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 :)

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

***

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

The Silver Spine

There are a few things I really wanted to do this year as part of my resolutions and one of those was expanding my service and business. Especially now I’m pursuing photography as a full-time career for almost three years now - I’ve been blessed to work with some of the most talented people on this earth and to be able to capture their gorgeous designs. From armor to dresses to wearable art and jewelry, pretty much you name it and I photographed it on someone.

But I can’t sit still and I’m always looking how I can expand myself and my business - and the idea of starting to incorporate “non-human” photography in my work has been on my mind for ages. So at one restless evening I decided to put things in motion. A bit before I had bought a few sheets of plexi and a mirror for some concepts I had in mind for portraiture - and I decided to use it and my broncolor gear to see what would happen if I took this gorgeous spine design by Eero Hintsanen and capture it like I would do it when a model would wear it: the light had to be pretty much perfect. And it needed some color. And I wanted to showcase all the beautiful details.

Once I got started on it - I was actually surprised on how much fun I had with this. While I still have tons to learn about it - it doesn’t feel as different as to shooting with a person as it’s all about making a beautiful composition and capturing the work.

For the actual shooting I wanted to try a few things: because the spine has such a specific look I really wanted to incorporate color into this, as it felt very otherwordly and almost like a piece straight out of a science-fiction movie. I decided for a very high key set using teal for the shadows. With the other two I wanted to explore what it would give using only white light and a reflective surface, with the other going for a very dark and monochrome theme.

The most important part for me was to explore the things I saw into my head and how I would translate this - but with the broncolor gear and some quick thinking I am actually really happy with these first results!

Currently this is becoming a quick growing part of my business and I’m already working on a ton more sessions and product shoots - so stay tuned! Video is also high on my list and I’m very excited to dive back into that as well. Really excited to share it all with you soon.

Find the blog & light diagram about this shoot here:  Wynvyre - Part 1 .   The spine worn by Luce Del Sole - Hair & Makeup by Eline Deblauwe - Dress by Maria Heller Designs - Photography & Edit by Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art.

Find the blog & light diagram about this shoot here: Wynvyre - Part 1.

The spine worn by Luce Del Sole - Hair & Makeup by Eline Deblauwe - Dress by Maria Heller Designs - Photography & Edit by Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art.


“The Silver Spine”

Piece by Eero Hintsanen
Lights provided by broncolor
Photography & Edit by Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art

* Click images to enlarge *