On Location Photography in Beijing

Live photoshoot on location with Sal Cincotta

Watch this live shoot with Sal as he walks you through the shoot step-by-step

In this photography video, Sal will take you live on a photoshoot in Beijing where he uses two different lighting techniques to achieve the final images. He will talk you through the lighting set up and all the settings he used while he is working on the shoot.

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About this course


In this photoshoot, Sal takes you on location in Beijing and shows you how to use a 2-light set up to create gorgeous images. Sal will talk you through his thought process, how he sets up the lights, and show you the final results. The main light will be used to create some fill light for the model with the second light being used for a kicker light and to create some separation from the background.


The equipment used for this shoot:
Camera | Canon 5DM4
Lens | Tamron 100-400mm
Lighting | Profoto A1
Modifier | Profoto Dome Diffuser
Stand | Manfrotto Nano Stands
Trigger | Profoto Air Remote TTL-C

set up

Sal is using a 2-light set up for this shoot. The main light is being used for fill light to balance with the ambient light spilling in. the second light is being used as an edge light to create separation for the model from the background. Sal will direct the model and work to get two types of shots. The first shot will be more of a static pose to get the shot locked in. The second shot will be with movement to create a more dynamic portrait.

The entire shoot is captured using 2 Profoto A1s and the Dome Diffuser to soften the light.

Behind the Scenes Photoshoot

This is a behind the scenes look into a photo shoot with Sal where he walks you through the entire process in his head. He explains how to work with the lights and set them up to get the results you are looking for. In addition, Sal shows you the settings on the lights to understand how they work together and can be controlled.

lighting setups

Final Images

Click the thumbnails to see full size

This Post Has 37 Comments

  1. nice stuff, how are you figuring correct exposure to balance with ambient Sal- doesn’t seem you used the TTL on flashes? thanks

    1. i hate using TTL – i know a lot of people teach using TTL as the starting point, but i find it inconsistent. after doing this for a while i know that i can start at power of 5 – and keep the light X feet from my subject. that becomes my starting point and i adjust from there. thanks for watching!

    1. and thats the goal! some times we over complicate things as photographers – πŸ™‚

    1. let us know if you figured it out. its there and working – might just need to restart browser.

  2. Nice video as usual. I like to see a comparison of one image without flash and one with the flash. Looking at that shots, basically the A1 was used as a fill light. The ambient light coming from the right side of the diagram was very good.

  3. Hi Sal,
    Great video. Thank you!
    I was curious about the key light and the angle you chose, b/c from the diagram, it looks light a broad light setup for both given the direction you’re having her look. In the colour image, there’s shadow on the model’s face closest to the camera. That confused me a bit…unless it’s natural light coming in from camera right overpowering the fill of the key light camera left…?

  4. Excellent video! I like it very much. It would be great if you are able to do another course but using more affordable flash lights, like Yongnuo speed lights. Not all the gear you use is easy and cheap to find it here in Mexico. Greetings!

    1. dont focus on the gear – focus on the technique. πŸ™‚

  5. I like how this flash looks but the recycle time is not that great. With the CP-E4N battery pack a 600 EX II will recycle in 1.2 seconds with NIMH batteries when firing at full 1/1 power. The A1 wins for overall portability though. I shot with a 600 EX II at a fashion show recently and pounded it nonstop for 2 hours and it never hesitated, only had to switch batteries twice in 1600 shots. I really want to know if the A1 can do that.

  6. Great video as always Sal. I’m off to Beijing next week and saw this, I was going to get some local street images in but I’ll pack my speedlites too now as you never know πŸ™‚

  7. Very impressive. My favorite of the two images is the black and white. Good work.

  8. Beautiful photos, as usual. One feature I didn’t see demonstrated was the modeling light. What powers it, how long does it usually last and is it in proportion to the flash setting?

