Photography: Damien Lovegrove
Model: Amber Tutton
Camera: Fujifilm X-T2
Lenses: 14mm, 16mm, 23mm f/1.4, 35mm f/1.4, 56mm and 90mm primes
Post processing: Adobe Lightroom with Fujifilm Acros simulations
Styling: Amber Tutton and Damien Lovegrove
The photographs in this post were lit with a combination of light sources including available light, Lupo 1000 spotlights with Scattergels, Cactus RF60 Speedlights and one shot was lit with an Elinchrom ELB Quadra. Perhaps the most striking shots among these were lit with the simplest of means including full sunlight.
In September I ran two three day workshops at a villa in Tuscany, Italy. Amber Tutton and Mischkah Scott were the models and our 16 photographer clients, all advanced, skilled photographers in their own right, came from all over the world. We popped a 1:1 training session on each end of the trip and all the shots here are from our 10 days in Tuscany. In my next blog I’ll write up the workshops and feature Mischkah Scott’s set in full colour.
01. Amber in the cellar of an abandoned mansion. Lit with available light from a pair of small side windows. 56mm lens at f/1.8, ISO 1600, 1/200th second. My monopod was still in transit from the UK when I shot this frame, otherwise I would have used 1/60th second at ISO 500.
02. All this set were lit with available light. The shots on the left and top right were taken in San Gimignano in a subterranean alleyway. Bottom right was in an old farm building.
03. I love dark interiors of abandoned properties to shoot in and Tuscany is peppered with such venues. You just have to know how to find them. All three shots were taken using available light.
04. I lit Amber with the Lupo 1000 spotlight to create the classic Hollywood cheek triangle and to give Amber’s skin a healthy glow. Getting life into black and white portraits is a combination of using great light and having the right camera settings.
05. This old cattle shed was perfect for a series of full length shots. As my group were all advanced photographers we shot movement and lit the shots to a high level. Lupo 1000 with a Scattergel. The Lupo 1000 can run for several hours on its battery (available separately) and it makes it the perfect light for urbex locations especially if you are shooting video.
06. Classic two point lighting from a pair of Lupos.
07. Available light.
08. Amber enjoys the morning sunlight in the entrance to my suite at the villa. The dappled light makes this shot and is the motivation for my Scattergels.
09. Amber wears a white cotton top I bought years ago and looks fabulous with this super messy hair. I wanted to create a really different look for Amber that is the polar opposite of her hair modelling assignments and we had fun doing it.
10. We had rain on a few occasions so we shot interiors at the villa. The creative exposures in these shots give the impression of a sunny day. Making sunshine on a rainy day was a technique Julie, my wife, and I used a lot in our wedding photography business back in the day.
11. I was hooked on the messy hair look for Amber. You will see a lot of examples of it in this set. The shot is lit with natural light from a window in an adjacent door.
12. The shot on the left is lit by evening sunlight just before sundown and the shot on the right is lit with a Lupo 1000 and features a full moon.
13. I used the Lupo for both of these shots. I bought the ‘Bardot’ houndstooth print body on Ebay. Ebay is a great source of new styling items at single use prices.
14. I like to shoot upside down shots with Amber and several of them appear in my Portraits book available here.
15. The grounds at the villa made great locations for portraits with olive groves, grasslands and spectacular views. There will be more of those in my next blog featuring Mischkah Scott.
16. As the direction of the sun changed we went around the grounds shooting into the light.
17. It’s rare that I shoot out of focus foregrounds but olive leaves are a beautiful shape and they add to this composition.
18. Bob Zeiste, one of my clients on the first workshop, brought an Elinchrom ELB Quadra in his hand luggage, so we used it for this shot of Amber by the pool in the early afternoon. ISO 200, f/14 at 1/250th second. My ND filters were still in transit otherwise I would have added a 6 stop filter to get to f/1.8 on my 56mm lens. With the HS head on the Quadra and a pair of Cactus V6 triggers it is possible to use this kit with HSS on the Fuji X system. As Fuji shooters know, at the time of writing Fuji are in the process of rolling out the new flash firmware to the complete range of cameras. Once this is done it won’t take flash manufacturers including Elinchrom and ProPhoto much time to catch up and provide HSS triggers for Fuji users.
