Carla Monaco in Munich ~ Boudoir, nudes & studio pictures

Mar 31, 2015 | Continuous Lighting, Flash, Location | 16 comments


01. One Lupolux 1000 was all I used for these shots of Carla on the bed.

Here are 60 shots from three days of workshops. All the shots were taken on my Fuji X100t or my X-T1.The ratio is about 50/50. I’ve edited the shots using Adobe Lightroom 5 to replicate a high contrast style reminiscent of printing on grade 4 using Ilford Multigrade fibre based paper especially evident on the images at the end of this article. Enjoy. NSFW after the jump…

The wonderful light provided by the Lupolux LED 1000 or LED 650 lights added to the contrast achieved throughout this set. Hard light from a fresnel lens luminaire is my absolute favourite.


02. We changed the lighting direction and changed the image style. I set the mood of the room with some net curtains clipped onto the curtain tracks and left the rest to my Lupolux 1000 Spotlight.

Model: Carla Monaco
Photographer: Damien Lovegrove
Cameras: Fuji X100T and Fuji X-T1
Fixer and host: Radmila Kerl
Makeup and Hair: Jessica Schletter
Location for Boudoir and Nudes workshops: Hotel Leeberghoff at the foot hills of the Alps in Germany
Location for Studio workshop: Radmila Kerl’s Studio in Munich


03.Into the light so bright with the diffusion coming from my Tiffen Black Pro Mist 1/4 strength filter on the Fuji 56mm f/1.2 lens at f/1.2. We were shooting into my net curtains to get the high key look without seeing the stuff outside.


04. I chose to light Carla with a Lupolux 1000 LED spotlight for the next day’s session at the window. The contrast of the light really defines shape. We went from f/1.2 to f/5.6 once I had added some light. The consequence of this was to reveal some detail through the curtains. Not a problem.

The format for these workshops was quite simple. Days one and two were at a country hotel an hour out of Munich. We hired three suites and worked inside for most of the time. The first day was a Boudoir workshop and day two was a Lovegrove nudes workshop. Then we drove to Munich for day three’s event at Radmila Kerl’s studio. The events were restricted to just 5 delegates each day and delegates could choose to do one, two or all three workshops. We had delegates from Austria, Switzerland, Turkey, Germany and the UK. Every type of camera and experience level accompanied them. The buzz was wonderful.


05. The shot on the left is lit with window light and the one on the bed is backlit with a Lupo. When I assess exposure I don’t use the camera meter or the histogram. I look at the LCD. Does it look how I want it? The shot on the left could have three stops of exposure variation and still be ‘correct’ but only one works for me.


06. The same space, moments apart lit with completely different strategies. The shot on the left is lit with the Lupolux spotlight and an ‘Alto’ Scattergel while the shot on the right is lit with the light from a window.


07. We momentarily popped out onto my balcony to capture the shot at the top lit with a Cactus RF60 Speedlight on a Lastolite Jupiter stand with Lovegrove Flash Bracket. I had my camera settings incorrectly set and got confused with the whole triggering thing. It’s the first time it’s happened to me with the Cactus gear and sods law said it would be on a workshop. It was certainly a learning experience and eventually I sussed out that my Fuji X100T electronic shutter and mechanical shutter option was switched on. We all got the picture before Carla expired from the cold. The shot bottom right has one Lupolux 1000 at 50% power.


08. Window light from the left and a Lupo from the right acting as a backlight.


09. ‘Lovegrove Nudes’ as a genre differs from ‘art nude’ by being more ‘lifestyle’ and encompassing the character of the sitter. What I hate about photography right now are the badges and names given to genres and products. ‘Fine art’ is banded about in photography but it has absolutely nothing to do with fine art. Even ‘fine art’ paper can’t be painted on because it is optimised for ink jet. In days of old it would have been called matt paper. ‘Lifestyle’ is another one. It makes me shudder. I used it above but nobody lives like this. This is just fantasy.


10. The controlled light from a window. I shot these and many more of the shots here using the excellent 50mm – 140mm f/2.8 zoom with it’s 5 stops of stabilisation. 1/60th second wide open at f/2.8 using ISO 400.


11. Top right Lupo and the other two were window light. The ‘S’ curve of light and shadow on Carla’s cheek and Jaw bones are one of my signature lighting styles .


12. You see the ‘S’ curve again here. The wonderful dappled pattern is a result of the Scattergel on the Lupolux 650 spotlight.


