Open Book

Photographed in the same session as The Sword, this is a good example of variety put in practice.

Going into the studio, this was the original concept I wanted to shoot.  The Sword was added in for variety in case this image didn’t come out, and it ended up being my favorite shot instead!

Of course, there were several other variations and additions, but these two are the only ones that made it to the final pass!


Let’s remember to try new things, add variations and extra concepts into the shoot as a fallback, and remember that not every image needs to make it off the ‘cutting room floor’!

Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

Dress and lace top: thrifted
Necklace, bracers, and ring: Handmade
Thrifted and aged by hand, ‘bound’ with leather from a thrifted coat

fantasy portrait photography of a Doe Nymph and Spring Goddess

Fantasy studio portrait of a medieval character

The Sword

An extra post this week, as this fantasy photograph left me too excited to wait!

This self-portrait was photographed in the studio recently, and was a great opportunity to put to use some props, costumes, jewelry, etc that I’d been hoarding for ‘just the right photoshoot’.


Hoarding with such ideas in mind has been a bit of a drag this year.

‘I just need….’ has unfortunately been a terribly common phrase in the studio!


Habits can be tough to break, but let’s try to get away from the ‘need’ mentality and better use what we already have!

Whether our costume closet is close to bursting or we have only a few items, let’s challenge ourselves to use what we already have, and only acquire more when we’ve exhausted all other options!

Easier said than done, but our prop boxes and costume closets will thank us!


Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

Featuring: Thrifted dress, lace top, faux fur cape, and sword.  Arm bracers handmade using thrifted material; handmade rings.  Makeup using Mineral Fusion.

Fantasy portrait photography with a witch theme

Portrait photography with a vintage feel.


Fantasy portrait of a vampiress

This was quite the photo session!

Not only the first time shooting with a new lens, but the first time playing with boudoir photography!

Shooting boudoir portraits, especially with a fantasy or alternative fashion twist has been a dream for quite a few years, so it’s been amazing to finally take the first step and give it a go!


Planning for shoots isn’t something I usually do, so the ‘vampire’ theme didn’t even come to mind until the editing, when the skin was desaturated and given a slight blue tone as a test.

With the pale skin, dark hair, and bright red corset, ‘vampiress’ came to mind!  This theme fit perfectly, since the scarf caused slight irritation on the neck, which turned into the perfect bite!


Although planning can be useful, especially when working with others, it’s not always necessary.

Don’t let the absence of a plan stop you from jumping in!

Do you usually plan for your shoots, whether working in studio with a model or photographing the great outdoors?  If so, how far into planning do you go?

Let’s go with the flow, and create something we love!

Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

Portrait photography with a vintage feel.


Finding and Choosing Costumes and Props for Photography

Finding and collecting costumes and props for photography has become quite the hobby this past year.

Here are some tips and things to consider when you’re out searching for that perfect item for your next portrait shoot!

These points focus on sourcing used items, so let’s get thrifty!


Where to Buy Items

Thrift and consignment shops, online stores, and friends are great places to find items for your next shoot!

  • Big thrift stores like Arc and Goodwill are all over the place, and Goodwill is even  online!

Don’t let the big guys make you forget smaller, independent options.

  • Consignment shops are a good way to find brand names, but tend to be more expensive.
  • Certain items are available seasonally, like Halloween for costumes and Spring and Summer months for wedding dresses, so plan accordingly or try your luck online.
  • Ebay and Shop Goodwill are personal favorites, but there are plenty of other sites for used clothing, like ThredUp.

Some photographers and fashion bloggers also sell off items, so keep an eye out.

Stay on top of shipping and handling fees!

  • Borrow items from friends or other photographers.
  • Garage sales aren’t very reliable, and may not be worth it.


Things to Consider When Shopping

  • How much is it?  Could it be found cheaper elsewhere?  Are there sales coming up?
  • What condition is it in?  Does it need a little cleaning or fixing?
  • Does the costume fit?  Clothes can usually be taken in, but only to an extent.  Best option is to aim within a few sizes of the people you usually shoot.
  • Is the fabric going to wrinkle easily or need special care?
  • What is your plan for the item?

