Helen Diaz test shoot pictures ~ Fuji X-Pro1 & 18-55mm Lens

Nov 29, 2012 | Continuous Lighting, Studio | 23 comments

01. Helen Diaz in a corset by Lisa Keating. Lit in a classic style using Lupolux continuous lights. All these pictures are ISO 800, 1/60th at f/4

December is the month that I set aside for creative time. Time to write, shoot and think. This shoot has been planned for several weeks. I won’t discuss the original concepts but it’s fair to say they were dark. I have a new friend in the wedding and fashion industry Lisa Keating who partnered us on this shoot. Lisa custom made the corsets, the head pieces and accessories. Luke, my graphic and web designer is currently building a new website for Lisa and it will be ready for launch very soon. I first met Helen and Lisa on a shoot in the summer that I volunteered to assist on. I suggested we got together for some creative fusion at some point soon and I love the way that effort is rewarded.

The dream team are…

Model: Helen Diaz
Make up and hair: Vicki Waghorn
Styling: Lisa Keating
Photography: Damien Lovegrove
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro1, 18-55mm OIS zoom lens mostly shot at the 55mm end wide open at f/4
Lights: Lupo Quadlight 1500, Lupo DayLED 1000 x2, Lupo 800, Lupolux DayLED 650
Post production: Straight from Lightroom without Photoshop intervention



The new lens arrived via Special Delivery from UKDigital at 9, Helen and Vicki arrived at 10 and we shot from 12 until 3. I was determined to keep the shoot short and intense as I needed to inject some pressure on myself. Without a client or a strict timetable it is all to easy to let the day drift without really achieving anything significant.



The Fuji X-Pro1 works like a dream in a continuous light studio. The clean bright electronic viewfinder and the rear display are great to compose with and although I chose to use manual settings it is quite okay to shoot aperture priority too. I used a Gitzo monopod with a Really Right Stuff ball head to support the camera. Not to avoid camera shake but to enable small changes in composition to occur while I directed Helen. Working hand held is sometimes too fluid for me.



My shooting system is in the air right now because I’m wearing close up glasses for the first time. What a pain! I’ve got myself a +1 diopter for the Fuji eyepiece that is perfect for me so that I can shoot and playback in the EVF without glasses. I have +1.25 reading glasses but I use +2.25 glasses for reviewing the pictures on the rear screen of the camera. These super strength glasses are like big magnifiers allowing me to see absolute sharpness when used in conjunction with the 100% zoomed in playback function. So my glasses are on a string around my neck. Just to complicate things further I am also trying out a new (to me) focussing system that uses manual focus mode combined with the rear AF button for momentary AF. This is keeping my shutter timing more responsive. I’ve spent 15 years working with autofocus systems using the half press to focus, reframe then capture method. It takes me time and practice to adapt to new working methods, I’m obviously getting old, Haha. I use the peripheral focus zones with the X-Pro1 as well as the centre ones as each zone on the Fuji is equally sensitive. There has to be some positives with the Fuji AF system after all it is not the most responsive out there.


The new zoom lens is very fast to focus and silent too. I am particularly impressed with the optical image stabiliser. It is so lovely to be viewing rock steady images while composing a shot. I find it great at wide angle too. Wide angle OIS is going to become a big thing driven partly by the need of the video market extensively using stills cameras.


Why not join me on a lavishly styled Film Noir workshop on location at the fabulous Pipewell Hall 19th February 2013.

Stay creative and inspired. Please feel free to comment on these pictures below.


  1. Gary

    Great photography & Helen looks amazing too

    • damien

      Thanks Gary :)

  2. Peter

    Gorgeous images- I particularly love the rim lighting in some of these pictures- it really add some depth and ‘pop’!

    • damien

      Thank you Peter :)

  3. Maarten Quaadvliet

    Hi Damien!

    Love the light! Did you use the ‘magic water reflector’ in the background?

    Regards, Maarten

    • damien

      Thanks Maarten,

      I used a home made gobo on a Lupolux 800 HMIO spotlight to light the background.

      Have a good weekend,


  4. Martin

    Lovely work Damien, Just a quick note to say thanks for the speedy delivery looking forward to seeing you soon, if i don’t see you before have a great Christmas and New Year :)

    • damien

      Thanks Martin :)

  5. Robert Pugh

    Love the photos, could you share your black & white action ? I’m assuming you created that in Lightroom.

