The Witching Hour

“The Witching Hour”

Shooting at a 12th Century Abbey & it’s gardens

What happens if you live an hour from a 12th century abbey? You shoot there. A lot. It’s one of my all-time favorite locations and I actually got more sets planned, yet again.

But first: let me give you some history! The abbey of Villers-la-Ville: it’s an open air museum/monument of an abbey that started being build in the 12th century and was completed 100 years later. It has a rich history and I highly recommend visiting it if you ever have the chance.

On a previous shoot when I had some time over I decided to take photos of the surroundings in the abbey itself to see if there were any other angles I could work at. For a while already I had another idea I thought I could combine so I wanted to have something visual to refer to when working on the concepts in advance.

Fast forward to a few weeks back and I got in touch with Fine Art Backdrops, who created some gorgeous hand painted backdrops. I ended up getting two amazing sets sponsored (and becoming one of their ambassadors!) and I knew this was the moment to set things in motion:

I’m mostly a studio photographer but as artist and professional I always want to keep challenging myself to try out new things – one of those is a concept that intrigued me for a few years now, which is using backdrops on location and shooting with the scenery around it. And there was no better spot to try this out than at the abbey.

I reached out to some of my favorite people to ask if I could borrow styling and both Church Of Sanctus send me almost their entire new “Poseideia” collection and Eero Hintsanen was so kind to send me three of his designs, including his retired longer-then-life-spine necklace. After posting in my model’s group, I got a ton of response and I set out with one of those badass teams to create magic.

But as one do … rookie mistakes happen still: I realised I didn’t check if there where any concerts planned for a longer period of time, something that happens a lot in the summer season there and I found myself with a huge stage in the middle of the part of the abbey I wanted to shoot, blocking nearly every location I had. I quickly improvised and decided to shoot with my Canon 24-70 lens so I could capture as much as possible from the surroundings and go to the gardens after, which where in full bloom and gave an amazing scenery.

Originally, this blog was intended to be to showcase the entire collection with these awesome models and designers involved – but when processing the files, I realised that a specific set stood out. After long consideration, trying out various ways to process it and finally realising I couldn’t combine them – I decided to pick the one set that stood out. Jasmijn – who goes by the model name My Fragility – and I have been working for 10 years together and there is always this chemistry between us where I just let her do her thing and I capture what happens. It’s awesome and this was no exception.

JasmijnGarden1.jpg

Credits

Model - My Fragility
Styling - Church Of Sanctus
Jewelry - Eero Hintsanen
Backdrop - Fine Art Backdrops
Photography & Retouch - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art

Gear

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm 1.4 & Canon 24-70mm 4.0
broncolor Siros 800 l
broncolor Softbox 60x100

Retouching

Overall colour toning and post-processing happened in
Capture One Pro. Cleaning & final toning happened in Photoshop.


Since I had only very limited time to shoot these, I couldn’t do everything I wanted as the sun was at it’s highest and was peaking through the “windows” . I wanted to capture as much of the backlight and sunbeams as possible so I had to work quickly. For this I used my trusted Siros 800 with a single softbox (60cm x 100cm) to bring in the fill light for both the set in the abbey as outside in the garden. Everything is shot in HS so I could keep the aperture as low as possible so I would get a soft, hazed background so my model would stand out and I would capture as much of the light as possible. The Siros is an absolute beast and I take it everywhere with me, even if I intend to shoot with natural light only. With this it was absolutely necessary as I wouldn’t be able to get a gorgeous light on her that still works beautifully with the natural light to not overpower it.

* Click images to enlarge *

When working in the garden, I switched to a canon 50mm 1.4 lens and kept my settings the same: shooting at an aperture of 1.4 to 2.2 to get this bokeh backdrop. To ensure my images wouldn’t overexpose and become flat – I used the same softbox and my Siros 800 on HS for the entire series of images so my images wouldn’t become flat or overexposed. It also helped a lot to keep a near consistent setting in camera as the natural light was constantly changing due to the storm coming closer.


Some of the locations I scouted earlier - and my original plan. I still hope to shoot this soon! In a week or two I’m back there and I will see what the possibilities are so I can come back shortly after for more of this awesomness. STOKED! Any reason to go there is a good reason as it seriously never gets old.

