Lady Of the Sea Fine Art Shot


I’ve been feeling very inspired lately and have decided do some more fine art style shots as that really seems to be my bag at the moment.

so i started work on my lady of the sea project which included working with the lovely model holly Moriarty who besides being a great model is also a great friend of mine too so working with her was a blast.

the shot however ended up with 30 layers in Photoshop and a file size of 2.8gb!

Building the shot.

the idea as most of mine started off from a little sketch of an idea which involved a model on a beach walking along with a lighthouse in the background and also the sea as well.

Given this was always intended as a fine art project I knew I could allow myself a little artistic licence so decided to make it a composite image to give me the freedom to be able to create how ever I wish.

Unlike studio composites I chose for the option of shooting everything on site at the beach where I live just so it would not have that composite look  about it.

So before thinking about shooting holly I needed to start building up the scene so I went out onto the beach and started shooting some stock images of the beach and surrounding areas so that I could start piecing the image together in Photoshop.

by them selves the images are not terribly exciting as you can see from the examples below

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the shots consisted of things I would need such as the sea the sand the sky than within Photoshop I used layer masks to blend the different images together to produce my master background which looked like this

To Book your own photoshoot please visit very early on I had decided to work in black and white /sepia so all further edits would not be done in colour.

next up was to add the lighthouse I didn’t have one in my own library that suited so i decided to get a stock one .

Once the lighthouse was in it needed light coming from the tower this was achieved with the use of a layer in Photoshop set to soft light and then using a brush set to 10% opacity and painting white where I wanted the light to be to achieve this image

lady of the seabackround5

this was also the point I started to burn down parts of the image to give it that more moody look and also to give it my sepia treatment.

Time for the model

there was a lot of back and forth discussions with holly about how the shot was going to play out including some silly drawings to get the point across.

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The idea for her dress originally was going to be a large fishing net but after some research I found out that fishing nets of the size I wanted were amazingly expensive so an alternative was needed to be found.

in the end i settled on army camo net as this was relatively cheap by comparison and there was something about the texture that I really liked.


The other piece of material was bought from a local material shop from one of their bargain off cut bins and cost a massive 85p

Lets just not bother with Focus!

On the day of the shoot myself and holly walked out onto the beach and walked out the mile and half to where the sand was wet and because i knew i would be compositing different parts at different distances i decided to use hyperfocal focusing a technique more commonly used by landscape photographers.

basically the idiots guide is 2/3 in front your subject is where you focus and dependant on your f-stop and focal length anything within a certain distance to infinity can be in focus.

there are mathematical equations based on sensor size focal length etc but I don’t worry with them as I have a depth of field calculator on my iPhone which was a free download from iTunes and that works out everything for me.

so I ended up deciding my f-stop based on that and that allowed me to make sure that all my shots were in focus and I could leave the camera on the tripod set to manual focus after the initial spot was focused on.


the shots that followed involved me moving the material around holly to get the shape I wanted so I could comp it all together when I got back to the bat cave.

other shots included me setting a self timer and going and throwing the material in the air and ducking out the way as the flash fired

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Back at the bat cave on the editing table I composited the various elements together using layer masks exactly the same as i had with the landscape followed by more burning in to achieve the look I wanted.

i did re visit the edit as there were elements I didn’t like but the final image became the one at the top of this article.


What Holly Thought..

Having worked with Jay in the past I guess I knew what to expect. A friendly, bubbly guy always conscious of what I may be thinking / needing whilst not losing sight of his brief.

we had discussed jays project and exactly the image he was hoping to achieve in the weeks prior to our shoot so I had plenty of time to consider what we were working too and do some research of my own bouncing ideas off jay too who was always interested to hear my ideas.

I was excited on the day given all the planning and preparation that had gone into this particular shoot. I drove down to the location and met jay. I was initally a little concerned how I would reach the location given id been very poorly as of late but after explaining this to jay he confirmed we would take our time, go at my pace and only do what I felt capable of doing.

so… after a cheeky ice cream and wander down the sea front we took a long slow walk to the location. Jay has a fab sense of humour which is so necessary i find when working together… particularly in such shoots as these. I have to say the shoot was nothing like work. It was a whole relaxing day from what is my usual madness and stress! I felt so revived afterwards…it truly was just what the doctor ordered!

before leaving we discussed timeframes and when jay felt he would reasonably set to work putting together the image he had so firmly kept in mind. I have to say that was blown out of the water and before I knew it I had been tagged in the image you have seen !! After a night to sleep on it and a little rejig / further editing jay had his final image.

there were so so many variables in this shoot not least with the image itself but from my persoective and health too. But with planning and consideration for all things jay and I managed to nail it … cheers jay! Cant wait to work with you soon x


Any way folks thanks as always for reading i would love to hear any questions you have just leave them in the comments and I will try to answer.

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until next time



About jayclappphotography

Professional photographer running Feel free to comment and discuss photos

Posted on June 9, 2013, in art inspiration, digital darkroom, fantasy, general photography, landscape, people pics, photography and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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