Madeline

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So far M S has created 73 blog entries.

Pre-Order Sale: 2018 Calendars

Every December, as the New Year approaches, I always feel a little bit of regret. Not for the goals I did or didn’t accomplish, or even for the bucket list items I didn’t check off.

The real cause? Not creating a calendar of my images.

I know. I know! It’s entirely silly to feel regret over something so simple! But honestly, it’s something I have been wanting to do for years… and yet, every time the end of December sneaks up on me, I once again find that I didn’t create a calendar in time.

Well, my friend. NOT THIS YEAR.

This year, I have my ish together. And THIS year, I have a calendar!!!

 

 

Do I feel a little bit silly for feeling so on top of life, just because I created a calendar? Maybe. But do I also feel a little bit like Wonder Woman for accomplishing this feat? Uh… for sure!

 

 

So in order to celebrate my finally having a calendar, I am offering a pre-order discounted price of $35 for anyone who purchases a calendar before 11:59 PM EST on Friday, December 15th. Prices after that will increase to $40!

Order yours now (so you can put that extra $5 towards a new candle or that book you’ve been trying to convince yourself not to add to your growing library… no judgement from my end…)!

 

P.S. I’ve also added some fun new products, like new prints, postcard sets, and acrylic blocks. Check them out right here!

 

By | 2017-11-15T14:57:49+00:00 November 15th, 2017|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The First Green Rider Book Soundtrack Image Is Here!

This post is something I have been wanting to share with you for a very long time… really since immediately after shooting the images for the Green Rider book soundtrack artwork. When I packed up the last costume and drove away from the shoot that late September afternoon, all I wanted to do was to dive into all the incredible images and let you see everything that was created.

But sometimes images (and life) have a mind of their own, and so I’ve been very (im)patiently working towards the day when I could finally write up this post and share with you what I’ve been creating. Without further ado, the very first image for the Green Rider book soundtrack artwork!

 

 

Now, I could just leave it at that, say “here’s the image!” and be off on my merry way, but I really enjoy talking about my process.  So instead, I thought I would walk you through how I took this image from just a picture, to the final creation.

To begin… here is where it all started:

 

 

The first thing I always do with my images is the minor cosmetic fixes, in this case swapping out Dulci’s closed eye and her ear for something that made her look a little more awake and alert. I also removed all the wrinkles from Katie’s uniform so that it would look more form fitting- and therefore more like a member of the His Majesty’s Messenger Service.

Second, there was quite a bit of work I needed to do with the lighting, given the conditions we had to shoot with. The day of the shoot, we had to work in the middle of the day, and so the noonday sun created lighting that was very flat and had a lot of unflattering contrast. That’s not something I typically enjoy working with, as I find it can be a lot harder to get that “fantasy look” I like my images to have. To combat this, I essentially lightened the shadows in the image and darkened the highlights so I had a more even “canvas” to work with.

I also did some minor edits, like removing some of the more distracting branches from the background, and changing the color of Katie’s shirt from black to white.

 

The third thing I did was to add a few of the things we didn’t have in the shot, like the saddle, the saber, and the winged horse brooch. (To be honest, not sure why these things weren’t in the original image, as we had all of these props the day of. Sometimes there are so many pieces to an image, that you can forget things sometimes. Luckily we have photoshop for these situations!)

 

With all of that basic retouching done, I then turned my attention to the color and lighting adjustments. In this next step, I darkened the background, leaving Katie much lighter in order to draw the eye straight to her. In addition, given that the lighting was so flat in the original image, I also added some dimension to Katie and Dulci by painting in extra shadows, mostly on their left side. This provided some direction to the lighting, creating more visual interest.

 

 

With the color adjustments, I pulled back the green and added some reds and yellows to warm the image up. Of course, I make this all sound quick, but this was actually a fairly lengthy process. Attention to details are what really help the image come to life, so in addition to making color adjustments to the overall tone of the image, I made sure to also pay attention to even the most minute of details (like the particular shade of red in her cheeks and the amount of shadow in the horse’s mane). All the details can really add up to create a believable image, so while this process may take time, it is always worth it in the end.

 

 

With the color and the lighting finished, I moved on to my favorite part of photoshopping an image: light painting. This step is really just a matter of painting brighter highlights over the existing highlights, and darker shadows over the existing shadows. This helps to accentuate the subject, while taking the image from a simple photograph to something that looks a little bit more like a painting or a traditional piece of art.

Next, I added a bit of blur to the background with a subtle “zoomed in” effect so that it drew the eye directly to Katie and Dulci in the center of the frame. This also helped to give the image a subtle sense of movement and urgency (rather than giving the impression that the Rider is standing in the middle of the field raising her hand for no reason).

 

 

Which brings me to the next edit… and answers the question, “why is she randomly raising her hand, Madeline?”

 

I’m sure you’ve guessed it…. to use her magical ability! And since magic, unfortunately, doesn’t exist in the real world, this is where photoshop truly helped bring this character to life.

 

The first thing I did was add a magical force field/shield just in front of Katie’s upraised hand. I then added the arrows (and their splintered remains from smacking against her shield).

 

 

Now, a small disclaimer is needed here. You might now be thinking “wait… there definitely IS NOT a character who fits this description with this magical ability in the book! What’s going on here?”

