Broncolor: The Light Video Series: Para FB

True to its name, the broncolor Para is a highly efficient parabolic reflector. It can be used as a single light source or a complete lighting system. In the “Para FB” video segment by Amber Gray and Julian Bernstein, 5 sizes are featured : the Para 170 FB, Para 220 FB, Para 220 Soft FB, Para 330 FB, and Kobold 220. The newest Para 88 is not featured in this video, but is still part of the ever-growing Para family.

The Para 330 is broncolor’s largest Para: it is perfect for lighting and enveloping an entire studio. The 220 FB and 220 soft are large enough to produce consistent light even at distances of 5 to 8 meters. Both the 330 and 220 FB versions can be completely defocused. The Para 170 is one of the smallest Paras, with a slightly more aggressive light.

With 24 segments that make up its parabola, the Para creates a cloud of light that offers consistent illumination. The reflector allows for high light output, focusing with a focus bracket, and adjustment of light angle, which directly influences the character of the light. The importance of this, however, is the amount of time it saves in post-production and retouching. Because it is a significantly flattering light (especially for fashion), skin tones appear beautifully textured and soft.

Aluminum and carbon or fiberglass (for the 170) makes up the composition; it makes the Para incredibly lightweight despite its size. A great advantage of the broncolor Para is that only one person is needed to open up, focus and close the reflector. In this video, Julian and Amber show how to open the Para, install the ringflash and adapter plate (for Kobold HMIs), and how to focus the Para as well.

A Short Profile: Susanne Kindt

o   How did you become a photographer?

I first picked up an SLR camera when I was 17 and it was for a high school project. I loaded the film incorrectly and nothing came out of my first shoot but it didn’t matter, it was love at first sight. As soon as I graduated I moved from my native Stockholm, Sweden to Copenhagen, Denmark where I attended a one year photo school.  I moved back to Stockholm a couple of years later I began assisting local photographers and worked in a darkroom as a printer for an architect photographer.  In 2005 I made the big move across the world to Los Angeles. Here I started off going to school at the Santa Monica College.  I then moved on to assisting for photographers like Miranda Penn Turin, Michael Haber, Craig Cameron Olsen and Cliff Watts while shooting my book with the local modeling agencies.

On this image, I ended up using the silver beauty dish and a regular reflector. I first shot the girl, then wheat pasted up print outs to finally shoot her in front of herself. The graffiti is put in there in post. This was obviously the most time consuming shoot but I love the edgy feeling! I really enjoy shooting with broncolor, the quality of light is truly beautiful!

o  Was there one or more life changing moments that helped you move to the next level and become the photographer that you are now?  Perhaps a big break, a perfect mentor, a movie, a mystical moment?

Honestly, its all about working hard and marketing and believing in one self,nothing comes for free in this industry. For me there was never a big break, more small steps in the right direction towards my goals.

o   How do you learn how to do what you do?

I have assisted for years and you often pick up new ideas from seeing what others are doing and getting inspired. I also stay tuned on the latest trends by reading fashion magazines and blogs. The internet is a goldmine of inspiration.

o   Who are your photo heroes?

>I always love the work by Camilla Åkrans, she is truly an amazing photographer but I also get very inspired by Miranda, Cliff and some of the other photographers I worked with.

For this series I used the Para 220 and a head with a P70 reflector for some extra pop, I really love the richness of these!

o   What is the worst part about doing what you do?

Self marketing, it is so hard to sell yourself as a photographer and I really believe that most photographers do or would benefit from having an agent do that work for them. Oh and rejection. It is hard not to take it personally since my photography feels so personal to me.

o   What is the best part?

Taking pictures, it’s such a joy in my life, I love photography and the freelance lifestyle. I am way to restless to work a 9-5. What it lacks in stability it makes up for being such a big part of your life.

o   What have you been shooting lately?

Last weekend weekend I did  two shoots…  two very different shoots, one is a heavily lit and poppy swim suit shot and the other was a harder lit moodier shoot where I wheat pasted images of the model behind the model and then shot her again.

o   How did you figure out how to compose and light your images?