And some behind the scenes. I have a second set coming up featuring my awesome team & more of the gorgeous designs by both Church of Sanctus and Eero, but that’s for the next blog :)

Ena - Inspired by Ophelia

“Ena”

Inspired by Ophelia and Preraphaelites

People always ask me where I get my inspiration from but honestly: it kind of just escalates and somehow I always end up finding the right locations and people. Call me the luckiest photographer on earth for knowing so many awesome people … This was one of those shoots:

I was working on a new story for the GenNEXT broncolor blog for august, so I reached out to some of my favorite people asking if I could pull any of their awesome designs. One of them is the amazing Eero Hintsanen who kindly borrowed me three of his designs yet again, including this awesome spine necklace I’ve been obsessed with for longest of times. Of course I knew I had to do something more (basically me organising as many shoots as possible …) with it and like many, the aesthetics and story of “Ophelia” deeply inspired me. While originally I had another story in mind involving water with the jewelry, when I heard Mara had a swimming pond I decided to turn things around and shoot there, creating this story with flowers and that slight touch of the macabre with the spine. I love bringing in these small details and I guess my love for the macabre and horror will always kind of creep in (no pun intended).

Also I think one can never go wrong with preraphaelite inspired things. I’ve been branching out a lot lately but this has been a forever love for me since the early days I started doing this. So I’m happy to share this with all of you! Hope you all enjoy it as much as I do.

Much kuddos to my berserk team and the people for having us in their pond!

MaraOphelia4.jpg

Credits

Model - Illyria Okami
Assistance - Chloë
Halo - Honey & Ember
Spine Necklace - Eero Hintsanen
Photography & Retouch - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art

Gear

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm 1.4
broncolor Siros 800 l
broncolor Softbox 60x100

Retouching

Overall colour toning and post-processing happened in
Capture One Pro. Cleaning & final toning happened in Photoshop.

* Click images to enlarge *

Our beautiful location we got to shoot in & a simple light set-up. I used a broncolor siros 800 l with a 60x100cm softbox. Currently my to-go-to setup as it’s so easy and versatile for any kind of shoot.

My models are freaking awesome for doing this. Here is Mara getting ready to go in the pool and Chloë being the assistant-in-peignoir for the second set.

Generation XV-III (After Utopia: Cyberpunk)

“Generation XV-III” is one of my blogs for GenNEXT broncolor from my series new sci-fi inspired series “After Utopia: Cyberpunk” - shot with my dear Shienra and a whole lot of improvisation, I created this bold and colorful set I am absolutely and madly in love with. To read all about it, you have to follow this link to the GenNEXT broncolor blog! For this one here, I just want to share this whole and awesome series I am so incredibly happy with and some words on what’s going on in this brain of mine:

About this though: Working on this new (short) series is such an awesome breath of fresh air for me. I absolutely loved shooting all these fantasy themes - especially anything related to my “Arcadia” series but after almost three years of knights and armor (a lot of personal work and a ton of professional & paid commissions) & 10 years of the fantasy genre overall (I feel old hahaha) I want to change up my game and try all the new things out there that have for long inspired me.

It feels kind of weird to break my “public routine” and what I share on here and my social media, but my interest has been shifting for a while and I was becoming unhappy with only being booked for a certain, small niche. You know, there is so much out there to get inspired by and to create projects and series about. Social media had pressured me for a while into only sharing what gave the most likes and honestly, I’m still struggling with this. But I’m also becoming aware of that “social pressure” and day by day and I’m learning to let it go. In the end, this one did not become a freelancer to feel like she’s in another 9-to-5 job, as scary as it may be to take those steps into the unknown.

Onwards we go. I’m still down to shoot all the knights and shieldmaidens. But I want to get all the sci-fi babes and cyborgs as well. And maybe some traditional portraiture in between. I want to create all kind of worlds and I am down for anything right now!


