Window Light portraits ~ A complete guide


01. Deep into a room the window light can fall away in quantity but the quality still remains. ISO 200, 1/6th second at f/4. I shot Mike from a high viewpoint to add interest.

In this 2600 word guide I’ll show you how to create wonderful portraits using just window light.

“Portrait lighting doesn’t have to be complicated to be good.” Damien Lovegrove

Window light is a natural light that we are all familiar with in our day to day lives. It is easy on the eye and easy for us to decode in a photograph because we are so familiar with the way Continue reading

Urban Portraits ~ A how to guide

urban3This is my biggest ever guide to shooting portraits in the city right here. 2700 words of ideas, strategies and techniques to empower you to make the world your studio. The concept of shooting portraits on city streets is nothing new, It’s been around as long as photography itself. And unlike street photographers who candidly document the people of a city without intervention, Urban Portrait shooters take control of everything and make studio grade portraits everywhere.

Here’s how I select the location, style the shoot, control the lighting and create the moment… Continue reading

What Fuji X camera and lenses should I buy? ~ recommendations

That’s the question I’m most often asked. I wish the most popular question was “Why do you like to shoot portraits with hard light?” I’ll answer that one in a future blog post. Let me start by explaining the process I went through to get my current line up of gear together with reasonings for each step of the journey.


1. Fuji X-T1 with 56mm lens. 1/1000th second at f/5 using ISO 200. Motion photography needs at least 1/500th second shutter speed to get sharp pictures. Vicky Bond at the Olympic Park in London. (Sunlight)

Warning: GAS inducing blog post (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) Reading this blog post might melt your credit card. Continue reading

Illumination 2 ~ sample chapters

Here are two chapters from my latest video production available for download in full HD here (or here for USD $ customers)

Sample chapter 1
In this chapter Damien uses natural light to shoot funky portraits on the streets of Bristol. (go full screen HD :)

Sample chapter 2
In this chapter Damien shows you how to use a single speedlight to shoot beauty portraits in the city. (go full screen HD :)

Here at Lovegrove HQ we’ve been busy for the past three months putting together the final production for the Illumination project. Illumination 2 “Urban Portraits” covers shooting portraits on city streets and in built up areas. This exciting new production features over 1½ hours of information rich content in 25 full HD video chapters. Each chapter reveals new opportunities, techniques and ideas to give your photography the edge. There are no expensive locations or studios involved. I just use minimal camera and lighting kit, the sort you can carry around without needing a rucksack. I chose a variety of locations that are similar to those found in many cities around the world to make this production universally useful. In this production I teach the fundamentals of portrait lighting describing how to control light to enhance beauty and make people look amazing. I teach all you need to know when mixing ambient light with flash from a Speedlight off camera. I cover shifting colour balance and other fun techniques you can use right away to give your urban portraits the edge.

As you may recall Illumination 1 was shot in the spring of 2014 and featured me using flash and natural light to create portraits in a mansion, a country house, woodland, fields and at the beach. I used Speedlights, Elinchrom Quadra and natural light to create fashion inspired portraits. Illumination 2 uses a simpler approach and embraces the free to use shoot locations found all around us in cities.

Click here to purchase the complete video, or if you want to pay in $ USD you can click here to visit our US store.

This is a slideshow showing a selection of the photographs that feature in this production (go full screen HD :)

A night at the museum ~ Lighting sets

1. The start of the rig showing Victoria on the stairs.

1. This is the start of the rig showing Victoria on the stairs. I lit the back wall with the Lupolux LED 1000 and a ‘Crunch’ scattergel shown on the right at the top of the stairs. I picked up the statue on the half landing with this light too. The light at the top of the sketch plan shows Victoria’s backlight. Another Lupolux LED 1000 in full spot mode rigged two floors up pointing down over the balustrade. The third light in the set is Victoria’s key light. It is a Lupolux LED 650 with an ‘Alto’ scattergel. This light picks up on the lion and the stairs too. (The drawings in this article are by Luke Knight, our in house illustrator).

Shot 1 using the lighting rig shown above. This was not on the client list but I shot it for me while we were waiting for Donatella's hair and makeup to be completed.

2. Shot 1 using the lighting rig shown in the sketch above. This was not on the client’s list but I shot it for me while we were waiting for Donatella’s hair and makeup to be completed. I’m in love with classic film lighting from a bygone era and use every chance I get to recreate it.

Here are the shots from the shoot together with the back story, the lighting plots and the strategies I use for lighting sets… Continue reading

Think Tank Retrospective camera bags compared

This the Retrospective series camera bags by Think tank. They are just a small part of the Think Tank family but in some ways the most important to select well.

The Retrospective series camera bags are just a small part of the Think Tank family of bags, belts and cases designed by photographers for photographers but in some ways the shoulder bag is the most important choice to get right. The quest to find the right camera bag has always been a challenge so I thought I’d do a comparison of the Retrospective range to help you choose the right one for you.

