I have read many, many photography books over the years to try and find the best portrait photography book. The best one that I have read in a very long time comes from World renowned portrait and Fuji X Photographer Damien Lovegrove.
Damien is a very well respected portrait photographer and creates some of the most beautiful portrait images using a variety of lighting styles. I am particularly enamored with his Hollywood lighting shots.
So naturally when he recently released his own E book called Portraits I was very interested to see what was inside.
Damien proudly claims that “everything that he knows about photographing people is in this book” and having purchased it myself at full price and studied it in detail I believe him.
Not only is the book full of inspirational images, Damien takes the time to break down each image and explain his vision and his camera and lighting settings.
The book is of very high quality with over 300 high-resolution images and 50,000 words. It walks you through everything from having a vision, finding great locations and tips on connecting with and posing your subject. Of course Damien goes in to far more detail than I could ever explain here but suffice to say if you have even the slightest interest in portrait photography then this book will show you how to improve your images exponentially.
As mentioned earlier, Damien is a Fuji X photographer and a huge fan of the Fuji X series of cameras but his hints and tips apply no matter what camera system you use. I have used his tips with my Fuji XT2 (review here) as well as Olympus Pen F (review here) to create some of my favourite images of my wife.
I was so inspired by this book that I contacted Damien to ask for an interview and he was kind enough to oblige.
1. How do you manage to keep your images and style looking fresh?
I use hard light and so few people use it because it can be quite scary, but it’s very rewarding also.
All of my pictures are upright, no tilted images and I keep the post production pure. I steer clear of any post production effects so my pictures are either true colour or B&W.
2. Why do you use Fuji cameras?
Because they are small, light and fun to use. They are not intimidating to the people I am photographing and it makes me feel good when I pick one up 🙂
3. What is your favourite lighting setup?
Two Lupo 1000s to create a classic movie lighting scenario.
4. For someone starting out in portrait photography what 1 piece of advice would you give them?
Take pictures 3 days a week minimum if you want to see your work improve. Practice really does make perfect. By doing 3 portrait shoots a week you will soon learn how people react and how to get the best from the people you are photographing.
5. What inspires you to keep creating images?
I get a buzz from taking pictures, I find the whole process really rewarding. From taking the pictures to sharing the image with my sitter and on my blog. Photography has been my sole hobby and passion for 35 years.
6. Would you recommend strobes or continuous lighting for portrait work and why?
For interiors I always use continuous light because it is easy to see what you have got and the light balances better with the available light in the room and is much easier to control.
Out on location I use strobes just because I need the sheer quantity of light. Continuous light is not yet powerful enough to compete with bright daylight.
7. Do you have any tips for accentuating or disguising a models good and not so good features?
First of all identify someones best bits. This could their personality, a laugh, cheeky smile. They may have fabulous legs or feel good about one aspect of their figure. Focus on these features. For the less flattering attributes, I leave them out of shot or put them into shadow. A portrait photographers role is to enhance, diminish, maximise and minimise.
8. Can you explain to us a little about your new Portraits Ebook and how it will help our readers to improve their photography?
It has taken me several years to write this book and I have covered every aspect of portraiture that I have encountered. It really is a master work, a labour of love and everything I know about portraiture is in this book. I have used over 380 pictures to illustrate the points and features mentioned and every photograph has a detailed caption explaining how it was taken as well as the settings used.
We have secured a 20% discount off Damien Lovegrove’s Portraits Ebook for our readers. Simply follow this link and enter the code cotswoldphoto but don’t wait too long as this expires at the end of March.