Brugge ~ street portraits

Jun 27, 2016 | Flash, Fujifilm X, Location, Travel | 18 comments

It was a a chilly couple of days in April when I visited the beautiful city of Brugge. I ran two one day workshops showing how I make the world my studio, utilising the city environment as creative backgrounds for portraits. We were blessed with all kinds of weather and this gave everyone a really great learning experience as a result.

Camera: Fuji X-Pro2 with the 16-55mm f/2.8 zoom and the 50-140mm f/2.8 zoom
Models: Rosalinde Kikstra and Larissa de Castro.
Logistics: Ioannis Tsouloulis

01. Larissa

01. Top left: Larissa under cover in the brewery yard lit with a single Cactus RF60 off camera rigged on a lighting stand using this flash bracket. All the other pictures were taken with natural light. As it was raining at the start of each day I showed how to find great natural light and how to use the Cactus flash system.

02. Rosalinde in the brewery lit with available light.

02. Rosalinde in the brewery lit with available light. We were offered the chance to use the old brewery museum as a shoot location as the rain came down but after a couple of frames we made our way out onto the streets.

03. We attracted quite a bit of attention and Rosalinde gained a new admirer.

03. We attracted quite a bit of attention and Rosalinde gained a new admirer. The shot at the top utilises the natural light to give a classic 3 point lighting style. The shot bottom right uses the Cactus RF60 again.

04.

04. This is the same location as the top picture in shot 3 above.

05. Every city has it's creative modern architecture and Brugge is no exception. I lit Rosalinde

05. Every city has it’s creative modern architecture and Brugge is no exception. I lit Rosalinde with a single, barefaced Cactus RF60 Speedlight as before.

06. Here is a behind the scenes shot of the setup above.

06. On the right is a behind the scenes shot of the setup above.

07. Larissa was lit with a symmetrical pair of Cactus Speedlights for this group of shots.

07. Larissa was lit with a symmetrical pair of Cactus Speedlights for this group of shots taken down the side of the building above.

08. Larissa is again lit with a pair of symmetrical Speedlights.

08. Larissa is again lit with a pair of symmetrical Speedlights. It’s a classic Lovegrove set up that can make punchy, interesting pictures on any dull day.

09.

09. Rosalinde on the left is lit with a classic two flash set up and Larissa is lit with a slightly more complex set up involving a white balance shift.

10. When the sun came out I used the opportunity to show how I use the Fuji X camera settings to control contrast.

10. When the sun came out I used the opportunity to show how I use the Fuji X camera settings to control contrast and shadow detail. Even in crisp hard sunlight the Fuji can capture a beautiful tonal range in the shadows (top left) with the right settings. As well as tweaking the tone settings in camera I dialled in Pro Neg S as the film simulation both in camera and in Lightroom when I processed the RAW file.

11.

11. Coloured gels on the left and flash on camera on the right.

12.

12. I love this little sequence of Larissa. We shot in a doorway while we took shelter from the rain.

13. A closed shop provided an opportunity for another flash on camera shot.

13. A closed shop provided an opportunity for a simple natural light shot and another flash on camera shot.

14. A little alleyway was the scene for this simple shot of Larissa. I lit her with the two Cactus RF60 Speedlights.

14. A little alleyway was the scene for this simple shot of Larissa. I lit her with the two Cactus RF60 Speedlights. The BTS shot is a reverse angle.

15. Sunlight and Cactus make a wonderful combination.

15. Sunlight and Cactus make a wonderful combination.

16. Left: Speedlight as a key and right: Sunlight as a key.

16. Left: Speedlight as a key and right: Sunlight as a key.

17. I then used the Cactus Speedlight as a kick light on Larissa.

17. I then used the Cactus Speedlight as a kick light on Larissa.

18. Rosalinde in Hat Shop Alley.

18. Rosalinde in Hat Shoppe Alley lit with a pair of Cactus Speedlights (left and top).

19. Larissa in Hat Shoppe Alley lit with a pair of Speedlights and a CTO gel.

19. Larissa in Hat Shoppe Alley lit with one Speedlight and a CTO gel.

20. We finished the sessions with some sunlit fashion inspired portraits.

20. We finished both sessions with some sunlit fashion inspired portraits.

21. After the shoot we found our way back to the brewery for some well earned refreshment.

21. After the shoot we found our way back to the brewery for some well earned refreshment.

My thanks go to Fuji X photographer Ioannis for chauffeuring me, rigging the Speedlights and being a good friend. All these shots were taken on the two f/2.8 zooms and I must say I missed my wide primes. It was great to borrow the XF16-55mm lens from Ioannis for the trip but I’ll be sticking with my XF16mm, XF23mm and XF35mm lenses for now.

