Creating a Concept Shoot

I thought today I might share a little of the behind the scenes information on shooting a conceptual shoot, as I find it is the most often asked question……..

“how or where do you get your inspiration?”

Firstly I find if I work in a series it is far less stressful. I can work out the basic scenario and then I just have to work out the individual images. The hard work is in the initial setup.

I have a shoot list and I will pick random things that can help me create the base image; colour, mood, theme, character, emotion, scene, time period, props, etc. So I might pick red, woman, dress, sorrow, ocean, cliff, dark and intense, sitting or standing, late afternoon sun. So I have pretty much all the elements; a woman in a red dress, sitting on a chair, on a cliff overlooking the ocean, sun glinting off the waves. Then I might add unexpected elements, the balloons and bear, is there a story in the teddy bear and balloons? What does it say to you? I love the juxtaposition……I mean why on earth is a woman sitting on a cliff in a red ball gown with a teddy bear and a bunch of balloons? Such fun!sunset-reflections

Same dress, same location, but I wanted a sense of freedom with the light breaking through the clouds and wind blowing her hair and dress. In both of these images I went for over saturated colours. I wanted to create a sense of freedom and flight.juliepowell_fear-of-flight

This next image is so simple, yet powerful at the same time; a simple tu-tu and ballet pointe shoes. Same again I wrote a list; Blue, tu-tu and ballet pointes, dark and dramatic, no people, a little mysterious. Does it tell a story, where is the drama or point of interest, add a pop of colour and heavy contrast……what story does it tell?dsc_6473

Things that also need to be considered is;

  • A clever (or fun) Idea and great photos
  • Cool setting or Background (Even a plain black backdrop is great in the right setting)
  • Beautiful Models or real people (Someone you can connect with, sometimes it is anonymous with no faces as such) remember the hero does not have to be a person.
  • Unorthodox wardrobe (Honestly some of my ‘clothes’ are sheets pegged at the back)
  • Unexpected Props and poses  (Red Balloons and teddy bear)
  • Composited elements (will I add additional elements or just as it is shot)
  • Trick Photography (levitations shots)
  • Textures for toning
  • De-saturated or over saturated/ Dark or Light
  • Use of one striking colour (perhaps red or blue on black or white, I love mauves, blues and reds.)

These are questions I ask myself, I don’t use all of the aspects listed above, but just a few, so one simple pose, one single prop, plain Black background. For Instance in my Tarot series I am mostly going for Dark desaturated colours. Jess below in wearing just street clothes with a platinum blonde wig and a black cape, holding a wooden branch in front of a black background

Page of Wands

Ace of Wands

The smoke, light beams, vines and butterflies are added in post in photoshop. Also I used additional textures subtly to add depth. The below image is shot on site, with just the bird added in post, so the actual shot was taken keeping in mind I wanted to add a bird on Mel’s finger, and she is looking directly at it.


So even after all this I still get asked, where do the ideas come from? Dapper Rabbit came to me in a dream and the story flowed from there, once I had the story I had the images I would required, the models, scenes, props, poses etc.

Alice………so easy; Jess had the costume and I just watched the movie and flicked through Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration, wrote out a shot wish list

The Tarot, my initial inspiration was from Rusty McDonald and Dividing Me……and then of course I went straight to the Tarot Cards for my shot list, needed particular props and poses; wands, swords, crowns, cups and am still working on my pentacle.

The Red Dress series was inspired by a red ball gown I was given, just needed different locations and moods and props. This is a continuing series. So I have a woman (usually) in a red dress…….I think of different locations and props. The Beach, a forest, sitting, standing, add in some props, do I want day or night, do I want happy, sad, anger etc. What mood, what atmosphere etc, etc, etc.

If you practice on these enough, it becomes a much quicker process. I also am always looking on-line; Flickr, IG, 500PX, DeviantArt, ShiftArt, YouTube, plus of course some of my favourites like Brooke Shaden and Rusty McDonald for an endless supply of inspiration.

~ Julz

P.S. Still not sure? Try  this one hour YouTube video from Brooke, it literally changed the way I think and work.


Monday’s Musings

OK So yes this is another scheduled post, I promise the last one for awhile, next week I will be back on deck. Today while you are reading this I am hosting a workshop for my Photoshop Artistry Group big Australian and NZ meet up.

So some exciting news to share; over the past few weeks I have had another image published in Living the Photo Artistic Life, page 99.

