We sat down with Bonnie McCaffery after seeing her incredible fantasy and magical portraits online.
Bonnie is a portrait photographer and artist from Hawley, PA. You can see more of her incredible work at www.BonnieMcCaffery.com/photography.
What made you decide to incorporate fantasy style photos into your regular photography work?
I love Magic and fantasy. There’s something about the beautiful and slightly surreal that I find intriguing. I’m an artist. The camera and Photoshop are the tools I use just as a painter uses Paint and a paintbrush. After taking a bunch of model photos, I have a collection of my own Stock photos that I rearrange to create a scene. I love being able to create a piece of Art for someone that includes themselves.
On average, how long does it take to edit one of your photos to what we see on the screen?
I might spend a couple of hours playing with a photo or I could spend days. The ones online don’t have to be perfect. Those for print need to be more refined so I might spend several days on those.
We know you from the fiber arts world, where you are a celebrated quilter and author. Do you make any of the dresses in the photos? If not, where do your dresses come from?
Even as a quilter I had a love of Fairies and Fantasy. I don’t have the passion for sewing that I used to have so I don’t sew anything. Salvation Army, Goodwill, yardsales…those are the places I find costuming. The shape of the garment and the movement of the fabric are what I look for. It doesn’t matter what size it is because I have pinch clips or elastic clips (used to hold an ironing board cover in place) that will hold a dress on a model.
The color of the garment doesn’t matter either because with the Magic of Photoshop, changing a dress color is possible. I also love making the flower crowns.
The flower shawl below was made by gluing artificial flowers to tulle. Her wings are from a bird photo.
For the creativity of “fashion design” I do play with combining elements. The shoulder adornments on this are necklaces I picked up at Walmart. Her headpiece and arm tattoos were Photoshopped in.
What’s your favorite part of this style of photography?
I love taking the photos, making people feel good about themselves. And then sitting down to Photoshop and playing with the photos to make Magic happen. Anything is possible. I can make Magical Fantasy Photos that might not exist in reality.
Have you worked with any cosplayers?
I have not yet worked with cosplayers. It would be so much fun to collaborate with cosplayers who make these awesome costumes and I could set them into a Magical and mystical scene. I’d get to play with their photos and they’d get a beautiful piece of art!
To see some of Bonnie’s videos on how she makes her Magical Portraits, click here! Be sure to follow her on Facebook too.