In the gritty early days of the pandemic, Elinchrom stepped into the spotlight, their bravado cutting through my long-held allegiance to Profotos. They nudged me, saying, "Erika, give our lights a spin." And so, I did. Not without a touch of hesitation, of course, but what unfolded was a revelation.
Our enchanting model, Marisa Bryant, was at the heart of this new endeavor. The task at hand was a beauty shoot, and not the run-of-the-mill kind. The subject was glittering, glistening new beauty palettes. A real diva, if you will, demanding a light that can embrace pigment, sheen, and sparkle without flinching. Elinchrom's ELC system stepped up, impressing me with its striking versatility.
I commandeered my Tribeca studio into a photographer's battleground, dominated by three monolithic ELC monolights. Each had a role to play, a character to portray. The ELC 500, my sturdy keylight, wore barn doors or a gridded reflector as its armor, as the scene required. Another ELC 500 adorned with a gel and snoot, took a bold stance facing the camera, the provocateur adding elusive lens flares. Then there was the ELC 125, positioned as the rim light, providing the nuanced definition with its barn doors.
I was no stranger to the rapid-fire pace of New York's commercial photography scene, and Elinchrom seemed to know this dance well. The ELC system kept up with me every step of the way, shifting, adjusting, delivering – all without a compromise in quality.
The unyielding nature of the ELCs allowed me to work at a galloping speed, capturing the right angles and moments, making my workflow fluid as mercury. The TTL mode worked like a charm during the shoot, letting me lock in the exposure with Manual Lock without losing my settings. This came in handy when the inspiration to try something different hit me, allowing me to make adjustments on the fly.
My experiment with prisms added a dash of whimsy to the set. Aligning them just right with the snooted ELC 500 was like conducting a light orchestra, leading to an array of fascinating in-camera effects.
At the end of the day, it was Elinchrom's ELC system that had held its ground, rising to the challenge of my fast-paced, high-demand shooting style. And yes, Alex Growd, the maestro of retouching, sprinkled some of his magic on the images in post-production, but the real deal was all captured in-camera.
Ultimately, it wasn't just about creating beautiful images – it was about navigating a complex set, managing fast-paced changes, and doing it all without compromising the quality of the final result. That's where the ELC system proved its worth, standing up to the whirlwind that is New York's commercial photography industry. It wasn't just a set of lights; it was a partner that made every shot a little brighter, every day a little smoother.

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