Tips: Create A Fantastical, Photographical World

This year I became bored of doing, well, nothing with my photography. It’s not that I don’t enjoy doing family photos, senior photos, engagement photos, and the like…

…but what if I let my imagination run wild?

Sometimes when life gets the best of me, I turn to books and movies, so I can escape to magical and beautiful worlds. This year, I’ve decided to start creating worlds through photography and letting this practice become my reality.

Suddenly, I’m inspired by ideas of costume making, makeup, set design, lighting, camera work… The list goes on and on.

I’m no expert, but I’ve been having a great time and have been creating more than I knew I was capable of.

Here are a few tips I learned during a series of “fairy” photoshoots I created this year:

  1. Location is everything.
    Obviously, right? But seriously, pay attention to this one. What color is the world you’re creating? Do you want to be shrouded in shadow or blinded by light? Is it a barren wasteland or a mossy and bountiful forest? It’s almost like you’re writing a story with these photos.
    For the fairy-themed photos I did this summer, I went with green, bountiful, wild, and bright. I chose a space with plenty of trees, so I could play with lighting options and sort of use the holes in the tree canopy as spotlights.

    Ohhh, this lighting ❤
  2. Create a character.
    This might seem strange at first, but it really makes the process easier. I found myself a little lost in the first photoshoot I went into. Who is this fairy? What kind of fairy is she? Does she live in this forest? Is she hunting for something? What in the hell am I actually trying to do here?
    Creating a character helps answer a lot of questions and also magically gives you shot ideas to work with. (Or maybe that’s just the fairy dust.)
    For my second shoot, we decided to go with “dark elf,” and we created some scenarios to play with. When you have a plot to work around, it’s also easier for the model to think of specific ideas and poses.

    Who are you hiding from?
  3. Props
    I have a love/hate relationship with props. What I have learned is that they are useful if they are actually helping the story. Otherwise they can just seem tacky and unnecessary. One of my fairies was gathering wildflowers and herbs to take home, so she carried a basket. My dark elf was on the run from her family, so she created makeshift homes throughout her forest adventures. For her photoshoot, we used a mirror tied to the tree with ribbon. Use what inspires you, but don’t overdo it.

    This mirror lives in my bedroom now.
  4. Having someone who is good at makeup/hair helps.
    I, however, am not that person. For my first shoot, I had a friend who happens to be a makeup expert help me out. She did a fantastic job with the natural but sparkly look I was hoping for. I even took her along on the shoot, and she was wayyyy better than me at noticing if something was going wrong with the model’s appearance. We made a solid team!

    Breathtaking, darling.
  5. Enjoy yourself. 
    If you’re just doing this as a fun project for your own personal growth (like I did), then actually have FUN with it. What a concept, eh? I am known to get myself worked up or nervous for photoshoots because I want to get the best product possible. But unless I loosen up a bit and have a good time, it’s hard to do that. Get creative, and let your brain have its playtime.

    Well, that’s all, folks. I hope someone out there dug up a little bit of inspiration from this post! Photographer peeps – what are you guys working on? Any new projects that are tickling your fancy? Comment below! I’d love to hear about it.

    Also, follow me on Facebook if you’re looking for more photos and tidbits of my work.

    Until next time.

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