A dress fit for my warrior queen

I have a lowkey obsession with the designs from Fairytas, a Netherlands based designer who is specialising in fantasy couture. Over the time we got in touch with another and I’ve had the pleasure of working with her on a variety of personal projects since then. When I reached out to her for a project, she offered me probably one of my most favorite designs I have ever worked with in my ten years of doing this: this gorgeous red and gold set, fit for a queen straight out of the Seven Kingdoms and universes beyond where warrior queens and shieldmaidens rule the earth.

I knew when I saw it I also had to use it for my “Arcadia” series and some bits and pieces in between. Forever inspired that I am and making time for “just one more concept”. Who needs sleep anyway when you can shoot epic designs right?

For this I reached out to my muse and dear friend, Mara (Illyria Okami) - with who I had discussed already that one day we had to do our iconic “Supremacy” image again - for the Arcadia series as well. It kind of escalated from there on in shooting for my “The Eden Project” (<—- nsfw link) and since I had this new, beautiful backdrop I decided I needed some tests on that as well. Since I know Mara pretty well, we ended up shooting all of this fairly quickly. Editing also went as a breeze and that’s how I ended up with a ton of images again I want to share on this blog with all of you today!


Credits

Model - Illyria Okami
Costume (corset, skirt & cloak) - Fairytas
Armor - Mytholon
Circlet - Ayalgas
Photography & Edit - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art


Gear & Post-processing

Everything is shot with broncolor. Mostly my siros 800 with an octabox and for the single (last) shoot I used a small stripbox to add that blue light as a contrast. I also used a giant reflector for the darker parts of each session to just bring in a bit of light and detail.

Most editing happened in Capture One Pro. Photoshop was used for any graphical elements, cleaning up the image, adding texture and minor clean-up.

Everything is shot with a Canon 5D Mark III with a 50mm 1.4


A 3 Year Photography Project: What I learned

A Photography Project: 3 years of shooting Royals, Knights & Shieldmaidens.

How making childhood daydreams come true turned into my business. Here are 6 things I have learned from it.

There it is: I have officially decided to end my longest running series called “Arcadia” after shooting three years for it. Not only was “Arcadia” a childhood dream come true, in a full platinum 100% achieved vibe but it also kind of launched my entire business actually. It has brought me a lot of traffic, clients worldwide decided to book me for it and I started working on a freelance base for the company where I bought my armor for the first time - this summer in august I’m in Germany for two days to shoot for their catalogue and I’m stoked!

But what does one learn from working on a series for the next three years? I thought I would share some of my insights with all of you because this “Arcadia” series pretty much changed my entire life:

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1. Follow your dreams

So this is something that’s said often but in this case it really was: ever since I was a little kid I was obsessed with anything armor, swords and weapons. I was never really allowed to have any (we used to make them though, with nails through sticks, inspired by the game Age of Empire). It took me a long, long time and a really big impulsive purchase when I decided to buy a set of armor from Mytholon and asked Mara to model it for me in the studio. I was around 26 and just a few weeks into being a full-time artist and photographer in my own studio.

2. Make that crazy purchase if necessary, even if you’re being hold back
(but first, make sure you got that rent covered)

Back then, chasing that dream was an expensive purchase I kept quiet about as I néver did anything like it and I valued my life a bit, since my parents where (rightfully) protecting me from making financial mistakes. I did accidentally spill the news when we where driving to the sea for a weekend. I never saw my mom turn around and look at me with that intense stare only moms have … and turn back after a long silence with a face of “you know, let’s just Laura do her thing” . So there was that. I survived that.

Did I regret it? Yeah. Way before I spilled the news and way after too. But did it feel kind of badass? Hell yeah: I had a SET OF ARMOR. Childhood dreamgoal completed.

3. Give it your everything

Kind of like number 2, but when I had the armor and I shot THE shoot that became “Supremacy” - one of my most iconic shoots up to this date - I knew it was something new. Something that was “me” and I wanted to create, something that would change. I decided right there and then on set this would become a series. We would see how I would finance that you know. Problems for later. It felt awesome. I edited it to it’s finest details. I posted it online and it became kind of history there immediately. I set up new shoots immediately and channeled all these ideas I had cropped up inside. I was always kind of super obsessed with the Arthurian tales, the book “Mists of Avalon”, Celtic mythology and warriors. Combine that with a lifelong gaming obsession and there you where: inspiration and visuals collided into one.

4. You néver know how a ball will roll

The key to this is: credit. I always credit everyone. Even if I have purchased a piece. Partially because I don’t really hold secrets on my sources of wardrobe and clothing. A lot also has to do with me working with independent designers and I don’t lie awake of giving them some traffic through my work on my own channels (I do not let them use my work for free though on their channels but thats another topic). But also you may néver know how “a ball will roll” as my dad likes to say: Mytholon, the company I bought my armor from, found my work after I credited them in my work. I’m going to Germany in August to shoot the 3rd catalogue commission for them and there have been various other projects and they licensed work of mine for their business.

5. Trademark turned into jobs

Also unintentionally, but awesome in a way: it became a trademark style of mine. One that I got booked for plenty of times. Clients from literally all over the world came to my studio to channel their inner warrior queens and kings as the series so deeply reasonated with them. Also mentioned in number 4, it also brought various commissions, licensing and opportunities. Directly by the company I bought from but also from other companies and independent businesseso out there. Basically a niche turned profiteable!