19. Mesmerising. Amber and I worked hard at creating a gravity and intimacy in these shots.
20. All naturally lit shots.
21. The variety of boudoir images we created was striking. The shot on the right was lit with a bare Lupo 1000 spotlight.
22. I love these natural shots – all of them lit with window light.
23. We kept the styling simple with a plain vest top I bought in Primark and knickers we bought from the local supermarket in Italy.
24. Natural light was the way to go in this room at the villa.
25. I like to find a space and build the shot into it. Natural light.
26. On a 1:1 shoot session in Volterra I set up this sequence of shots of Amber. We scalped her hair back and secured it with a band. The lighting was full sun and we shot against the sky. I exposed for the highlights for a change and just used the EVF for accurate feed forward.
27. On the same 1:1 we took these dancing shots in full sunlight that penetrated deep into an alleyway. The late afternoon sunlight was quite easy for Amber to look into because we were shooting with our backs to a dark wall in shadow.
28. Taken with the 56mm lens at f/1.2, ISO 200, 1/1000th second. The 56mm lens delivers a really cool look for head and shoulders shots when used wide open at f/1.2. To get this tight with the 35mm lens, the camera needs to be just that bit closer and it starts to distort the perspective.
29. These head shots were taken with the 90mm lens at f/2. I used ISO 1600 and 1/500th second. I try to keep the shutter speed up to 1/500th when I’m hand holding the 90mm lens to avoid camera shake. All the fast Fuji primes are pin sharp wide open, so that’s how I like to shoot them most of the time.
30. I directed the moment and Amber flowed. Her iridescent dress catching the light. This looks like a sculpture and I love it. Natural light. 90mm lens, ISO 1600, 1/500th second at f/2.8
31. I love to use details in my work like this ring on a building in Volterra used to tie up horses. Hazy sunlight and a 50/50 vertical split complete the shot. I find it best to enact the pose when shooting this kind of thing so I showed Amber what I wanted her to do and it worked a treat. Her eyes are dark and mysterious, her jaw line is beautifully lit.
32. A splash of Cactus flash added the punch needed for these doorway shots in town.
33. Every corner you take in an Italian hilltop town delivers shooting opportunities.
34. Natural light.
35. Natural light: Left and bottom right. Cactus RF60: Top right.
36. Archways and alleyways make perfect spots to discover great natural light. Shot on the left: 56mm, f/1.2 at 1/250th second. Right top and bottom: ISO 2000, 90mm lens 1/250th at f/2. I had to take a few frames at 1/250th on the 90mm lens without a monopod to get pin sharp frames. If I had my monopod with me I’d have shot at 1/60th second and ISO 500.
37. Lovely moments, lovely light, great times.
38. 90mm lens at f/2, ISO 1600, 1/500th second. I love the slightly smudgy lipstick and the attitude in the shot on the right. The tussled hair completes these shots for me.
39. Natural light.
40. These stairs in Volterra gave a great two point lighting opportunity. Natural light. 35mm lens at f/1.6, ISO 640 and 1/500th second.
41. Amber is lit by fading afternoon sunlight. The heat coming off this wall was tremendous.
There it is, part one of my Tuscany set. I know it’s been a long time coming and I thank you for your patience. I’ve been busy shooting for the past month. Next up will be my photographs of Mischkah Scott and I’ll post that set in colour using the Pro Neg S film profile so you can see how I work with the tones and colour palette of Tuscany.
If you have yet to get yourself a copy of my Portraits eBook and my Fujifilm X System Guide for Portrait Photographers then use this code ‘arpeggio’ in the checkout to get 20% off. They are both great reads and in them I explain everything I’ve shown you here and much more in far more detail. Everything I know about photographing people is in those books.
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