If someone told me 8 years ago that I would be where I am today, I would not have believed them. Eight years ago, fantasy photography was the farthest thing from my mind. I began my career working as a photo lab assistant at a local photography studio. I was behind a counter serving customers and taking passport photos. Then it happened. One day, I was offered the opportunity to get behind a camera and learn real photography. I jumped at that chance. I was super nervous at first but I got the hang of it pretty quickly.
At the time, I was mainly doing studio photography. I was just taking the photos and the studio’s retouch artist handled all of the post production work. In my spare time I would read and study editing techniques and I did a lot of experimenting on photos. As my knowledge and skills grew, my job expanded to include editing and retouching.
Always one for change, I switched employers and was now shooting outdoor photography. I enjoyed the change from constant studio work, but I soon grew bored. I felt constrained by the lack of freedom to do whatever I wanted to do. I needed something more.
I did some self exploration and I discovered that I was a storyteller. I wanted to tell magical stories through my work. I thought to myself that if I could not have something in reality, I would make my fantasies live through photography.
Today, my passions lead me to create fantasy images that hopefully will take the viewer’s imagination to another level. I try to take all of the emotions known to man and express it through my work. It is a lofty goal, but I put my heart and soul into it.
My work process is relatively simple. Some of my work is based on my client’s fantasies. For a fantasy shoot, I either create what they desire or point them into a magical direction of possibilities. After we decide on the theme, I make arrangements for hair, makeup, props and location. Sometimes when I am doing a traditional shoot, an idea hits me and I will pose the client for a photo that I will later subject to a fantasy manipulation in post.
While the actual shooting of the photo is the foundation, the real magic happens in post production. My tools are Photoshop and Lightroom. I begin by adjusting the lighting using the curves and levels adjustment tools in PS. I then remove any blemishes and further retouch the skin with the healing brush, clone stamp, sharpen tool, or dodge and burn. The image dictates which tools and methods I will use. The last part of the process is where I add any extra graphics to the photo while adjusting the tones, highlights and shadows on each separate layer so they blend in perfect harmony.
Doing fantasy manipulations takes a lot of work and an even greater amount of vision. Yet there is no greater feeling than when I finish an image and it is the sheer embodiment of what I pictured in my head. Then all the hard work seems to fade away…like a fantasy.