6. Practice makes perfection

Since it’s such a distinctive style and genre: I had a great amount of fun but also challenge with this because I was forced in a way to stay within my genre, reinventing myself using the same techniques, costumes, props, post-processing techniques and additions like fire sparks, smoke and snow. It learned me to work cohesive, even thought the entire project was three years - and learned me to put an end to it because my aesthetics had changed too much eventually, helping me understand my own aesthetics and style. The good side of this is that I have an amazing collection of images that originally took me various hours to finish and I can do now between 20 to 45 minutes. I understand the process behind my work and can more easily recreate within this genre, if the commission ever arises, delivering a great final product my clients will enjoy.

“Supremacy” - the first “Arcadia” and up to date, one of my most iconic shots. Also the shoot that kicked off this project. I use this image for a variety of projects and promotion as it’s “commercial” enough to be used in a public setting while being a great introduction for anything more “out of the ordinary” . There is also a huge source of interest for this in light of recent trends and honestly: Mara (the model) has that face you simply don’t ever get tired from. Living muse this one for me.

“Supremacy” - the first “Arcadia” and up to date, one of my most iconic shots. Also the shoot that kicked off this project. I use this image for a variety of projects and promotion as it’s “commercial” enough to be used in a public setting while being a great introduction for anything more “out of the ordinary” . There is also a huge source of interest for this in light of recent trends and honestly: Mara (the model) has that face you simply don’t ever get tired from. Living muse this one for me.


Want to see more?

Find the entire “Arcadia” series here.

Want to own a Fine Art piece of this series?

Some of them have been listed in my store .
Can’t find the one you want? Just send me a request and I will see what I can do!

Want to learn how I made these images yourself from start to finish?

I’ve made a(n online) class specifically for this genre and trademark style I do. You can book yours now by contacting me on the 1-on-1 class page (form below) or directly by mailing me at contact@sheridansart.com

Need new content for your business?

Are you looking for work similar to this for your next book or music cover? Or you have a LARP business in need of some eye-catching badass promo images? Or you want to license an existing one?
Just get in touch and we will work something out!


This one has been in my weekly top images on Pinterest, racking up thousands of views every week and traffic to my website.

This one has been in my weekly top images on Pinterest, racking up thousands of views every week and traffic to my website.

“Eye Of The Storm” has been one of my most well-know pieces out of this series: it’s been licensed but also has been used a source of inspiration for private fine art portraiture sessions by clients worldwide.

“Eye Of The Storm” has been one of my most well-know pieces out of this series: it’s been licensed but also has been used a source of inspiration for private fine art portraiture sessions by clients worldwide.

This image was licensed for a bookcover, after being found on Pinterest after looking for a potential image. He decided my work was the best fit for it and left it like it is.

This image was licensed for a bookcover, after being found on Pinterest after looking for a potential image. He decided my work was the best fit for it and left it like it is.


The Silver Spine & Baroque Bodies (NSFW/Nudity)

The Silver Spine & Baroque Bodies

Working with Ivory Flame has always been a big dream of mine - which came true (just) a year ago where we created some of my favorite images still to date. We spoke about working again somewhere in 2018 when she would be in Belgium maybe, but our schedules didn’t really align for her or me, so we where just waiting for a better time. Until Ivory Flame saw that I had again some of the amazing masterpieces of Eero Hintsanen here in my studio which I was going to shoot. Over Instagram she got in touch with me asking if we could work something out and I guess - needlessy to say - I was really and totally up for that without a question! So she decided to literally hop over from the Netherlands for just a few hours of creative work.

These days I rather only work with people who really understand what I’m going but also have their own vision and aesthetic of the process and this is one of those shoots. We had less than 2 hours that day, as the train got delayed and she had to catch her last train back to the Netherlands for a really awesome shoot with Nona Limmen the day after so it was a very quick shoot with very little preparation. We did go over some ideas as we both wanted to shoot it nude and use the human body as a(n almost abstract) canvas. But I also wanted to use some of my favorite colorgels to enhance the beautiful designs Ivory Flame brought with her from the equally amazing designer Emiah.

I kind of really love short, powerful sessions like this. It doesn’t leave time to mess up and at the same time it’s a whirlwind of creative energy with some supertalented people. We ended up creating these baroque inspired images featuring curves, dramatic light and the fine art nude I love so much but also these almost fantasy-wisp vibes with flowing robes.

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Credits

Model - Ivory Flame
Jewelry - Eero Hintsanen
Lingerie & Peignoir - Emiah

Lights provided by broncolor
Edited in Capture One Pro & Photoshop

From our very first shoot, I never shared these but I hope you will enjoy a little throwback nonetheless! Featuring work from my Arcadia series: with all the armor, redheads wielding swords and being epic - but also some kaleidoscope and fractal work. And Eden Project, basically everything I’ve been working on for a while and which I’m still working on to this date.

Credits

Model - Ivory Flame
Heart Necklace - Madonna Enchanted
Collar - Monarque Jewels
Black Lingerie Set - Emiah
(Cathedral) Halo - Hysteria Machine
Armor - Mytholon