JuliePowell_Silence from within

Silence from Within

Was featured in the Gallery of Fine art Spring edition

alice 3

Won a Special Merit for these two images, Light, Space and Time ‘Figurative’ exhibition. So excited first ever Photographic competition! OK So I wasn’t the only one with a Special merit, but still exciting. 🙂

Julie Powell_Quieting the storms from within


Roses – Original Photo by Gabriel Olude

And now the highlight of my week……………….drum roll please! I received an email from Photoshop Creative to feature one of my images in their magazine! Woohoo.


Longing for the Fog to Lift

To say I’m buzzing is an understatement, some much as happened in the past few weeks, my head is spinning. Need to get back to earth and buckle down to work! Travel is over and I have lots of raw material to work with, plus I have loads of shoots set up for the month ahead.

Thank you for all of you who cheer me on, it means the world to me my friends 🙂

~ Julz, xo

Impressions of the Australian Outback

As I am sure you all know by now all about my Outback Adventure, I have finally posted all the journal notes, finished editing the photos, but I wanted to take it a step further; I am a digital artist after all. So I created several artworks, which are actually for sale. Contact me for details.


Day Dream Mine


Walk About

Mungo Plains

Mungo Plains

The Woolshed

The Old Wool Shed

Some of these are more of a painterly effect and some a little more abstract, but the colour and tones are very much the Australian Outback, with Cobalt Blue skies and earth of red, orange and yellow ochre, wide open spaces and harsh horizons.

~ Julz


Monday Musings…

Easter Monday…….so the weekend is still on a roll, but that’s OK we are home this weekend and such a lovely relaxing weekend. Good Friday was spent with family, such a lovely day, both my girls and my Son in Law, my Parents dropped in for a visit and we have a debacle of a roast dinner………I can cook, but I think my oven in not working properly, 2.5 hours to cook a 1kg lamb roast? mmmmmm I see a problem happening here. Anyway we carried on, and feasted on Easter chocolate and alcohol 🙂 Oh and then played Monopoly……….have you played the new version with credit card? Weird…oh and it was the Australian version as well……double weird. But loads of fun………I didn’t loose exactly but I came close 🙂

Saturday………oh wow what can I say? Desley Jane and I had a wonderful day together, lunch and shopping at the Rose Street Artist market, I didn’t need to mortgage the house; but I did spend a little something $$. We then wandered the streets of Fitzroy, such a hipster paradise, fun people, cool characters and street art; so much happening everywhere you looked. We both did our Regular Random shoot, quite funny actually………be interesting to see each others pictures, as we shared the same subject!


I think the highlight of our day (apart from spending time together) we went to the movies…..we had both desperately wanted  to see Beauty and the Beast. OMG such a wonderful re-make…….good thing we had some vacant seats around us, I think we were both singing in spots and laughing…it WAS wonderful. But over all too soon. Eventually I had to make my way home, I had animals to feed and things to do, plus had not see Hubby all day.

Yesterday was spent in editing mode, plus trying to sort out my Photo catalogue; it is such a mess and so big…….I just have to do it. Food shopping, car washing (still had not been cleaned from our trip last week) and general household chores (I know… boring and mundane, but they never seem to do themselves!).

That leaves me with today……Easter Monday, no plans just relax………I think it will be that kind of day. We are off again on the weekend, so that will be wonderful, in the meantime, back to work tomorrow.

I hope you all had a pleasant and safe Easter and have a fantastic week…

~ Julz



Tuesday’s Textures…

Forgive me if I have shown these ones before, but I don’t think I have, this is something I did for the March Shift Art challenge; didn’t win anything……..but as I keep telling myself; I do it because it is fun and I enjoy it and it is a challenge; not to win

JuliePowell_Island Dreaming_March17

Island Paradise

JuliePowell_Your Move

Your Move

I love trying to teach myself a new technique while I am doing it……just to add to the fun.

~ Julz

In the Studio – Alice, Through the Looking Glass

“I know who I WAS when I got up this morning, but I think I must have been changed several times since then”
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass

Don’t you just love it, when everything falls into place; the stars are in alignment and Karma is your friend? I had a dream shoot recently, the skies were sunny and clear (although we were shooting in the studio, but I had to doors open most of the time to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine.We had a new Make-up artist who did an amazing job; Micaela Hannan. My model for the day was Jess Ami, who has the most amazing large eyes and expressive face. Both arrived on time, no flat batteries, tyres or traffic hazards to hold things up. Make-up went smoothly and the shoot was a dream. I didn’t even have a drama with the cupcakes this time!

