I did 4 shoots over 5 days last week and 3 of them were with Alicia Endemann in Paris. This was the coldest of our shoots and in some ways the most eventful. Because of the cold grey weather we limited our time on the streets appropriately. Here are 21 of my X-Pro2 shots processed in Lightroom from RAW with Acros.

Alicia Endemann

01. Alicia Endemann has a classic look that is easily captured with the 50-140mm lens. It’s the little moments like this that tell the big story sometimes. Processed in Lightroom with Acros. We had lipstick a shade darker than I usually choose for mono portraits so I could use the straight Acros film simulation without needing my usual favourite Acros with G filter.

While the makeup was underway by Tatiana, Paul Keur, my co shooter and I chose a starting location using Google Earth. We decided to start at the Louvre and taxi’d right to the spot where our first shoot session took place.

The Louvre

02. The Louvre is surrounded by colonnades void of people and these make a perfect location for a portrait session in natural light whatever the weather.

Alicia Endemann in Paris

03. I set up a couple more shots in the colonnade. It’s rare for me to shoot a portrait with black holes for eyes but it does give an edge to the shot on the left. I added contrast in Lightroom to emulate the look of a grade 4 print.

We warmed up in a local coffee shop before heading to the cute Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel in the Louvre gardens for a splash of flash. There were many trinket sellers jangling their gilded Eiffel Towers but we were more interested in setting up our Cactus RF60 Speedlights. We triggered the pair of Cacti with the V6 tranceiver. It’s worth noting an updated V6 is on it’s way with high speed sync and will be compatible with the existing V6 and RF60 units once they have updated firmware.

Alicia Endemann at the Louvre

4. We set up our Cactus RF60s on Lovegrove Flash Brackets with regular lighting stands. I used a 50-140mm zoom lens at 50mm setting on my X-Pro2. 1/250th second, f/8 at ISO 200.

05. We went down to the river to create this striking fashion shot.

05. We went down to the river to create this striking fashion shot. 16mm at f/11, 1/250th second using ISO 200. Just one barefaced Speedlight was all we needed.


06. We took shelter in an underpass before braving the riverside walk to the Grande Palais.


07. “You want me to take off my coat, climb up the wall and hang off the iron hoop?” Said Alicia. “Yes please” I replied.

08. "One hand please"

08. “One hand please” 35mm lens at f/16 for 1/250th second. An ND8 filter would have brought the iris back into the sweet point of f/5.6. Even at f/16 this 35mm f/1.4 lens is a stellar performer.


09. I’m loving the Acros look. There is a fine grain, reminiscent of film grain when my usual setting of no noise reduction is set in Lightroom.


10. We moved under a bridge and I shot some more dramatic portraits combining beauty and character.


11. Down by the river there are quite a few opportunities for interesting natural light.


12. Alicia looks the part of a spy from a feature film.


13. I love low key opportunities that process easily from the RAF files. Brighter files edit well too.

As usual I chose not to use Photoshop, I didn’t use any plugins either, just the basic tools in Lightroom. This set is punchier and perhaps less subtle than my usual editing style but I think a change is good every now and then. For my next edit I’m going to give Nic Silver FX another go to see how the grain engine and ‘Structure’ compare to what can be achieved with Lightroom CC alone. I last used the Nix software with Canon 5D2 files opened in Photoshop and now it’s time to check it out again with Fuji files. Thank you Google for the freebie.

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29 Responses

  1. Dave Fisher

    Excellent Damien. Great variety and quality. Black and white processing really brings out the best in the shoot for me.

    • Damien

      Thank you Dave for the compliments. There wasn’t really much colour around that day so I went with monochrome. Cheers, Damien.

  2. Mark dell

    Acros really works Damien doesn’t it?
    I am still on the Xpro1 and will have to work a LR version of Acros I have downloaded google Nik with Silver Effects 2 so on there it has Acros film simulation.
    Your video series on street shooting was bought for me by my son for my birthday and I am doing a shoot soon with my Quadra so will have a go to emulate your lovely work.
    suberb as usual Damien!

