Leo Leblanche in the studio

Mar 13, 2022 | Continuous Lighting, Flash, Fujifilm X, Studio | 5 comments

  • Camera: Fujifilm X-S10, XF18-55mm, XF56mm
  • Lighting: Godox AD400 x4, Lupolux 2000, 1000 and 650 LED spotlights
  • Smoke machine: Scotty 11 from the Smoke Factory in Germany
  • Styling: Damien and Leo
  • Photography: Damien Lovegrove

01. We started the session with the flash set ups. I opted to use just one flash head to get us started and I set 1/200th second, 200 ISO and f/11. The exposure and lighting design was set with the flash head and modifier.

I was on my way back from Italy to the UK and I thought it would be fun to do a studio workshop en-route. Ivan Deleus, the owner of this studio had just been with me on my Tuscany workshop and it together we hatched the plan: Five participants, one model, a make up artist and a mixture of flash and continuous lighting set ups.

I shot with my X-S10 because my GFX50s had taken an unexplained knock and the LCD needed repair. At that time the X-S10 was my backup camera and it proved to be very necessary. I could have borrowed a GFX100s but I chose to shoot with the X series for the sake of file sizes. My repaired GFX50s is now my back up camera because my GFX50s mk2 arrived just as I got home. The mk2 is now my main camera.


02. I added a second flash head to the mix for the next set of images. We took it in turn to shoot so that each person had 1:1 attention and exclusive control of the flash.

Leontine has that classic, classy look that I like to work with on workshops. I suppose it is defined by prominant cheek bones and a great profile. Apart from the ‘look’ there is far more that a model brings to the photoshoot. You can read so much into Leo images through her connection and the beauty that eminates from within her and this is why I immediately booked Leo to model for us on the Tuscany 2022 workshop.


03. I showed the group my lighting strategies for simple, creative, portraiture and we popped in a puff of smoke for good measure.


04. Ivan’s studio wall has a great texture so we used it instead of a background roll for some of our shots. The ribbed bodysuit came from Boohoo and it looks great on Leontine with this lighting.


05. Just one flash head and one reflector was what I chose to use for this pair of shots. Ivan lent me the XF 90mm lens that I used for these pictures. It has a close focussing capability and retains a wonderful perspective when shooting closeups.


06. Top & bottom Left: I used continuous light for these shots and lit the background with the ‘Crunch’ gel from my Scatterflash set. XF35mm f/1.4 at f/1.4. Right: I used the Godox flash for this shot. XF 18-35 at f/11.


07. Continuous light gives you the option to shoot wide open effortlesly. It is so easy to see what you are shooting because the lighting is over 10 times brighter than the modelling lights in the flash heads. XF56mm at f/1.2, 1/640th second at ISO 160. From this point on we could all shoot together as there was no need to wait for the flash to recycle.


08. The crisp hard light from a Fresnel spotlight is my favourite kind of light to work with. It has defined many of my ‘looks’ from Hollywood glamour to boudoir. It is not easy to use so requires precision in it’s application. Hard light used badly is harsh light. I also love shooting at 90° to my light source as shown here.


09. I totally love this picture. It has a mood and dynamic that can’t be planned. It is a product of the moment for sure. Is it sharp? I’m not sure. Does it matter? No. XF56mm at f/1.2, !/600th second at ISO 160.


10. These shots pull together the elements taught on the day. The background was lit with dappled light from the Scatterflash gel, a splash of smoke added to the atmosphere, the key and kick lighting style provided the core and the dynamic poses finished the look. I bought the skirt on AliExpress. It was made to order and I used some white tulle to cover the wasteband.

Why not join Leo and me in Tuscany this September. There is just one place left on our fabulous workshop. Mischkah will be joining us too. All the details are here.


  1. Lawrence Scott

    These are wonderful portraits Damien, love looking at them and enjoy seeing the camera, lens settings and exif too.

  2. Mike Duffy

    I never get tired of seeing the results from your lighting techniques Damien! All the “pre sets and overlays” I see people using in their photo’s will never match good lighting placement and exposure…. Keep doing what you do! :)

    • Damien

      Hi Mike,

      Thanks for the compliments. The simplicity of getting it right in camera is my way of working as you know. It saves a lot of time later and delivers an honest result.

      Cheers, Damien!

  3. Glenn Michel

    Hi Damien,
    So cool to follow your aventures around Europe. Nice picture and style, bravo and thank you for sharing with us all your skill.
    I’m looking forward to meet you on a future workshop here in Switzerland.

    • Damien

      Hi Glenn,

      Thank you for your kind words. I think I’ve done Switzerland for my workshops now. I’ll do my last Tuscany this year too. That will pave the way for new exciting locations for sure. My next event to be announced will be the abandoned gold rush towns of Nevada and California. I’m doing the recce in May so look out for that one :)

      Kindest regards,



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