The Best Photographs of 2011 ~ by Damien Lovegrove

Dec 30, 2011 | Continuous Lighting, Flash, Infrared, Location, News, Studio, Wedding | 21 comments

The past 12 months have been a challenge for most photographers eking out a living in a contracting market. It’s been tough on some counts but all this economic turmoil has given us the perfect excuse to explore new markets, change the products we offer and to push forward into uncharted waters. Art and humanity have always made great progress in times of trouble, when they have been forced to take on new directions.

Click on the picture to visit this years gallery. There are 372 pictures and their exif data in easy to browse galleries.

Fashion in wedding and portrait photography has always been a risky endeavour. Follow the fashion of the moment and photography stands a chance of being thoroughly dated quicker than a blink of an eye. ‘Pin up’ came and went in just 18 months, vintage came and apparently is on it’s way out, some say it’s gone already. Sepia may be back soon and who knows even tilted shots or spot colour may make a comeback in a decade or two. I’ve always tried to avoid trends in my work (it’s not easy) but that doesn’t mean I’ve avoided the current genres. Stylish women and men are still investing in portrait photography, and beauty is seemingly in big demand right now. ‘Boudoir’ portraiture is still a growth market and that is where I’ve concentrated my efforts over the past 12 months or so. I’ve strived to create a style of image that is timeless and easy to shoot. Simplicity is the key to success in most cases.

I’ve opted for an 800 pixel size for the detail shots this year and have ensured that right click is enabled. If you are on a Mac you can simply drag and drop the images to your desktop for later viewing or for mood boards etc should you so wish..

I have evolved my effort from the colourful speedlight on location strobist movement I was part of in 2009 when I shot my Speedlight Mastery DVD. Since then I’ve been working in the studio using flash and continuous lighting. It took me 24 months to research and practice my studio portrait lighting before I felt I was ready to make my the DVD. It doesn’t matter if I am a chef, musician, photographer or a dancer, Practice is vital. The more I do it, the better I get and the more consistent my results are.

See the best of 2011 gallery here

I feel I need to shoot about 500 frames a week just to stand still. I need to shoot at least double that in order to make progress and evolve my skill base. In 2011 I blogged 5767 photographs from a selected and edited collection of more than 17,000 pictures. These were chosen from perhaps five times that amount and as I principally use just one 3 year old Canon 5Dmk2 camera it is clocking up some excessive mileage. I certainly am prolific. I used to find I got rusty if I hadn’t shot a wedding for a month or so and most wedding photographers I know shoot about this amount of images each year.

If you decide to come on one of my workshops in 2012 set aside a second and a third day to practice what you have learned. Book some models in advance and treat the one day of learning as a week of personal photographic style development.

Information is worthless – You can read information about photography for free on Wikipedia. Everything from advanced lens theory to what is an f stop is all there for free at the click of a mouse.
Knowledge is information that has been internalised and has meaning. If you can tell the difference between a picture taken at f/11 and f/4 you have knowledge.
Experience is the application of knowledge. Obvious stuff really, but experience comes into it’s own when things go wrong.
Wisdom is the product of experience, knowledge and information. Wisdom is extremely valuable.

“I know how to shoot a wedding because I’ve read a book about it” £
“I read the book and I’ve practiced so now I am ready to shoot my first wedding” ££
“I’ve shot many weddings, and I’ve practiced hard to develop my unique style” ££££££

My tip for growth and progress: Set aside some creative days in 2012 to feed your soul and push your boundaries. Commit to test and measure sessions to learn about your kit and how it works. Practice every week and at least three times a week if you want to make real progress. Get training to educate and inspire you to be the photographer you desire to be.

Because I enjoy my photography I get ample reward for my hard effort. This in turn drives and motivates me to practice. If we become a slave to the computer we resent taking the pictures that give us so much post production work. I chose to be a photographer and I’ve always delegated my post production for this reason. I can charge more as a photographer than a picture editor too. So if you want to free up time to become a more prolific photographer employ the services of someone like Marko in 2012.

Thank you for your kindness and support in 2011. I hope I can continue to inspire and train you in 2012. I feel very privileged to be a photographer right now and have the support of a great team and family.