By analyzing other images that have lighting that inspires me and then trying it out. Also, when shooting models they always spend tons of time in hair and make up, that is the perfect time to fine tune and test out ideas!

o   What tools did you use to do these shoots?

For shoot number one, I used the broncolor Para 220 and a head with a reflector for a little extra pop and for the second shoot I used the broncolor silver beauty dish  along with a fill light with a reflector, I really love the contrast this gave.

o   Why did you choose these tools?

The Para has been something I have been wanting to shoot with for a while. Most of the time, since I live in LA, I shoot natural light.  There are endless locations here and the quality of light here from the sun is just breathtaking.  So working with the Para was a natural  choice,  I feel it has a sun type of feel to it and  with the sun in mind it was really fun.

On this series I went for a much younger look. The Para 220 is the main light and then I have two reflectors with gels on to light the background. I really like the doll feeling the Para creates here, it really worked well for this look!

o   What features of the equipment that you use make it easier to do your job?

The fact that I could set up the Para so easily, without assistance is just amazing. So much photo equipment demands so much man power and is unnecessarily unergonomical.  To consider how big the Para is and how smart and easy you can take it up or down really speaks for how thought through the product is.

o   Did you use competing products in the past? What made you change?

Yes, that is another thing that makes assisting essential to any up and coming photographer. You get to test out all kinds of brands and equipment on someone else’s dime!  I really feel that it is a step up in overall quality than most competitors. For someone like me, who often works outdoors as well as in, the way broncolor has designed their products for ease of use in either,  that is something that truly impresses me. I really enjoy shooting with broncolor, the quality of light is truly beautiful!

Susanne Kindt

An Interview with broncolor Featured Photographer Saria Atiye

Visual Artist and Photographer Saria Atiye generously gives us an insight into her process and inspiration.

CK: How did you become a photographer? Describe your career development?

SA: Having studied at several Academies of Art all over Germany, it took me quite a while to find the passion for photography. I started with graphic design, I studied psychology of perception and art history.
After an internship in a design agency in Hamburg, where I had to take pictures of a bus company for advertisement, I realized that there was a lot of depth to photography. I found myself during this job being very creative and having a lot of fun with what could have been a very boring assignment. After this experience I was inspired to study photography on my own while studying other interests at college.

I have always been a dreamer exhisting in reality. I was raised in Germany by my mother and father both Syrian natives. Their tradition was always omnipresent and inevitably formed my creative process.

From a young age I remember feeling the need to rebel against their tradition. I just wanted to be free but I so often felt boxed into a small keeping with all of the boundaires their tradition placed around me.

(why is explained in answer2)

CK: More specifically, was there one or more life changing moments that helped you move to the next level and become the photographer that you are now? Perhaps a big break, a perfect mentor, a movie, a mystical moment?

SA: My first camera was a gift from my father. Upon giving it to me he looked into my eyes and said, “but, don’t take those kind of pictures…you know…with naked skin”. After a while I realized that my pictures were unconciously showing “naked skin”. I was subconsciously rebeling against my fathers authority. Everytime I was able to take a picture of “naked skin” after that realization, I would laugh to myself as I did it, at the thought of shock on his face if he were to ever see what I was doing. Every time it felt like a victory! But only in my imagination. Still to this day he has not seen one of my photographs. He would not be really pleased. From my own perspective I don’t see the models as naked. I see them simply natural with an aura spiritually unique. My photographs are a personal contribution to femininty – a fusion of sexuality, innocense, power and surrealism, that blur the line between art and fashion, fantasy and reality.

I grew up with the experience and awareness through my parents that people are trapped by the necessity of traditon. In Syria people are not allowed to show true feelings, thoughts, and visions freely. For both men and women, especially for women, it isn’t accepted to say and think whatever you want like it is in a democratic world. They are not able to express individuality and freedom, and are held back by restrictments.

