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


Generation XV-III (After Utopia: Cyberpunk)

“Generation XV-III” is one of my blogs for GenNEXT broncolor from my series new sci-fi inspired series “After Utopia: Cyberpunk” - shot with my dear Shienra and a whole lot of improvisation, I created this bold and colorful set I am absolutely and madly in love with. To read all about it, you have to follow this link to the GenNEXT broncolor blog! For this one here, I just want to share this whole and awesome series I am so incredibly happy with and some words on what’s going on in this brain of mine:

About this though: Working on this new (short) series is such an awesome breath of fresh air for me. I absolutely loved shooting all these fantasy themes - especially anything related to my “Arcadia” series but after almost three years of knights and armor (a lot of personal work and a ton of professional & paid commissions) & 10 years of the fantasy genre overall (I feel old hahaha) I want to change up my game and try all the new things out there that have for long inspired me.

It feels kind of weird to break my “public routine” and what I share on here and my social media, but my interest has been shifting for a while and I was becoming unhappy with only being booked for a certain, small niche. You know, there is so much out there to get inspired by and to create projects and series about. Social media had pressured me for a while into only sharing what gave the most likes and honestly, I’m still struggling with this. But I’m also becoming aware of that “social pressure” and day by day and I’m learning to let it go. In the end, this one did not become a freelancer to feel like she’s in another 9-to-5 job, as scary as it may be to take those steps into the unknown.

Onwards we go. I’m still down to shoot all the knights and shieldmaidens. But I want to get all the sci-fi babes and cyborgs as well. And maybe some traditional portraiture in between. I want to create all kind of worlds and I am down for anything right now!


Credits

Model - Shienra
Styling - Me & Shienra
Photography & Retouch - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan’s Art

Gear

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm 1.4
broncolor Siros 800 l
broncolor Move 1200
broncolor 2 MobiLeds
broncolor modifiers: Octabox , Stripbox, P45 with grid

Retouching

Overall colour toning and post-processing happened in Capture One Pro. Cleaning, color refining and adding “neon” elements happened in Photoshop

* Click images to enlarge *


Shooting sets like this in a small space working as photography studio it’s always a challenge to make things work - but it’s not impossible. Sure the glamour side of it looks a bit cramped and I was in the middle of half sorting out the space again, so my apologies for the chaos that is this behind the scene! It did turn out pretty awesome if I may say so myself ;)

Stars & Blossoms

Between Stars & Blossoms

Could you set up a shoot in less then 12 hours? I thought I would put it to the test again and give it a go! I’m incredibly blessed to have an awesome inner squad who’s always down for those crazy ideas I have and usually need to happen asap. Partially because I can rarely wait but because this time: those gorgeous blossoms wouldn’t bloom much longer. Cue some sirens, my lack of keeping track of seasons always end up rushing shoots because flowers don’t wait for my lack of preparations. I had a blast though and I had some lovely people on set!

For this shoot I decided to take out my (temporarily) retired “Starry” - this gorgeous dress by Alice Corsets I saved up a long time for and had in my possession since last summer somewhere. I just wanted some really ethereal and beautiful with a contract against the pink flowers. I was lucky to have Saartje on set for this and this beautiful white wig from Websterwigs to bring in that final touch to finish the look.

This set was shot a few months back now I think and I was still heavily experimenting with using artificial light on location - so this was one of those trial and errors and making it happen times! I enjoyed it a lot though. For the first set I used a light pink set to enhance the colors of the flowers a bit, for the second I decided to go for a deep purple and saturate the colors in post-processing. The first set I was more inspired by these vintage postcards so I made everything just more muted and soft.

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Credits

Model - Lady Louiza
Corset & Cloak - Alice Corsets
Makeup - Saartje Van Den Haute
Halo - Honey & Ember
Photography - Laura Sheridan / Studio Sheridan's Art

Gear

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm 1.4
broncolor Siros 800 L
Modifier: broncolor softbox 60x100 cm

Retouching

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

Here are some quick behind the scenes I made:

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.

Battle Fairies: Aelesia the Harbinger

Battle Fairies: Aelesia The Harbinger
- Behind The Scenes -

Can you organise a kick-ass shoot in less in just a few hours for the day after? I had this situation many times by now but every single time it’s like a little gamble, even though the worst that can happen is that you don’t have the results you where hoping for but still had a good time just hanging out with likeminded, crazy creative people … It may also result in some of those “this is it” moments. For me, this is one of those.

I came from a meeting for the spring shoot for Historische Huizen Gent when I passed by the park where I saw these gorgeous trees with the blossoms in full bloom. And as my brain works, I realised in that split second I needed to shoot something cool there. I immediately went to my Riddersquad group on Facebook (an inside joke that became a thing, it’s basically where I post all my calls for my regular team members when I got a random idea) and asked who was down getting dresed up in armor, wings and pretty dresses.

My first response was Lady Louiza and Saartje Van Den Haute who where both free for the afternoon - followed by My Fragility who coincidentally was at the hairdressers to get her hair dyed pink. If that isn’t the universe doing it’s magick, I don’t know what is …

Since I know My Fragility is one of my badass chicks, I decided to give her one of my long-term ideas which I lovingly call my “Battle Fairies” as in my head it just sounded pretty damn awesome. As usual I had 0 ideas how it would turn out for real on set … but in all it’s unfunctional glory - it turned out pretty damn awesome. There is something cool about the delicate nature of the flowers and a flowy white dress worn by this petite pink haired model with fairy wings & this upper body set of armor.

The set-up of our first set. We started shooting in the later afternoon, just before the golden hour.

Credits

Model - My Fragility
Makeup - My Fragility & Saartje Van Den Haute
Assistance - Lady Louiza & Saartje
Dress - Vintage
Armor - Mytholon
Wings - Hellofaerie

Gear

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 50mm 1.4
broncolor siros 800
Softbox 60x100
an Ikea chair.

Our second set-up. We shot in the later afternoon, with the golden hour slowly setting in.

Our second set-up. We shot in the later afternoon, with the golden hour slowly setting in.

For the sets I decided to bring one of my broncolor lamps, which is the siros 800 and a regular softbox (60x100 cm) - because it’s such an easy and functional piece I knew I could more easily practice and see what would happen. Working with artificial light is still fairly new to me but I really feel I’m getting the hang of it: it’s a pretty awesome and versatile way of working, which also works incredibly well in my style of photography because it feels much more cinematographic. Maybe it is because I’ve been doing almost only studio for 3 or 4 years up until now - I just feel it “clicks” together. Especially because I wanted a lot of color: I decided to use a teal colorgel for the first set: this would complement the pink flowers and her hair and give some colorful depth to my images. I knew the wings (who are more towards a pink/red/black shade) where also pretty reflective so that helped to really bring everything together.

For the second set I wanted a more monochrome color theme, so I switched to a pink gel (which I also used for the b/w set). It’s a different approach and my heart lies most with the colorgasms that the first set is - but I can definitely see a lot of potential in this approach and I really want to try out more of this.

Some more practical stuff is: because I always try to avoid any disturbances to my location and set I’m working on and at the same time, also want to avoid any composing and/or altering my work; I had to diy and wing it a bit. I have a deep love and respect for any composite artists out there - but it’s just not my thing at all. So I brought one of my posing chairs and asked my model to stand on it (usually where there was a gap between the branches), bringing her high up in the flowers without any alterations to my location. It also allowed for some gorgeous angles from my side, which was an extra plus.