Profoto Canada Inauguration Event at Berkeley Church with Special Presenter Photographer Russell James
What was the catalyst for this Profoto Canada Launch?
As a brand Profoto has been in the Canadian market for over 20 years, however we only recently opened an office here (in Toronto). The launch event was not only to create more excitement around the brand, but also to show our product’s users that we, as a company, are accessible and here to support them. There is so much talent in Canada, and we are serious about the work we are doing here.
In the promotion of the Profoto Canada launch at Berkeley Church the public had an opportunity to tweet questions to Russell James, the special guest photographer beforehand. Did this increase the level of engagement at the event?
We believe so, yes. We had tags on social media before and during the event, so it not only created anticipation, but also shared different individuals’ experiences of the night. It also made Russell seem more approachable, which is key as he was there to share his knowledge about photography.
Do you want to ask Russell a question that he will answer tonight during the @profoto_canada launch event? Use the hashtag #AskRussellJ and post your questions. During tonight’s talk, we will select a couple of questions and Russell will answer them live! #RJxProfotoCA #russelljames #profoto #profotoocf #profoto_canada A photo posted by @profoto_canada on
Great time spent with the very talented Russell James @nomadrj last week at the @profoto_canada launch. #profoto_canada #profoto #profotoocf #RJxProfotoCA #russelljames #migueljacob Photo: @visualgram
A photo posted by Miguel Jacob (@miguel_jacob_) on
The event brought together the Canadian professional photography community to expand the dialogue on innovation and creativity in photography. Is this something Profoto tries to do on a regular basis?
Profoto is always striving to create products and systems that are not only innovative, but also intuitive. As the photographer’s most trusted tool, our flashes and light shaping accessories are made with the user in mind. We share behind the scene videos on our global YouTube channel to help photographers better understand our products, and subsequently assist them in creating their visions. We not only push our own boundaries, but the artist’s boundaries as well.
@nomadrj view on post production #get it right in camera #RJxProfotoCA #enhance in post @profoto_canada #launch #canada A photo posted by Sam Tsang (@silistudio) on
What key elements made this event a success?
We were very fortunate to have multiple partners – Vistek, Henry’s, B3K, Film Plus, Neighborhood Studio, Spot Cinema – who added a local feel to the event and provided equipment that set a focus to our company’s background. After all, what would a photography-based event be without anybody taking pictures? This aspect was also elevated by a photo booth and guests taking their own photos and posting them to social media. The photo booth was provided by a long-time customer to Profoto, Photo Star, and even used our D1 light! Structure of the event was also very important. Having an engaging talk at the beginning of the night inspired people, and then a cocktail hour afterwards enabled them to network and discuss what inspired them with others at the event. Why was the Berkeley Church an ideal venue for this event?
Berkeley Church was ideal for Profoto Canada’s launch event from both an aesthetic and logistic point of view. We wanted a space that was visually appealing with character, but could also accommodate our vision for the event. The high ceilings provided a feeling similar to open concept without being overly modern, and the two levels allowed us to have two distinct parts of the night: the first half with Russell’s talk on the main level, and the second half with cocktails and activities on the mezzanine. This kept the event flowing and the space feeling fresh. We were also very confident in the Berkeley Event staff from step one of planning.
#RJxProfotoCA #vistek A photo posted by Vistek (@vistek) on
There were some beautiful pictures posted on social media during the event. What are some of the other outcomes of filling a venue with photographers?
Similar to what one of the previous questions touched on, we were aiming to start a dialogue between our company and our users, but also between photographers. Profoto recently launched a new Off-Camera Flash (OCF) system, including the B2. We had a photographer using the B2 pack and OCF accessories during the event, so as to garner interest in the new product. When you get people together who are passionate about the same subject and give them something to be excited about, it creates a ripple effect. We are ultimately hoping to see more photographers (those who attended the event, or had friends who did, or who saw our social media posts) try out our products either for the first time or explore some of our other products they haven’t used previously.
The one thing you want in photography is a level of intimacy. Key is have a genuine conversation
Russell James was described in several accounts of the event as a man of honesty, humility, and humanity. How did these qualities come out in his presentation and how do they manifest in his chosen field as a professional photographer?
Russell was very enthusiastic about the event from the get-go. We were so thrilled to have him as part of the event, and his positive attitude only made us more excited for the night to arrive. He was very willing to engage the crowd directly and gave honest advice and funny accounts of his experiences. One of his recent projects, Nomad Two Worlds, helped give voice to, and now supports, Indigenous communities around the world. Russell is a man who is not only well spoken through his words and photographs, but is also very conscious of the power behind them. Additionally, as a popular male photographer who has worked extensively with women in little amounts of clothing, it speaks to him being a very genuine person who has a tremendous amount of respect for both his subject and his craft.
On this #oceanday I am deciding that if I want my kids to enjoy the oceans the way I have then I must support the many important marine conservation initiatives underway any way I can. I am also considering the basics on a personal level, like using less plastic bags, so many of which find their way into the oceans after we dispose of them and causing catastrophic damage. We live on a blue planet after all. A photo posted by Russell James (@nomadrj) on
What are some of the ways Profoto Canada keeps an open dialogue with its customer base who are using the products and what are some of the benefits of this interaction?
Profoto product users can always reach out to us via the Profoto website, as well as through various social media channels. This allows us to assist with customer inquiries and ensure quality customer service. It is also helpful because this enables us to receive feedback directly from the photographer and learn their needs, which we apply to future product designs.
What are some of the trends and new directions you see for the role of the professional photographer?
A big trend in photography right now is shooting an image that contains still subjects and subjects in motion simultaneously. This creates a stunning visual effect, but needs to be very well thought out in terms of what equipment you choose to shoot with. Another exciting trend is that photographers are no longer confined to the studio – they can take their tools and subjects wherever they want with Profoto products, allowing for more original ideas and shots. Creative direction is also increasingly falling on photographers and their breadth of capabilities is expanding, making the market more competitive than ever.
How important is product innovation at Profoto and where are some of the key places the company looks for inspiration?
Profoto has a very clear product philosophy: our products must be innovative, intuitive and reliable. We want to inspire photographers to be more creative with their light shaping. It is very important for us to bring the light shaping idea closer to the market – and the best inspiration we get is from photographers themselves.
Venue: Berkeley Church
Photographer: Ian Liwanag Photography