CONCEPT – Magical Portraits

The primary focus of this project is to create magical, fantasy-themed images geared toward creating book covers.

I really want to create something infused with magic. An image that feels magical, has a sense of the mystical about it. I don’t want it to be cheesy or too kitschy. I want there to be a moody, magical sensibility, like the photos I love to look at. I really want to take the mystical sensibility of conventional fantasy portraits and combine that with poses and compositions that feel natural instead of posed.

Create stories.  Come up with a story about your subject’s character that you can tell in 5–7 shots about what’s going on with your subject(s). It doesn’t have to be a real story, in fact it’s better if it’s completely fictional and fantastical. One of the things I always return to in thinking of visual concepts is that I’m really drawn to the idea of images that aren’t just a pretty picture of an interesting subject, but one that feels like you’re looking at a scene pulled from a story. I need to develop this into a formula, a series of questions to answer for any ideas I’m playing with. Answer the journalism questions about the image you’re imagining. Do that work and see if it doesn’t lead you to a great concept.


  • Pixies, sprites, etc. Use the visual concept of tiny creatures in a normal scale world. Practice shooting subject in one spot and scaling down with the setting shot to change the perceived size of the subject.
  • Magical beings, urban setting, capturing a scene of something happening (rather than conventional portrait-y poses like Corsentino’s work)
  • Experiment with depth of field using same shot with different f-stops
  • Experiment with zooming in and out with the same composition to compare how the lens and focal range effect the subject, especially with close-ups
  • Backlit silhouettes
  • Reflections. Next to a window or other reflective surface, standing near it, interacting with it, magical
  • Play with color grading to capture some magical and ethereal looks (use current work to experiment with)
  • HORNS! I love all the cool horns I see out there and I want to get some for a shoot.
  • HOODS! I want to find the right model and the right hood (could be a hoodie, could be a cloak, whatever works).
  • Ladies running around in the woods wearing flouncy dresses. This is a big thing. Work on putting shoots together.