I am very pleased to be able to share this post with respected portrait photographer, Damien Lovegrove. He has very kindly offered me a selection from the images he took during a portrait lighting workshop and I’m delighted to present some of those images here.
I had the very great pleasure of attending the workshop presented by Damien, a Fujifilm X-Photographer, an event supported by Fujifilm UK and held in the Liverpool branch of Wilkinson Cameras last Friday. What an excellent experience it was! The workshop, entitled “One Magic Light“, was much, much more with Damien adding other lighting setup’s as the afternoon progressed. Not only that, his presentation contained hints and tips for the users of Fujifilm’s X-System cameras.
Damien was accompanied by Natasha, a local model, who was a delight to work with both with Damien and those who wished to use the lighting setup’s he had suggested.
Image © Tony Harratt 2015
The first lighting setup consisted a single LED-powered light fitted with barn door flaps. Damien calls this setup his “Hollywood Style”. Once the basics of using studio lighting had been gone through, Damien got to work. Within a very short space of time he presented several different scenarios using his own gels and props, notably a small square Venetian blind. He also had a custom reflector with three “faces” to channel light where it was needed. Despite the short length of the workshop (three hours), he was never rushed in his explanations or dismissive of audience questions. That first 90-minutes whizzed by very quickly!
Perhaps, for me anyway, the best tip came during this first session. Only once or twice did Damien use the viewfinder on any of the three cameras he shot with. The rest of the time he shot using the “live view” display on the rear of the camera. Using 1/180th shutter speed he controlled the exposure he wanted by adjusting the aperture ring on each lens and manually selecting the focus/aperture point. In this way, he said, he was able to generate the exact exposure he wanted and, in many cases, he could “go to print” without any further editing. I tried this tip out during the second session and it worked almost perfectly for me, too.
A second tip, which could be used in conjunction with the above one, was to completely remove the neck strap from the camera. The logic behind this was that you could slip the camera (lens covered , of course!) into your trouser pocket thereby reducing the need for a camera bag. I’ve yet to try this tip!
The second session saw further use of the LED lighting system with an increase to two lighting rigs before Damien switched to Speedlights. Using three different types at one and Cactus triggers, he showed how it was possible to control the power output of each Speedlight individually. He rounded off the Speedlight section by introducing TTL exposure flash.
Finally, it was an Elinchrome setup using a strip light softbox and reflectors. Here’s Damien posing Natasha using this setup…
After this, a member of the audience suggested a vertical image using the strip light. Damien immediately responded with a standing shot of Natasha, rim lit for effect. The result was quite stunning and simplicity in itself, as you can see.
There was just sufficient time to wrap up the workshop with a few questions and have a quick chat with Richard from Fujifilm and staff from Wilkinsons before everyone set off for home, suitably inspired.
My final thoughts? Content: Excellent! Lots of good technical advice and suggestions put across in a nice, relaxed style so that everyone could understand. Value for money: This was outstanding. Fujifilm UK had paid Damien’s fees and Wilkinson’s had provided refreshments at both beginning and during the mid-afternoon break. Factor in three hours of first class tuition with the opportunity to take images using the various setups and, well, for £10… it was the bargain of the year! And probably the best £10 I’ve ever spent on photography…
Here’s a selection of some of Damien’s images he made during the workshop:
This is my personal favourite image from the workshop; my Image of the Week AND Something for the Weekend – as usual a couple of days late:
There are a number of links throughout this post where you can find out more about Damien, Wilkinson’s and more. Just click on the both underlined text to follow the link. Damien has a blog post on his Prophotonut website about the workshop, which goes into more detail about the various lighting setups -> CLICK HERE to read his post.
All the images made by me were shot using a Fujifilm XT-1 with either Fujinon 35mm ƒ1.4 or Fujinon 56mm ƒ1.2 lenses. No filters were used in the creation of these images and post-processing was minimal. The ten images I had selected for use here, on my Twitter account and my Flickr feed, took less than ten minutes to process. ALL images in this post are © Damien Lovegrove or Tony Harratt; for legal information see my LEGAL page in the menu.
I’d like to thank Damien for his kindness in providing images for this post, Natasha for sitting for both Damien and the participants of the workshop, Fujiflm for great camera kit and supporting the workshop, and, finally, Wilkinson Cameras for hosting the event.