Standard photography sessions can be a lot of fun, but sometimes its helpful to break out of your norm to inspire yourself creatively – so why not take it to the next level and embrace the magic that can happen with a fantasy photography session!

Fantasy Portraits are are a fun and relatively unique photography niche. Personally, I really enjoy setting up, shooting and editing a fantasy photo session and so do my clients!  But I have learned that careful planning is definitely required to maximize success!

Planning a Fantasy Photoshoot

This was my first fantasy photoshoots, I was nervous and excited at the same times. I love the idea … Inspired in Harry Potter, OMG!!! … What I learn about this experience?, let me share with you guys!

harry potter blog

When I photograph children, I take every opportunity to make them feel special! There’s just something so wonderful about a child’s face when they know that their time being photographed is completely dedicated to them and that we will be making beautiful and magical images together.

  • But how do you create an environment that makes the child comfortable and free to explore?
  • How do you confirm that everything comes together the way you’ve envisioned it?
  • How do you convince the child to connect with you and the environment and embrace the magic surrounding them?

Follow these three tips and you can ensure success!

1. Create Your Vision

The most important part of creating magical images is having a vision of what your finished photos will look like. You then can use your location, costumes, posing, and processing to bring that vision to life.

In order to create your vision, you have to imagine the correct location, coordinate the proper outfits and accessories and also direct proper posing to ensure that any planned Photoshop effects will work and look good in post processing.

I like to create a quick sketch of my ideas, even its only a stick person in the woods. When imagining your location, think about places you are familiar with that have a whimsical or magical feel.

When envisioning your final image, think about the poses that will allow you to add Photoshop Effects you want to use (like fog, lights, magic, owl, etc… in my case) or compositing you want to do for your image.

2. Fantasy Photoshoot Pre-Planning

After you create the vision for your session, it’s time to take action and complete the pre-planning. You will need to finalize your location and confirm the wardrobe.

Once you’ve decided on your location, it’s always a good idea to go there in advance (preferably at the same time of day that the session is scheduled for). This will give you an idea of what the lighting will be like at that time of day. It will also give you ideas about where you may want to place your subject. Sometimes I bring an assistant with me to take test images, however a doll can even work as a test subject for this purpose.

Next, you will want to confirm the wardrobe. You will need to confirm whether or not the client is bringing their own wardrobe or if you need to set aside the proper from your prop stash.

If you decide to order or rent a dress for your fantasy portrait session, you will need to make sure to allow enough time PRIOR to the session so the items will arrive in time for your subject to try on and make sure it fits properly.

3. Bringing Your Fantasy Photoshoot Together

After you’ve spent time creating the vision and taken the time to make sure everything will be perfect, it’s now time to bring it all together and execute that vision.

Once I begin my photo sessions, I generally find that using prompting statements really help my subjects feel more comfortable. Here are some examples of prompting statements I use:

  • Play with the kid, enjoy the session… there is only a kid with a lot of imagination … use that to motivated.
  • You need to know about the theme, know about the character (Harry Potter, about the magic, a little bit of everything)
  • Now, let’s pretend their is a person of the book or the movie and let them enjoy!

Keep in mind that children can be unpredictable and can change their expressions quickly so don’t forget to conduct some test shots in advance of the session to obtain the correct exposure. I always like to have my camera set to a shutter speed of at least 500 to eliminate any chance of movement when I take the final image.