I’ll be speaking about a select 60 of these photographs in detail at the SWPP convention in Hammersmith. I’ll discuss the lighting, motivation, composition and capturing the moment. I’ll be giving away my secrets and tips. Visitors to my talks will also get generous discount vouchers to use against DVDs, downloads or my latest book. Julie and I hope to see you there in London.

Have a prolific and prosperous 2012

Kindest regards,

Damien Lovegrove

The 2011 gallery is here.

 

21 Comments

  1. Bryan

    “Set aside some creative days in 2012 to feed your soul and push your boundaries”
    Sometimes it’s easy to forget that this is why i chose this path and it is easy to get involved in what i think i need to do to grow my business. i should remember ‘you sell what you show’ and make the time to get out there and just shoot for fun, shoot to try something different, shoot to create something i love, what could be better than doing that and attracting clients who love to buy what i love to create….. i think i need to get myself a little plaque made to remind me of this every morning and stop slipping into trying to figure out what i can do to sell…..

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Bryan,

      Creative shoots and you time are the key to generating new ideas and styles. ‘New’ sells itself. The power of ‘new’ is often underestimated.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  2. david cooke

    A great set of images to inspire us and to refer to throughout 2012 thank you Damien

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Alex and David :)

      Reply
  3. Tara Taylor

    Great set of images! Brilliant use of light and locations. A real inspiration. Thanks. Tx

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Tara,

      I really appreciate your ongoing support. Have a fab 2012 :) Damien.

      Reply
  4. Romana Fotograf Praha

    Damien,
    I always look forward to your blogs. We will get you over to Prague at some point – just need to find another couple of takers to make it affordable :) I’m so enjoying practising what you taught me

    All the best
    Romana

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Romana,

      Prague sounds a great idea. I was in Prague a few months ago on a leisure trip. Great locations to shoot in would be an old hotel with period features or an architect designed modern house in the suburbs. We would need a suite, an apartment or a flat as a minimum shooting zone for 5 or so delegates. I could teach at a photographers studio too. Plus there are options for 1:1s, so be creative and email me some ideas. I am happy to donate time for talks and seminars to gain sponsorship.

      Thank you for your kind words about my blog. I love the Harley bar in Prague ;-)

      Kindest regards, Damien.

      Reply
  5. Michaela

    Damien, I love ‘2011 the Lovegrove Way’ there are so many images in there that are just breathtaking.. My favourite session has to be the one with Chloe in the derelict building.

    Thank you for you sharing and inspiring. Wishing you and Julie and your family very best wishes for 2012. Michaela x

    Reply
    • damien

      Hi Michaela,

      Thank you for your kind words. I agree the urbex set are some of my favourite shots too. Your kind wishes have been passed on. Have an inspired 2012. Stay creative, Damien. x

      Reply
  6. John

    Thank you. Absolutely brilliant and inspirational.

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you John :)

      Reply
  7. Ali Lovegrove

    What a year! Truly amazing work, you inspire me everyday with your dedication and commitment to the craft – the most breath taking images I ever did see. You have had some beautiful people in front of your lens; stunning photography. Thank you for letting me into your studio this year, honoured to have been photographed by the master. All the best for 2012! xx

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Ali, Have a great 2012 yourself.Best wishes, Damien xx

      Reply
  8. Murray

    A very nice set of images and a representation of many hours hard work.

    I look forward to seeing what you can achieve when you step out of your comfort zone.

    Reply
    • damien

      Thanks Murray.

      This has been one year of discovery for me. All these shots represent new material, very different from my 2010 set. There are the foundations in place that these shots were built upon and these foundations give me freedom to explore.

      2012 will be a new journey for me. I’ll probably conclude the simple continuous lighting strategy for boudoir shooting and move on to exploring my Elinchrom Quadra in more depth. Then I’ll get to grips with multi continuous lighting set ups perhaps. I’ll need to track and try to predict future trends more closely than ever before in order to deliver training to my customers just when they need it. Exciting times.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  9. Lee Kerr

    Superb Damien, Great work! :)

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Lee :)

      Reply
  10. Terrence Bibb

    A Masterpiece!! Bravo Damien Bravo!!!

    Reply
    • damien

      Thank you Terrence. I do hope that in 2012 we will meet again. I’m struggling to find shooting venues that are a reasonable price in the US at the moment :( I may need a sponsor to help with costs too ;)

      Have a wonderful 2012.

      Warmest regards, Damien.

      Reply

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