Victoria Lindsay Coutts ~ One light portraits

May 16, 2017 | Flash, GFX, Location, Studio | 22 comments

I shot these portraits of Victoria Lindsay Coutts with just one light in my studio and one flash on location. I had a couple of hours to shoot with local model Victoria who is more or less my neighbour. We were scheduled to shoot with a 1:1 photography client who happened to be taken ill on the day. Vicki Waghorn had already done her magic with Victoria’s makeup so I said let’s shoot a few frames for ourselves. These were all taken on my Fujifilm GFX50s with either the 63mm or the 32-64mm lenses. I’m still learning the characteristics of these lenses hence the swapping.

Victoria Lindsay Coutts seated

01. I used a shower cap on a cheap Ebay beauty dish for this frame. The mood I set was “I’m with the band” timeless music fashion. I posed Victoria to create the ‘V’ and diagonals with her legs.

02. I explored camera angles shooting from below and above Victorias eye level. Although I’ve shot with Victoria many times over the past 5 years or so I have still a lot to learn about light shapes and angles when photographing her. I find this process exciting. Not having a client meant I could explore a bit and not be scared of making mistakes.

03. I rarely shoot with such one dimensional light and it’s interesting for me to find out why. I happen to like this shot a lot but I know it’s not me, it’s not my style.

04. I asked Vicki Waghorn for angry hair and I got it. That’s the great thing about working with professionals who are also friends. I can get away with requesting this crumpled look :) I used one gridded 42cm beauty dish (Ebay) attached to a 1996 Bowens Prolite 1200. I bought the Bowens light new, 21 years ago.

05. We then popped outside for a few shots taken with my Godox AD600BM with a 7″ reflector and custom diffuser. The bottom shot was taken at f/32, 1/125th second at ISO 100 while the top shot was taken at f/5.6 with a 5 stop ND filter (Hoya ProND 32) and still at ISO 100 and 1/125th second.

If you have just one light, no matter how old it is, put it to work and have some creative fun. Feel free to comment on these shots.

22 Comments

  1. Dennis Worrell

    Hi reading that you still use Bowen lighting 21 yrs old would this be before digital cameras came to be used ? if so how do you connect a digital camera as I was under the impression that it would do the camera a lot of electrical damage?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Dennis,

      It doesn’t matter how old a flash head is. I just use a universal radio trigger. I’ve never used a cable going from the camera to the flash, well not this century at least.

      Kind regards,

      Damien

      Reply
  2. Robin Goodlad

    Beautiful work, it just goes to show how much you can achieve with minimal equipment in the field. Complex set ups aren’t always needed!

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Robin, I totally agree :)

      Reply
  3. Estona

    Thank you for the information and photos. I really liked it. Everything is very detailed.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Estona.

      Reply
  4. Steve Chatterton

    I never tire of inspiration from you it will be good to learn directly from you one day.

    Reply
  5. Colin Bate

    Damien , Number 5 is amazing. I love that technique.

    Reply
  6. Jay Mijares

    Spectacular, Damien! Really like #4 and the bottom one of #5.

    Reply
  7. JED

    Great resuts – I personally like the one light setup. Keep it simple but dramatic.
    And – btw – you’re glad to have such a neighbourhood … ;-)

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thanks Jed,

      Indeed I am glad. The three of us, Vicki, Victoria and myself all live within walking distance of each other :)

      Cheers, Damien.

      Reply
  8. Steve Edwin

    The Maestro strikes again! Thanks for sharing your insightful words Damien.

    Reply
    • Damien

      Cheers Steve :)

      Reply
  9. anangelsshareblog

    Stunning. Excellent work and lovely model! Well done, Damien.

    Reply
  10. Nigel Burn

    Awesome images Damien. You never fail to get the shot, and yet you make it look so easy..

    Reply
    • Damien

      Thank you Nigel for those wonderful compliments. A back to basics approach and a relaxed manner are what works for me.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  11. Dennis Worrell

    whats going on all of a sudden everyone is shooting with the new Fuji med format took me ages to afford the X-T2 is it really that much better? by the way even though in your own words your getting to grip with the new camera great photographs as usual Damien.
    Just like to say enjoying your book on the X series very informative the camera is still way over my head at the moment coming from a Canon 5D thats all gone nowise once the wife has recovered from her toe fusion op i’ll be out there scratching my head!!! up on the south downs.
    keep up the great work

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Dennis,

      Thank you. Yes there are several GFX cameras out and about. Fujifilm is passing them around the X photographers and that is why it appears everyone is using the GFX at the moment. That will all settle down and those photographers will eventually have to go back to using the kit they own. The trouble is the GFX is so easy to use, that everyone who tries one out wants it. The GFX menus are identical to the X-T2 so the cameras are interchangeable. I have bought the GFX and 4 lenses for my professional work. It makes complete sense for me to own this kit, especially as I’m doing more exhibitions and I like printing my work. It’s a big business investment but no more than a company car for a sales rep.

      Is it really that much better? Well, the sensor is 4x the size of X-T2 and that makes a difference but unless you print your work above 50cm x 40cm on a regular basis I’d say no. There are subtle differences in the picture style with medium format but they are subtle. The X-T2 that you have is a wonderful camera and still possibly the best all round camera that I’ve ever owned. See half way down this post for my complete camera history. It makes interesting reading.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply
  12. Bleu

    Do you believe the one light may provide more emotion with the portraits, especially with color?

    Reply
    • Damien

      Hi Bleu,

      Thanks for your question. I don’t think the emotion in a portrait has anything to do with the number of light sources. It has everything to do with the photographers ability and the sitter.

      Kindest regards,

      Damien.

      Reply

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