Minimal kit, maximum effect, is the mantra of multi award winning professional portrait photographer Damian McGillicuddy. Demanding the very best from the equipment he uses, the modern classic of the compact Olympus OM-D EM-5 is never far from his hand.

Yet whilst this Compact System Camera’s stunning picture quality is what attracts professionals, the gorgeous retro styling plus affordable price point place the OM-D and its ability to deliver captivating, engaging imagery within anyone’s grasp.

With Damian’s portraiture taking in both fashion and glamour sprinkled with a liberal dose of sex, he describes the OM-D’s appeal as “Dead simple: It’s a well conceived and beautifully made piece of kit, coupled with superb optics. Multiply that by a convenient form factor and you get great results and a pleasurable shooting experience.”


Photographing glamour girls and getting paid for it may sound like a dream occupation; for Damian McGillicuddy it’s just another day at the ‘office’. “You won’t find me prancing around in latex at home”, he assures us. The picture opposite is of LA-based Ulorin Vex — one of the world’s top latex fashion models.

But it’s not just the ladies that fuel the Lord of Latex’s creativity. His working hours also include personal shoots for «most celebrities you’d care to mention” — including Beatles mainstay Paul McCartney — some of whom have likewise turned out to be OM-D owners. As a name in demand he is constantly working, with up to four shoots booked per week.

“I’m very lucky in that I’ve worked hard enough to gain a name for myself and now clients ring up and ask for something that’s ‘McGillicuddy-esque’.»

In terms of the best lenses to twin with the OM-D to ape Damian’s style, the photographer recommends the 70mm f/1.8, the 45mm f/1.8 and the 60mm f/2.8 macro. “I’m a big prime lens fan. Having been in the game for 30 years it was how I was brought up. Plus when I’m photographing people I’m always looking to compress perspective for a more flattering effect. In simple terms the longer focal length makes noses shorter.


“My passion for taking pictures is maintained by the fact that I love what I do and it’s a privilege to be paid for it. As to where the inspiration comes from, I like clever words and lyrics; rock songs get the brain working.”

Naturally, truly great photography is all about mastering light and Damian McGillicuddy has been called ‘the Wizard of Light’ in his time. Another nickname that has attached itself is ‘The Big Dog’ — a description that, bizarrely, followed an encounter with EastEnders actor Adam Woodyatt, aka Ian Beale, who attended one of Damian’s talks. “I said to him ‘listen mate, you may be a star of screen, stage and television’ but this is my yard and I’m the biggest dog in it. All of a sudden people were emailing me with ‘Dear Big Dog…’ Let’s be honest, photography is too politically correct these days. People are craving something a bit more rock and roll.”

So there we have it: the Olympus OM-D — a classic that rocks.

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