Alice, through the looking glass was the inspiration behind this shoot and I had been writing idea, after idea in my journal; I had all my ideas planned out and my props selected and set up. It was such a cruisy day, we took plenty of breaks and had lots of fun.

I then spent a fair bit of the next few days going through all the images. Some I wanted kept basic, bare bones or B&W, but a few I ran into Photoshop for a little bit of Magic……I mean honestly, what is Alice without a little magic?

I played around with some High Key and some more vintage stylings as well as a softer, fantasy/surreal stylings. To say I was happy with the images is a complete understatement.

JuliePowell_Alice in the clouds

alice drink mealice and rabbit

To be honest I am still going through the images, we had such a flurry of activity, I have not edited them all as yet.

We even had time to shoot some more images for my Tarot Series……….cue the Page of Wands, The Moon and The Empress please….but let’s leave those for another post?

Page of Wands

Page of Wands

I actually have another Alice shoot in the works, but more on the Mad Hatters Tea Party……….but that is another day and another post.

~ Julz


Tuesday’s Textures – The Gabriel Collaboration

The Gabriel Collaboration was started by an Nigerian Artist by the name Gabriel Olude; I know him through Awake. He had this idea to share 50 photos of his models, he calls his Muses with 50 other artists. We in turn share with him 20 images of our photos with him, we have our own private Facebook Group and share our creations. Many of us have offered our images to others within the group as well. So what’s the point of all this? Nothing really, but to create some wonderful art with images we may otherwise would not have access to.

Julie Powell_Mother Nature

Mother Nature – Original Photo by Gabriel Olude


Doorway – Original Photo by Gabriel Olude

JuliePowell_Gabriel's Muse_1

Gabriel’s Muse #1 – Original Photo by Gabriel Olude


Roses – Original Photo by Gabriel Olude

JuliePowell_On Moonlit Wings

On Moonlit Wings – Original Photo by Anna Karina

I am still working my way through so many images, but it is fun…no time constraints, no clients, just pure creativity.

~ Julz

Monday’s Musings…

I can’t believe in just a few days we will be on another adventure, our first of many this month; we head off into the Australian Outback, stopping at many iconic places along the way. The town names may not mean anything to most of you, but these places have appeared in many movies; Mad Max, Priscilla Queen of the Desert, Red Dog, Wolf Creek and so many more. Red Dust, blue skies, flies, mozzies (Mosquitoes) and the open road; flat open land as far as the eye can see, so flat in sport you can see the curvature of the horizon. I don’t even know if I will be able to post, so I may be a bit quiet. I will schedule a few bits and pieces.

But for now I need to pack and get things organised and wait. I spent this weekend doing mostly boring household chores, but I did manage to get a few videos done for the YouTube channel……..check it outYouTube channel……..check it out, I’ll wait 🙂

I also got to play in the studio for a little bit, I feel like I have not done any still life in so long…..almost feel I am loosing my Mojo a bit. But I feel a real sense of being ALIVE when I shoot my conceptual portraits……I am adoring the latest Alice Series……still working on it and each piece, just gets better and better.


JuliePowell_Alice in the clouds

Sunday we had a big BBQ with hubby side of the family……enjoyable but still exhausting. Honestly there is nothing as exhausting as sitting around, eating, drinking and talking….why is that?

Well that’s about it from me, nothing much to really report, just counting down…happy snapping.

~ Julz

In the studio – Working on the Tarot with Jess Ami

Back in the studio, working on my Tarot Series again, this time with gorgeous Jess Ami…..we’ve done the Cup and the Sword, this time I am working on my newly acquired wand…..well it’s more of a staff really. I have been searching around on random trips for the perfect piece of wood, Moth took it into his toolshed and created some of his magic…..honestly I should have taken a before photo, it looks amazing. and it has not even been touched by French Polish in these shots yet.

So we managed to get a few more images off; Page of Wands, Ace of Wands and The Moon and The Empress. Wow I can’t believe how fast I am getting through them. But with more travelling on the cards, it will be awhile before I get to do many more I think.

Ace of Wands

Ace of Wands

Page of Wands

Page of Wands

The Empress

The Empress

The Moon

The Moon

So far, I am completely in love with this series, it’s been fun, interesting and very creative.

~ Julz