Arjun Kamath takes the B10 to a sunflower field and returns with these breath-taking pictures.
On an early winter morning, Rashmika, a beloved actress of the Indian film industry, took with me to the quaint and green outskirts of Bengaluru for a quickly planned photoshoot. That day, my dream of a long time was going to come true. We were going to shoot in a sprawling field of golden sunflowers at the break of dawn.
As simple as the idea was, I decided to go for it for multiple reasons. Firstly, while a sunflower field is alluring to many a photographer, I had never seen a traditional Indian take on it apart from in the Indian cinema. Secondly, both Rashmika and I had busy schedules, and thus, when our timelines finally intersected, I had two days of time to put the entire shoot together. This meant that I had to take care of everything from scratch, starting from scouting an ideal location, finalising the outfits with the stylist, coordinating time frames with Rashmika’s team, and figuring out the entire mood board, the colours, and everything in between. So, we pinned on a theme that was straightforward and natural, with simpler outfits and light set-ups, zero props, and an easy-going schedule.
To give you a little idea on the inspiration behind this series; as a lover of art, I like spending my free time studying paintings of different artists, ages, and styles. I admire the usage of colours, shades, and brush stokes all alike, and sometimes, these paintings help me construct my own vision for a set of photographs, be it for a fashion shoot or a pictorial story.
When it came to the creative aspects of the shoot, for the mood board, we wanted to go for a simplistic and rustic charm altogether. So, we curated Rashmika’s look with a prominent amount of kohl on her eyes and a traditional saree that would complement with her poise. We also decked her attire with chunky silver jewellery, since we wanted to go all in without worrying about overdoing the look.
And thus, with the help of exceptional natural and artificial lighting, a surreal setting, and a gorgeous subject, what I ended up with was a rare blend of enchanting sunflowers, a purely Indian vibe, and the grace of Rashmika’s demeanour.
However, the journey wasn’t all that simple, as opposed to the ideology of it all. According to the schedule, we were supposed to kickstart the shoot sharp at 6.30 AM, in complete alignment with the time of sunrise. But due to unforeseen delay, we could only begin the shoot at 7.30, when the sun was already higher up in the sky and was causing harsh shadows to the frame as a result. To overcome this struggle, I used my Profoto B10 kit, combined with compact Profoto softboxes and coloured Profoto gels. This helped me add a soft fill light on Rashmika’s face to compensate for the deeper shadows that were slowly forming due to the sun’s growing harshness. This way, I managed to capture Rashmika’s photogenic face with an even soft light across it. I also used a warming hair light, so her frame stood out a little more, just as I had pictured in my head.
Profoto B10 was a saviour for the shoot in other ways too. It was because of the device’s portable size that we were able to transport it inside a straggled field of lofty flowers. Moreover, the impact of the gear against the harsh natural light of the sun was only visible due to its superior power, which was commendable. Finally, due to the speedy recycling time of the lights, I was able to shoot more images than usual before the sun got brighter, so I ended up with a rather satisfying collection of photographs to polish and showcase.
And just like that, a look that was originally supposed be shot in complete natural light had to be improvised, and as a photographer involved in the industry for over a decade, I was prepared with the correct gear that could come in handy under a tricky situation. So, in the end, I was able to create what I really wanted, thanks to some experience, planning, and Profoto gears, of course.
The shoot was possible due to dedicated efforts of the whole team:
- Actor- Rashmika Mandanna
- Styling- Wardha Ahamed
- Makeup- Makeup by Harika
- Attire- Latha Puttanna
- Accessories- MS Pink Panther & Creative Gems and Jewels