Damien Lovegrove’s favourite pictures of 2009

Jan 4, 2010 | Flash, Location, Studio | 27 comments

I’ve been on a fabulous creative trip in 2009 teaching photography and researching my latest DVD/ Blu-Ray, Speedlight Mastery. The journey has taken me to six cities in Germany, the Meatpacking district of New York, Sienna in Tuscany, Castlefield in Manchester and my beloved Bristol Waterfront. On the way I have shared creative moments and precious times with talented photographers from around the world.

Below are my favourite 50 pictures of 2009. It is a strange notion to choose pictures over a time span. I thought about sharing the following sets: My 50 career best pictures, or my 50 favourite pictures of the last decade, or perhaps 50 favourite pictures of the past year, or 50 best shots of the past month. I went for the past year option.

I wonder how many of my pictures I would have selected for all four sets? It’s worth thinking about this. Ask yourself, Is your photography going in the right direction. This is totally subjective and only your opinion counts. Another list category I thought about was the 10 photographs that charted my photographic career. This would be more of a narrative that discussed each images significance rather than the image itself. A lot of the shots I’d choose in the key career shots set would not make any of the ‘best’ sets listed above. It’s got me thinking so I’ll write about the career milestone shots in the coming months but for now here are my 50 favourite pictures of 2009:

The season started with my big flash in the country workshops. And this frame was one that shone out of the overcast day in the dark woods.

The season started with my big flash in the country workshops. And this frame was one that shone out of the overcast day in the dark woods. Lit with two barefaced Broncolor Mobil heads powered from the same A2R pack.

The same workshop took us to the river Severn estuary where I took this frame. Again it was lit with my fabulous Broncolor Mobil kit.

The same workshop took us to the estuary of the river Severn where I took this frame. Again, it was lit with my fabulous Broncolor Mobil kit.

The same location with a different lighting balance produced this file on the next workshop. I shot this on a Phase One 65 megapixel camera.

The same location with a different lighting balance on my Mobil kit produced this file on the next workshop. I shot this on a Phase One 65 megapixel camera.

Big flash in the country became big flood in the country when the heavens opened.

Big flash in the country became big flood in the country when the heavens opened. Lit with a single Mobil head.

One the rapeseed was in flower I was set on the idea of creating the 'Strictly Lovegrove' genre.

Once the rapeseed was in flower I was set on the idea of creating the 'Strictly Lovegrove' genre. I lit this with two Mobil heads powered from the same pack.

I took this shot using on camera flash in direct sunlight. I couldn't resist the pull of the 3 primary colours.

I took this shot in the fabulous city of Cork using zoomed in on camera flash in direct sunlight. I couldn't resist the pull of the three primary colours.

Lit with one Speedlight on a stand in Ashton Court estate in Bristol.

Lit with one Speedlight on a stand in Ashton Court estate in Bristol. Chloe is my angel of the South.

Stina in her yellow ruffled dress that my 13 year old daughter has her eye on ;)

Stina in her yellow ruffled dress that Francesca, my 13 year old daughter has her eye on ;) Lit with a single Speedlight on a stand and zoomed into 105mm

This was taken during the making of the Speedlight Mastery DVD.

This was taken during the making of the Speedlight Mastery video. Two Speedlights on stands did the trick of lighting Ben.

A low angle viewpoint emphasises the lines in the architecture.

A low angle viewpoint emphasises the lines in the architecture. I used two Speedlights on stands set in the same configuration as in the picture above.

Two Speedlights once again.

Two Speedlights once again. I love lighting black surfaces ;)

I love the tones in this image. Keyed straight into the sun with a single Speedlight.

I love the tones in this image too. Keyed straight into the sun with a single Speedlight.

Manchester has a lot of rivits and I like that.

Manchester has a lot of rivets, and I like that.

A gust of wind made this shot come alive. It was lit by the Manchester sun.

A gust of wind made this shot of Paula come alive. It was lit by the Manchester sun.

I took this shot on a Pocket Wizard creative day using my Zeiss 21mm lens. I only seem to shoot art when I've

I took this shot of Natasha on a Pocket Wizard creative day using my Zeiss 21mm lens. I only seem to see and shoot arty pictures with the Zeiss glass :) It was the Honl full CTO gel and the wonderful Ezybox that gave the light it's character.

This Strictly Lovegrove shot was lit with three Broncolor mobil heads plugged into a couple of packs.

This Strictly Lovegrove shot was lit with three Broncolor mobil heads plugged into a couple of packs in some disused buildings at a local mine. - Don't step back!