13. Mirror lighting takes a certain type of rig. I showed the delegates how to perfect the technique.


14. A Lupolux 650 LED and a Scattergel creates the magic.


15. So many variations.


16. OneLupolux for both these shots. The one on the right uses my mirror trick.


17. A just open curtain give a similar light to a striplight softbox.


18. Carla has amazing eyelashes. I had a set of Eylure ‘Cheryl Cole’ lashes to hand but we didn’t need them.


19. A polished floor makes a great base to a picture and high waisted knickers add a bit of classic glamour.


20. My room balcony was temporarily overlooked by a man up a cherry picker so we shot at the hotel lift instead. I popped a Cactus RF60 Speedlight into a Lastolite Ezybox with grid diffuser. I love how brushed stainless steel reacts to light.


21. This was lit with a Cactus RF60 Speedlight on my Fuji X-T1. Flash on camera rarely works well but it does here.


22. On day three we were in the studio. I showed my delegates how to create classic beauty lighting with just three flash heads and a reflector. Pearls from New Look.


23. Smoke in a can is my take everywhere prop that can spice up any studio session. Vest top from New Look, sheer top from Ebay.


24. I used a pair of striplight soft boxes to light the shot on the left. One light source was the amazing Elinchrom Quadra and the other was a Profoto studio flash unit. The shot on the right was lit with one Lupolux 650 LED spotlight. Tutu skirt by Leg Avenue.


25. Sunglasses from H&M, LBD is the model’s own. I added a ‘Crackle’ Scattergel to a Lupolux 650 at 45% to light the background.


26. It’s all about the curves, shapes angles and design. I bought both of these tops new on Ebay. It’s a great resource for fashion. You see a garment from China, select the size and colour. They make it and ship the same day. It usually arrives in the UK within a week.


27. The soft continuous light from a prototype fixture that houses 5 spiral fluorescents became the key light here. The Lupolux 650 stayed on the background and the Lupolux 1000 became the backlight.


28. The Lupolux 1000 makes a perfect hard keylight and background light in one. The super smooth transition from lit to unlit makes wonderfully smooth gradients on backgrounds. We were just using the white walls of the studio for this complete session.

So there is a taster of what we get up to when we are on location having fun. Fine food, fine wine, fine company, lots of laughs and memories to last a lifetime.

If you want to join me at a fantastic workshop event please request a free membership of the Lovegrove Creative Facebook Group and then visit our Passion Photography Experiences web site. Trips in the pipeline for 2015 are Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Spain, France, Cambodia, Cuba, UK and South Korea. A busy year ahead!

Please feel free to comment below on the pictures. Ask about post production, camera settings or whatever you want.


  1. rivka alice

    beautiful work – rivka alice

    • Damien

      Thank you Rivka Alice :)

  2. Joseph


    Beautiful images. I myself have recently moved to Munich. I am resuming my photography activities now which I had stopped when I left the UK a few years back.

    I was wondering if you could point me to nice locations (hotels, studios, and others) in Munich where I could take great images (mostly boudoir and portraits).
    Hopefully as soon as I complete my photography kit I will book a training with you.

    I would have loved to attend the Tuscany event but I don’t think I will make it. I enjoyed the one I did with you in 2009 so much.

    Kind Regards,


    • Damien

      Hi Joseph,

      I have one reccomend for you in the Munich area. It is about 50 mins drive out of town if I remember correctly. It is linked to in this blog post, the one you were reading:
      Radmilla Kerl has a fabulous studio and I’ve rented it several times. Again linked to in the blog post.

      Tuscany 2020 has now sold out but 2021 workshop details will go online soon. 2009, wow that was a long time ago but I remember the fun we had. :)

      Kindest regards,


  3. Robert Wilson

    Superb Images Damien! Carla is a Stunning girl and simply Magic in front of the Lens.
    Brilliant stuff Damien.

    • Damien

      Thanks Robert :)

  4. John Canavan

    I used quadra today Damian with my XT1 and couldn’t get it to fire and reset the camera to default settings and it worked, after trying the usual things none of them worked but after reading here about the mechanical shutter thingy it may have been on the wrong setting the Electronic one.i will get the firmware upgrade too soon.Thanks for the info on lighting its very good .

    • Damien

      Thanks John, I’m glad you got it sorted in the end :) Cheers, Damien.

  5. Jin

    I also left the ES+MS setting on during a shoot last week and couldn’t figure out why the flash wasn’t firing … lesson learned.

    Really liking the balcony and polished floor shots, thanks as always for inspiration!

    • Damien

      Thanks Jin, I’m all sorted with my settings now. When it all works it’s magic :)

      Regards, Damien.


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