Interview: Rémy & Esmé Lloyd – sibling rivalry gives way to perfect portraiture

Rémy & Esmé Lloyd
Portland. Nikon D7100, 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6, 1/2000 sec, f/11, ISO100 (Image credit: Rémy & Esmé Lloyd)

We both have a keen interest in music, film and photography, and have attended many extracurricular courses on Lightroom, Photoshop and photography at Arts University Bournemouth. In September 2018 we were both awarded our Licentiate distinction from the Royal Photographic Society.

We set up our website about a year ago and the vast majority of the work displayed there has been taken over the past year. We put an extra emphasis on ‘technique’ in our pursuit of our LRPS.

Brother-and-sister photography team Rémy & Esmé Lloyd (Image credit: Rémy & Esmé Lloyd)

Our portraits of one another were an opportunity to experience what it’s like to be both a photographer and model. It not only enabled us to explore the intricacies of lighting, makeup, costume and locations, but also how to direct and be directed. As we both have access to each other it proved most practical – but working with siblings not only has its merits but also a few complications!

The majority of these photos were shot in our studio, but we love to shoot on location too. Occasionally, a location enhances a shot and sometimes it can distract from it. The location for Wytch required permission from Wytch Oil Farm security. We were after an industrial backdrop to provide tension against the theatrical pink bath robe portrait that Rémy was wearing. 

Rémy & Esmé Lloyd

Ice cream. Nikon D7100, 85mm f/1.8, 1/250 sec, f/11, ISO100 (Image credit: Rémy & Esmé Lloyd)

We always have heaps of ideas kicking around. Sometimes these can be simply executed without too much more development. But it’s good to keep an open mind and we try to adapt the circumstances that present themselves without losing sight of our original intent. For the Portland image of Esmé under the red veil, we intended to have Portland Bill Lighthouse as the backdrop, but it just didn’t work! We ended up using Portland’s rocky coastline instead.

New York. Nikon D850, 85mm f/1.8, 1/250 sec, f/11, ISO64 (Image credit: Rémy & Esmé Lloyd)

Tools for the job

Usually we share equipment and use what’s needed for the job. Esmé uses a Nikon D5300 while Rémy uses a Nikon D7100. We have recently moved over to FX, with the joint acquisition of the totally awesome Nikon D850. We also have some museum equipment to choose from; a beautiful F2 with motor drive, a Nikkormat, a broken FE and an obsolete D70. 

Audi. Nikon D7100, 11-20mm f/2.8, 1/250 sec, f/11, ISO100 (Image credit: Rémy & Esmé Lloyd)

Our lenses also span many decades and we still regularly use an old Nikon 55mm macro for our shoots. Other makes have not stood the test of time so well… We tend to work with wide-angle to short telephoto; Esmé has a DX 18-70mm kit lens, Rémy has a DX 10-20mm wide-angle, and the fantastic 85mm f/1.8 prime is attached to the D850 for the studio. We propose to add the 16-35mm and the new 70-200mm when funds allow – so if anyone at Nikon is reading this and would like to sponsor two enthusiastic students… 

Wytch. Nikon D7100, 85mm f/1.8, 1/250 sec, f/16, ISO400 (Image credit: Rémy & Esmé Lloyd)

Nikon equipment is robust and intuitive to use; the D850 is absolutely superb in the studio, while the DX bodies are ideal on location due to their lighter weight overall. All the lenses produce excellent quality images, but if we know that size matters then we use the D850 and 85mm.

Our lighting rig comprises of three Profoto B1s on Matthews C stands with a variety of shapers – such as a snoot, beauty dish, softbox and umbrella. Profoto lighting is just fantastic, indoors and out!

Skiier. Nikon D7100, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5, 1/200 sec, f/8, ISO100 (Image credit: Rémy & Esmé Lloyd)

We love constructing a photograph, deciding on makeup, costume, props and so on, and spending the day in the studio and just seeing how the shot develops –  but it can be demanding and patience is a virtue… 

Rémy and Esmé Lloyd are equipped for both studio and location work and are actively seeking commissions

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Adam Waring

Adam has been the editor of N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine for almost 12 years, and as such is one of Digital Camera World's leading experts when it comes to all things Nikon-related. 

Whether it’s reviews and hands-on tests of the latest Nikon cameras and lenses, sharing his skills using filters, tripods, lighting, L brackets and other photography equipment, or trading tips and techniques on shooting landscapes, wildlife and almost any genre of photography, Adam is always on hand to provide his insights. 

Prior to his tenure on N-Photo, Adam was also a veteran of publications such as PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, so his wealth of photographic knowledge isn’t solely limited to the Big N.