A World Not Our Own.

We all love a good fairy tale. Young or old, all can relate to the fantasy world of good vs. evil,  hopes and dreams, ball gowns and crowns, happy endings and new beginnings. I started this project in July for two of my best friends who are big fans of some very well known fairy tales. I wanted to create a photo project that captured the essence of these popular princesses, a project that would speak for itself. 

To achieve each image, I researched fairy tales and prop ideas. My goal was to stay subtle but keep it beautiful. I wanted each image to tell its own story. What I love most is everyone interprets these images differently. You may see the fairy tale the image was inspired by or you may see a totally different theme... and that's okay! 

I started each set up with a black Westcott backdrop pinned to my wall. I would gather the desired objects needed and arrange the still life until it was pleasing.  Many of the props were purchased at thrift stores, antique stores and found on Etsy. Other props were found around my house or outside.

My Setup: 

Canon 5D Mark II

1 Rogue Flashbender XL with diffusion panel

1 Phottix Mitros+ Flash


The images:

The Native Princess: I wanted this image to take on a very natural feel. I gathered as many interesting leaves, twigs, and plants as I could find. The compass was purchased on Etsy and made the perfect final touch. This image is for the explorer in all of us.


The Pumpkin Princess: I bought some blue fabric that made a nice compliment to the orange pumpkin. The white fabric is actually from a piece of clothing I inherited from my great grandmother, which I thought added a beautiful yet simple touch. I had the pieces of wheat already for fall decor and thought they finished off this story nicely. Because this was a gift for my friends, I added a prop they had actually gifted at their wedding...the key (actually a bottle opener). The image for me is all about home and traditions.


The Ocean Princess: Living in California made it much easier to find these one of a kind props. The sea shells matched beautifully with the dried coral. I added some matching gems for a touch of glamour.

The Magical Princess: I found this beautiful oil lamp on Etsy and loved how much it matched this fabric I already had! The fabric is actually a very decorative napkin I found at Pier 1! The "cuffs" are actually napkin rings and were perfect for bringing out the gold in the fabric. A very elegant royal feeling. To me this image is all about magic and mystery.

The Princess of the Bayou: I had been eyeing this hat already and it just so happened to remind me of the 1920's so I bought it early for this shoot! I tried to pick out colors and feathers that brought the 20's to life. This image reminds me of an elegance that was once alive and hopping many years ago.


The Book Worm Princess: I already had these old tattered books and loved the idea of using them in one of these fairy tale images. Adding a fresh rose and an antique teacup brought everything together. This image is for all you romantics out there.


The Combat Princess: All of these props were purchased for this shoot. A fun Eastern Asian themed still life for a fairy tale of a very strong willed character. I loved the idea of exploring new cultures and creating a fairy tale image that inspires the warrior in all of us.

The Motherly Princess: Probably one of the simplest and most subtle images of the bunch. This happens to be one of my favorites! Took me ten minutes to pick out the perfect apple at the store! Had to be the perfect shade of red and perfect shape! I am obsessed with old bottles and jars, so naturally I had some of these fun bottles laying around. This added a touch of mystery and antique quality to the image.

The Sleeping Princess: Whats a fairy tale without a crown and beautiful gown. The fabric is actually a nightgown and the crown was purchased on Etsy. I wanted to add an extra something and decided on this beautiful yellow rose. It complimented the pink so nicely and perfected the image.

Many of the images had to be re shot. The Pumpkin Princess, The Sleeping Princess, and the Princess of the Bayou all needed makeovers.

The pumpkin princess originally had a smaller pumpkin and very dark blue fabric. There was just something about the image that didn't sit well with me, so I made some changes. Here is a before and after.

                            Before                                                                   After

For the Sleeping Princess, I attempted to make my own crown with little success. I used cork material thinking it would be easy to maneuver. I covered it in gold leaf and then spray painted the entire piece. Those were all very bad ideas. It turned out great until you compare it to the real deal! I purchased a professionally made crown and it made all the difference! Here is a before and after:

                              Before                                                                After

The princess of the Bayou started out with good intentions but never sat well with me. I used fake flowers and hated the appearance. That's when I decided to scrap my original ideas and move onto something different. I could not be more excited with the newer version. Here is the before and after.

                           Before                                                                  After

I hope you loved these fairy tale images as much I as loved creating them! Feel free to share :)

Ashly Deskins

I am Ashly. I recently moved from Ohio to Northern California with my husband Kevin. I graduated from The Ohio State University in December of 2013 with my B.A. in Arts. I am a photographer and involve myself in various crafts. A certain level of madness sets in if I do not have a project in the works or ideas in mind. I love walking into craft or home improvement stores and getting inspired with all the possibilities. My passion of photography started in high school when I took a film class. I enjoyed the class but never considered photography could be any more than a hobby. I quickly realized how that was not true. My husband (then boyfriend) started getting into Photography which lead to a degree and career. I was often his model in his photography classes and quickly realized how intriguing this art was. I took photography classes during the course of getting my art degree and fell in love again.