Four years ago back in November 2010 I sold all my zoom lenses for my Canon kit and replaced them with primes. The space and weight saving was significant enough for me to ditch my old Continue reading

Cambodia tour 2015 – Ready for booking

Save the dates!
Monday 20th July to Friday 31st July 2015.

From Cambodia with Love and Lovegrove 2015 tour

We’ve now completed the planning stages of the From Cambodia with Love & Lovegrove 2015 tour. Click on the picture to download the brochure

There are 12 places up for grabs on this trip of a lifetime. Contact me with any questions of a technical nature. For all tour related questions, hotels, travel arrangements etc contact Linda.

See you in paradise,

Cassandra ~ The Siem Reap sessions

Click on the picture to see the full size spread and read the wonderful article written by Cassandra. It gives a clear directive and vision for my photography of women plus 'What's it like being the other side of my Fuji X-T1'? Yulia explains.

Click on the picture to see the full size spread and read the wonderful article written by Cassandra. It gives a clear directive and vision for my photography of women plus… Yulia explains what it’s like being on the other side of my camera.

01. Lighthearted fun with Cassandra, the editor of Lady magazine in Cambodia, shot on a compact hotel room balcony. Fuji X-T1, 56mm lens.

01. Lighthearted fun with Cassandra, the editor of Lady magazine in Cambodia, shot on a compact hotel room balcony. Fuji X-T1, 56mm lens using a shutter speed long enough to feel great and short enough to care. 1/125th second [right]

Follow the link to see the other 30 shots in this set… Continue reading

Bethany & Shadrack ~ The Kep sessions


01. The palace on the mountain top is the most magical location I have ever shot in. The planning, negotiation and traveling were certainly worth the effort.

Gorgeous couple Bethany, a model from Phnom Penh and Shadrack, a professional footballer joined us in Kep for tour 2. When Linda at Essential Explorations and I set out the schedule for our Cambodia adventures we wanted to recruit fabulous models with a good command of English. We knew we were going to photograph the local Khmer people throughout the rest of the trip so we set out to make the four dedicated portrait sessions an exciting contrast. Here are 40 of my shots from these sessions. Enjoy Continue reading

Kate ~ The Siem Reap session


01. The children of the town came out to watch us shoot in the dying rays of sunlight at the end of the day. Cambodia is a colourful vibrant country with a joyous people.

Kate, one of our models, joined us in Seem Reap for a couple of days on my first tour of Cambodia. Here are a few of my frames taken in a fishing village, temples, woodland and our boutique hotel. NSFW after the jump or fold Continue reading

English Country Garden Portraits with the Fujifilm X-T1 & 56mm f/1.2 lens

In this sample video I’ll show you how I capture classic English country garden portraits with life and vitality using the Fuji X-T1 camera, 56mm f/1.2 lens and an Elinchrom Ranger Quadra flash pack. I’ll be shooting our model, Claire, under a beautiful garden archway with the ambient soft light coming in from behind. More light is then added with my Quadra flash kit. Continue reading

Yulia ~ The Kep sessions

01. High on a mountain with the clouds rolling into this abandoned palace Yulia and I make magic.

01. High on a mountain with the clouds rolling into this abandoned palace Yulia and I make magic. I aligned the light sources, styled the look, directed the action and used the flip out screen on the Fuji X-T1 to save me from lying in the water. I would have done it, believe me, the shot had me fizzing with excitement.

I think that this is probably some of my best work to date. Certainly Yulia and I sparkled, we are like peas from a pod, she could easily be my younger sister (much younger) Darren her husband is a fab guy too and together they made my trip to Cambodia ever so special. Here are 60 of our creations. NSFW after the jump or fold. Continue reading

Charlotte ~ The Phnom Penh sessions

01. Charlote

01. Charlotte from Paris with her fabulous command of English was our model for the Lovegrove Nudes session in Phnom Penh.

Our locations for these sessions were the Mansion House and the old Police Station building, both now in a dilapidated condition but rich in texture. The Mansion house is full of bullet holes and the police station is home to a colony of fruit bats plus a few rats. Linda Bell and her team from Essential Explorations secured both locations for us to shoot in with negotiations that lasted days. It was worth it. Here are 33 of my pictures of Charlotte. NSFW after the jump Continue reading

Cambodia Part 1 ~ The Kingdom of Wonder

Buddhist monks having lunch. They are only allowed to eat what they have been given.

01. Buddhist monks at lunch. They are only allowed to eat food that they have been given. Fuji X-T1 with 23mm f/1.4 lens. ISO 2000, f/1.4 at 1/125th second. Being invited in to share time with the monks was a privilege facilitated by our tour translator.

Nowhere has quite touched my soul like Cambodia. Four weeks of travels in ‘The Kingdom of Wonder'(The Cambodian tourist board slogan) has left me wanting more. The friends I made, the sheer fun of the place and the Continue reading