Stina, sequins and wonderful wall art in Bristol. Lit with a beauty dish fitted to my Broncolor Mobil.

Stina, sequins and wonderful wall art in Bristol. Lit with a single beauty dish fitted to my Broncolor Mobil.

I lit Sarah with a Speedlight fitted with a Honl full CTO gel. The sun popped through to complete the picture.

I lit Sarah with a Speedlight fitted with a Honl full CTO gel. The sun popped through to complete the picture.

Sarah is in front of a whitewashed shop window. I lit this frame with a Speedlight on camera.

Here I've got Sarah is in front of a whitewashed shop window. I lit this frame with a Speedlight on camera.

I used my Broncolor ringflash for this frame in Manchester on a Street Fashion workshop.

I used my Broncolor ringflash for this frame of Laura on a Street Fashion workshop in Manchester.

This piece of grafiti by an artist who signs his work off with 'Jody' is a familiar backdrop for my portraits. Two Speedlights on stands lit this frame.

This piece of grafiti by an artist who signs his work off with 'Jody' is a familiar backdrop for my portraits. Two Speedlights on stands lit this frame. The colour was provided by Marko using one of his Lightroom Presets.

It's Stina again in that dress. I took this shot for my new video production and I used a couple of Speedlights on stands to light Stina.

It's Stina again in that dress. I took this shot for my new video production and I used a couple of Speedlights on stands to light Stina.

Throughout 2008 and 2009 I was running my Evolve training programme and this shot was taken on a camera skills day from that workshop. Shooting to sell is a vital part of the training programme and shots like this sell well as big canvases.

Throughout 2008 and 2009 I was running my Evolve training programme and this shot was taken on an Evolve camera skills workshop. Shooting to sell is a vital part of the syllabus and shots like this sell well as big canvases.

I started to tick of my dream photoshoot locations in 2009 with a shooting trip to New York. This frame was lit by the sun.

I started to tick of my dream photoshoot locations in 2009 with a shooting trip to New York. This frame taken next to Stella McCartney's shop in the new fashion quarter was lit by the sun.

The New York sun in August didn't last long. Thunder clouds rolled in and we were moved along by security straight after this shot.

The New York sun in August didn't last long. Thunder clouds rolled in and we were moved along by security straight after taking this shot lit with a Speedlight on a stand.

A new piece of wall art in the meat packing district was a perfect backdrop for this shot lit with two Speedlights.

A new piece of wall art in the meat packing district of New York was a perfect backdrop for this shot lit with two Speedlights.

Rivets make my day. A natural light portrait.

Rivets make my day. A natural light portrait for a change.

Two Speedlights in downtown Manhatten and I'm away.

Two Speedlights and a black painted concrete wall in downtown Manhattan and I'm away.

I didn't take long before the rains started in New York. I lit this shot with a pair of Speedlights but used a Honl full blue on the backlight. At least it was warm.

It didn't take long before the rains started in New York. I lit this shot with a pair of Speedlights but used a Honl full blue on the backlight. At least it was warm in August.

A natural light grab shot on our way up to the High Line.

A natural light grab shot on our way up to the High Line.

Next it was Tuscany for three Passion On The Streets workshops and a whole lot of fun with friends.

Next it was Tuscany for three Passion On The Streets workshops and a whole lot of fun with friends.

It was a fine line between a murderous pose and a passionate embrace.

It was a fine line between a murderous pose and a passionate embrace.

This was as close to the theme of 'Passion On The Streets' as we could get.

This was as close to the theme of 'Passion On The Streets' as we could get. Lit with a pair of Speedlights.

Some of the hills in Sienna were quite steep. Perfect for my kind of shooting. A single Speedlight did the trick here.

Some of the hills in Sienna were quite steep. Perfect for my kind of shooting. A single Speedlight did the trick here.

There was time for sophistication too as I partnered Chris Hanley teaching 'Cherish The Dress' workshops.

There was time for sophistication too as I partnered Chris Hanley teaching 'Cherish The Dress' workshops.

Here's another Cherish shot. Lit with one Speedlight.

Here's another Cherish shot at the Hilton. Lit with one Speedlight.

And here's another lit with two Speedlights. That's Manchester in the background and we were in Cloud 23, the bar at the famous Hilton tower. We'll be back there at some point in early 2010 that's for sure.

And here's another lit with two Speedlights. That's Manchester in the background and we were in Cloud 23, the bar at the famous Hilton tower. We'll be back there at some point in early 2010 that's for sure. So do join us if you have yet to experience a 'Cherish' workshop.

