New Toys!!!

There are four brands in my arsenal that have been a staple since I started in this business over seventeen years ago; Nikon (my camera system of choice), Elinchrom (lighting), Sony (computing power, namely their Vaio custom build laptops) & Manfrotto.

My first kit was a Nikon FM2 film camera with a 50mm lens strapped to the front. The very next thing I purchased was a sturdy Manfrotto 144B Tripod, which I still use today. It’s a bit battered & bruised, but just as functional as the day I bought it.

Manfrotto have been the market leaders in all things ‘photographic support’ for many, many years & rightly so, too. Their kit is built to last, whether it be a tripod, monopod or light stand (their lightweight nano-stands have become an industry standard piece of kit). A few years back, they launched a selection of beautifully designed camera bags, so of course, I went & bought one (six of them, actually!).

They’ve slowly been expanding their range which has been really interesting, but when I heard they’d launched a range of lights, I was a little aprehensive. The range in question is the Lumie portable LED range. For many years, us press guys have made do with the kind of cheap & cheerful LED’s you’re likely to find in Maplin or Halfords as the output across the board was pretty much the same (being small, powerful, but not massively reliable or accurate to the colour spectrum), so when the man behind the new devices started gushing about them on a photography group, I was intrigued. He explained that unlike the rest, these were powerful, reliable & accurate to over 90% of the colour spectrum, but most importantly, they were well made (one thing with Manfrotto that was never in doubt) He sent me a few down to test, which I have been doing thoroughly over the past month or so on all kinds of assignments & in all weather conditions. Unsurprisingly, these lights are brilliant for macro (close-up) & food photography. This was from a shoot at Itadaki Zen, a Japanese Restaurant in King’s Cross. One thing I really got a kick out of was the adjustabiliy of the rig with four levels of brightness. The below set was from a shoot at the famous Hix Chop House, Farringdon.

They are also surprisingly versatile for portraiture. My very first assignment using them was an immersive theatre feature in Greenwich with CoLab. The thing that struck me most was the fantastic fall-off. Unlike traditional flash, there are no heavy shadows around the subject.

They proved invaluable on a recent trip to Reading. This is Bruno Fonseca, Barista at The Workhouse Coffee Company.

Peter Odell of the Oakford Social Club.

I genuinely don’t believe i’d have got the graphic in the foreground of this shot at the newly refurbished Purple Turtle bar had it not been for these nifty little toys. A traditional flash would’ve been too harsh & caused me shadow issues.

They’ve been a godsend on my weekly ‘Spotlight’ page for the Evening Standard’s Homes & Property section where i’m on the hoof exploring an area for hours & paring down my kit in the process to a shoulder bag rather than my usual large roller case.

This is “The Obnoxious Kid” of premium street fashion brand Obnoxious Kids.

Irina, Manager of the Big Chill House, King’s Cross.

Donna Dillon, Barmaid at the Birchwood, Abbey Wood. 11357217_872190809519639_8440287078915955198_o

Guven Jackson, Owner of Lily Maila Hair & Coffee, Clerkenwell. 11334059_860688064003247_4127264783853790419_oWhen FourFourTwo Magazine called me up with an assignment across the channel, I grabbed the Lumies.

08/05/15. FourFourTwo Magazine : Snookball. FourFourTwo's Jonathan Fadugba explores the new sport game

This is Aurélien Deshayes (glasses & tracksuit) and Samuel Dreher (red shirt, dark hair), Founders & Creators of “Snookball”, a new sport-game that combines Snooker & Football photographed at the Foire De Paris Expo, Paris, France.

They’ve even helped me win an award…

This shot was part of a set that was voted best Features (set of four) at May’s Press Photographer’s Awards- an award I was very honoured to recieve as it’s voted for by fellow press photographers. There’s no way that the little Lumie has the chocks to overpower molten metal straight from the forge, but the light hitting our blacksmith’s face makes this shot.

I even tested them at extreme temperatures for this feature shoot at the Vertical Chill ice wall in Covent Garden. The temperature inside the wall is anywhere from -5°C to -12°C, so a pretty stern test of the battery life (batteries don’t like the cold). We were in there for over two hours & the Lumie didn’t flinch. For the shot above, the light was hotshoe mounted as I leant over an icy shelf.


It was also accidentally given an impact test too, falling from this makeshift mount in the icy wall a good 15ft onto the cold snowy floor below. When I dropped down to recover it, it was still switched on & working fine! The only damage incurred was the scuffs to the hardened metal shell below.


So to put it bluntly, I like ’em!

They’re powerful, accurate & solidly built. I personally wouldn’t be without them in my arsenal now… Thanks Manfrotto for another solid product.

My day-to-day snappery can be found on EyeEm. You can also follow my day-to-day activities on the Facebook & Twitter Channels…