Acclaimed automotive photographer Sarel van Staden puts the Profoto A1 through its paces.

How the FDL technique came about....

I’m a commercial photographer with a passion for lighting techniques and for cars. For years I photographed cars using different styles taking inspiration from other automotive photographers such as Tim Wallace. My passion slowly progressed towards creating fine art images of cars. Every car is designed by an artist in their true right and I wanted to capture their art using low-key lighting which would accentuate the curves and lines of the car.

Lighting the reflective surfaces of cars and especially black reflective cars is not easy. To create a low-key light source for such cars, is even more difficult. The light modifiers available on the market didn’t give me the results I needed. The lead to me custom building modifiers.

After many months of research and a fair amount of trial and error, I eventually had the custom built light modifiers to create the low-key lighting effect I wanted. I reverted to the basics of creating soft light and fine tuned these principles to create a light source and modifier that gives focused diffused light, or as I refer to it, the FDL technique. By keeping the light source as close as possible to the car, I was able to overpower ambient light resulting in the desired matt finish on the surface of the car.

Testing the Profoto A1...

“I was very excited to have been given the opportunity to test the Profoto A1 as the light source for the FDL technique.”                     Sarel van Staden

Acclaimed automotive photographer Sarel van Staden puts the Profoto A1through its paces.

I was very excited to have been given the opportunity to test the Profoto A1as the light source for the FDL technique. It was with much excitement that I opened the box delivered by the courier – as it contained the long anticipated Profoto A1.

Ever since I heard of it’s launch I wanted to, and looked forward to using it to create car fine art images. This was by no means going to be a side by side comparison with other flashes, nor a technical review. I was keen to see what it could do, shooting what I shoot and the the way I shoot. I needed a light-weight, easy to handle, low-key light source, to accentuate the car’s natural curves and lines.

Profoto calls the A1 the “world, smallest studio light”, but as 90% of my work is done using speed lights, I would treat it as such. Opening the black box with it’s all too familiar branding on, had all the other photographers in the studio gathered around me in no time at all – clearly this was going to be a show-stopper. First impressions are meant to be lasting and in this case the first impression came as no surprise. The supurb built quality was obvious and the lay-out of the buttons, th