Midnight Cinderella

“…she looked at a clock and saw that it was on the stroke of twelve. She fled from the room, dropping, in her haste, one of the glass slippers. The Prince hurried after her, but when he reached the entrance hall, the beautiful Princess had vanished, and there was no one to be seen but a forlorn little beggar-maid creeping away into the darkness…”

Wait. What? The dress had vanished, and so the Princess is gone? The dress makes the Princess?! No.

We love to play with outfits, we dream of a special dress that will magically change our life, we spent hours shopping –  hunting that elusive something that will make our eyes seem brighter, silhouette more streamline,  movements more fluid.

And then there is no dress. Just you in the mirror. What do you see?

I set a personal challenge for this shoot – to create beautiful and a bit haunting images without the aid of clothes.  Cinderella is walking in the night not like a “forlorn little beggar-maid”, but as a Princess, regardless of whether she is in the dress, or clad only in moonlight.





…Once upon a time there was a Princess…


A bit of a behind-the-scenes…

Snowy day, model I”ve never worked  with (or met) before lives about 3 hours of driving away… power outage. Yet team met on-time. Geniia Elliott  did make-up and hair, yep – working part of the way through power outage. Our model, Enya Echo was as professional as it can be. (What a pleasure to work with someone who has great work ethics! I’m sure all of my friends in photography have stories about  models no-shows or being horrifically late…  you know, things that make you very hesitant working with someone new because of the past let-downs. So yep, reliability is a number one quality I’m valuing in a model, and Enya did not disappoint.)

Idea of mimicking nighttime in the studio interested me for some time. With that thought together with Angel Kissed Designs we’ve created Misty Forest backdrop, which was used during this session.

The set

To imply the moonlight (strict recreation was never a goal), I’ve used 2 soft lights behind the model, about 45′, with screen in front and side of her.



Just for fun – SOOC (straight out of camera) and after editing. …I already can imagine comments about liking this or that better 😉 It’s not the point here, as I was pursuing very specific goal.


Why so light in the SOOC you may ask… If you do, I urge you to go ahead and read on another abbreviation 😉  – ETTR( E xpose T o T he R ight): here or there.

Simply put, you get more information with the histogram tilted to the right.

From one of the above sources, “Optimizing Exposure” by Michael Reichmann:

“…A typical consumer DSLR recording 12 bits per sensel is able to record up to 4,098 separate tonal values.If we assume a 10 stop dynamic range this is how this data is distributed…

The brightest stop = 2048 tonal values

The next brightest stop = 1024 tonal values

The next brightest stop = 512 tonal values

The next brightest stop = 256 tonal values

The next brightest stop = 128 tonal values

The next brightest stop = 64 tonal values

The darkest stop = 32 tonal values

As can be seen, each stop from the brightest to the darkest contains half of the data of the one preceding it…”

Case closed? 😉

Moonlight and skin tone

I’m not an exception in seeing moonlight having blue-green hues, and hence that is what I tried to recreate in the skintone, adding a bit of teal to the hightlights.

In my research I found interesting read on the subject put together by James Gurney, that explains the phenomena of seeing the blue-green hues in the moonlight, while in fact “moonlight  is simply the white light of the sun reflecting off the gray surface of the moon. There’s nothing in that interaction to give the light a bluish or greenish quality. In fact, scientific instruments have shown that the light from the moon is very slightly redder in color than direct sunlight.” To read some more on physiology of this perceptual illusion, check work of Saad Masood Khan and Sumanta N. Pattanaik 

While I waited on make-up and hair, I shot some footage… enjoy if you like a peek into my studio  😉

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