    • damien

      Thank you Robert.

      There is a button in Lightroom develop module called black and white. I just use that to convert my pictures. I do the firsat image then sync the settings to them all. The rest of my Lightroom work is just burning, dodging and tonal adjustments like I used to use in the darkroom.

      I hope this helps, Damien.

  6. Tony Cashen

    Hi Damien, once again some amazing images, I have after seeing your many good reviews on the Fuji Cameras treated myself to a Fuji XE-1 with 18-55 zoom, I was wondering if in your opinion it would also be worth purchasing the 35mm 1.4 Prime for that addition sharpness and Bokeh ?

    • damien

      Hi Tony,

      It depends upon your style of photography. If you like the standard lens at f/1.4 or f/2 look then the prime is a must. It is a case of personal preference. Enjoy your Fuji :)

      Regards, Damien.

  7. Chris

    Thanks Damien,
    I apologize, I thought the problem was general.
    It seems it’s only with the first version of Nikkor VR 1.
    VR is usually off, when using a tripod, because the correction could be not in sync with the shutter speed.

  8. Simon Shakespeare

    Hey Damien, great shoot, I can imagine it was a rewarding experience for the whole ‘dream team’ I am going through the whole focusing dilemma with my newly acquired X-E1, after half pressing the shutter to lock focus for a number of years it now feels very alien to switch to a rear focusing button.

    The increase in the fluidity of the shutter is well worth it. In fairness it feels good to step out of my comfort zone, this will be the case later this week when the X-E1 will be used in battle, running & gunning alongside the Cannons on a number of location sessions. Many thanks for keeping us informed of your progress with the new system.

    • damien

      Thanks Simon,

      I hope your shoot went well. It’s good to see that I’m not alone on the Fuji journey.

      Keep smilling, like you always do :)

      Kindest regards,


  9. Victoria Page

    Absoluuuutely amazing! Just what i learned from you: a well photographed picture does not need photoshop.
    You are a light wizard!

    • damien

      Thank you Victoria :)

  10. chris

    Great shoot.. All in RAW or JPEG ?
    Beautiful demonstration using XF 18-55mm with X-Pro 1.
    Please Could you tell me , when you write “I chose to use manual settings” if you really mean manual aperture and manual shutter ?

    Did you use all the time, manual focus mode combined with the rear AF ?
    or sometime also AF focus ? (You said the zoom lens is very fast to focus and silent too )

    I am particularly impressed with the optical image stabiliser.
    Did you use both Gitzo and OIS stabiliser ?
    ( for example, Nikon doesn’t work with )

    • damien

      Hi Chris,

      Thanks for your kind words.

      1, All RAW
      2, Yes, when I say manual I mean a set aperture, a set shutter speed and a set ISO.
      3, Sometimes I used the AF button in manual mode and other times the camera in AF mode. At all times I let the camera focus my shots. I did not turn the focus ring on the lens.
      4, Yes, both Gitzo and OIS. I have no problems with my Nikon D700, 70-200 VR and a monopod either or for that matter my Canon 5D2 with 100mm L IS and my Gitzo monopod.

      I hope this helps,


  11. Mark Dell

    Lovely images once again!
    Due to arm and hand surgery i may be getting an X-Pro 1early in 2013!

    • damien

      Thanks Mark.

      Do consider the XE1 too. I never use the optical viewfinder of the X-Pro1. I thought I would but I never do. I hope your injuries heal properly.

      Best wishes,


  12. Thorsten

    Fab images as always Damien and perfect timing too as I’m planning a shoot not too dissimilar to this myself – my intention is to shoot all monochrome and with contrasty lighting with a similar subject matter and going straight from raw conversion to finished image (but in my case via Canon’s DPP software). Not something I’ve done before, but I reckon if I don’t step outside my comfort zone once in a while I’ll get stuck in a rut!

    Back button focussing is something I’ve been using with Canon since it became a feature on Canon and at this stage I find it challenging to use the traditional shutter button half-press method. So I was quite pleased to see that my little go-everywhere Fuji X10 had a very similar function.

    – Thorsten.

    • damien

      Hi Thorsten,

      Thanks for your continued support and regular comments. I agree that the comfort zone can stifle creativity. You might just have to crush some shadow detail in DPP to get the look though. I’m hoping that LR5 has the same curves tool as Photoshop and a lasso tool. If that’s so we will be so well served shooting RAW.

      Best regards, Damien.


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