If you want to shoot alongside me somewhere in the world or attend a workshop join our Lovegrove Creative Facebook Group and suggest a location. Alternatively visit my website or join the Facebook page.

18 Comments

  1. Colin Bate

    Hi Damien love Number 5.. very Edward Hopper, the “Nighthawks” springs to mind.

    Colin

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Colin. I’m going to see some Hopper when I’m in New York next month.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  2. Chris Karram

    Hi Damien,

    I am a new follower to your many social media outlets. I have been shooting the Fuji Xt1 for almost 2 years and love the ease and flexibility of the mirror less system. I currently have the 35 1.4, 56 1.2, 50-140 2.8 and was thinking of adding a wider prime. Would be interested to hear what you would recommend 16 0r 23 maybe?

    I hope to one day join one of your Holiday shoots… Maybe I can assist with setting one up in Jamaica?

    Thanks in advance, and keep up the great and stunning work.

    Best,
    Chris

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Chris, the 16mm will be perfect for you.

      It was a while ago since I have been in Jamaica. I was there with the BBC filming Antiques Roadshow in Kingston :) I remember going to Derek Harriots music shop to buy a Keith and Tex album and a bit of Shabba Ranks. I went to Bob Marley’s place as you do and then went over the blue mountains to Dragon Bay villas on the beach where Cocktail was filmed. Island life was a bit challenging at the time. I hope it has calmed down. Great memories.

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  3. Rob Brook

    Amazing images Damien. Fav is probably 19 but it’s hard to choose between them.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Rob,

      Thanks for the compliments. That punchy colour shifted look was my 2008 look that I resurrected this Summer for my street workshops in Belgium and Switzerland.

      Cheers,

      Damien.

      Reply
  4. Thierry

    Great as always! I liked to see a behind the scenes shot #06. More often please :)

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Thierry, I’m not often out with an assistant so BTS shots are rare ;) Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  5. Mark

    Wow such a nice shoot. Very inspiring to see what is possible when you actually know how to “see the light”
    Hope to master this too in less than a decade (T.T) :)

    Should I stick to the xf35 wr2 or get me the 1.4 too?
    Will your book also have some details on where you place the speedlights?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you mark for your kind comment. I will have all the necessary light positioning tips and details in my book :) Not long to wait now, Damien. PS: stick with the f/2 it’s a great lens.

      Reply
  6. Andrey

    Excellent compositional find – on upper picture number 3.
    Moreover, also color supported.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you :)

      Reply
  7. Jay Mijares

    Wonderful, Damien! Absolutely wonderful! There’s always something inspiring about your photos. My favorite is #9 on the right. Love the light and dark! BTW, nice to see you posting on Instagram!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Jay, That #9 is lit with a zoomed in Speedlight high on a stand just to the right of frame lighting the saint above the door and another Speedlight is on a flat roof to the left of shot. The white balance was 3400k.

      As you have noticed I’ve rekindled my Instagram. I’m trying to balance my time spent on social media as it can become all time consuming. Thanks for your positivity and kindness.

      Damien.

      Reply
  8. Hella

    Lovely pictures Damien, as usual, and they never bore me. Question: not relevant here, but I am still using my Lupolux Dayled lights (5600K) which I bought in 2014 and 2012. I now would like to buy the V-mount batteries from Lupo, but are they also still compatible with the former Lupolux Dayled lights? I would assume so, but just to be sure? Thanks a lot for your help and kind regards from Hella

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Hella,

      Thank you for your kind words. What lights do you have? The V-Mount batteries will work with all DayLED 650 and 1000 lights. They are not compatible with the 400, 800 or 1200 HMI lights.

      On the back of your lamps, you will see an XLR socket with 4-pins. That’s the socket that the battery leads plug into.

      Thanks,

      Damien

      Reply
      • Hella

        Hi Damien, I indeed have the DayLED 650 and 1000 lights……but older versions, with the name Lupolux, but I would assume they are compatible with the current Lupo V mount batteries…..

        Reply
        • Damien

          Hi Hella, We have them in stock and ready for immediate dispatch here. It’s worth checking prices with all this stuff going on ;)

          Reply

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