Carla Monaco in Bristol

Jul 12, 2021 | Flash, Location | 4 comments

This is a collection of photographs of Carla Monaco taken in Bristol during my Urban Portraits workshops in July 2021. The aims of the workshops are to teach how to find and use great light in the urban environment and how to create light using one off-camera flash head. The spin-offs are plentiful as I guide the craft skills of the photographers in the group.

1. The old railway wagons on the waterfront sidings make a great shoot location. I’ve given these shots an autumnal look with a LUT in Lightroom.

  • Model: Carla Monaco
  • Photographer and workshop leader: Damien Lovegrove
  • Location: Bristol waterfront
  • Camera: GFX50s with 32-64mm and 110mm lenses

I usually run these workshops on weekdays between early May and mid July each year. That is when the weather tends to be warm enough to shoot outside all day and when school children are in class studying. On weekends and school holidays the city centre of Bristol is overrun with people enjoying themselves. Bristol is my favourite city in the UK and a happy stress free place to shoot. We can shoot under cover if it is raining too.

2. This simple sunlit shot was converted to black and white in Lightroom using the Fujifilm Acros G film simulation.

3. The top left and right shots were lit with sunlight and the bottom left shot was lit using a Godox AD200 on a lighting stand. I have Godox flash triggers for every make of camera and at some point in the day I cover how to balance the ambient and flash lighting in the shot using both regular sync and high speed sync. This can be quite hard to grasp without expert guidence. I use a simple to understand holistic approach to using flash and with my proven technique you can have full control of your flash without using a light meter.

4. Being able to use flash to create some visual drama when the light is dull or if it is raining is a useful tool to have in the box.

5. These naturally lit shots were taken in a location that not many photographers would choose to shoot in but the light there is magical. I used the GF110mm lens wide open at f/2 for these closer shots of Carla. On this workshop, I teach how to spot the potential for magical pictures in seemingly dark or dingy places and this can prove very useful indeed.

6. The shot on the left is taken with natural light and I used a Godox AD200 with a’crunch’ Scatterflash for the shot on the right. I used the flash to create the dappled pattern on the background and to light Carla too. This dual purpose using one flash to light the subject and the background without the shadow of the subject in the shot is gold dust.

7. I showed my group how to work with multiple types of reflection and how to find shadowless natural light whatever the weather.

8. One of my favourite shooting zones delivers soft beautifil lighting.

9. And finally, we shot under the trees on the waterfront. It’s a location that I used to use for my pre wedding shoots back in the day.

The aim of the day was to avoid any obvious Bristol landmarks and to concentrate on keeping the focus of attention on Carla Monaco. The shots that we take on this workshop are largely transferable to other cities around the world.

Join me next year when my workshops start up again in May. You can register you interest here.


  1. Fletcher Davies

    Good to see new content Damien, I have learned a lot by looking at you images and lighting, so when you post new work, it get’s me thinking. I know the past year has had an impact on so many aspects of peoples lives and creativity, so let hope things improve.

    • Damien

      Thank you Fletcher :)

  2. Trev

    Hi Damien, Great to see you posting content again, always feel inspired after viewing your work. Look forward to more stunning images!

    • Damien

      Thanks Trev,

      I’m just keeping safe at the moment so not shooting much. I’m off shooting again for real in a couple of weeks and then hopefully I’ll be busy with shoots until October.

      Best regards, Damien.


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