As a 6 year old child I discovered the art of Picasso, Miro, Klee, Vasarely and Matisse in our city library in Rastatt my hometown. But also at the same time I was fascinated by the arabic calligraphy – over a long time the only medium for people in the orient to express their creativity without getting into trouble with the law – which was for me full of beauty and softness, strenght and sobriety, and respect for regal asthetic.

My photographs hold both souls – oriental and occidental. My muse is freedom.

CK: How do you learn your techniques?

SA: I learn my techniques by just shooting. I shoot with the knowledge I have, I learn from my mistakes, and sometimes my mistakes are a new technique. I grow and accumulate new ideas and inspirations with each new experience. My vision becomes wider and more generous as I keep moving forward. I remember when I first used a computer, I was a bit scared of this alien, but somebody said to just press every button cause that nothing bad can happen. Until now I follow this idea to just play around to learn things.

CK: Who are your photo heroes? Or who has inspired your career?

SA: There are a lot of great photographers out there, Of course you look at their pictures, and at this point you are already somehow influenced by their work. No matter in what way. I never really take care who this and that photo shot; it is more the image which is sticking in my head. My inspiration has always come from an emotion. Travels, friends, family, ordinary life. Everything. My muse is freedom.

CK: What is the worst part about doing what you do?

SA: Some people don’t appreciate and don’t really see all the work that photographers do. It is more than pushing the button and saying “Nice!”.
As Thomas Edison said “Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration”. You have to organize so many things. The fun part is over so quickly, you better enjoy it as much as you can.

CK: What is the best part?

SA: To finally start shooting. The entire process is a lot of organisation and requires team work. It is important to be surrounded with people you can trust and be able to work hand in hand together. After getting organised, it feels great to start realizing the idea and the vision.
During a shoot the whole world comes to a stand still for a moment. With every single flash showing so much diversity and intensity.

Learning from the Pro

CK: What tools?

SA: Canon EOS Mark III with lenses from 25mm to 80mm, broncolor Para Fb 220, Ringflash P, Softlight Reflector, Pulsoflex 80×80, Grafit A4, beauty light.

CK: Why did you choose these tools?

SA: You are really able to build up so beautiful light. It is always an utter satisfaction and you are flexible witb it at the same time. I was able to precise my work with the Grafit A4 Power Pack, to have sharp results. So fast. And crispy. I was shooting in the studio using the Para 220 as a main soft light and with the beauty light I could set highlights.

CK: What are we going to shoot today?

SA: This personal contribution of photographs called “Nova” took place inside the intimacy of the universe. The woman I reveal is an intellectual, sensual and mysterious spirit. These photographs show dreamy sequences, female grace, poetic pauses and tranquility. They capture freedom, the universal “religion”. The universe represents endless opportunities while at the same time representing a metaphore of illusion and utopia. The title, “Nova” represents exactly what it is: A stellar explosion that is setting free incredible energies from its body, the star. And as it releases this energy it becomes much brighter and more luminous in the process.

CK: Did you use competing products in the past? What made you change?

SA: I started with daylight and film. Still, I really like to shoot with natural light. It is quiet a challenge to shoot with daylight, you never know for sure what is going on, clouds or sun, rain or wind…but what you get is so wonderful with a lack of pretense. Mostly, I like to combine the power of nature with light setups.
Of course I used other equipment as well. But I really feel comfortable with Broncolor. You always know what you get. The light is precise and the equipment is fast. And at the same time, it looks so good too. I like aesthetics, always tempting.


An Interview with Miami Photographer Andre Rowe

How did you become a photographer? Describe your career development?

My father was a photographer, a commercial photographer in fact. He did weddings as long as I can remember, but it was his portraits that interested me most. I sort of “tripped” into photography with all the photographic gear that surrounded me. What started as an ongoing hobby, turned very serious in high school when I was brought on to the Correspondent Staff of the Sun Sentinel, a major newspaper in the South Florida area. It was there that I saw my future, and paid keen attention to my desire to create images.

2. More specifically, was there one or more life changing moments that helped you move to the next level and become the photographer that you are now? Perhaps a big break, a perfect mentor, a movie, a mystical moment?