This is another frame I shot for the latest video. It is in the Pitcher and Piano bar in Bristol and I lit Stina with two Speedlights.

This is another frame I shot for the latest video. It is in the Pitcher and Piano bar in Bristol and I lit Stina with two Speedlights.

It doesn't get any simpler than this. A bean bag and a soft box. It helps of course if you have someone to photograph who is as gorgeous as Lora.

It doesn't get any simpler than this. A bean bag and a soft box. It helps of course if you have someone to photograph who is as gorgeous as Lora. This was taken on another Evolve group shoot session.

Another frame featured on my latest video. The strong kick lights give this location shot a very studio feel. Lit with three Speedlights, one in a Ezybox and I also used a Trigrip reflector.

Another frame featured on my latest video. The strong kick lights give this location shot a very studio feel. Lit with three Speedlights, one in a Ezybox and I also used a Trigrip reflector. The flashes were triggered by Pocket Wizard TTL units.

Another ring flash shot, this time it is in the wings of the Imagist Studio by the Colourama store.

Another ring flash shot, this time it is in the wings of the Imagist Studio by the Colourama store.

This shot of Holly was shot using a pink gel on the flash head inside the 'Love Cube'. I've sourced a manufacturer for the 'Love Cube' and it should go on sale from our site in January.

This shot of Holly was shot using a pink gel on the flash head inside the 'Love Cube'. I've sourced a manufacturer for the 'Love Cube' and it should go on sale from the Lovegrove Consulting site in January.

Chloe as a godess. Shot at a studio lighting session against a grey background lit with a gel.

Chloe as a goddess. Shot at a studio lighting workshop against a grey background lit with a gel.

Stina on the same grey background lit with a different gel.

Stina on the same grey background lit with the same gel.

A high key punchy shot taken on the same grey background as the previous two shots but with a different power setting.

A high key punchy shot of Lora taken on the same grey background as the previous two shots but with a different gel at a higher power setting.

The green in this shot of Sarah is real. It is a green background roll I have in my studio. I use it for black and white shoots as well as a chromakey background.

The green in this shot of Sarah is real. It is a green background roll I have in my studio. I use it for black and white shoots as well as a chromakey background.

This wonderful shot of Sarah was taken moments after on the same session as the one above.

This wonderful shot of Sarah was taken moments after the one above. There is a bit too much light fall off on the right but I still love the picture.

Here is Sarah in my white corner. As you can see I like it to be shades of grey or sepia in this case.

Here is Sarah in my white corner. As you can see I like it to be shades of grey or sepia in this case.

This is my daughter Francesca shot through my Roger Noons diffusion filter.

This is my daughter Francesca shot through my Roger Noons diffusion filter.

Another studio floor shot. This one was taken on a Pentax I was reviewing for Warehouse Express.

And this is another minimalist studio floor shot. This one was taken on a Pentax I was reviewing for Warehouse Express.

Well there you have it. A motley collection with little coherence but fun to shoot. All these pictures remind me of a moment and have earned their place here not on artistic merit but because I like them.

Please feel free to comment. Happy New Year, Damien.

27 Comments

  1. Si

    Damien, every shot looks fantastic. Been following your work for quite a while and with results like this you never cease to amaze. Thanks for putting these images up. I’m going to attempt to capture something close this year.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Si,

      Get out there and get shooting. I’ve a best of 2012 and 2013 on Youtube too. Take a look at my personal site with lots of galleries here. Screen grab the shots you like from the 2000+ on there and deconstruct them picking the best bits. It takes practice and knowledge. I’ve quite a knowledge bank in video form to tap into. Find my YouTube channel too.

      Stay inspired and have fun.

      Damien.

      Reply
  2. David

    Hi Damien

    Your technical expertise required here, have just purchased a car with a built in inverter, for laptops, however, I have been thinking of possibly powering my portable studio lights off the same source! Do you think this is a good or bad idea?
    Still watching the speedlight DVD by the way and learn something new with each watch!
    Me thinks you have changed the face of photographic instruction forever i.e. you are not afraid of sharing your
    obvious wealth of knowledge and that is brilliant.

    Thanks

    Damien

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi David, If your inverter can deliver enough current then why not give it a go. You can always buy a small generator and a wheelbarrow. That’s what I used to use when shooting in woods etc where I could not get a car close by. Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  3. damien

    Hi Martin,

    Thanks for your kind words. Keep your eyes open for workshops and if nothing quite matches what you are after then get in touch. We might just put on a special event or arrange a 1:1 session if that suits. Enjoy your photography and get practicing. Damien.

