Since March I have been planning a bridal shoot inspired by Steampunk and general madness. I really wanted to do something different, not the usual bridal white dress, nice pretty hair and make-up but completely and I mean completely different to the norm. I'm a mega fan of the Victorian era, dark quirkiness and anything fairytale so Steampunk seemed the perfect direction.
The idea was to cover outfit, flowers, styling, cake and anything else bridal I could fit into it. Nina Wren from Bridal hair & Tiaras and Mat from Red Floral Architecture, were instantly up for it being in the wedding industry and loving the chance to show some extraordinary creativity. Emmylou Kelly from Lily Bud Cupcakes offered to make the cake and a stunning cake it was (and she made us some delicious cupcakes for the shoot, above)!
Firstly I needed an outfit and after searching for suitable attire, I came across the gothic Lolita style that is very big in Japan after a few hints from my friend Mr. J West. Within minutes or searching I found the perfect items on a website, however there were so many fabulous outfits, choosing was extremely difficult. I selected 2 outfits, red and black for the daytime and a pure white ensemble for the "wedding night". All items had to be custom made to the required size and took 4 weeks. I really couldn't wait to get them.
In the meantime I went sourcing the other bits for the outfit like jewellery, garter, shoes etc. I bought cogs and old watch parts to be incorporated into the hair styling, cog earring, the classic goggles and many other objects of use. I had a fair few items in my prop collection already like the large wigs, Victorian style boots, tights, knee socks and decorations so that definitely helped.
Not only was there the task of sorting the models look out from head to toe, I had to try get the setting right without breaking the bank on shinny copper and brass pipes or borrowing some metal from a church roof ;o). I visualised decadent, old, decay but inviting, warm and quirky. I searched the Mill my studio is in and the top floor was open featuring old walls with paint peeling off, wood floor, 200 year old dust and with permission I made me scene. I purchased some Chessboard/Harlequin lino and laid it over the wood floor, it instantly looked amazing. Finally I added a massive clock I got off eBay (biggest I could find) and got down to lighting it.
I didn't want to go safe with the lighting, quite the opposite. It needed to be direct onto the face and body but with warm glow like there was an oil lamp on somewhere in the room.
The day of the shoot arrived, 23rd May and it was hot, manic and there was wig hair everywhere! We all had such fun though and Paula the Model had the patience of a saint considering how heavy the hair do was by the end of the first set of styling. The first hair and make-up style took about 3 hours I think, time seemed to fly by so fast while I watched the hair growing taller and wider thanks to Nina and Mat.
We shot the wedding day look and then proceeded to work on the wedding night. Moving slightly softer in look at this point, we added a hint of melanchollie to the mood but with a serious dose of Tim Burtonesque!
Part 2 of our visual fable, Steampunk Bride will be available to view shortly. We can't give you all the candy at once!
The Results - Part 1