Iskra Lawrence by Damien Lovegrove ~ ‘Into The Light’ part 2

Jul 21, 2011 | Continuous Lighting, Location | 46 comments

Iskra Lawrence at Kingscotte house by Damien Lovegrove

01. Our session started with a contre jour set of images. I lit Iskra with the Lupo 1200 to simulate sunlight.

This was my first time photographing Iskra Lawrence. We met at 08.30 and soon struck up a good relationship whilst overcoming a minor wardrobe issue. With that sorted, Iskra went into her make up session with Vicky Waghorn. I decided to shoot in just three bedrooms, a bathroom and the upstairs landing of the house. Those rooms were to become our studio for the next two days. The 60 or so pictures you see here were shot on two back to back workshops. The demand for this ‘Into The Light‘ workshop has allowed me to add one more date for this season. Details can be found here.

02. Lupo 1200 'sunlight' brings this picture alive.

03. The Lupo is now just out of shot to the right looking back towards the camera and Iskra is lit by windowlight.

04. Real lashes, real beauty.

05. Iskra has a fresh clean healty glow without the need to smudge or clone. Great lighting does the work. By avoiding skin softening these pictures show the real and beautiful Iskra, freckles and all.

06. This frame was shot using my little Fujifilm X100 camera at f/2 The Lupo is still to the right and windowlight is the key.

07. I love the subtle changes that make a big difference. However there is a confusion in this image because we can't see Iskra's lips. There are also a couple of lens caps belonging to the delegates on the bedside table. This is one of the many good reasons not to use lens caps.

08. This frame shot with my 50mm f/1.2 deals with the issues above.

09. When I photograph someone new I always shoot lots of head shots and beauty details and I always use my 100mm macro lens to do it.

10. By 10.30 we were having a bit of fun. The Lupo is still doing the job of providing the hair light.


11. I started to pull in some depth of expression to add gravity to my pictures. Iskra was patient and kind with us all giving each camera in turn the attention and time needed to capture her beauty.


13. This is the kind of beauty detail I love to shoot with my macro lens.

14. 100mm f/2.8 lens at f/2.8.

15. The backlight is so important in these images, as important as Iskra's eye highlights.

16. This could well be my favourite shot of the day. I took it on my Fuji X100 and it mesmerises me. I love the fact that some people won't 'get it'.

17. With the curtains opened and Iskra shuffeled over a more conventional frame is shot. I still get excited when shooting these frames. I love the lines and the strong diagonals they create.

18. When the sun was gone the light was more suitable for beauty pictures.

19. Iskra in the bathroom. Shot on my Fuji X100 with me on my knees. The Lupo provides my key light. Look at Iskra's chin shadow for the whole story.

20. In a cold iron bath and still Iskra had fun. Lines, design and shades of near white are ever present in this bathroom. This is a good leg lengthening perspective too.

21. Iskra's legs are lit with the Lupo 1200. The rest is art apparently.

22. Lit with the light from one window.

23. A different angle allows me to introduce flare or lift in the image.

Lunch was a lavish affair all home made fine quisine with our tables set in a wonderful part of the famous Matara. It was a time to share the buzz of the morning. Martin charged the Bron kits, got out the Speedlights While I planned the afternoon pictures. I decided to go dramatic and shake up a few things…

24. After lunch it was time to enter the dark side. This shot was lit by window light alone in a bright airy room. It's a bit of magic I share with my delegates and then promptly swear them to secrecy.

25. This is the perfect light to shoot pregnancy portraits and the best thing is it's free.

26. A wider shot with less dramatic lighting still draws attention.

27. Then came my magic water reflector.

28. Eye contact changes everything. If you are shooting for an album you will need a great variety of images and just a few with eye contact. This set has 61 images, a great number for an album.

29. I always intersperse wide shots, close ups and detail shots in my albums. Curls of hair, striking eyes and lushous lips lit with dappled light.

30. I taught my delegates how to create Hollywood cheek triangles of light on the near side to the camera. I kept the contrast controlled with a swish of the curtains.

31. A high viewpoint softens of Iskra's look. Her skin texture and luminosity make the shot real.

32. An offset quizical look was the start of our journey into emotions and looks. I have so much more to explore on this front with Iskra. It's a good job the headboard on the bed is out of focus.