    • Damien

      Thanks Mark. Acros is a cool tool but I’ve always been happy with my black and white before the dawn of Acros. What I find is it is easier to get the finished look that I am after. Have fun on your shoot and thanks for buying my video downloads. Stay inspired, Damien.

    • Damien

      Thanks Vic. There is just so much going on in the files. Shadows are there to be enjoyed :) Regards, Damien.

  3. fte368

    Wonderful photographs!
    I have a question – what is a “grade 4 print”? Any pointers to explanations?

    • Damien

      Hi fte368,

      Thank you for the compliments. Monochrome printing papers are available in a range of contrast grades to suit negatives of different density ranges. Grade 1 is low-contrast, or ‘soft’, and grade 5 is high-contrast, or ‘hard’.
      A negative exposed on a sunny day, with bright highlights and deep shadows, will have a much greater density range than one exposed on a dull day with flat lighting. Different contrast grades of printing paper are manufactured in order to accommodate negatives of such different density ranges.
      Given correct exposure and development, the general aim is to have a print with white highlight areas still retaining some detail, and with the deepest shadows developed to maximum black. If the highlights of the print are grey and the shadows not completely black, as might be the case with the negative exposed on the dull day, then a harder grade of paper should be tried; conversely, if all highlight areas are completely white with no detail, and all shadow areas blocked up to completely black, as might be the case with the negative exposed on the sunny day, then a softer grade of paper should be suitable.

      I hope this helps,


      • Frank Tegtmeyer

        Many thanks! So I was confused by the word “print” (my native language is not English). It seems to refer also to the paper used in the darkroom, right?

      • Damien

        Hi Frank,

        Yes the darkroom paper has different contrast grades.

        Kind regards,


  4. Hella

    Hi Damien,

    Lovely shots, and I like the Acros toning. A question: I have recently bought a set of V6 triggers and I saw that you mentioned that within a short time an updated version V6 will come out with hight speed sync. Will it be possible to update my current V6 triggers in any way in the future? I have not worked with them yet, so I am not so familiar with the system.

    Thank you for your reply.

    Kind regards,

    • Damien

      Hi Hella, Thank you for your kind words. As far as I understand to use the new HSS functionality you will need one next generation transmitter and your current V6s can be updated (via firmware) to be HSS compatible receivers and all existing RF60s can be updated to HSS too. I hope this helps, Damien.

      • Robin Breyl

        Hi Damien,

        Beautiful pictures – as always. You have such a great eye for light and posing of the models.

        Quick question about the Cactus HSS feature: I assume the upcoming feature is for Fuji cameras?
        Will it be X Pro 2 only, or will it work with X-T1 too?



      • Damien

        Hi Robin, Cactus are not Fuji specific in fact they are multi branded. If the camera is capable of HSS then the Cactus will make use of that functionality. Fuji are about to launch a new Flashgun with HSS and no doubt firmware updates will be available for their cameras to utilise this new flash unit. Let’s seee what happens next. I’ll be testing a prototype Cactus unit as soon as I can and I’ll report back on Prophotonut when I do.

        Thank you,


      • Den

        Fuji’s upcoming X500 flash should be out next month and is a great offering for use on camera (small, powerful and smart with TTL) – BUT it’s already lacking as an off camera solution: Two simple reasons, 1) it is only optical not wireless. 2) there is no seperate transmitter option, so you’ll need to use a full flash unit on camera to operate any other flashes. I’d guess it’s going to cost something like £300 too.

        Alternatively, the cactus V6 MkII with HSS (and AF assist beam apparently) makes that family system much more useful if you can live without TTL. Due out in late June I believe.

      • Damien

        Hi Den,

        I’m not concerned with TTL off camera. It doesn’t really work well. I never use TTL these days anyway. Putting a longer lens on a flash doesn’t increase the guide number so there mist be other improvements too. I’m looking forward to the new Cactus HSS triggers to partner the full size RF60 for my flash off camera photography. Yes we will be getting test stock of these V6 mk2s soon. I have a big customer base of Cactus and Fuji shooters so I wait with baited breath.

        Cheers, Damien.

