Armor & Smoke

There are a few things I’ve been not so lowkey obsessed with for some years and that has been shooting a lot of concepts and stories fueled by inspiration that comes from armor, knights and shieldmaidens. It kinda kicked off with Arcadia; it turned into a second sister series called “Requiem” and here we are right now, fast forward to 2019; doing what I love most: causing some havoc.

For this set I got to thank my dear friend Erik, who both graciously let me work on his private land with the smoke bombs as well as offering his stronger smokebombs after I not-so-graciously forgot to check all weather conditions except wind. Which turned out to be pretty heavy that day and proved to be a bit of a challenge to control. But all by all: things turned out amazing!

This set was originally intended to be part of my broncolor GenNEXT program but after seeing the results on set I wasn’t completely satisfied - not due to technical matters; but simply because I had seen something far bigger in my head and I decided that this would just be a “little pre-study” ; one that seriously impressed and inspired me:

Shooting with popular elements like smoke bombs are easily repeated; Pinterest (and my moodboard) are full of awesome shots yet often touch on the same kind of approach, with the same goes for all “knight in the wood” themes. And while there is absolutely nothing wrong with that, I like to turn things around a bit, even just a little. For this I decided I would introduce a lot of color; partially because I absolutely love color and using this in my work but also as it’s not something I’ve seen done before a lot. For me there is something really inspiring about using some unusual elements and bringing these together and see it come to life in front of me. This here was no exception.

I shot this with both artificial light as natural; for a full run-down and explanation I will guide you to my Patreon where I cover the entire topic, light set-ups and some knowledge I picked up on the road. The lights I did use on set are from broncolor, both a siros 800 and my move 1200.


Credits

Model - Larp Vision
Assistence - Nzoye, Shienra, Maki & Erik
Armor - Mytholon

Lights - broncolor
Edited in Capture One Pro & Photoshop

RSmoke09.jpg

When we realised the smaller smoke bombs didnt work as good, Erik went for his red ones and we decided to make the best out of our waiting by shooting on the nearby field with the available natural light. I really like the simplicy of these yet their deep storytelling and have made me realise yet again that you don’t need a crazy amount of backdrop or set if you have a great costume and styling available (or vice versa, in other cases). Shienra was our amazing assistant who harnassed the cloak so the wind could really blow into it and create that amazing flow I was looking for.

How it was lit: Wynvyre (part 1)

For a while I’ve been wanting to back to my “roots”  - both technically and by my artistic visions. The fantasy genre as a whole has always deeply fascinated me and it lead me to shooting an entire (ongoing) series about it called “Arcadia” . But while I love elaborate costumes and people wearing armor, using a lot of practical effects in post-processing and really pushing myself with trying out new techniques – I felt I wanted to do something both “simple” with light as directly inspired by my oldest sources of inspiration: which is “high fantasy” – specifically I wanted to go for an elven queen.

For this I asked some of my favorite people to work with: Eline Deblauwe – who has been doing all of my hair & make-up in both my paid as personal work lately and Luce Del Sole as model. Both because I call her ‘my living elf’ for her grace and beauty, but also because she had the physique I was looking for. For styling I wanted to try and capture one of my favorite designs ever made by Maria Heller Designs – who has created a modern pre-raphaelite inspired gown. Lastly – we decided to give it one final touch by adding the silver spine necklace that Finnish designer Eero Hintsanen has send me to capture – which also became a very big influence in our visual styling.

We decided to give her loose braids, wrapped around her head – mimicking the spine but also creating a crown-kind-of-effect. For the colors, the most important part of my shoots usually: we had to consider working with some more difficult to combine colors: silver & gold. Her hair feels very “golden” and we had the gold ribbon on her dress – which kind of clashed with the silver spine, we decided to make the “warpaint” silver to tie everything visually together into a cohesive set.