I had two muses from high school who from their abundance of images came an abundant flow of requests from people in their network. A network that grow to over hundred individual “models” durning my five year wedding spree. And “that” is where my creativity grew.

3. How do you learn your techniques?

The answer to that question both plain and still PRICELESS. I’ve learned virtually EVERY technique from actually making mistakes. Real mistakes that ended with me posing the questions: “Why did that happen?” and “What should I do instead?”. The latter question leads me to trial and error. Trial as in “intentionally” re-creating the mistakes (and any variance on them), and taking the time to identify the circumstances. Error as in directly avoiding the mistakes by doing perhaps the opposite when the circumstances arise once more.

In essence, my techniques come readily, easily, and successfully from a wealth of understanding “what not to do”.

4. Who are your photo heroes? Or who has inspired your career?

Easy – Patrick Demarchelier. His work is uncomplicated and beautiful. His images are achieved seemingly without effort. He seems to quickly establish a rapport with his subjects and is blessed with their best moods at the time of shooting. The end results are as minimalistic (in terms of editing) as the original state to begin with.

5. What is the worst part about doing what you do?

Editing. Yes, I could share my workflow with a retoucher, but that often means that the last hand to touch the work is not that of the original photographer. I have always questioned the merits of that. None the less, I do edit my own work, and because I dislike it so, I have developed several methods for streamlining my work flow so that I take equal to if not less time at the computer than during the actual shoot itself.

6. What is the best part?

The best part is either my actually “seeing” the image in the seconds before touching the camera, or “seeing” the reaction that the subject(s) have afterwards when showing them why I was so happy in the first place.

1. What are we going to shoot today?

Four poster images over two days for SR Perrott, Inc. who is the distributor of Miller Lite and Coors Light beers in the Daytona Beach, Florida area. The posters are promotional pieces for the 2010 Daytona 500 NASCAR event of which SR Perrott is also a sponsor.

2. How did you learn how to do what you are about to show us?

The simple answer is that I learned through years of experience. The more creative answer is that I learned through patience and the basic premise of focusing the lighting and camera on only what is important to the client, and leave the rest to the viewers imagination.

3.What tools are you using to make this image?

*Nikon D3 with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens
*Verso A4 (x1)
*Topas A2 (x2)
*Pulso G2 lampbase (x2)
*Ringflash C
*Beauty Dish with diffuser (x2)
*Para 220 Soft with Ringflash P
*RFS Transmitter
*Sekonic L-758dr lightmeter
*Gitzo Systematic tripod
*Really Right Stuff Ballhead with bracket & various plates

4. Why did you choose these tools?

Because I don’t yet own any Scoro packs! The Ringflash C was essential to give me even light coverage across the surface of the image, with emphasis on the areas that the models encompass. Also, in order to remain softly lit throughout the image area, I had to use the beauty dishes in relation to the PARA 220 Soft. The reason that I chose the PARA 220 Soft is because despite the nature of the poster, the main subjects are the models of which are on a large canvas (the NASCAR). Otherwise, I would have used a greater number of heads with P65 reflectors to compliment a single Ringflash C as my my main light.

5. What features of the equipment that you use make it easier to do your job?

The PARA 220 Soft has a distinctly wide spread of light that works favorably with wide-angle lenses. The Ringflash C is just one of my favorites as an all-in-one light source. I love the robust nature of the Verso A4 and if only by appearance & audible sounds, lends itself to establish the feel of an intense photoshoot.

6. Did you use competing products in the past? What made you change?

This could lead to short novel. Yes, I started with Norman (over a decade of use and familiarity), then moved over to the Pro-7 line of Profoto (six solid years of use), before switching vigorously to Broncolor. I really would need a great deal of time to explain the decisions and nuances as to why I switched, but to sum it up – drawing from my years of experience and knowledge, Broncolor offered a superior product, and NOT by a marginal amount.

Andre Rowe

Andre divides his time between NYC and Miami. Andre kicks off a traveling seminar series starting in the North East this month. For more information please email us at