33. This is my second favourite picture of the set. I love it becase it shouldn't work. A patch of sunlight on the carpet bounced up onto I'skra's face creating shadows where they shouldn't be but I love it. Wispy, delicate and devine. When the bottom of a nose is brighter than the top you know you are heading into trouble but here it works.

34. Getting creative with another of my groups. It's all about curves and tones when this kind of natural light presents itself.

35. The dark corridor was lit with a Lupo 800 through my Venetian blind.

36. Shadows and attitude. Just look at the shadow, how gorgeous is that.

37. The intended shot with the Lupo keylight perfectly illuminating Iskra's face.


38. Into the light was the title of the workshop and I think Martin and I managed to do justice to the genre.

39. I lit this scene with reflected light from the Lupo.

40. The same lighting as above.


42. Shot from above the eyeline using my Fuji X100 camera.

43. Shot using my 50mm lens on the Canon.

44. The low angle viewpoint changes the whole dynamic of this shot.

45. That cheek triangle of light is at play here too.

46. Lit with minimal natural light in the dark corridor.

47. When you have total control of the light ariound you it is easy to make pictures like this. I love this dark side of portraiture.

48. Beauty


50. We were ahead of time on day 2 by about 10 minutes so Iskra and I had a pillow fight. I shot this sequence on the Fuji X100 to see how it would cope in a warzone. I held the camera in one hand and used my other for the pillows.


52. Iskra is lit by a Lupo 800.

53. The delegates each got stuck in too and we all had a bit of fun near the end of the day.








61. Extremes of into the light shooting deliver exciting and natural looks.

Martin’s pictures from this workshop are here. We will be running one more of these ‘Into the Light‘ workshops at Kingscotte House in Gloucestershire this season. Details can be found here.

You can also browse our range of upcoming photography training courses here.

Please feel free to comment on these shots below.



Sensual Images Photo (@SensualImages)

@damienlovegrove Nice pictures :)

Thu Jul 21 22:33:22 2011

Gemma Williams (@gempics)

@damienlovegrove @Iskra_ @vickywaghorn Fantastic shots – totally stunning.

Thu Jul 21 22:36:44 2011

Model Iskra Lawrence (@Iskra_)

wow @damienlovegrove @vickywaghorn i love them!Going to be so hard to choose which ones to put in my book :) already looking forward to 31st

Thu Jul 21 23:05:01 2011

Mark Cox (@markcoxphotos)

#FF @damienlovegrove @martinhillphoto @Iskra_ Thanks for the ‘Into the Light’ Course last week.

Fri Jul 22 06:24:32 2011

Nick Tsiatinis (@nicktsiatinis)

@damienlovegrove stunning photos of @Iskra_ Damien, it was an excellent day.

Fri Jul 22 07:45:50 2011

hayley bray (@hayleybraycom)

@damienlovegrove @iskra_ gorgeous images as always!

Fri Jul 22 09:02:20 2011

Ade (@MrExciter)

@damienlovegrove Stunning mate, absolutely STUNNING! Can I just ask, what WB do you use? because the colour shots have a wonderful warmth

Fri Jul 22 17:03:37 2011

Greig Middlemiss (@Different_Light)

@damienlovegrove Gorgeous stuff Damien. The first 2 grabbed my attention straight away :)

Fri Jul 22 17:22:29 2011

Robert Waite (@RobWaitePhoto)

@damienlovegrove Really lovely shots!

Fri Jul 22 17:31:03 2011

Wedding Ideas Mag (@wimagazine)

Ah! We love Iskra – she’s been our covergirl twice. Great work!

Fri Jul 22 17:49:18 2011

Markus MacGill (@MarkusMacGill)

@damienlovegrove re – number 24 is not a photograph, it’s a sculpture. Cut by light!

Fri Jul 22 18:04:05 2011

Simon Rooke (@simonrooke)

@damienlovegrove Thanks for sharing. I wish my pictures looked as good as yours.

Fri Jul 22 18:19:00 2011

Alberto Sagrado (@Alberto_Sagrado)

@damienlovegrove great work. Perfect. Congrats.

Fri Jul 22 18:36:24 2011

Mark Wilson (@MarkWilsonPhoto)

@damienlovegrove Beautiful shots – particularly like 10,19,28,47,52,53,54 Like the settings – wonderful clean lighting.