Credits

Model - Shienra
Styling - Me & Shienra
Photography & Retouch - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art

Gear

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm 1.4
broncolor Siros 800 l
broncolor Move 1200
broncolor 2 MobiLeds
broncolor modifiers: Octabox , Stripbox, P45 with grid

Retouching

Overall colour toning and post-processing happened in Capture One Pro. Cleaning, color refining and adding “neon” elements happened in Photoshop

* Click images to enlarge *


Shooting sets like this in a small space working as photography studio it’s always a challenge to make things work - but it’s not impossible. Sure the glamour side of it looks a bit cramped and I was in the middle of half sorting out the space again, so my apologies for the chaos that is this behind the scene! It did turn out pretty awesome if I may say so myself ;)

Stars & Blossoms

Between Stars & Blossoms

Could you set up a shoot in less then 12 hours? I thought I would put it to the test again and give it a go! I’m incredibly blessed to have an awesome inner squad who’s always down for those crazy ideas I have and usually need to happen asap. Partially because I can rarely wait but because this time: those gorgeous blossoms wouldn’t bloom much longer. Cue some sirens, my lack of keeping track of seasons always end up rushing shoots because flowers don’t wait for my lack of preparations. I had a blast though and I had some lovely people on set!

For this shoot I decided to take out my (temporarily) retired “Starry” - this gorgeous dress by Alice Corsets I saved up a long time for and had in my possession since last summer somewhere. I just wanted some really ethereal and beautiful with a contract against the pink flowers. I was lucky to have Saartje on set for this and this beautiful white wig from Websterwigs to bring in that final touch to finish the look.

This set was shot a few months back now I think and I was still heavily experimenting with using artificial light on location - so this was one of those trial and errors and making it happen times! I enjoyed it a lot though. For the first set I used a light pink set to enhance the colors of the flowers a bit, for the second I decided to go for a deep purple and saturate the colors in post-processing. The first set I was more inspired by these vintage postcards so I made everything just more muted and soft.

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Credits

Model - Lady Louiza
Corset & Cloak - Alice Corsets
Makeup - Saartje Van Den Haute
Halo - Honey & Ember
Photography - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan's Art

Gear

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm 1.4
broncolor Siros 800 L
Modifier: broncolor softbox 60x100 cm

Retouching

Raw post-processing was done in Capture One Pro
Final color toning, clean-up and alterations where done in Photoshop

Here are some quick behind the scenes I made:

50 Shades Of Summer

50 Shades Of Summer

A “sunglasses lookbook” inspired photoshoot

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*** This project is shot for the broncolor GenNEXT blog ***

I’ve been wanting to shoot a lookbook with sunglasses for a while – I always had some lowkey obsession with interesting looking sunglasses and I’ve been collecting them for the past ten years now. Since I’ve lately been feeling inspired by approaching my work in different themes and directions, I  wanted to dedicate this blog to one of those. Using artificial light on location is one of those and because it has become so incredibly easy to do with the Siros 800 – I’ve been taking any opportunity so far to practice in any light opportunity out there. With this shoot happening at noon – with what is considered one of those “worst natural light” conditions (or it used to be for me at least). Another motivation and inspiration behind this shoot is trying new themes – as I usually shoot  a lot of fantasy inspired work - and I had been collecting a lot of interesting styling in various second hand stores over the past year or two just for that purpose alone.

I asked my model, Saida, if she was down switching the concept of the shoot the evening before and go outside for it instead – which she happily agreed too and we met up in Antwerp city itself. My initial idea was to use a lot of interesting angles, capture the buildings in the backdrop and really give it an urban vibe. But when we went to the first location -  I saw there was a ferris wheel which served as an even better backdrop. After shooting the first set there, in the full sun – we decided to go to another location about 50 meters further as the weather was getting too warm for us to handle. Which ended up being even better than my first idea and we inspired on the spot on how to work it all out, resulting in the remaining results

For all of these I only used a single light, a siros 800 with a 60x100cm softbox , which is what allows me to work in almost any light situation – be it in the full sun like with the ferris wheel or as either a fill in light for the softer sets. Or even to create strong, dramatic light. It’s versatility is incredible awesome and allowed me to create a range of images that are pretty awesome, despite it being just a two-woman team on set where I had to take all creative direction on me. I did forgot my weights for the tripod so we had to slightly improvise to ensure my tripod wouldn’t trip.

Everything is shot in HS (high speed) as I prefer working with a wider aperture, with all of those being shot with a 50mm and an aperture from 1.4 to 1.8 , resulting in a beautiful bokeh in the background.


Shot on a 5D mark II with a 50mm 1.4
Lights used is by a broncolor 800 with a 60x100 cm softbox

Edited in Capture One Pro & Adobe Photoshop

SaidaFerris2.jpg

- Please click images to enlarge -

Some behind the scenes, including “Edward The Duck” we was hanging out with his ladyfriend “Eufrasie” (not pictured) with us for a while.