Alice on the streets of Bristol

Oct 8, 2018 | Flash, GFX, Location, Travel | 16 comments

I captured these shots on rekindled Bristol Urban Portraits workshops. I ran two of them back to back last month. I did say that I’d not do more UK workshops but demand was overwhelming on the survey forms we mailed out to our database. These events sold out in no time. The essence of the workshop is to travel light with one small battery flash unit and to create beautiful portraits using the naturally occurring light and occasionally shooting with the flash to create an exciting set of portraits. The total walk distance is less than 1km for the whole day.

Model: Alice
Location: Bristol waterfront
Camera: Fujifilm GFX50s (Handheld and occasional use of a monopod)
Lenses: GF32-64mm f/4 zoom and GF 110mm f/2 prime
Lighting: One Godox AD200 with various modifiers

01. Our sessions started with crisp hard sunlight dappled through a few leaves. I love the low viewpoint that the tilting EVF gives me when shooting hand held in the sun.


02. Humour me as I try out new poses that rely on the dynamic range of the GFX. I’m intrigued by shadow detail and making it the key focus of a picture. I have to keep on trying new stuff and learning. That’s just how it is.


03. Soft light/ hard light both from the same Godox AD200 flash. I used the £25 small dedicated octabox with grid for the shot on the left and I used the Fresnel head for the shot on the right.


04. Fun in the shade. I just used the natural light for these three portraits. Shots like these require rapport and energy going both ways. I suppose that’s the hardest part of the process to grasp. It is possible to learn how to generate rapport but it took me 30 years and lot of psychological pain to get to this level. I’m quite a shy guy that has learned to come out of my shell to front a shoot or a stage presentation. I suppose photographing schools was the breaking in process. 1500 little darlings at a time with attitude snarling at the lens was the wake up call. Then came hundreds of family portrait sessions and over 400 weddings but all along I was cracking it. The trick is to have fun with respect. I like the fun to be firmly pointed back at me. When I do that, the fun comes back into the lens. How hard can it be? It’s tough!


05. That Fujinon GF 110mm lens really does sparkle. I’ve not used a better lens in my life and I’ve owned over 60 lenses from all the big names. (Natural light).


06. My Bristol wind tunnel was working well. (Natural light).


07. This shot is from another journey that I’m on. It’s fun and focusses the viewer intensely. Less is more. Intimacy like this is electric.


08. I love the colour palette in this business district location. (Natural light).


09. Keep it simple and keep shooting. I over shot on these workshops. I think being hand held was the reason but I love the responsive natural spontaneity of hand held shooting. Maybe the GFX 100s? (not yet named) will have IBIS. That will be a wow camera for me if it does.


10. Keeping out of the rain is not too hard to do in Bristol.


11. The same location a day apart. I tried to shoot the same route on both of my workshop days. It is one I’ve established over many years of shooting portraits in Bristol. There are some real gems of locations on my route.


12. Shot in camera – honestly! No trickery was used here for this simple reflection shot.


13. Flemish bonded engineering bricks are a wonderful background for a portrait.


14. The brake car on the BHR (Bristol Harbour Railway) is my waggon of choice for a photoshoot. I used a single Godox AD200 for the shot on the right.


15. The Tunnel Of Doom was a great place to shoot. (Natural light)


16. The Tunnel Of Doom again. (Natural light).


17. Colour shifting with the Godox AD200.


18. The sun came out at some point because I got this shot in the long grass lit with a Godox AD200.

That’s it for Alice’s first outing on Prophotonut. Alice is a ‘Lovegrove girl’ now so expect her to feature in many more photoshoots and adventure series. I’ll blog a test session we shot in my studio next.

If you would like to join us on an Urban Portraits workshop in Bristol 2019 dates are available here.  The street workshops run between May and September for comfort reasons.


  1. David Hall

    I love your style and the way you interact with the client. I’ve enjoyed watching several of your video’s online and look forward to more. You’re an amazing teacher/instructor and hope to meet you one day.

    • Damien

      Thank you David for those kind words. I hope we can meet too.

      Kindest regards,


  2. Gordon Lindsay

    Great shots in familiar places. Still remember the day I did your urban portraits with Chloe in the docks a few years ago in the rain, but still got great shots in the wind tunnel and the reflection shot off the hotel pillar.

    • Damien

      Thank you Gordon :) Some old classic spots in this set.

      Kind regards,


  3. Andy Watts

    Just beautiful Damien,

    Thank you for sharing. I love the contrast in final image you’ve created between those shots with a near direct key light (creating little or no facial shadows) and those with the key off to the side; clearly showing how controlling the light creates such a different mood – and, of course, expertly blending flash and natural sources.

    Thanks again, I live and learn! Andy

    • Damien

      Thank you Andy,

      I’m living and learning too. Light is a really big motivator in my work. When I find great light it excites me and when I’m excited the energy comes back into my lens.

      Stay inspired,


  4. Joseph Boza

    Hi Damien,

    This is my first time to visit the site, and this is the first gallery I browsed and I feel compelled to comment and thank you for sharing these wonderful images.

    Firstly, the photographs overall are simply extraordinary. I am completely and utterly astounded by how good these all are and they are truly inspiring for me.

    Secondly, the look and qualities of the GFX50s and lenses is amazing. Clearly there’s a vision and professional touch to the composition and technical details of the images, and the model is beautiful which plays an important role in these images, but the medium format images are simply awe inspiring. Detail, sharpness, tonality, it’s all here in abundance.

    I find myself particularly drawn to the #2 (shadow detail), #13 (flemish brick background), and #15 (tunnel of doom) sub-sets shared here. Thank you so much for the “BTS” commentary to help put the images into context. :)



    • Damien

      Hi Joseph,

      Thank you for those kind words. I do appreciate the time you took to leave your comments. As a first time visitor I suggest you look at this post from Siena. And then maybe this set of Victoria.

      As you say, the Fujifilm GFX is a fabulous camera. The best that I have used for sure. The camera is only a tool but I do appreciate shooting with this particular one.

      Kindest regards,


  5. Colin Bate

    Wow. Love these. I just know they are your pictures, the detail, the style. That Fuji GFX 50S is a beast of a camera. I’m looking at the range finder style GFX 50R. I have to get one or the other. By the way Damien, I had a great day in Bristol with like minded photographers. It was fun and inspirational as always.

    • Damien

      Thank you Colin. It was great spending time with you again. I know what you mean about the GFX50s, The GFX50r is going to be everso popular. It feels amazing in the hand and is not as ugly as the 50s for sure. If you have any questions when you get your camera please just get in touch.

      Thanks again, Damien.

  6. Rob Wheatman

    Some of your best I’d say in my humble opinion. Truly stunning both model & light as always

    • Damien

      Thank you Rob. I love it when the simplest of shoots come together like this :)

      Cheers, Damien.

  7. Diego

    Great portraits Demien! I love your style and every picture you show is a true class of photography.

    • Damien

      Thank you Diego for those kind comments :) Damien.

    • Damien

      Thanks Graham :)


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