Interview with Fantasy Photographer Bonnie McCaffery

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.

One Comment

  1. Thanks for the article. Bonnie does incredible work, and it’s great to see her get more exposure. Love those photos!

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