Denisa Strakova in Prague ~ fashion shoot

Jan 16, 2018 | Continuous Lighting, GFX, Location | 22 comments

This collection of 45 photographs of top model Denisa Strakova were taken by Damien Lovegrove in a luxury apartment in Old Town Prague. Damien used a pair of Lupo lights to shoot these fashion and fashion nude photographs. Lighting notes and techniques explained throughout…

Photography: Damien Lovegrove
Styling: Denisa Strakova
Model: Denisa Strakova
Location: An apartment in historic old town Prague
Shoot: 1:1 Fashion and fashion nude shoot training session for my photographer client from Poland

Denisa Strakova fashion shoot image

01. I Lit Denisa with one Lupo 1000 spotlight with a Scattergel. Denisa’s role was to flick up the fabric to get it moving then strike her pose. I use 1/125th to keep Denisa pin sharp and give the fabric some sense of movement. I used a tripod to nail the composition so I could concentrate on capturing the moment. I lit for a punchy monochrome set of images and I included the colour images here to show how good the Lupo LEDs are at rendering skin tones.

Lights: Lupo 1000 dual colour and Lupo 650 dual colour with Scattergels
Camera: Fujifilm GFX50s with 32-64mm and 110mm lenses
Tripod: Novo T20

Denisa Strakova in monochrome fashion shoot pictures

02. This is exactly the timeless monochrome look that I was after. I use the image on the carefully set up LCD on my Fujifilm GFX as my guide to set the lighting contrast in the scene. I can zoom right in on live view to asses the shadow detail and highlight detail being captured. This is especially important when shooting white fabric and dark hair in the same scene. I want the whites to look white, not grey and I want the black hair to shine.


Denisa Strakova in my luxury apartment in Prague

03. I used f/4 on the 32-64mm zoom lens to render the background of our building just out of focus. Here you can see my Lupo 650 set as a back light using 5600k setting and full power. The key light is a Lupo 1000 with a crackle Scattergel and again it is set at 5600k and full power. No amount of camera kit or lenses can make great light so I am happy to recommend investment in decent lighting kit to my clients. This can include Lupo spotlights and Godox flash systems. With a good selection of both anything can be made to look spectacular.


Denisa Strakova in Prague

04. Denisa Strakova is an excellent model and brought many posing ideas to the shoot. I lit the stage and between us we crafted a dynamic set of images that would look great in any fashion magazine.


Denisa Strakova in black and white

05. My vintage shrug was clipped around Denisa’s hips to give some texture detail to styled look. Notice how the background drops away in contrast and focus. Setting the contrast of the foreground higher than the background is key to making these shots work.


Denisa Strakova in white on a white sofa in a minimalist apartment in Prague.

06. My lounge at the apartment in Old Town Prague was the base for scene three. The 11 seater sofa in cream leather seemed like a great spot to shoot. The steel table provided the reflection here. The light from the lamp was fairly insignificant here but it gave me the motivation to put in a Lupo 1000 at 3200k with a scattergel.


Denisia in white

07. I love tonality in monochrome prints and I use Acros G in camera and in Lightroom as my calibration. It gives a fabulous vitality to skin tones and allows extreme control of highlight details and shadow depth. Other settings like R and Y filter settings deliver a lower mid tone contrast and that in turn screws up the subtlety in the highlights when the contrast slider is used to correct the mid tones. I love the way I can preview my final look on the GFX LCD.


Denisa in a black leather jacket

08. Part of the process is to explore cool tone and warm tone looks. Fashion for me is all about fine control and pushing boundaries.


Denisa looking like she just came off a movie set.

09. The light from a Lupo 1000 is timeless. Incidentally  do you see the interference pattern on the mesh panel in the dress. This is caused by the light and not the camera or lens. The fine shadows on Denisa’s body are creating the pattern. It was visible to the eye at the shoot. If I had a silk diffuser with me for the light this would have solved the issue. I still love this shot though. It looks like Denisa just stepped out of a classic movie.


Denisa looking fabulous in black and white

10. Perfection in posing. Tip: If the hand is above the waistline it points up and if below it points down ;)


A colour shot of Denisa in a purple fishtail dress

11. Here are some colour images to show that wonderful fishtail dress.


Denisa seated

12. I love to use corners, floors, boxed in places. For these frames I shot from above to create a vulnerability in the shots. Denisa’s styling is impeccable. Notice the subtle hand to mouth touch in these frames. Get it wrong and the shot is tacky, get it spot on and it’s seductively sublime.


13. I love this shape. Notice the pattern of light created by the Scattergel.


14. The GFX glass is the best I’ve ever owned.


15. I brought in a mirror to create a set for some fashion nudes. Denisa had a fabulous skirt and boots for us to shoot.


16. I love to change the viewpoint. A tripod helps with the fine tuning of the composition.


17. A white wall was rendered grey by our light and subject placement. This is a one light ‘fashion nude’ set suitable for any high class fashion publication.


Denisa on a bed in monochrome.

