I could have shot all day on the balcony of our hotel suite location. The play of light, shadows and vantage point all gave the balcony a magical charm. Instead we started inside with the curtains closed.
01. For our first shot of the session we started with both of our models on set and I closed the curtains to simulate evening light. We used a single Lupo 650 LED spotlight for this shot of Agata standing and Alicia seated. Fujifilm X-Pro2, 23mm lens at f/1.4, 1/60th second with a monopod using ISO 400.
Photography: Damien Lovegrove
Models: Agata Suduiko and Alicia Endemann
Makeup: Tatiana Medved
Camera: Fujifilm X-Pro2, 16mm, 23mm, 35mm (f/1.4), 56mm and 90mm lenses
These boudoir in Paris shots were taken on a 1:1 training session in a wonderful hotel just off the Champs Elysees.
02. For this sequence I swapped the LED spotlight for daylight by opening the curtain just a little bit. Fuji X-Pro2, 35mm at f/1.4, 1/60th second with a monopod using ISO 400.
03. This shot was lit with the same glancing daylight as in shot 02 above and the same exposure settings too.
04. I love the ornate railings on the balconies in Paris. We were 5 floors up so unlikely to stop the traffic in the streets below. Fuji X-Pro2, 56mm at f/1.2, 1/4000th second using ISO 200
05. The sunlight projected forward leading shadows into the frame and I chose to shoot directly into the sun for maximum effect. Fuji X-Pro2, 23mm lens at f/2.5 for 1/1000th second using ISO 200
06. I swapped out the 23mm lens for the 90mm for a more compressed frame that isolated the ironwork against the busy houses in the background. The shallow depth of field of the 90mm lens wide open rendered the houses beautifully out of focus. I realigned Alicia for a simpler composition. Fuji X-Pro2, 90mm lens at f/2, 1/1000th second using ISO 200
07. I particularly like the character profile shot of Alicia on the bottom right of this set. I used the superb 56mm lens on the X-Pro2 for these frames and I shot at f/1.2 for 1/1000th of a second using ISO 200
08. I changed my settings for the balcony railings in this frame of Agata. I dialled in a bit more depth of field to make them stand out enough without them being crisply in focus. Fujifilm X-Pro2, 90mm f/5, 1/60th second using a monopod at ISO 800
09. The lure of the balcony gave way to the bed for a few frames before we said goodbye to Agata. Agata had worked with us the evening before for this striking set of images on the streets of Paris at twilight. These two frames were lit with the Lupo 650 to simulate sunlight coming into the room and glancing across the bed. Fuji X-Pro2, 56mm f/3.2, 1/30th second using a monopod at ISO 400
10.Using the same lighting set up as above we tweaked the settings to create a more contrasty look and a dramatic feel. This control is made easier by the fact the Fuji cameras give a live preview of the shot before it is taken. Fujifilm X-Pro2, 56mm f/1.8 hand held for 1/200th second using ISO 400
11. Alicia picked up the baton after lunch and I set the curtains narrow again for these striking portraits. Fuji X-Pro2, 90mm f/2.5, 1/125th second with a monopod and ISO 800.
12. Exposure as above.
13. This is one of my classic portrait lighting looks. I love exploring shapes, curves and lines with this simple lighting setup. Fuji X-Pro2, 90mm f/2, 1/250th second using a monopod and ISO 800
14. This kind of study of feet and legs makes a Lovegrove boudoir shoot unique. Just like in wedding albums, close ups add to the complete set of images. These delicate shapes, enclosed triangles, contra jour lighting and simplicity help illustrate the narrative. Fuji X-Pro2, 90mm f/2, 1/250th second using a monopod and ISO 800
15. One of my favourite shots from this set is this profile of Alicia lit with the Lupo 650 spotlight. Fuji X-Pro2, 90mm f/2, 1/60th second using a monopod and ISO 800
16. Lighting from the Lupo and exposure settings as above.
17. I just used simple window light for these portraits. Fuji X-Pro2, 90mm f/2, 1/250th second using a monopod and ISO 400.
18. With the curtains wide open the light was superb right back into the room some 20 metres away. Fuji X-Pro2 f/2.5, 1/125th second using a monopod and ISO 800
19. Exposure and lighting as in shots 18 above.
20. Exposure and lighting as shots 18 above.
The Fuji X-Pro2 with prime lenses was the perfect combination for this shoot. Using 4 of the fast primes might seem like overkill but with boudoir photography there is no carrying to do and the lenses can sit on a dressing table during the shoot. The X-Pro2 with a prime lens sits comfortably on my Gitzo carbon fibre 5 stage monopod with it’s Really Right Stuff ball head. I always use a monopod (or OIS with zooms) when the light level demands a shutter speed at or below 1/250th second on the 56 and 90mm lenses. I usually work on a ratio of 4x the focal length as the reciprocal fraction of a second needed for tack sharp hand held pictures. So for a 35mm lens I use 35 x 4 =140 rounded up to the nearest value of 1/180th second. Any shutter speed longer than that gets the monopod treatment. The monopod slows me down a bit too and the extra composition and thinking time really pays off in the final image.
Despite taking as much care as I can of my kit I occasionally find a lens gets a knock especially with all this travelling I do. I was a little concerned about my 56mm lens on this shoot because just when wide open it wasn’t as crisp as it used to be so I sent it in for testing on the Fujifilm UK optical bench and sure enough it was slightly out of allignment (In it’s defence it is number 000028, a pre production sample). I must say the full production versions of Fuji lenses and cameras are really tough but above all they perform spectacularly well, so when I notice a hint of sogginess something is not right. I have come to expect absolutely top quality images from the Fuji kit and consistency too. When I was recently looking back at my SLR pictures from 5 years ago for a magazine article I was shocked that despite having 20+ megapixels the images were not a scratch on what I am used to now. It’s progress I suppose.
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