You’ve probably noticed that Damien Lovegrove has been demonstrating lighting and posing techniques here on Photofocus. I’ve enjoyed these posts immensely, and have been floored by his concise and clear instructions accompanied by stunning images. I’ve been fortunate to also watch his tutorial called Hollywood Portraits Remastered, and I highly recommend it to you.
Lovegrove has completely revolutionized the way I think about lighting portraits. Before I even owned a camera I read Joe McNally’s books and attended David Ziser’s seminar and they got me hooked on soft light. My speedlights and strobes have been living in umbrellas and softboxes full-time. I’ve been using continuous lights with big 40×40″ softboxes, and have loved every minute of it. Lovegrove’s tutorials throw all that soft light to the wind and embrace craftsmanship with hard light and intentional shadow. I could go on and on about how his lighting is affecting my work. He demonstrates powerful techniques with simplicity and economy of equipment.
The focus of the video is on the placement of small continuous lights to create dramatic and classic location portraits. Lovegrove demonstrates that placing the main light ninety degrees to the camera position is a fool proof way to make great light. He shows how to add light to a scene step by step, and demonstrates many different poses and placements using just one light or reflector. He describes the gear he uses, which is a simple mirrorless camera and LED lights. He sells some of the lights and batteries on his website, but he mentions this as a helpful tip and doesn’t spend the whole time pushing gear sales.
The camera crew does a terrific job of showing us the whole setup from multiple camera positions. Each image Lovegrove makes during a segment is shown full screen with the exposure settings, and I pressed pause many times to study an image at my own pace. I was amazed at the economy of images he shot; he setup a scene, made one or two frames, verified that they were sharp, and moved on. Although it’s billed as a lighting tutorial, I learned much more than just light placement as Lovegrove demonstrated how he works.
The entire show is shot at a single estate and he maximizes the location. He shows how to utilizes the sun as part of his lighting setup both indoors and out. He shoots multiple directions in a single room, or a corner, or a stairwell and makes unique images each time. The estate is not unlike most wedding venues. Having watched him work, I’ll never feel limited by a location again.
Furthermore, his style of working with people is exemplary. Listen to him talk and watch how he treats the models. He gives clear direction and feedback using the LCD screen on the camera. He is complimentary and respectful. He builds rapport. His language is descriptive and calm and engenders trust and cooperation. I’ve been working to emulate this example with my subjects, lately, and have had more fun and more successful images than ever.
Everything about this tutorial make me excited to go practice. He makes it truly easy. His website even includes simple instructions for getting the video play well on your mobile device. Did I mention that he’s got a great voice and accent for narration?
The download costs US$110, which is about the price of other popular tutorial downloads and traveling live seminars. However, because of his mastery and the excellent production quality, this two hour video contains more solid information than any tour I’ve attended or seminar I’ve watched. The editing is well done and shows respect for my time. The segments are well organized and stand alone nicely. I have no complaints; it is a full and complete production. I think it’s a bargain.
You can buy the 1 hour 46 minute class in full HD here. Oh, and he’s giving Photofocus readers a $30 discount. Use code ‘photofocus‘ at checkout.
I’m re-watching the tutorial now, and I know I’ll be watching it many times again to help me as I practice these methods.
Here’s a sample chapter from the program.
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