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.
Working with less equipment is always a fun challenge as you have little room to “cheat” – if your lights or the reflector is placed incorrectly – it could create unflattering shadows and while placed correctly – it could create a beautiful and in this case, painterly kind of look. As usual I’m always pretty strict on having everything shot as good as possible in camera as I see post-processing as a final touch on my images, so I’m really happy with how these turned out.
Gear I’ve used
broncolor Move 1200L
Giant white reflector
Shot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a 50mm 1.4
Edited in Capture One Pro & Photoshop