      • Den

        Forgot to add that there is also a new Nissin i60A out this June, which now has a colour screen and a higher guide number of 60 thanks to a 200 zoom. Supports on-camera Fuji TTL but not off camera TTL. Best of all it keeps the same dinky size. This may well be a better option than Fuji’s upcoming X500 for on-camera use.

  5. Mike Greenslade

    Stunning shots as usual Damien! Thanks for the info on the Cactus HSS, looking forward to it. Happy Easter!

  6. Sebastian Matthews

    Great work as always, #10 particularly grabs me. I’ve always loved really tight portraits, and I think that’s one of—in fact probably THE—best I’ve seen in years. I can’t even pick a particular element to comment on, everything about it is just astonishing to me. That’s the kind of photo which immediately makes me want to grab my own camera and go out and shoot right away. (Though probably best not, given it’s 11pm in wet Wiltshire.)
    #4 really catches my attention, too. When going for a wide shot like that, what drives the decision to use the zoom at 50mm, rather than switch to something like the 16mm, or even just 23mm or 35mm? It looks fantastic; I’m just one of those terrible people who over-thinks every lens and composition choice, and I know I’d never have thought to use the 50-140 for a shot like that, myself. (But I’ll definitely be trying it in the future.)

    • Damien

      Wow, thanks Sebastian. I share the love of tight portraits too. I often shoot so tight I crop out eyes :) Anyway, it comes down to using a lens that allows going in tight while maintaining a decent working distance. I find the minimum focus distance with some so called portrait lenses is too far. That’s one reason I like the 90mm, it just gets right in there without the need for extension tubes etc.

      #4 I needed to ensure there was no sky in my picture and I wanted to include the arch and the only way to do this was to use a longer focal length. I hope this makes sense. :)

      Kindest regards,


  7. Miniver

    Absence of G filter seems to add great depth and clarity to skin tones in these wonderful photos. I now find that G filter use seems to add character to lips at the expense of attractive skin tones. (I write this having used the G filter extensively in the ’60s with Kodak Plus X for portraits.) Were you somehow emulating Acros in Lightroom, or does the Acros setting adhere to RAF as well as jpeg files?

    I confess it was reading your blog that convinced me to buy into the Fuji X line last year, and can’t thank you enough for your thorough and well supported descriptions.

    • Damien

      Hi Miniver,

      You are right about the no G filter effect. I found the pictures way too flat though at first and I ended up using +100 contrast across the board to give the skin life. I then controlled the black level as required and tweaked the exposure to hold onto the highlights where necessary. In future I’ll be better off setting up a custom curve for portraits with straight ‘Acros’. All the Fuji film simulations available in camera are available in Lightroom too. I just set Acros as the camera profile and synced it to all the files as required. Acros adds a small amount of grain and some acutance to give the files some bite at a fine detail level.

      Thank you for the kind feedback.

      Kindest regards,


  8. Matt

    Hi Damien.

    Great shots as usual – a real pro in front of and behind the camera seems to be a good recipe for results like these. Thanks for sharing both the images and your knowledge.

    I love b&w and to me, the Acros simulation lacks contrast when used without flash. By adding contrast using LR6 I am basically at the same point where I was with my own b&w-presets prior to Acros. Did you experience something similar?

    Best regards

    • Damien

      Hi Matt,

      No issues with Acros. It looks almost identical to regular black and white except it has a bit more acutance (edge sharpness) and some built in grain. I get the shots right in colour then just switch a virtual copy to Acros and voilla. If the shots look flat it is because the light is flat, hence your comment about using flash. If I’m in flat light and I want a punchy or contrasty look I light the subject or the scene or both. You get out of the camera what you put in. More than 50% of the photographs I take are lit as required using flash or continuous light. Take a look at this set: http://www.prophotonut.com/2016/04/13/hollywood-glamour/ The colour and black and white are side by side.

      Cheers, Damien.


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About The Author

Damien Lovegrove is a world renowned portrait photographer specialising in making women look fabulous. “I’m inspired by beauty and as I have matured as a photographer I’ve learned to see beauty in just about everyone and everywhere. It’s not what I look at that matters to me, it is what I see. I love people and I suppose women in particular. I love their mannerisms, fashion, style and beauty."

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