17th February 2020
One of my favourite things about photography is styling each set and character using pieces from my prop box! Often I will plan out an entire look, down to the background and lighting, other times it will be pretty spontaneous and I'll just wake up wanting to shoot a few particular pieces together. Here are a few of my favourite pieces, and the number of different ways they can be styled!
Red Capey Romper
I forget exactly where I got this weird little romper from, but it was some weird budget online store, and I originally bought it to dress as the Devil for a Halloween party(?!) - but it quickly found its way afterwards to the prop box, and boy has it come in handy! I love anything with a cape / draping, I think it frames the arms really nicely, and there's a lot you can do with the fabric. The first time I used it was for this little flowery theme with model Faye Noir (left and right), with the cape giving it a little superhero vibe, along with this sweet little Pearls & Swine mask, and Wyte Phantom neck corset. Faye's a great and expressive model, so these shots remain some of my favourites!
I used it again in the shot of Yinsey Wang (second from right), paired with some shoulder pieces from Feathers & Thread to really accentuate the shoulders even more, and tie in with the matching Mohawk headdress. Red is such a huge staple in my photography colour palette, so it was so fun to colour block this entire look.
Recently, I styled this piece again with model Rayne Swan on our first time shooting together. She wanted to create a piece using horns, and I wanted to make sure we gave her the wonderful 'Maleficent-esque' silhouette, but without being too on the nose. Romper to the rescue again! Unlike with the previous shoots, we used a harness from Vanadis Couture to make the most of the deep V plunge, and add some contrast to go with the hard lighting I was experimenting with. Really pleased with how these came out!
So this case is a little bit different, as it's a piece that I made under my Erica Court Couture alias where I sometimes make some halos or other iconography inspired pieces. It started off as the piece in the photo of Tiff (second from left), where it was a kind of 'half-halo'. I then wondered how it would look as a full piece, hence the second photo from this day (second from right), where I photoshopped the bottom half in.
Having done this and loving the result in the image, I then set to work re-working the piece into the full halo in real life. I also added in additional 'spokes' with multicoloured stones to add more of a Catacomb Saint vibe. I shot this halo in its new form with the stunning Simone Stocks at our pre-Halloween shoot late 2019 (left) where I added some of the same stones into her makeup, with a lot of the blue tones from the Valkyrie corset we had the pleasure of working with!
Most recently, I shot it with this gorgeous armour corset ensemble from Wyte Phantom (right) and used the makeup to tie in both the darker silver tones of the corset, and the brighter silver tones from the halo. I think this is a good example of how some of the homemade pieces I keep in the prop box can be re-invented for a second shoot and more!
Gold Lotus Headpiece
This wonderful headpiece is from Hysteria Machine - and I always get so inspired by the beautiful shape of the windows! It was one of the first Hysteria Machine pieces I owned where the gold leaf was used, and it really adds so much gorgeous shine in the photos. I'm a proper magpie for metallics anyway, but this piece really was next level.
I used it first in a wonderful outdoor shoot with Emily (left) where all the different textures working in this beautiful garden came together so well. The fine texture of the tree, the softness of Emily's (fucking majestic) hair, and then the sharp metallic filigree in the headpiece. It felt really royal, and is still one of my favourite natural light shots.
As this is a headdress I really love, I wanted to be sure to get some self-portraits wearing it. I again tied the reds in this gorgeous dress by General Guerisse to the stones in the headpiece (second from left) and finally got round to using a large fan to add some drama and movement into the hair, trying to tie in to the character who was supposed to be sort of mournful or contemplative (hope that came accross hahaha!).
Then, I shot it again in a couple of different ways with my go to wine and cheese pal Yinsey (left and second left) - working with and without gels to work the gold colours in the headpiece to the more silvery tones in the dress by Souhui. Contrary to popular opinion, I actually really like mixed metallic tones, especially if you can add a third colour to bring everything together (hence the reds in the lips and the gel / fire post work).
Question: How many times has this skirt been my go-to bottom half?
Answer: So many freaking times I can't even count!
I was on the lookout for a beautiful plain black skirt I could use with a lot of the corsetry I shoot, and Kiku Boutique in Manchester just happened to have the perfect piece! I use it in a couple of ways:  to add volume under dresses, and  on its own as a beautiful bottom half.
For this shot featuring the designs of General Guerisse (left), the design itself featured a similar tirered net skirt, and so I added my black on underneath, on top of a hoop skirt to add even more volume, and give a suuuuuper wide shape that took over the whole bottom of the frame. This is a style I really love photographing, where the dress bottom is edge to edge on the final photograph, and having such a voluminous skirt helps no end, and reduced the need to rely on post-processing.
The lovely Mia Resa then came to assist with a tutorial day, and we shot this bonus set (second from left) with a gorgeous snake print corset by Wyte Phantom. Again, my trusty big skirt was on hand to continue this dramatic dark outline and came in really handy covering up the bottom of my hideous ladder poor Mia was sat on!
Recently, on my shoot with model Rayne Swan, again we had a corset from Vanadis Couture that we were pairing with some accessories from Bizarre Noir for a (slightly fashiony) clown look. Working again to fill out the bottom of the frame, we used a hoop skirt with the black net over the top to make this huge puffball shape and balance out all the detail going on up top!
Finally, who can forget this wonderful shoot with Shelly D'Inferno (right), where I was lucky enough to work on a number of alien inspired sets, using backlighting between two black polyboards to create a halo effect round the shape of the skirt, and adding separation from the background. The net really came into its own here, I love that you can see through a couple of the layers to the light behind! MUA Kate Griffiths also did a sterling job on the makeup to bring this entire set together.
And that's it for this mini highlight on some of my prop box staples and favourites! I might make this a bit of a running blog theme and pick some more to showcase later in the year. It's always so much fun to take a piece and be able to reinvent it for different styles and characters.
If you're a designer and you would like to have your piece showcased in a number of ways, check out my services page and get in touch for a discussion!
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