Matthew Jordan Smith Gives Tyra a Ring

We normally think of ring flash as having that signature, wrap-around shadow on the background. Or, increasingly, as a fill light. But it takes on a completely different look if you use it as a key and take everything else away -- background and any reflected light.

(Oh, and it helps if your subject is Tyra Banks, too.)

Matthew Jordan Smith explains in the first of an upcoming BTS series for Profoto. And not to just bang the Profoto drum here, either. We are always looking for the other educational BTS vids that the other flash manufacturers should be creating. Ahem.

More Profoto BTS:

Gregory Heisler shoots: Springsteen | Giuliani | Jeter
Annie Leibovitz: Pro-8 and Machine-Gun Annie



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Blogger Raven's Path said...

Thank you for sharing this. It was very interesting to watch this. I learned a lot and it was really nice to hear Mr. Smith's discussion about the timeless quality of the photos was wonderful.

December 02, 2010 6:04 AM  
Blogger Sean McCormack said...

I love Matthews narrative sytle here, so relaxed, friendly and giving. I love the look created with black flags, but never considered them with ringflash. Thanks for sharing!

December 02, 2010 6:38 AM  
Blogger Debbi_in_California said...

what is duateen? How do you spell the backgrop he is using?

December 02, 2010 11:19 AM  
Blogger David said...


Duvateen. He kinda glosses over the "V".

December 02, 2010 11:31 AM  
Blogger Brian said...

I really appreciate you sharing this BTS video. I find Mr. Jordan's final comments on the glamor of the industry to be particularly insightful. Like just about everything, the final product - no matter how esoterically simple it may seem - is the product of effort. I akin it to Michelangelo sculpting David. Sure, the final product is a sublime masterpiece, but certainly Michelangelo poured sweat during the crafting process.

Also, for Debbi - Duvateen is a very heavy, thick black fabric commonly used to block all light from spilling onto a stage or set. Think of it as black velvet to the tenth power. There is practically no chance of any stray photons passing through this stuff. And, if you drape it so that it pools a little on the floor, there won't be any light leaking there either.

B. Patrick Colt

December 02, 2010 11:40 AM  
Blogger Sheri said...

I love the effect of the lighting he used for this, to me it has that high fashion feel for sure.

December 02, 2010 1:41 PM  
Blogger MasterOfGoingFaster said...

I did a low-cost version of this by shooting on a flat rooftop pointing out to sea, so there was truly nothing to bounce the light back from the model. It was a starless overcast night, and a different pose and purpose. But I like this method better. Thanks for sharing.

December 03, 2010 10:04 AM  
Blogger Paulo Rodrigues said...

That's how I shot my profile picture, except I used a circular fluorescent hobby light instead of flash

December 03, 2010 5:43 PM  
Blogger ChuckStJohn said...

I love his calm...

December 04, 2010 9:57 AM  
Blogger Gareth said...

Great post. Very useful info, and I could seriously listen to him talk all night.

December 09, 2010 2:38 AM  
Blogger Anthony Hayes said...

Simple, but eloquent

December 09, 2010 4:27 PM  
Blogger ChuckStJohn said...


December 09, 2010 6:13 PM  
Blogger kleeks said...

I agree with Sean about M's narrative style. I think that if I was photographed by him, I too would end up looking very serene. Also good point about putting all the work into the shoot. Sometimes I am in a hurry, use the deep dark muslin (thanks for the duvateen reference) and forget about all the extra flagging involved.

December 11, 2010 11:33 AM  
Blogger Reg said...

Simply stated and unpretentious.

December 12, 2010 1:32 AM  
Blogger image23 said...

Great clip, just goes to show sometimes all you need is one light.

December 12, 2010 9:38 AM  
Blogger CoachB said...

Great stuff! I'm always fascinated by the effective use of lighting; I can't learn enough about it - thanks.

December 13, 2010 5:39 PM  

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