Are you adding it to your collection of costumes/props, or is it a one-and-done deal?  If you don’t plan on keeping it, are you going to re-donate or try to resell?

Items you plan on reselling should be in the best condition possible.  Holes and missing parts are going to drop your potential earnings, unless weathered is what you’re going for.

Items just for your collection only need to be in a condition comfortable for you.  Missing buttons can be duplicated in editing, loose buttons and seams can be mended.

  • Vague is better!

You’ll get more use out of clothes and props that can fit plenty of different themes, characters, and looks.

Look for items that you can reuse again and again.  They’ll become a staple in your wardrobe and prop box!

However, if you tend to shoot Victorian looks, then feel free to stock up on these items.

  • How useful is this/How many shoots will I really use it for?

Hollaback to the previous point!

If the prop or costume is super specific, like a geisha costume or an Edwardian chandelier, how useful is it realistically going to be for you?

If it’s only going to get before the camera once or twice, consider passing on it or finding a borrowed/rented option.

  • How many do you actually need?
  • How much does it weigh & how big is it?

If you plan on keeping or reselling an item, how much room are you willing to dedicate to its storage and would shipping costs be a deal-breaker for a future buyer?

  • Is it useful for everyday life?

Whether you plan on keeping an item or selling it in the future, it’s got to sit somewhere.

Try to opt for things you can put to use, wear yourself, or display along your normal décor, and you won’t have a stack of boxes in the closet.


Whether you photograph high fantasy or the latest trends in fashion and modern living, I hope you find this list helpful when thrift-shopping and choosing your newest additions to your collection of costumes and props!

If you have any questions or tips and thoughts to add, please let me know!


Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

Have any ideas for tips, tutorials, or DIYs you’d like to see on Roman Leaf?  Please feel free to comment bellow or contact me!

Silver and Gold Tone Necklaces | Shop

Handmade silver tone, chandelier necklace featuring Amethyst beads.

Handmade gold lotus necklace

Head over and check out these two new necklaces now available in the Metaphysical Blend shop!


Still | Push Forward

Portrait photography is such a gorgeous and fun art.  Like any art, it takes practice and requires pushing to learn new skills, tools, and techniques.

Something that I’ve been quite shy about doing lately, even though it’s becoming evident that things are plateauing.


Photography that’s more dynamic, with different lighting, props, and even ‘sets’ to add depth and context have long been the dream, and a huge source of clutter!

Though despite more supplies than I’d like, anxiety keeps saying that I’m not ready, there’s not enough to work with, there’s not enough space, etc.

 But it’s really fear of failure.

What if I put together a gorgeous set, but can’t get a good photo?  Or what if I can’t create and dress a set at all?

Fear likes to sit in the back of our minds and keep us from pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones and routine, in or out of the studio.  We should remember that it’s okay to be afraid, that failure is a GOOD thing, and that we should never let fear keep us from moving forward.

If we’re really worried, then study, plan.  Let’s put forth our best effort, jump into new territory, and not be afraid to stumble.  Let’s embrace the scrapes on our knees, they’ll help us remember not to fall next time.

Hopefully the stash of supplies and props that’s been growing these past few years will soon be put to use, and hopefully you’ll enjoy the blunders along the way!

Much Peace and Keep Roamin’


Cosplay self portrait. Un autoportrait photographique

Orange Glass Pendant

Available in the Metaphysical Blend Shop, this necklace features an orange marble wrapped in wire and snuggled under an ornate bead cap.

Definitely love the orange glow, and there are plenty of other glass pieces around the studio just waiting to be made into jewelry!

Although style varies when crafting, handmade necklaces and accessories with a fantasy flair have major personal appeal, as they can be used as future props for portrait photography.

Let’s keep our eyes open for findings that spark our imaginations, and keep putting our inspirations to use!


Much Peace and Keep Roamin’

Fantasy Crown

Wire Wrapped River Rock