As a kid I probably watched too many Hammer ‘horror’ films. These were made in Britain in the 1950s to the 1970s and were very tame, even comical by today’s standards – so tame they were often shown on Sunday afternoons. I don’t remember being scared at all, but the graphic style kept me watching.
At least that’s one explanation for my liking of a visual style which could loosely be described as Gothic (in the sense ‘Of or relating to a style of fiction that emphasizes the grotesque, mysterious, and desolate‘). It fits well into commercial work for fiction book covers, and if you’re not careful becomes something of an occupational hazard.
The best part of doing shots like this is that you can let rip with all sorts of vignettes, brushes, layers and wierd post processing and not be too worried about subtlety – it’s supposed to look like that!
Locations can be anywhere where there’s what my nieces would call ‘old stuff’. Monuments, churches, parks, the old parts of towns and older buildings.
As for kit, don’t worry too much as these shots will be heavily processed. If you have one, try the Lensbaby with a wide aperture (no surprise there) or failing that a fast lens shooting as wide open as you can – if needs be use a neutral density filter. The more vague, blurry tones the better as they seem to work well with Photoshop layers. Don’t be afraid of messing about with your DSLR’s ‘in camera’ processing either – this may be the only time you’ll use it productively.
If you like the ‘look’, give it a try and experiment with as many different post processing techniques as you can. There are articles about Photoshop layers, brushes etc all over the web if you want to play.
Above all have fun, and don’t take it too seriously!
As always (broken record) these are taken for the book covers market and all comments, critiques are very welcome. Hope you like them.
There’s a slightly older article here in the same style here Shooting Gargoyles if you’d like to see more.