Fire In the Soul

Fire In the Soul
"Fire In the Soul" From the Merka series in The Elves of the Woodland Realm

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Making of Merka

When I come up with my ideas, I also figure out how I am going to accomplish the image I want to get. My goal would be to to get my image straight from the camera and be done, but there are somethings, especially in the genre I like to play in, that can't be done in real life. Yes, I am an original Star Wars trilogy fan. Why, because of the costuming! Among other thing of course. I digress...

Costuming and Makeup

I am all about reusing and repurposing everything. By everything I mean EVERYTHING. Here are some images of Merka's costume in the making.

I reused the suede off of a pair of boots that my oldest daughter wore and then passed to my second daughter. The zipper ripped out of them and I just couldn't throw away that fabulous tan suede. I salvaged it and tucked it away for later.I had also salvaged the "corset" loops on the skirt from an old purse my mom found at the thrift store. It had some faux fur (that I am collecting for another photo shoot) so she picked it up for next to nothing. I loved the sides of the bag and figured I could use them on an outfit as well as the faux fur. 
The boots I repurposed the suede from.

Pieces of suede from the boots.
                                                  Indilwen Eruanna- Empress of the Woodland Realm
When I did the Indilwen shoot, I used spirit gum to apply her hear tips. Since I have no formal education on costume make up, I was just kind of winging it. This time I did a bit more research. I found that you can apply light weight appliances with a 3D makeup gel. It worked great with this shoot, especially since I was working with a 5 year old who has latex and other chemical allergies with her skin. The gel is gelatin base with no latex and comes off with soap and water, unlike spirit gum. The one issue is that it responds to heat. When it gets too hot, it starts to melt and get soft. By the end of the session little Merka's ears were falling off, though it was 5 hours later.

Her makeup look achieved using various shades of brown eye shadows applied in an ombre  fashion. I started with the lighter shade and blended out and up into darker. The metallic gold flakes are gold gilding flakes from a craft store. The flakes aren't as expensive as the sheets, so that worked well for my budget. If you are wanting the flakes to stay on for a long period of tie, say, for a con or festival, I would use the spirit gum to attach the flakes. However, since this was just for a photo shoot, I used hair spray. I sprayed a VERY light mist over the eye shadow to seal it. After it dried completely, I sprayed a bit on my fingers and dabbed it on her face. Then I pressed the gilding to the wet spray. You have to act quick becasue the spray drys ultra fast. I worked in small sections becasue the spray dried so fast.The gold stripe and dots were make using a metallic gold eyeliner.

Location and Capturing the Images

I just shot in my back yard and my in-laws yard. This is the tree in my in-laws yard that I just had to get some images with. It is stunning and HUGE.My in-laws, my husband, my friend, and my parents all helped me with this shoot on one way or another.

My father-in-law and my assistant for the day.

My husband photo bombing. Epic.

All in all I'd have to say it was a successful shoot. I am very excited for the next one. I have it scheduled for the end next month. The moss hair clips and elven crown are available in my shop.
Next: A look behind the Indiwen series. Remember to visit  and like my Facebook page to keep up with the latest news and coupon codes for my Etsy shop!


  1. VERY cool, thank you so much for sharing!! I'm finally getting a decent camera this summer, and I desperately want to try my hand at this kind of photography. I love taking artistic photos far more than even creative standard portraiture, but I'm not even sure where to start with design, so I'm thrilled to learn from you like this!

    1. Thank you so much! I would say start with your imagination and what story you want to tell. I still have a lot to learn myself, most post production. There is always something new to learn! I am planning next years shoots already.