Melanie Beckendorff-Leavens ~ Boudoir with Fuji X-T1

Sep 11, 2015 | Continuous Lighting, Fujifilm X, Location | 4 comments

It’s not often I get to stay in a penthouse apartment, but that’s what Blaise, my PA arranged for me when I shoot the boudoir workshop in Copenhagen last week. It was quite an ominous challenge to shoot in a space so stark but one we all benefitted from. There were two shades of tone before us, black and white. Here are 31 photographs from my set.


01. Patterns created by sunlight formed the basis of the first few shots of the day.

The apartment we shot in has walls of glass with one layer of black mesh curtains in front of another layer of black blackout curtains. We had sun on and off throughout the day so we took control of the lighting and made our own sunlight with the Lupo LED 1000 spotlight when it was needed.

Model: Melanie Beckendorff-Leavens
Camera: Fujifilm X-T1 with 16mm, 35mm, 56mm and 90mm primes plus a Fuji X100T
Lighting: One Lupo LED 1000 Fresnel plus Scattergel.


02. The penthouse apartment bathed in glorious sunlight. X-T1, 16mm lens at f/11, 1/180th second, ISO 200.


03. I used the Fuji X100T with it’s 23mm lens at f/2.2, 1/500th second at ISO 200 for this shot of Melanie.


04. Fabulous legs captured with the Fuji X-T1 with the 56mm lens at f/2.8 for 1/180th second at ISO 200. I love the curves and shape created by the underside profile of Melanie’s right leg. These naturally occurring shapes excite me.


05. Simple design elements come together easily when lighting patterns create diagonals and repeating shapes. Fuji X-T1 56mm lens at f/16 for 1/180th second at ISO 200.


06.The window light here is coming through partly closed curtains and comprises reflected sunlight off buildings under construction and a kick reflection from the shiny floor. (Left) Fuji X-T1 with 90mm lens at f/2, ISO 1000 and 1/180th second. (Right) Fuji X-T1 with 35mm lens, f/1.8 at ISO 400 and 1/60th second.


07. Melanie is a model with a wealth of experience and can pull shapes with ease. I lit her with one Lupo LED 1000 with a Scattergel from above the camera and she is standing 1.5 metres from the wall. I chose 1/500th second to freeze here movement and got into a shoot/ pose rhythm. All we used was 1.5m of plain wall and we have a ‘fashion’ magazine look shoot. With just one light this took moments to set up and can be created anywhere. We closed the curtains to keep the contrast high. Fuji X-T1 with 56mm lens at f/1.2, 1/500th second at ISO 400.


08. Simply beautiful and beautifully simple photography in a high contrast environment. I love to keep the skin tones calm and the shapes elegant. Fuji X-100T 1/125th second at f/4, ISO 200. The X100T has the same sensor and quality as the X-T1 and at f/4 the optical image quality is indistinguishable from the larger XF23mm f/1.4 lens.


09. There’s nothing quite like a cold stainless steel work surface to lye on. We refrained from running the cold tap and having water cascading over Melanie and down onto the floor. I used the Lupo LED 1000 to give the shot some punch. You can spot the light intensity by looking at the shadows. Fuji X-T1, 90mm lens at f/2, 1/250th second at ISO 200.


10. Tutu is an ongoing project of mine and will become a book one day. This apartment is a vision of minimalist living. Fuji X100T, f/2.2, 1/250th, ISO 200.


11. I love to explore angles and viewpoints of jawlines and cheekbones. Crisp, hard light is the most wonderful at sculpting the face. Lupo LED 1000, Fuji X-T1, 90mm lens at 1/250th second and ISO 200. I’m really getting to grips with the 90mm lens now and I find that 1/250th is fine for hand held use with care. At 1/180th second I’m getting 1 in 3 shots soft due to camera movement.


12. For the shower scene we shot high contrast and low contrast placing the Lupo 1000 in the toilet cubicle. I powered the Lupo from battery to avoid any safety issues and to keep trailing leads out of the shot. Fuji X-T1, 16mm lens at f/2.2 for 1/180th second at ISO 400.


13. We completely changed the look for these delicate high key versions. Fuji X-T1, 90mm lens at f/2 for 1/180th second at ISO 400.


14. The bed scene was back lit with the Lupo 1000 to give a bright sunny feel at a time in the day when the sun was on another part of the building. All shots here were taken with the Fuji X-T1 with the 35mm at f/4 for 1/180th second and ISO 400


15. Because of the action I set a shutter speed of 1/500th second and decided to light Melanie with a Lupo 1000 spotlight. I shot at f/5 using manual focus and an ISO setting of 800. Fuji X100T


16. Take one chair, plus a piece of furniture just out of shot for shadow purposes and add beautiful light from the Lupo 1000 with a Scattergel and you have a stunning shot. To add more interest we popped Melanie into the shot too ;) Fuji X100T, f/2.8 at 1/125th and ISO 640.


17. Natural light bathed Melanie from upstage. Fuji X-T1, 56mm lens at f/2.5 using 1/180th second and ISO 1000.

Please feel free to leave a comment below and ask a question about the images or my workshops. What is your favourite image and why? I’d love to know.


  1. Rota

    Thanks Damien
    Looking forward to shooting with you someday.

    • Damien

      Thanks Rota :)

  2. Sean Gannon

    You never fail to deliver beautiful timeless portraits. Always an inspiration!

  3. Nathan


    Love the photos as usual. Per your advice I picked myself up one of the cheaper options for continuous lighting from Arris and I’m shocked at how my photos have changed! The EVF on the XT1 giving me real time exposure is simply incredible when combined with the Arris. Random question, I was popping through your site and I’ve never seen any mention of the battery grip for the XT1. Have you had any experience with it?



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