    1. ty ty. and yes – for outdoors – i would probably never use the modeling lights – hard to see and most importantly like you said – it will in fact drain the batteries. in general, i dont use modeling lights – so i am probably not the best person to advise on this. wish i was more help – πŸ™‚

  9. Hi Sal! Loved this video! I’m a natural light newborn photographer, but on overcast days I feel like maybe I need a bit of artificial light. Would I be able to have one of these by my large windows to give me the extra boost I need? Also, would it effect my WB? (Giving a mixed WB.)

    Along those lines, could I use one behind my subject when I want to have some separation from the background? Again, would that effect my WB?

    Thank you!

    1. no they are daylight balanced – so its perfect for what you are looking to do. you will love it.

      1. Oh wow! Thanks so much!!!

  10. Do you use the a1’s when photographing groups as well? Would love to hear your thoughts on that. I typically use my B1 which I love but it’s also heavy and sometimes need easier set ups (lighter). I currently own 2 A1’s and wondering what you think is the optimal number to have on hand?

    1. great question. and yes for sure. the B1 is too much when working groups sometimes… its a lot of power. its like using a jack hammer when you need a screw driver. πŸ™‚ i like to use the A1 for fill – if we are talking weddings or family groups – YES always using the A1 vs B1. Now of course, I say that with the warning of… “IT DEPENDS” on your lighting situation. i tend to back light my groups – so my flash is fill vs over powering the sun – which the A1 is not going to be able to do. hope that helps.

  11. Good work! Thanks!! God blessings you

  12. I been using the Profoto A1’s on my weddings and the results are Great! My canon flash are collecting dust, along with the rechargeable batteries. I know a lot of photographers are on the fence about the cost for the A1, but I found that the A1’s has improved my photography. No more losing photographs because of the recycle time or flash over heating. Thanks Sal for sharing your wisdom and videos. Blessings!

    1. amen brother. thats exactly how i feel about it. to me that was the no brainer part. i sold my 600s and have 6 A1s we used at every wedding. enjoy!

  13. I am in love with these images and watching you shoot. One question, what is that on top of your light pole that allows you to attach the A1. I just purchased one along with the air remote, but slightly stumped on that! Thanks for sharing your expertise with us, Sal!!!!!

    1. ty so much!! yes – thats a manfrotto hot shoe / umbrella head. LOVE IT!!

  14. Hi Sal! Great info. I’m not familiar with Profoto flash power settings. When you set the power to 4 or 6, what is full power, 10? My Canon speedlights as you know work off of percentages. just trying to get a better understanding.

    1. correct. 1-10 w 1/10th increments. AND you are spinning a dial to adjust power vs digging into a complex menu system. really helpful when i am working w an assistant and have to tell them turn it down 1 tick or 1 full stop. very east to use.

  15. Love the final shots but would think it more informative if you included the SOOC shots as well for comparison.

    1. good feedback. be sure to watch some of our other videos – some we show SOOC and some we show final.

  16. Great learning video! Loving the A1. My miss fires and catch up times for my speed light are really frustrating! The set up of the shoot and the explanations was really straight forward. Loved the diagrams at the end……..it was all perfect for my “visual learning” brain!

    1. AWESOME. and that was the goal. and YES the recycle time is a game changer in my opinion.

  17. This was very helpful pertaining to the Lighting choice you are using. I get frustrated with my Speedlite (Canon) that does exactly what you described … slow to recycle. Also, thanks for actually showing the settings and how to do some basic maneuvering with the device.

  18. Hi Sal – what are the benefits of the A1 vs Canon speedlight using modifiers such as those from Magmod?

    1. the modifiers are not the benefits in my opinion. where a speedlite CAN NOT compete is in the recycle time. the a1 has a 1sec recycle time at full power vs almost 5sec on any speedlite. not to mention the rechargeable battery vs AA. that to me alone was worth the switch – there is nothing worse than being in the field, on a wedding day, on a portrait shoot – missing shots and waiting for the light to catch up. hth.

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