Creating Fantasy Images

Fantasy Composite Photography

I have just spent a lovely morning editing this beautiful image of Ruby. It was taken in the warmth of the Tiny Stars Photography studio, Doncaster. As my workflow for creating these types of images is becoming much more fluid I thought I would share part of this process with you. It's important to me that my clients understand the level of detail which goes into each of these images. I truly care about creating unique and bespoke images which I know will be cherished. These images evolve organically so I can never predict exactly how they are going to turn out, but I do always ensure they have that magical quality about them.

This particular image took me over 3 hours from start to finish so this was quite a quick one. Often I can work on an image for a couple of days in order to make it just perfect.

The starting place....

I have two starting places. One is the background and one is the original photograph of the client which is taken in the studio.

Composite photography is the art of bringing two or more elements together into one stunning final image. If a client already knows the type of image they are after it makes it much easier to shoot correctly for this in the studio. Clearly I do not have a polar bear in the studio so its important to try and recreate as many elements as I can in the studio.

My background was just gorgeous, this polar bear swimming. I wanted to shoot Ruby as a fairy catching a lift of his back...

Perfect the lighting

Next step is to isolate the person from the original image (below). Simply 'cutting out' the image is not a quick process as its important to ensure hair, fur and fabric are all included accurately. Once combined, you can see the lighting doesn't work very well so Ruby initially looks very 'cut and pasted' on which is what we want to avoid.

So we need to get started on blending the 2 elements better. Shadows are added (below)so she doesn't look like she is floating on the polar bear's back and lighting is adjusted to bring the two images closer together.

Now, because the environment is cold its important that skin tones also match this. The image below shows the skin tones cooled to reflect the weather and the blue hue in the overall image. You can see the two images now coming together and starting to look more believable.

Because I love a fairy image and it makes the whole scene much more magical I add in a pair of beautiful wings. These wings started off pink so the colour has been changed to be more fitting to the overall colour scheme and they have been positioned in a resting position as the fairy is sleeping on the polar bears back.

The next steps are fairly subtle but make a big difference to the end product. The whole image is lifted with a misty fog. It gives a lovely soft feeling to the image. You can nearly feel the chill in the air.

Add the MAGIC!

Now is the best bit..... Adding the sun beams and sparkles which completely transforms the image into a wintery wonderland. A soft airy vignette also frames the image beautifully and draws the eye in towards the beautiful Winter Fairy.

So in a nutshell that's it. OK so each one of those stages can take hours to undertake and there are actually hundreds of steps but I think the time spent is completely worth it and so do my clients.

View my other work

If you would like to have a look at some of my other work you will find a selection in the Fantasy Gallery by clicking here.

Contact Me

I started to experiment with this type of work when my daughter was young. I wanted to be able to remember this time in her life where everything was so magic and I love to look back on those images of her now. If you would love to see your little one in an image such as this please get in touch. Drop me a message here for more information.


Karen x






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