The first part is planning. Once I’ve come up with an idea (it can be triggered by emotion, a spontaneous life accident, or something bad or when I see conflict outside the world with the inner world). I want to create, I sketch all creative ideas in the notebook, also I write all possible words that reflect my emotional and conceptual state for the particular image. I’m not doing it for all photos, but for most images, I have sketches and text.
Sometimes I create a Pinterest mood board or use already existing ones (look for something similar or elements I want to use), which is necessary also for the stylist and make-up artist. This can take anywhere between a few days to several months, sometimes years. This is the most important step as it defines the look and feel of the photo, it’s my core. This step also includes problem-solving, how to make the perspective, reflections, materials, light, etc. realistic.
The second part is shooting/collecting the material. I like to collect my own stocks for the images, but sometimes I’m using stock photography in my personal projects. That’s why sometimes I can prepare for one image couple of months or years. Just because I need to build or create ideas, organize photo sessions, backdrops, wardrobes, accessories, elements I need to take a photo. The same light and perspective are extremely important to create a realistic result when combining the photos.
The final part is putting the photos together. This takes anything from a few days to several weeks. This is actually the easiest step if I did a good job in the first and second steps. This part is like a puzzle, I have all the pieces, I just need to put them together. The longest time takes usually shadow and highlights, creating effects and mood. If I need to cut out something or replace it with stock images, what we did not capture on the location.