Technically I decided to use  my to-go-to set-up I used for the past years: using a single octabox with a move 1200 l and a giant reflector on the opposite side to ensure I had some light to bring out the details on the shadow-side. A big change for me was not working on a black backdrop; but using a dark grey to make it a more muted yet deeply, rich color.


Find the second story of this shoot here: “Wynvyre - part 2” . Links will be updated once the new blog is released!

LucyWarrior3.jpg

Gear I’ve used

broncolor move 1200L
broncolor octabox
Giant white reflector

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 50mm 1.4
Edited in Capture One Pro & Photoshop

***

Credits Creative team

Model - Luce Del Sole
Makeup & Hair - Eline Deblauwe
Dress - Maria Heller designs
Spine Necklace - Eero Hintsanen
Photography & Retouch - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art

Want to read more about this shoot? You can find a more in-depth article exclusively on my Patreon from just the 5 dollar trier as well as tons of other content! Follow this link to the article if you want to find out more about my choices.

Made with the light Diagram Creator

Made with the light Diagram Creator

- Click the images to enlarge for the entire editorial -

How it was lit: Daughter Of The Moon

_U5B7552_1.jpg

“Daughter Of The Moon” is a new one of my ongoing series “Arcadia” and is introducing a new character, of which a follow-up story will follow in the time to come as her story is far from being told. Compared to my earlier work of this series, I’m slowly introducing some “bolder” pieces - straying away from a strict painterly style only featuring people in armor as the main theme - as this series evolves with my own evolution as artist and I want to be able to work on this series for a long time to come. I will never leave it behind, but I feel the variety will only allow for a richer fictional work and fantasy series as a whole.

I’m often asked “how I find my inspiration” but honestly it’s hard to pinpoint … for this one specifically I had one of these (for once not annoying) ads on my Instagram with these “moon sphere lights” . While very sceptic about the quality with these kind of things, for the price it was and the “photoshop might save the day” approach I decided to get one of the bigger sizes and just see what would happen when it arrived.

And honestly - I was pleasantly surprised! I’ve been unable to properly capture it when light with artificial light, but in-person its actually very beautiful! Maybe at one point I might use it for my “natural + artificial light v2.0 project” - but that’s for another time.

The idea to do something with a moon has been on my mind for a while now - maybe also because I wanted to do something with my beloved star dress again from “Alice Corsets” before I give it a little break from my personal work. I never really showed it as simple as I shot here, without the cloak and without any big headpieces or elaborate styling.

As I was so heavily inspired by using the moon (and nights in general) as inspiration I really wanted to work around deep and stronger shadows - without losing any of the details or depth. It took me a while to figure out - I really want to try another session with this in the future, being much more bright in approach and maybe adding in a few more colors as well.

As far as post-processing went: when working on it I decided to make the teal to a deep blue so it would beautifully merge together with the color of the corset; as lately I’m very drawn to deep, rich colors in a monochrome approach and color pallet. The rest was minor clean-up of the skin, color toning and dodge and burn. I wanted the images to stay very minimal and without distractions.


Gear I’ve used

broncolor siros 800 L
broncolor picolight + fresnel
Colorgel (teal)
Giant white reflector

Shot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 50mm 1.4
Edited in Capture One Pro & Photoshop

***

Credits Creative team

Model - Luce Del Sole
Makeup & Hair - Eline Deblauwe
Dress - Alice Corsets
Halo - Honey & Ember
Photography & Retouch - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art

Light Diagram

lighting-diagram-1547393769.png

A quick test before I called this session over was to see what would happen if I would use a second fill-light: for this I decided to use my octabox on the front left side to add in more light and remove most of the deep shadows that the softlight reflector gave. This gave a very soft light that I only edited slightly to fit to my visions. While I do like this set - compared to the earlier set it feels less “matching” to what I had visioned - so I only edited about two shots so far. I will definitely use this to create a different set in the future I’m currently working on already - featuring a more pastel, painterly vibe which will suit this light set-up much better I think.

*click on the images to enlarge*