Fri Jul 22 23:13:10 2011

Vicki Waghorn (@VickiWaghorn)

Thank you xx @gempics @damienlovegrove @Iskra_ @VickiWaghorn “Fantastic shots – totally stunning.”

Sat Jul 23 08:45:45 2011

Sarah Ferrara (@sarahfphoto)

@damienlovegrove latest Iskra images are STUNNING

Sat Jul 23 09:35:01 2011


    • Damien

      Thank you Sarah and Stuart. Kindest regards, Damien.

  1. Ali Noorani

    amazing collection

    my favorites:
    1. nice sunlight
    33: The best one IMO, To me the low angle fill light is a the killer bonus
    50. great mood and story and very fun. a bit overexp. pillow
    60. great light, setting and pose

    • damien

      Thanks Ali,

      I revisited this set of pictures and I agree with your choices. The low angle fill on 33 is a patch of sunlight on the carpet. Thank you for your compliments and encouragement.

      Kindest regards,


    • damien

      Thanks Will :)

  2. Harald Pijnenburg

    Beautiful pictures!
    Hope to meet you soon.
    Heard a lot about you from my friend Martin Hogeboom.

    • damien

      Hi Harald,

      My friend Martin and Gwen are such great people, inspirational and fun :) We will meet soon I’m sure.

      Thanks for your kind words, Damien.

  3. Sona aka Lila

    Hi Damien,

    amazing set of photos as always. My favourite ones are

    The one that almost made my heart skip the beat is however number 47… i fell in love with that photo…. is soooo amazing…. so simple… so sexy…. so beautiful….

    one day when I grow up I will be as great as you are ;)

    can’t wait to see another post :)

    • damien

      Thank you Sona,

      Your words mean a lot to me. On number 47 I kept the strand of hair in the shot to give it some reality. It’s so easy to over tidy pictures at the taking stage or in post production.

      Don’t grow up too fast or you might find you loose all the fun that photography brings us. Plus I’ll be out of a job. Haha.

      Damien :)

    • damien

      Thanks Adam :)

  4. Kyle Whitney

    This workshop was simply brilliant. I plan to make it back out for more workshops when I can.

    • damien

      Thanks Kyle,

      And thank you for your write up on your blog here. There are some great pictures in your blog post too. I’m glad you deemed the trip over from the US worthwhile. It’s quite a commitment you made and I thank you for having the trust in us.

      We will meet again. Damien.

  5. keith

    Hi Mate

    Well i just had to take a look at this shoot ahead of my own tomorrow. Gutted I couldn’t make it there with you. I so hope i can come to within even a fraction of the work produced here. I hope that after all your support I do you proud.

    Speak soon.

  6. david cooke

    I love 60 and 61 the framing with the doors in 60 is awsome and the into the light technique in 61 is amazing.
    You never fail to amaze me Damien.
    Great work from Iskra and Vicky.

    • damien

      Thank you for the compliments David.

  7. Murray

    In your twitter you posed the question are these my best yet?

    The answer is quite possibly yes and I wonder if that is because Iskra is new to you. There is something about the exploration of a new face revealing the personality of someone you haven’t worked with before.
    As photographers we do steal souls, we try to convey an emotion.
    The images of Katy from previous workshops are superb, are these better? they’re different. Only you can decide if they are your best work so far.

    The ones that stand out for me are 24, 31, 37 46 & 47. If I had to pick one probably 47. I don’t think 41, 42 & 43 quite work. For me the dress is too pale and the underwear shots look a bit uncomfortable. I’m sure plenty people will disagree this is the joy of photography we can all have an opinion.

    • damien

      Hi Murray,

      Spot on. Thanks for your valuable feedback. It’s an exciting journey, cheers Damien.

  8. Vicki Waghorn

    Stunning images!! Really love 33. Iskra was fantastic and beautiful. Amazing 2 days, so glad to have been part of it xx

    • damien

      Thank you Vicki,

      What a journey! It’s great to have you sharing it with me. Fab makeup too!

      Damien. x

  9. Blaise

    Wow Damien! These are fabulous. It looks like you’re coping ok without me :)
    Can’t wait to dive back in!

    • damien

      Oh Blaise,
      We neeeed you. Seriously though I hope you are having a great time Stateside. Iskra was an inspired choice of model. Thank you.
      See you soon :)

      Damien x

  10. Michaela

    16 & 33 are fantabulous. I love this set of images, I’ll visit this post often. Off to try out the 100m macro, on my wish list for about six months now. Thank you again for your generosity and sharing x

    • damien

      Thank you Michaela. I love that word fantabulous too. Cheers, Damien.

