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The Beginning of the Journey

Posted on January 4th, 2017

This is the image that began my adventures in photographic fantasy. There’s an interesting story behind it:

I did NOT want to do a fantasy image.

But James has been a client of mine since he was three (he’s an adult now) and we enjoyed annual photography sessions – always different, always creative.  And this particular year, his mother emailed me to schedule his session. “James would like his next portraits to look like this,” and she included a link to an interesting fantasy image.

“Then you should hire that graphic designer,” I replied. “I don’t do that type of art. She doesn’t take photographs, you notice. She just works her magic on submitted photos. You can submit one to her. I’ll even take it for you.”

“No,” she responded. “I want YOU to do it all. I know you can.”

“I’m sorry, but I don’t even know how to do this. I have no training. I have no idea how one would create such a scene.”

“You can learn. I know you can do it. I want YOUR art, not hers.”

After a few more exchanges like this, I finally acquiesed, (she’s VERY hard to say ‘no’ to) though I was nervous and stressed at the idea.

I purchased four stock backgrounds in advance, and studied the lighting. When he arrived for his session, I arranged lighting to match each of the stock images. (A large part of  the difference between believable and unbelievable fantasy is lighting. Actually, the difference between really great photography and OK photography is also lighting. Have I mentioned how important lighting is? 🙂 )

He posed, I photographed, he left. Then the hard part began. How did I create believable art? I designed and discarded at least a dozen times. I was grumbling and grouchy. I hated this!

And then, suddenly, I GOT it. I knew what I wanted and how to achieve it. For each image, I had a vision, and I was able to bring it to life in my digital art studio.

James and his mother loved the art. And I was hooked. Thank you, James!

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