    Reply
  4. Martin

    Damien
    bought your 4 DVD set before Xmas
    best purchase i have ever made, they are inspirational
    found this post and will now be looking at training with you in the near future

    Reply
  5. Roy Barnes

    Glad to see one of the 50 was from Cherish shoot in July! It was a great experience and fun too.
    Love the New York umbrella shot.
    Have to say you have inspired me to be more creative with speedlights off camera, and getting some great feedback from clients.
    Keep up the good work for 2010!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Roy.

      Reply
  6. Martin

    Such a great body of work over the course of just one year!

    Reply
  7. Carole Kelly

    Very inspirational, great images, great courses that many of us have shared with you, where we learned loads and had fun doing it. Thanks Damian see you at swpp

    Reply
  8. Shaun Ward

    Excellent work. I have been reading your articles in Photo Pro Mag.
    Keep pushing with the high standard of your work.
    All the best for 2010
    Shaun

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Shaun, Thanks for your kind words, Damien.

      Reply
  9. Wayne Williams

    Hey Damien,

    For 2K10 how about a regular audio or video podcast?
    Or do you already do one?

    Wayne

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Wayne,

      A Podcast is a good idea but my trouble is a lack of time. I’ve just bought a KodakZi8 video camera that takes a separate microphone with the aim to do reviews of kit and a few tutorials too. I’ll need to get past the exhibition season first as we are flat out preparing for SWPP and Focus. Adding to my workload is definitely not on my agenda at the moment. Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  10. Heinz Schmidt

    Great work Damien, I love the simplicity of the shots. just proves you don’t need equipment to be creative, just creativity.

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Heinz, My motto is “If in doubt leave it out”. I think simple pictures communicate more easily. Damien

      Reply
  11. damien

    Hi Bob,
    I’ll be talking about the ‘artistic eye’ bit for 120 minutes at my SWPP seminar next week.
    Somethings are best discussed face to face if you know what I mean. As for inspirational artists, I was brought up on Rembrandt, Turner, Leonardo, Dagar and my favourite artist today is Hopper. Look at this and this to see what I mean. He was 60 years ahead of Jack Vetriano and the master of contemporary light in my opinion.

    Damien.

    Reply
  12. damien

    Gosh! You guys gush and you are really kind to me. I’ll keep at it in 2010 then as my efforts are appreciated ;) Cheers, Damien.

    Reply
  13. CoventryBob

    Hi Damien – just crawled off my sick bed to look at the blog. Even more great articles have been posted in the past few days keeping Propotonut at the forefront of professional photographers blogs.
    The speedlight mastery DVD is exceptional but I would like to hear you explain your philosophy regarding the posing, composing and creation of the classical artistic lines, shapes and forms which are evident in your photographic images. The technical aspects are slowly sinking in but 90% of your photography must be your artistic eye and the ethos you apply to create each image. I know you mentioned sometime ago that you study all the great artists so who are your great influences.
    Keep up the superlative work. Can’t wait for Christmas 2010 for another DVD blockbuster.

    Reply
  14. richie

    Exceptional work Damien!

    Thanks for writing articles that challenged me over this past year to never be satisfied!

    Thanks for writing articles that force me to read my instructional manual to be *SURE*… “Yeap, that’s what he said”!

    I wish you the best in the new year and look forward to your posts!

    Reply
  15. Sarah

    Damien – as always you continue to inspire me. I’ve been back to Bristol since our workshop and managed to get some great shots that I’ve extremely proud of. I definately wouldn’t have had the confidence to achieve these images without your motivation, words of advice and expertise.
    Thank you… for sharing… inspiring and doing what you do best!!
    Happy New Year & see you at SWPP next Friday!
    Sarah x

    Reply
  16. Will Pateman Photography

    wow all great shots..my faves are the brolly and stina purple dress because of the different pose..excellent

    Reply
  17. Gwyn Cole

    Hello Damien, will you be doing any big flash workshops with the Broncolor kit in 2010?

    Reply
  18. Mark

    Excellent work, Damien! Very sexy shots, too.

    Reply
  19. Ziggy

    Hmmmm. Now there’s a challenge. My faves are the ‘strictly’ and New york sets, with the ‘Cloud 23’ a close third. Where did 2009 go?

    Great stuff. Truly inspirational.

    All the best for 2010.

    Reply
  20. Gemma

    An excellent series of shots, and an inspiration.

    Reply

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