I shoot people for pleasure and profit. I’ve been a professional photographer in one guise or another since 1984 when I started submitting images to the Science Photo Library in London. I joined the BBC the same year as a cameraman and had a career in television that lasted 14 years. I then shot commercial stills for top name clients before becoming a wedding photographer.
In 2010 I retired from shooting weddings to start a career in portraiture and education. I teach photography all over the world and I shoot commissioned portraits for publication. You can read my blog Prophotonut.
I’ve a long history of changing camera kits. I’ve owned over 40 cameras in my time and always have one principle camera that I use day to day.
In the digital era I’ve had Hasselblad and Phase One medium format kit along with SLRs from Canon and Nikon. I now solely use the Fujifilmfilm X system and I’ve never looked back since switching to Fujifilm in 2012.
It started with the Fujifilm X100 and now I’m using the Fujifilm X-T1 for all my day to day shooting. I have the Fujifilm X-Pro1 as my backup body and my wife Julie shoots her location work with the Fujifilm X-E2. There are times when the Fujifilm X-E2 makes it into my bag as a second body because it is so similar to the Fujifilm X-T1 in its menu system and button layout.
The Fujifilm X-Pro1 served me well for two years and as it was the best Fujifilm out there it didn’t leave me wanting more. When the Fujifilm X-T1 came along it had moved the X project on so far I knew I wanted to upgrade. I have kept my original body that was re wrapped by Fujifilm repair guru Mark Prentice at Fujifilmfilm UK as part of a product test for their customisation service.
I’m not normally indecisive with lenses but when I laid them out for this shot I realised just how many I’ve got. When I’m on a portrait assignment I always shoot with the primes. I take the Fujifilm 14mm f/2.8, Fujifilm 23mm f/1.4, Fujifilm 35mm f/1.4 and Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2 lenses.
If I’m shooting beauty or outdoor figure in the landscape shots I take the Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4 Macro instead of the Fujifilm 56mm f/1.2. I just love the look of the bokeh of the 60mm wide open at f/2.4. It has a more painterly look than that of the 56mm lens. I can get right in on the 60mm too without resorting to using macro mode.
The Fujifilm 60mm f/2.4 is probably my favourite lens in the Fujifilm line up and it was the first that I bought.
When I shoot landscapes, or travel images I like to use the zooms. I have the Fujifilm 10-24mm f/4, Fujifilm 18-55mm f/2.8-4 and the Fujifilm 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 zoom lenses all with IS and all super sharp. So I always take one body with a lens and have either three primes or two zooms in the bag too. My spare kit lives in the car so I’ve got access to it if I need it. I’ve never got into carrying more than one camera around and I can’t stand camera straps either.
On the left of the picture are some filter stacks. I have ND filters for use when I’m shooting with flash, polarisers for landscapes and Tiffen Black Pro mist filters for my interior portrait work. I’ve tried pouches but they get so bulky so now I use filter stacking caps instead. You will notice the the text on the front of my lenses is blacked out. I used a permanent marker to do this as it was being reflected by the ND filters and was visible in the image. We used to do this with our Zeiss Distagons for Super 16 when I was at the BBC too.
A lot of my shooting involves using flash. I’ve tried every kind of flash trigger out there from Pocket Wizard to Phottix and by far the best set up is the Cactus V6 wireless flash transceiver system. It works brilliantly with the Fujifilm X system and I can use any of my numerous Canon and Nikon Speedlights with full control from the camera or I can use the dedicated Cactus RF60 Speedlight with the RF receiver built in.
The Cactus advantage is you get a full LCD read out of the flash power set in 1/3 stop or full stop increments for each of the 4 groups. It just works and I’ve never missed a shot. I use bigger flash systems too and my kit of choice is the Elinchrom Quadra. I use a Skyport trigger system with my Fujifilms when I’m working with the 400ws Quadra.
My cameras all have ‘L’ brackets and the Fujifilm X-Pro1 and Fujifilm X-E2 cameras have added grips too. The ‘L’ brackets fit my lever lock ball heads on my monopod and tripods. The heads are made by Really Right Stuff and are so well engineered that they will outlast me. I use my monopod on most shoots at some point.
All the kit I need for each shoot is packed into my Think Tank Retrospective 7 camera bag. This bag is ideal for an Fujifilm X-T1 with 4 primes or an Fujifilm X-T1 with 3 zooms, a Speedlight, trigger, spare batteries, iPad, wallet and keys.
My lighting kit is extensive and has many kit bags of its own.
The Fujifilm advantage is the system is small, has a super image quality and above all else is a joy to use. The fun that I get from photography has a lot to do with the kit I’m using and I’ve never felt more creative than I do right now. I’ve said goodbye to SLRs for good.
Inside Damien Lovegrove’s camera bag:
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