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:

***

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 Phoenix Gauntlets" Collaboration: Part 1

There are just a few things that have kept my fascination since my childhood - one is (as you might know when reading my blog) my obsession with armor and swords. I have little knowledge about it but I just like it all. Kinda like most of my geeky & weird obsessions - I can’t explain it, they just crept into my head and made it their cozy home and it has given me tons of fun adventures.

Throwback to like, almost 10 years ago and the moment I discovered the work of Lumecluster - an US based allround master of her craft that is equally as obsessed (but with a hell more knowledge) with armor and all that good stuff. I lowkey kuch stalked her for years - until she somehow found me, followed me back (cue my fangirling) and we got to talk to another (cue more fangirling until the end of this blog) about two years ago. She’s been creating some insane stuff for years already prior to this - her masks started in 2014 and she “only picked up” armor around 2016. I highly recommend checking her website out to see a ton more work she has done, as it’s too much to talk about: “Lumecluster: Where dreamers find courage” !

She invited me to - what would become an almost two year - collaborative project where I would be invited to capture her newest project: the Phoenix Armore. Once she was comfortable sending me her work to photograph and capture - I would be able to do so, if I wanted of course. Needlessy to say, I was freaking hyped and couldn’t say yes quick enough. Which also tested me in my limits of “non-disclore-verbal-agreement” as I was not allowed to talk about anything just yet. For. So. Long. This is actually my very first real public announcement, together with some overhyped videos on my own profile on Facebook and a quick livestream on Instagram just now - so you go figure HOW MUCH I wanted to share this!

But today is the day and today I can finally share more about it. While I won’t showcase or tell just yet what entire project I’ve planned in collaboration with her (where she also basically gave me free reign to do anything I wanted within her concept) - I will be sharing some exquisite insights in the work I will be shooting. I must stress these are not my images and I gently borrowed these from her website and blog, which I highly recommend checking out and giving it a read as it tells a hella lot more about it all - + you can even see Adam Savage himself putting it to the test :)

The two pieces I own here are both “small” - and when putting them on I could immediately feel how much love and research went into it. Not just the gauntlets on itself - but even the gloves. What I thought where first 2 sizes (small & medium) turned out to be two times a small. And all puns intended - the second prototype felt like a glove, even being a bit on the tiny side for my big lady hands! They’re super comfortable and they work with touchscreens. How about that …

The devil is in the detail and I’m pretty sure Lumecluster has been doing a lot of exorcism to get it out there - I’m incredibly humbled to be part of such an amazing project and to continue working with her on this. There is a 3rd pair in the make (one I will commission) - so I’m incredibly looking forward to see the beauty that will be the final piece. While I don’t think it could get any better after the second prototype, I’m sure Lumecluster will do just that …

The “Phoenix Gauntlets” by Lumecluster - 3D printed iridescent armor gauntlets to suit any shieldmaiden or warrior out there who wants to stand out and don’t compensate the fantasy for reality and the reality for fantasy.

The “Phoenix Gauntlets” by Lumecluster - 3D printed iridescent armor gauntlets to suit any shieldmaiden or warrior out there who wants to stand out and don’t compensate the fantasy for reality and the reality for fantasy.

So about the gauntlets: I received two pairs. One is the golden set (shown above) which is one of her earlier prototypes and a costum-colored pair featuring a gorgeous teal and purple color theme - close to the purple & blue one shown here yet different and striking in it’s own way!

As Lumecluster is a perfectionist, one could barely see a difference at first sight. While the gold has been worn a bit and shows some imperfections (I absolutely love as they tell a new story) - the new set is pure iridescent colorgasms and I’m living for it!

When I got the box, I eagerly unpacked all the pieces. Because that’s the best part: they’re not just gauntlets. They’re MODULAR - which means they’re detachable from another and can be worn in a variety of ways: you want to go casual? Don’t wear the wrist-piece. Feeling elvish? Casually attach one of your two options and become an elf. Feeling the need to steal the show? Get the other set, turn out your led-lights and literally shine your way into reality. Not feeling warrior on a certain day? Just wear the wrist-pieces on their own. Subtile and elegant? Take your pick. Want to show off? Turn on your leds!

It’s awesome. I’m a sucker for versatility, as I LOVE re-using pieces in my sessions. She literally gave me so many options now and I can’t wait to show what I’ve been cooking up with that. The following projects are also all dedicated to showcase their assembled and individual beauty - so stay tuned for sure if you want to see some serious action!

LumeclusterPhoenixGauntet_ALL.jpg