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 :)

The Dirty Playground

The Dirty Playground

About trying to shoot in the rain and ending up playing in pools

ChloeWater2.jpg

I’ve been wanting to shoot in the rain again for ages - but it’s just something I never got around too despite the belgian weather being ever changing and mostly pretty grey. So we had this great idea eventually to track the rain for two days, plan out everything to be out on set at 6am as it was raining like crazy the days before … Only to end up with some drops and nothing else. So far our idea. And not only that: we found the road being under construction so we couldn’t get to our location as well - which was this very industrial, abandoned looking place on the road.

Just when we wanted to turn around and find a different route, I saw this empty looking industrial terrain with this giant pool and bunches of trash and dirt. And somehow, it clicked in my brain. We decided to shoot right there and then in the water. We didn’t get the rain we hoped for but we sure had some water to play with. Improvise, adapt, overcome. That’s the fun part about being able to create without pressure or expectations from clients.

This entire set was pretty much for out of my comfort zone, both aesthetic and location - but also as I was very unfamiliar with the modifier I was using: the broncolor p45 with a grid (on a siros 800 l). But that was and still is my intention these days: stagnation is a creativity killer and won’t make you grow as artist. I realised that if I wanted to get better at my craft, I need to do everything that I usually don’t do. And I ended up having the time of my life honestly with it! I really love the results and it may not be something I do a lot as my heart lies with studio still - this shoot has inspired an upcoming GenNEXT blog I am DYING to share - all thanks because I tried out that p45 modifier.


Credits

Model - Chloë
Styling - Me & Chloë
Assistance - Sofie from Cosblossoms
Photography & retouch - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art

Gear used

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm 1.4
broncolor Siros 800l
Modifier: P45 with a honeycomb grid

Retouching

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

Royal Black Couture X Tinotenda

There are collabs. And there are these “universes aligned for the greater good” moments. This entire shoot was more of the second actually! After following / admiring the amazing Tinotenda for a long time, I finally had the opportunity to work with her a few weeks back, together with my favorite corset designer out there “Royal Black Couture”. Actually it’s thanks to this lovely and talented lady that this came to life so I got to give her a massive thank you for her endless support and bringing us together for this amazing project.

We (Royal Black & I) both felt very much drawn to expanding our portfolios for a long time now and how we represent our work with more representation and diversity within our models (or the lack off) - something we talked about that in the summer of 2018. And while we haven’t done everything we had in mind just yet, I must say this was some serious way to start with our plans and I hope this is only just the beginning. I’m incredibly grateful to be able to work towards this with such talented people who have the same feelings and I am so stoked to share the full set with you all right now! Because it’s a lot. Mostly because I had about 0% work on each shot because of Tino is an amazing model, the lights just “clicked” that day immediately and there is the craftmanship that Royal Black delivers so … my job was pretty damn easy that day.

We shot two beautiful designs that day, one red-on-red; enhancing her skin color and hair. The other is shot on a dark grey backdrop with gels for a more muted yet contrasted vibe with some colorgels to bring in that touch of color I absolutely love in my work. We wanted some editorial vibes to break down the fantasy aspect without losing our aesthetics as team.

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Hope you enjoy these pieces! If you’re a designer looking for images like this, get in touch with me and I will happily work out your own story for your brand and designs!


Credits

Model & Makeup - Tinotenda
Couture Ensembles - Royal Black Couture
Photography & Post-Processing: Studio Sheridan’s Art / Laura Sheridan

Edited in Capture One Pro & Adobe Photoshop
Lights by broncolor

TinoRoses3.jpg
TinoRoseSit3.jpg

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.

How it was lit: Wynvyre (part 2)

In my previous blog I shared the first part of this session I shot with some of my favorite people - while my original intent was to work with just one light on set; I found myself incredibly inspired by how everything came together and I wanted to try something I wanted to do and try for a while: how does light (the absence) of light affect a shoot when shooting the exact same concept and styling? How does color changes the mood? And what would happen if we add more lights to enhance details in hair and make-up?

This session was perfect for it - as it had a beatiful hairstyling by Eline that would look incredible when using some backlit light; with also the red of the dress being an amazing combination with teal, my favorite kind of colorgel to use. While our first set was a minimum set-up of only using one broncolor light and an octabox; I’ve used almost my entire set of lamps for the following session: a siros 800 with a softlight reflector, my picolight with a fresnel and the move 1200 l with the octabox. I also changed the backdrop from dark grey to black - as I wanted just a minimum of “color bleeding” to distract from my subject. Lastly I kept the reflector on the right to ensure there wouldn’t be too many deep shadows.

It’s a set-up I never tried before - but I really loved how it all came together, better than I had anticipated in advance actually: I decided to use my picolight with fresnel on the left as the main highlight point of my image - giving just a little bit more strength so it would draw our eyes first there. Because broncolor their gear allow me to go even a tenth of the strenght, I could really work it in detail how much I needed, while equally doing the same on the other side to ensuring that my softlight reflector would give enough strength without dominating the scene. I wanted both lights to give a backlit feel in the hair and give a beautiful rimlight on her face and body.

To compensate the mostly backlit set, I used the octabox to fill in the remaining of the portrait I was taking - as I still wanted all the details of the make-up, hair and and styling to be clearly seen.

In post-processing I only enhanced the colors, mostly the red and teal, finished with some minor dodge and burn and cleaning up some distractions. For this capture one pro has been a massive gamechanger as I’m able to work much more in depth with my color work without affecting the quality of my images.


Want to read more about part 1? You can find my first blog where I shot the same set with just one light and a reflector by clicking the link!

LucyWarrior10.jpg

Gear I’ve used

broncolor move 1200L + octabox
broncolor picolight + fresnel attachment
broncolr siros 800 L + softlight reflector p
Giant white reflector

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

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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

Light Diagram

Made with the light Diagram Creator

Made with the light Diagram Creator