaller but the downside is that you can't mix and match OFC gear with your older equipment.

Profoto recently released the OCF 3 ft Octa and 1x4ft strip, and that's what I'll be testing in today's video.

The 3 ft Octa could be used to light any scene but is most commonly placed above or in front of portrait subjects. Many photographers prefer the octagonal catchlights to the standard square catchlights created by a normal softbox. 

Although strip boxes are used occasionally as key lights, most photographers tend to use them as backlights, hair lights, or "kicker" lights behind their subjects. The strip comes with an additional "strip mask," which can be Velcro-ed to the front of the modifier to make it an even thinner light source. 

Profoto also sent me the optional grid accessory for both softboxes. Grids are used to control the direction of light and work particularly well in small spaces where light spill can be seen bouncing around the room. In the video above, you can see comparisons of each light with and without their grids attached. I personally prefer softboxes with grids in most situations simply because they give me more control. 

For lights, I used the Profoto B10 and A10. Each of the lights is battery-powered, but the B10 has the ability to be used with AC power as well, and the A10 can be used as an on-camera speedlight. If you mostly shoot in the studio, the B10 is your best choice, but if you also shoot events and need an on-camera flash, the A10 will work for you. Speedrings can attach directly to the B10, but to attach any softbox to the A10, you're going to need a Profoto OCF adapter.  

I tried using both lights together, but in the end, I decided that a single gridded Octa directly above the camera created the best lighting. To finish the images, I did a few simple tweaks in Luminar AI. Check out the full tutorial in the video above. 

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3 Comments

Fristen Lasten's picture

Looked for these on Profoto's website; nada. Nothing on the front page, nothing on the softbox page. I did see some links on the softbox page dated 2017.

Naruto Uzumaki's picture

The results from the one light setup is really good. There is one thing I was wondering, if you use a lens hood, will that help with the light spill hitting the lens directly when a grid is not being used?

Lee Morris's picture

It will if the light is coming from a far angle. In the case of this shoot, it didn't do much because it was right behind the subject. The lens did have a hood on it.