  11. Chris Hanley

    Flippin eck, you only raised the bar again. I’m off to re evaluate, scheme, plot, refine, and improve. Seriously if these pics were cheddar cheese, behind your ears would be tingling big time :)

    • damien

      Haha, Hi Chris,

      I’m not sure about the cheese reference but you are right I’ve been practicing. This is where I’m coming from in Italy at our wonderful villa workshops. That is where the bar will really get raised. I’m so looking forward to shooting alongside you and sharing a Prosecco ot two as we watch the sunset on the terrace.
      I really appreciate your support. Get practicing!


  12. Kevin Cull

    Get out of here! These are amazing! this must be my next course 36 Gorgeous! just slaps you in the face, Brilliant!

    • damien

      Thank you Kevin,

      I’ve booked Iskra for the next ‘Into The Light‘ in August so there is every reason to book your place;) I’d love to shoot alongside you again.

      Cheers, Damien.

  13. Stefan

    This is just total awesomeness. I love how clean the images are. No distracting background, just my style.

  14. Robert Qi

    Beautiful images. Your site has becoming one of my favorites.

    • damien

      Thank you Robert and Stefan, I appreciate your favourable comments. Cheers, Damien.

  15. David

    Hi Damien
    Class pictures all of them, favourites are 13,14 and especially 55. As you often mention you do not always need eye contact.

    • damien

      Hi David,

      Thank you. Yes, I’ve been shooting people looking down and to the side for some time now and shooting with closed eyes. It places a certain melancholy into the subject that allows the viewer of the photograph to imagine their thoughts. Simple but effective. Get it wrong and it looks like a blink ;)

      Thank you for your kind words. Damien.


    One of the few sites wherein the wording is equally intriguing as the imagery.

    And here, such rich variety… in lighting, angle, wardrobe poses and mood.

    • damien

      Hi Sean,
      I like it. Yes I agree about the intriguing writing now that I have re read the piece. It’s what I leave out that makes it an interesting post. Some will be able to piece together my musings while others may remain baffled.There is a random element that plays a big part in my choice of styling, the posing and the framing of my portraits. I go with the flow to some extent and that feeds the creative process.

      Thank you for your ongoing support and kindness. Sometimes I am left baffled at the beauty of humanity.

      All the best, Damien.

  17. Nick Liburd

    The femininity and beauty feels so natural in these images, Iskra looks so much at ease.

    Exciting images, I like them very much.

    Do you feel any of these images capture some of your best moments in lighting?

    • damien

      Hi Nick,

      I’m on a roll at the moment. Building upon and refining a foundation that was started last winter. I get a worry from time to time that has me asking ‘how can I do better than that’? Is there any more I can add and am I at my limit? This self doubt has been brushed away every shoot and I feel my journey with photography is a voyage of discovery. Having said that, these pictures are so simple to light and to shoot from a technical point of view can they be considered my best moments in lighting? Maybe a minimalist approach to portraiture is what I need to stick with for a while.

      Thank you for your continued support and kind words, Damien.

  18. Greg Dykes

    47 shows so much with so little.
    Love them all.

    • damien

      Thanks Greg,
      A Churchilian type of comment. Straight to the point. Thank you, Damien.

  19. Marcin Smigielski

    Wow!!! Another post with superb images!!! Damien, starting the day with your blog always make my day happier!!!
    Excellent light, just simple magic.

    • damien

      Thank you Marcin,

      I write at night so a quick look in the mornings is probably a good thing to do ;) Kindest regards, Damien.

    • damien

      Thank you Radmila,
      I’m looking forward to seeing you in Germany later in the year. I’m loving your blog and website pictures. Setting the standard. That’s the way to do it.


  20. Simon York

    Absolutely stunning light and truly amazing images

    Can’t wait for the 31st August, I’m so looking forward to the workshop!!!

    • damien

      Hi Simon,

      I’m so looking forward to it too. The benchmark is set and I am already feeling the pressure. I wouldn’t want it any other way. I’m in the fortunate position of feeling like every shoot is better than the last. I just hope this continues for another ten years just like it has done for the past ten years.


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