Leela in Morocco ~ A Lovegrove Adventure

Apr 29, 2019 | Continuous Lighting, GFX, Location, Travel | 15 comments

01. The earthen walls of the old Kasbahs reflect the warmth of Morocco.

We gathered at our Riad in Marrakesh for a welcome dinner and then first thing in the morning we were out of the hustle and bustle of the city and on our way over the Atlas Mountains.

02. I love exploring abandoned ruins looking for details to use as a set for a photograph.

Model: Leela Tikadar
Styling: Damien Lovegrove
Hair and makeup: Leela
Locations: Mohammed Kamal (MK)
Photography: Damien Lovegrove using a Fujifilm GFX50s with GF32-64mm and GF110mm lenses

I reccied these locations with MK back in December and we set an April date for this adventure. We had to run the trip between Easter and Ramadan to ensure everything would go smoothly.

03. Top and bottom right: I use a Godox AD200 with Scatterflash to simulate sunlight. Left: I left the real sun to do its thing here.


04. I loved working with the crisp Moroccan sunlight. I chose to use this simple flowy dress from H&M for this part of the shoot to provide contrast with the surroundings.


05. Nothing quite prepares you for the flamboyance and frailty of the Moroccan architecture of yesteryear. Much of it has crumbled into the dust from which it came.


06. Left: Kasbah Ait Ben Haddou‌ was on our tour. MK had arranged for us to have an exclusive photoshoot in a couple of the Kasbahs in the town. Right: The mountain passes are dotted with small villages in various states of repair.


07. Our route over the Atlas Mountains started and ended in Marrakesh.


08. The textures in the fabric of the mountain villages is wonderful.


09. Leela was the perfect model for this adventure with grace, enthusiasm and professionalism. Thank you Leela.


10. Lines, design and texture form our backdrops.

Don’t imagine for one moment that getting access for six of us to shoot in these locations with tripods and lighting stands was easy. MK had his work cut out negotiating our shoot location access and permissions. It seems to be a case of who you know rather than how deep your pockets are in most cases. Thank you MK for making all of this happen.

11. I purchased the head pieces and some of the jewelry items on Amazon. I normally use Ebay or Etsy but I was running out of time and the next day delivery was welcome.


12. I loved this moment in our workshop. Times like these make great life memories.


13. As well as the dusty, crumbling kasbahs there are wonderfully decorated ones too.


14. I used a Lupo dual colour Superpanel with a battery to light Leela here.


15. Top Left: I used my GF 110mm lens to capture this shot of Leela by shooting into direct sunlight in an olive grove. Right and bottom: The entrance to one of our tour hotels in the foothills of the Atlas mountains.


16. We did a shoot on the roof terrace of our hotel before moving on to our first location of day 3. Leela wears a dress by Molly Mishi May.


17. Our last shoot of the trip was in a fabulously opulent kasbah. I bought the blue dress in H&M in Marrakesh on my recce.


Join me on my next workshop in France or my next adventure in Tuscany. At the time of writing there is one place left on each event.

Just do it :)


  1. Abhi

    Wow Super photos great work

    • Damien

      Thanks Abhi :)

  2. Don Wandiba

    Is she a local Moroccan model or one of your English jewels?

    • Damien

      Leela is from Leeds. So an English jewel indeed ;)

  3. Don Wandiba

    Bellissimo! You have captured the allure of Orientalism………..Magnificent! Never seen anything like it.

    • Damien

      Thank you Don. Praise indeed :)

      Regards, Damien

  4. Rob Wheatman

    Captivating as ever DL. Your lighting control as everyone knows is next level, however, I don’t think I saw mention of a reflector to bounce light back to Leela.
    Reflectors are often over looked, I guess my question is would you ever consider using a reflector in a location like this, or do you simply not have as much control, and is the light too harsh that would bounce back?
    Inspiring as ever :)

    • Damien

      Hi Rob, Thank you for the compliments. I do use reflectors on commercial shoots but not on workshops. They take longer to rig than a light and occasionally I need two to double bounce. So that’s two stands to do the same job as I can do with one light. When I’m shooting for clients it’s no problem but having six workshop attendees hanging around while I rig and derig a reflector is not ideal. They are just too big to leave rugged and the stands nearly always need a sand bag.

      Kindest regards,


  5. Geoff Reardon

    I love all of your work but this particular set of images are fantastic! Love the lighting, mood, colours, models, poses, scenery… all of it. Bravo!

    • Damien

      Wow, thanks for your kind words Geoff :)

  6. Constantine Matsos

    Gorgeous photography and a beautiful model!

    • Damien

      Thank you Constantine :)

  7. Dave Fisher

    Looks like a great adventure and beautiful shots. Love to visit Morocco .

    • Damien

      Thank you Dave. It was a blast. 3 Days of shooting and driving. It was full on and stimulating to say the least :)




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