By Jennifer Werner McCarren on | No Comments
All images in this tutorial were edited with the Fairyland Overlays and Actions Collection
Standard photography sessions can be a lot of fun. Still, sometimes it's helpful to break out of your norm to inspire yourself creatively - so why not take it to the next level and embrace the magic that can happen with a fantasy photography session!
Fantasy Portraits are a fun and relatively unique photography niche. I really enjoy setting up, shooting, and editing a fantasy photo session, and so do my clients! But I have learned that CAREFUL PLANNING is required to maximize success!
One of my favorite fantasy photoshoots revolves around a child fairy theme - what’s more magical than a little fairy in the forest?
When photographing children, I take every opportunity to make them feel special! There’s something so extraordinary about a child’s face when they know that their time being photographed is wholly dedicated to them and that we will be making beautiful and magical images together.
Follow these three tips to ensure success!
The most important part of creating magical images is envisioning what your finished photos will look like. You then can use your location, costumes, posing, and processing to bring your vision to life.
In order to create your vision, you have to imagine the correct location, coordinate the proper outfits and accessories, and direct proper posing to ensure that any planned Photoshop effects will work and look good in post-processing.
I like to create a quick sketch of my ideas, even if it's only a stick person in the woods. When imagining your location, think about places you are familiar with that have a whimsical or magical feel. A pond or forest location are great places to start. Or, maybe you noticed an interesting log on your walk in the woods the other day. Flower gardens can also be a perfect location for your little fairies to take flight.
When envisioning your final image, think about the poses that will allow you to add Photoshop Effects you want to use (like fairy wings and fairy lights, in my case) or compositing you want to do for your image. Would it be cute if she stood to the side, or would it be better if she faced directly at the camera? What if she were squatting down, picking a flower, or examining some moss on a rock?
Fairy wings and fairy lights can be added to almost any image, but doing a little pre-planning will ensure that these magical effects enhance your final image in the best way possible!
Quick editing tip: I really can't say enough about the Pretty Actions Fairyland Actions and Overlays. This collection makes it super easy to add beautiful and unique magical touches like wings, fairly lights, sunrays, fireflies, and more that will really enhance your fantasy portraits!
Just take a look at my before and after images included in this post! I used the Fairyland collection on all of these!
Here are some additional things to take into account before your photoshoot:
After you create the vision for your session, it’s time to take action and complete the pre-planning. You will need to finalize your location and confirm the wardrobe.
Once you’ve decided on your location, it’s always a good idea to go there in advance (preferably at the same time of day the session is scheduled for). This will give you an idea of what the lighting will be like at that time of day. It will also give you ideas about where you may want to place your subject. Sometimes I bring an assistant with me to take test images; however, a doll can even work as a test subject for this purpose.
Next, you will want to confirm the wardrobe. You will need to verify whether or not the client is bringing their own wardrobe for your little fairy or if you need to set aside the proper fairy dress(es) from your prop stash.
If you decide to order or rent a dress for your fantasy portrait session, you will need to allow enough time PRIOR TO THE SESSION so the items will arrive in time for your subject to try on and ensure they fit properly.
After you’ve spent time creating the vision and ensuring everything will be perfect, it’s time to bring it together and execute that vision.
After the child is comfortable AND you can tell they are feeling the magic of the forest, lily pond, or wherever your location may be, you can begin shooting.
Remember that children can be unpredictable and change their expressions quickly, so don’t forget to conduct some test shots before the session to obtain the correct exposure. I always like to have my camera set to a shutter speed of at least 500 to eliminate any chance of movement when I take the final image.
Remember, with fantasy photography sessions; you are not just there to capture images of the child. You are also there to help the child imagine and see the magic of your location.
Whether it's a forest or a pond, help bring it to life for them! Make them FEEL THE EXCITEMENT AND WONDER all around them. Only then will you truly capture those magical expressions that the child and their family will cherish forever!
Do you have any questions or comments about Fantasy Photography Sessions? Leave us a comment below - we would LOVE to hear from you! And PLEASE SHARE this post using the social sharing buttons (we really appreciate it)!
I am a North Atlanta photographer living in Roswell, GA with my husband and our three sweet and high-energy boys. My husband and sons are first and foremost the loves of my life and the inspiration for my family and child photography.