Photographing Ladies of Literature
The Queen of Hearts is a very well know character from the story book world and from the movie scene and like this particular character, many others can be adapted from a story and made into a photo project.
With some creative make up and costumes a photography project themed on recreating this character and other female fantasy characters is a worthwhile activity that will take your photography experiences into new heights.
It does not take much to recreate one or several of these characters since the costumes and representations have varied widely from their original conceptions. You just have to match the "image" well enough for your characters to be recognizable.
The research should be based on what is thought to be an image that seems to be that of your character and although a good makeup helps most of these characters have particular costumes and particular props.
Most of the costumes can be store bought or at least start there although you should add your own details to make them more "realistic" as well as artistic. You can add your own designs, including making your own props from simple materials like cardboard and wire and add an appropriate paint coating.
The backgrounds if you want to have them present in the final image should be made to resemble the ones from the stories. Here is where adding a digital background with the aid of a digital editing program comes in handy.
However simple backdrops can work just as well. A dark backdrop tends to work well because it aids in isolating only the character and focuses the attention on the subject but any solid colored one will do. Simple props such as chairs, curtains, a woodland scene, gardens, a water scene, all are good.
Your goal is to capture images that are representational of strong female book characters, whether they are god or bad is not the point so long as they are viewed as strong willed and play an important role in the story from which they are from.
The age of the characters doesn't really matter either. They can be children or adults so long as they fit their story persona. The emphasis is on how well they resemble the character from the book upon which you are basing the photo shoot theme.
Remember that your theme should be either serious or rather comical in nature. You are trying to portray make believe characters but upon which you have added your own interpretation and they must resemble who they are enough for your audience to recognize from which story they are from.
Set up your scene as you would any regular photo shoot much like doing a portrait. Set two photo lamps on both side of the model angled at 45 degrees and perhaps a reflector . Golden to direct a richer yet softer tone or a silver one to direct a stronger reflected light. Place a diffusing element on each photo lamp to create a soft light.
If possible it is better to take the images in a studio setting so that you can isolate the subject against a dark backdrop plus you will have more control as opposed to doing the shoot in a public space and being at the mercy of the weather. A dark to black backdrop allows the attention to be solely directed at the subject.
However, if you have a location that can be considered complementing then do use it but do avoid any location that is cluttered/ Also avoid showing modern elements such as electrical high tension cables and such since they immediately take away from the "old" theme.
The project should revolve around female characters of great stories, maybe even classics for a reason; if you use modern day characters, including comic book heroines, they become too easy to identify and the projects tends to resemble a Halloween theme.
If you can capture good images that do represent who they intend to, then not only have you shown the viewer something that they can recognize but it also allows them to "relive" times when they first read these great works.
It is also important not to base the shoot around modern day Hollywood creations. Research the original works first and adapt them to fit your needs but try to stay within original descriptions as much as possible.
List of Female Characters
© 2013 Luis E Gonzalez
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