I was preparing for my favorite photo session “Egypt” for  about a year. The idea of photo shoot was born under the impression of  Boleslav Prus “Pharaoh” work.  We were waiting for this project so long..!

We did almost everything ourselves: the background decoration, make-up, costume (partly), accessories and other attributes.

Hereinafter I describe how we spent our shooting day. It was really amazing and interesting ! The photo shoot itself took 2,5 hours.  Our friend Tatev was our model for that day. We invited her to act a queen Cleopatra and a pharaoh. This role suited her very much !

I will tell you about the details. So, let’s begin !


 The “queen Cleopatra” image


Stage 1.   Make-up

Make-up took an hour. The aim was to do ancient Egyptian make-up. At the same time I had to give the impression of naturalness and freshness..without any luxury.

A matte toner was applied to the whole face, as it was summer, very hot (37 C), and we didn’t want the skin to shine during the shoot.

Eye shadows were applied turquoise and emerald green color, eyeliner – black, with arrows. False eyelashes were attached. Eyebrows were accentuated with dark brown pencil.

Blush – light bronze with peach tone.

A caramel-rose gloss was chosen for lips to add them more volume and sensuality.

Stage 2. Costumes and dressing-up

The costume of Pharaoh image (which will be described further), was made earlier in 2005,  for my fashion collection “7 wonders of the world”. There were 7 models of clothes in collection, each one symbolized world’s wonder constructions: the Egyptian pyramids, the hanging gardens of Babylon, the temple of Artemis, the mausoleum at Halicarnassus, the Eiffel tower, the lighthouse of Alexandria and the Church of  St. Sophia. You can see the collection photos and video (2010 year) here at my fashion site:



As for the costume of Cleopatra image, the head band with the snake (Ureus – in ancient Egyptian meaning) was made by me from plastic rim, a mesh (finished with gold spray) and metallic Cobra snake with stones. By the way, the Cobra once was an armlet..:) I just love to transform things into something else 🙂

The white dress and the gown (mantle) were got ready. Same is about the wig (black colour).

All other accessories (rings, bracelets, necklace, golden balls, peacock feathers, etc. ) were matched specially to complete the image. 

Stage 3. The background

The background was decorated with some drapes of silk material, а synthetic knitwear of sandy-golden colour. And of course, the golden leaves from felt. These leaves have their own history, too..:)  I think the whole picture reminds of a movie shot.. And it’s the result we wanted to obtain.

  Stage 4. The photo session itself

Maybe somebody has a ready light scheme for a shoot, but we prefer to experiment (work by improvisation). Unexpectedness of chiaroscuro is very tricky, but always fascinating, as you can roughly imagine what result you’ll get finally..I talk about unexpectedness, because we used speedlite, not constant light.

Total of 3 light sources (1 general, 1 drawing, 1 backlight).  In addition to these white lights, we used also warming filters (mainly orange colour). Especially for backlight, to make the backside decorations warmer and to separate the main object from the backdrop. 


The “pharaoh” image

Stage 1. Make-up

Make-up actually remains the same as for the previous image, except the lips colour. This time was  a little darker lipstick (near to terracotta) .

Stage 2. Costumes and dressing-up

The costume of Pharaoh image (as mentioned earlier) was taken from my fashion collection “7 wonders of the world”. The top was from “Artemis temple” outfit, the bottom, skirt was from “Egyptian pyramids” outfit.

As for the headdress, we didn’t need the wig here, because we had an excellent ancient Egyptian headpiece called “Claft” sewed by me. I have designed and sketched it myself. The same is for golden head band and armbands.

Stage 3. The background

The background stayed almost the same. The scene decoration included also other little things: rose petals, papyrus, real lamb fur, lamp, etc.

Stage 4. The photo session

We still used 3 speedlites. And colour filters.

Sometimes tried one-sided soft lighting for more dramatic look.

The whole shoot was done by Canon 5D and 550D, Canon 24-85mm (f/3,5-4,5) and 50mm (f/1,8).

Basically, that’s all !  There’s almost everything we could tell..:)