I am a self-confessed light geek. I’m drawn to hazy backlight, harsh light that creates interesting shadows, and beautiful filtered light that just softly rims your subject. Light is the first element I evaluate before taking a photograph. No matter if I’m using my DSLR or my iPhone, having just the right light is what elevates my photography.

Natural light is what I am first drawn to, but sometimes you need additional lighting to get your photo just right or to carry out a specific vision. Adding light to your scene can feel intimidating at first, but I have had so much fun creating images using my iPhone and the Profoto C1 Plus.

This little light is a game changer.

The Profoto C1 Plus is a powerful tool for mobile photography.

This dome light fits right into the palm of your hand. Small enough to stash in your purse or camera bag, but still packs a pretty powerful amount of light. It syncs easily to your mobile device using the Profoto App.

Using the Profoto App, you can manually change the exposure, color temperature and white balance. You can see the light change while viewing on your iPhone which is helpful as you set your scene. You can use the light either as flash or continuous light, and I’ve found both to be very useful for different situations. You can also use the light on Auto mode.

Pro review of Profoto C1 Plus

The Profoto C1 Plus helps me create variety in my flat lay photos.

When adding light to my flat lay scenes, I find that I am drawn to deep colors and contrast. I really like the hard light look and pushed myself creatively to put together scenes that matched the mood of the light.

Using gels is an easy way to add creative color, and to help blend the light. The gels attach via a built-in magnetic mount, so it only takes a second to pop them on or off. They can be stacked with other gels or compatible light shaping tools for even more creative possibilities. I found that adding a warm-colored gel changed up the mood and storytelling. I tend to lean towards a clean white balance, but being creative is all about pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones!

Pro review of Profoto C1 Plus
Here, I created hard light for a vibrant look.
Pro review of Profoto C1 Plus
This shot was taken using a warming gel.

The Profoto C1 Plus lets me easily create different lighting looks.

The position of your light can really change the look of the light. I loved playing around with different positions and distances from my setup to create very different looks. By changing the angle that you hold the light you can create fun shadows that add an extra element to your images.

The profoto C1 plus for flat lay photography
Here, I held the Profoto C1 Plus above the scene and slightly to the side.

Here’s another example of how changing the position of the light can create a dramatically different photo:

Profoto C1 Plus mobile photo light popsicles from above
Here, I held the light directly above the popsicles.
Profoto C1 Plus mobile photo light popsicles from above
Here, I held the light off to the side to create shadows.

The Profoto C1 Plus adds light wherever and whenever you need it.

You can change the power of light using the app. I also found that by moving the light closer or further away from the subject I could create a look that I wasn’t necessarily expecting. There is a bit of trial and error, just like with learning anything new. What I also love about using the light is that by making mistakes while creating, I found that I liked a hard-light look with prominent shadows the best.

pullback of using the profoto c1 plus
Here you can see how I played around with different positions and distances from my subject.
Hard light using the Profoto C1 Plus
Ultimately, I liked a clean, hard-light look the best.
Using a warming gel on Profoto C1 Plus
Here, I used a warming gel to create a different look.

I love using the Profoto C1 Plus for portraits.

It was so much fun to play with this powerful little light to create different looks. I found that I liked the look of the light better if I had less natural light falling on my subject. If I was shooting where the light had not really fallen yet, finding someone to help hold the light gave just the right look. Allowing more space for the light to fall onto my subject illuminated her just perfectly.

Using the gels for people portraits will obviously really change the white balance for skin tones. If you have a light stand to mount the light or if you have someone to hold the light for you, the color is softer and the white balance is just naturally warmer.

A portrait with the Profoto C1 Plus
Here's a softly lit portrait using the Profoto C1 Plus.
A portrait using the Profoto C1 Plus
As you can see here, the white balance is warmer.

Another fun trick to try out if you have someone to come along to help you out is to have them hold the light behind your subject to create a bit of backlight and rim light.

A portrait using the Profoto C1 Plus

I’m able to create different lighting looks with the Profoto C1 Plus.

I wanted to really push the light to see what I could create with little to no natural light. Just like with the still life images, it is a bit of trial and error with how far to hold the light away from subject. You want to retain your highlights and not overexpose your subject, all while keeping in mind that placement of light would be no different from how I would use natural light. When my subject was closer to light source, I was able to eliminate the background to shadow.

Profoto C1 Plus review
It took a bit of trial and error to get the position of the light just right.
Profoto c1 Plus review
I created this photo in the dark, with almost no natural light.
A portrait using the Profoto C1 Plus
I wanted to challenge myself to use the Profoto C1 Plus as I would the natural light from the sun.
Profoto c1 Plus portrait
Holding a branch in front of my iPhone and the light just behind me and to my right I created this fun portrait.

The Profoto C1 Plus taught me to consider light in a different way.

One of the things I love most about photography is that we are constantly learning! Being comfortable within your space means it’s time to shake things up. Trying different lighting techniques, or pushing yourself to try something uncomfortable is how we grow. Having to really step outside of my comfort zone and think about how I wanted to use the Profoto C1 Plus taught me to consider light in a different way.

I explored light placement and use of shadow in a completely different way than I would normally using just natural light. Because of the unique dome shape of light, the light fall is much prettier and softer than just using the flash on your mobile device.

Do I dare say it’s no longer a “no-no” to use created light with you iPhone? The answer: Yes, yes I do. All you need is the Profoto C1 Plus and a bit of time to play, and creative doors will open left and right. The Profoto C1 Plus has earned a permanent spot in my bag.

Photos by Kristin Dokoza

More Profoto reviews:

Watch Kellie Bieser demonstrate how she uses Profoto lights in her photography in this video: Make artificial light look like natural light: Photographing with the Profoto A1 (Video)

See how a commercial food phtographer uses Profoto lights for her work in 5 Secret ingredients for amazing food photography