18. There was still time for a boudoir scene to end the day.


Denisa in sunlight on a bed in Prague

19. I showed my client how to make the sun shine at night with two lights. Its a technique I’ve fine tuned over the years and is really easy to recreate with the right know how.


I want to thank Aneta Zmelikova of Fujifilm CZ and Petr Klempa for helping me sort out my life in Prague. Thanks guys. I’m coming back in April. If you want to join me on a workshop or some 1:1 training in Praha (Prague) in April 2018 please let Blaise or Laura know here. I will then discuss your options with you and a fun creative event will happen.

Please feel free to comment or ask questions below :)


  1. Warren

    Fantastic work, super versatility and creative know how.

    • Damien

      Thank you Warren.

      We were on fire :)

      Cheers, Damien.

  2. trogg6

    Damien: These are lovely images of a lovely woman. I had the pleasure of working with Denisa in September, 2016 when she was traveling in the US and made it up to Seattle. I was the last shooter of the day, thus was honored to share a meal with her and take her back to her lodging. The is a terrific model and an impressive woman, fluent, I believe, in 5 languages. It is very cool to see that you had the opportunity to work with her in Prague. Although they hardly compare, I will send you a link to some of my images. They are not on my website.

    • Damien

      Thanks Terry,

      What lovely words and kindness. Denisa, as you say is wonderful.
      Thanks for the compliments,


  3. Martin Howard

    Lovely images and an extraordinary model! I especially like that she is rendered as a real woman and not overly retouched.

    • Damien

      Thank you Martin,

      You are a man after my own heart. I truly believe that beauty should be real and captured as it is. We as photographers have a responsibility to embrace reality and shoot it in the best light we can but not distort it. Some will say that I only photograph beautiful young people but the truth is I’ve photographed over 400 weddings with couples of all ages and sizes. Many of my weddings were on film. I love to capture life as it is. Denisa has a naturally beautiful skin texture and body tone and I feel I brought out the best in her with crisp hard light. Her piercing blue eyes light up this set of pictures and I’m proud to represent reality. If I could shoot without make up then I would love to do it but society accepts make up as a norm. Society is at risk of accepting Photoshop as a norm too and I want to avoid that.

      Kindest regards and respect,


  4. Paul

    Damien – beautiful images. I find the B&W done with the mirror to be most intriguing. So difficult to light subject and reflection properly and stilll be artistic. The styling and your model is impeccable.

    • Damien

      Thank you Paul,

      I have a system of lighting my subject through the mirror so the light is reflected as well as the image. It’s tricky as you say but thoroughly worth it. Thank you for the compliments to both me and of course Denisa. Denisa is more than half of the equation.

      Kindest regards,


  5. John A DiGiorgio

    Hi Damien
    Will you be returning to NY?

    • Damien

      Hi John,

      I’ve been to New York several times and as you know there are so many places to see in the world. I fancy Chicago, Boston or San Francisco next perhaps. I’ll be in Cuba next month and The wild west (Nevada, Arizona and Utah) in June. Tuscany in September and who knows? Maybe Australia in the autumn. If I get a speaking gig and my flights paid I’ll be in NY for sure so I’ll never rule anything out :)

      Come to the Wild West, Cuba or Tuscany for an adventure of a lifetime :) Info is here:

      I’d love to again with you John,



  6. Sandalwood Pictures

    Bloomin’ beautiful as always, I just love the way you use artificial light. I must say I am torn between colour and black and white.

    • Damien

      Thank you Phil for your kind words. I’m torn too hence posting both the mono and colour images :)

      Kind regards,


    • Damien

      Thank you Richard :)

  7. Glenn Michel

    Superbe pictures, the model is gorgeous and the black and white rendering just perfect, well done Damien :-)
    Naïve question: are you still using xt2 or exclusively gfx?
    Best regards

    • Damien

      Hi Glenn,

      Thank you for the compliments. I’m so particular about my black and white rendering and mastering the sliders in lightroom needs experimentation and practice. Increasing exposure, highlights, and whites all effect the highlight tones but in different ways and leave the mid tone contrast completely different too. So in order to preserve the mid tone look that I want I need to treat the highlights very carefully. I do believe I have it pretty good now and the jpegs from camera usually take a lot of beating :)

      I’ve been using the GFX now for 1 year exclusively. I did shoot a few landscapes on the X-Pro2 with 100-400 because there is no long glass for the GFX yet.

      Kindest regards,


  8. Marie Sauter

    Beautiful, as always. The results are amazing when you pair an incredible model with a master photographer!

    • Damien

      Thank you Marie,

      The magic happened here. 2018 is going to be an amazing year for my photography and adventures. Cuba is not far off now :)

      Warmest regards, Damien.

  9. Ioannis

    You nailed it again Damien! Great coöperation between you and Denisa Strakova! Love the photos! Makes me want to grab my Lupos and start shooting!!

    • Damien

      Thank you Ioannis my friend. We connected well and the light from the Lupos is magic. Just do it!

      Kindest regards, Damien

  10. Jeffrey warren

    I love the Black & White images, beautiful work Damien.

    • Damien

      Thank you Jeffrey for your kind words.

      Damien :)


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