 

 

I know, I know. Alton D’Yer is the Rider with the shielding ability. However, when you’re doing a large scale shoot as big as this one, there are a lot of moving parts: finding the models, finding the horses, making sure the location is set up the way it needs to be, finding a date that works for everyone, creating the costumes, and (most importantly) making sure everyone is fed. The logistics of it all is hard enough for an entire team to keep straight. Now remove the team and have just a couple people doing all this work.

 

Needless to say, for anything that wasn’t absolutely crucial to get 100% literarily correct (such as finding the right horse for Condor, or the right person to play the part of Karigan), we had to work with what we were capable of arranging.

Kristina and I knew we wanted an image of a group of Green Riders, but we decided it didn’t have to be a particular scene from the book. So I took some artistic liberties. The way I see it… there must have been a Rider at some point in time who had this ability before or after Alton D’Yer had it.

So perhaps think of this image as a historical rendering of a long ago Rider (if cameras existed back then)!

 

And now is the time to give credit where credit is due: thank you first and foremost to Kristen, without whom none of this would even exist. I’m sure I speak for every fan when I say (in the only way I can think to describe it)  how grateful I am for the “home” you have created within the pages of this wonderful series. Your stories bring comfort, happiness and relief, and make me feel that even when I’m as far from home as possible, I still have a little bit of it with me whenever I read Karigan’s story.

Also, a thank you is in order for Kristina, both for deciding to pursue your passion in a way that can allow us all to feel more immersed in this world Kristen has created, as well as for allowing me to be a part of this project! It’s been a blast so far, and I can’t wait to see what else lies ahead!

Third, my friend Katie is hugely deserving of mine and all Green Rider fans’ thanks for her help in coordinating the location and the use of all the horses. Regrettably I do not ride and my knowledge of all things horse related is sorely lacking. And while I absolutely love all things horse related, to say I felt completely in over my head when trying to figure out how I would arrange this many horses and the location, was a complete understatement. Even though I was determined to figure it out, when she stepped in and offered to coordinate I felt so much relief. Thank you for taking that off my shoulders and for making this such a wonderful experience.

 

(Of course, now that I’ve admitted my lack of experience, I think I need to start taking riding lessons so I can be a true Green Rider!)

 

Finally, thank you to all the models, the make-up artist, and everyone who contributed their work for these photos. All of the puzzle pieces came together beautifully, thanks to everyone’s hard work and the results have been incredible so far.

 

Now on to the next image!

 

By | 2017-11-09T18:53:35+00:00 November 9th, 2017|Green Rider, New Piece|0 Comments

The #1 Thing I’ve Learned as a Photographer

Today I wanted to ask: what do you think is the single greatest lesson photography has taught me?

 

Wrong (it’s actually not how to take a good picture).

 

Get 20% off this print or any print of your choice when you sign up for my mailing list right HERE.

 

What photography has taught me is how to be patient. It has taught me to keep taking one step at time towards my goal and how to be happy with what I have achieved.

I realized this during a conversation with a friend a few months ago. After sharing how frustrated I was that I felt my life had stagnated, he shared something with me that changed my perspective.

He did this by sharing how he views progress. In life, we often wait until we’ve mastered something to say we’re better at it. We’re only better at violin when we’ve mastered a new piece. We’re only better at painting when we’ve completed a new portrait. We’re only better at hiking once we’ve reached the top of the mountain. In reality, though, we were better each time we picked up the violin, each time we sat down in front of the canvas, and each time we took a step up that mountain.

 

Get 20% off this print or any print of your choice when you sign up for my mailing list right HERE.

 

And then I realized, that just because I haven’t reached my ultimate goal of having a self-sustaining photography career, does not mean I haven’t made progress in my life. Every image I edit, every shoot I complete, every magazine submission that is accepted, and every blog post I write brings me that much closer to my dream.

We take one step at a time in life.  We get steadily more experienced, and even though we may be exhausted by the time we get to our destination, it was the patience to endure and to keep walking that got us there.

 

Get 20% off this print or any print of your choice when you sign up for my mailing list right HERE.

 

So the biggest lesson photography has taught me is not how to be a better artist or how to tell a story better (although those are important). More importantly, photography has taught me how to have the patience to keep doing what I’m passionate about, even if it means just taking one more step every day for a year, or three years, or five years.

One day, I’ll make it to the top of that mountain. And I’ll see it wasn’t the top of the mountain that was my success story… it was the hike that brought me there.

 

P.S. I’m currently clearing out my current stock in my shop to make way for new products coming November 15th. I’ll be offering a coupon code for 20% off your order to those signed up for my mailing list. Click here to join and to get your coupon!

 

By | 2017-10-31T14:51:32+00:00 November 1st, 2017|Personal Thoughts, Shop|0 Comments

Alright…. Maybe It’s Time You Took a Break?

There is one thing you should know about my family:

We are terrible with sympathy.

If you want a listening ear when life is hard and a fervent “I’m so sorry!”, it’s probably best you not come to us.

Of course, we’re not heartless, and we are sorry that sometimes life deals undeserving people a bad hand. But what you’ll receive, instead, is a suggestion on how to solve your issue.

Which is why, at the end of summer, I wasn’t surprised when, after a particularly lengthy amount of venting on my part,  my mom gave me some advice, rather than some sort of sympathetic phrase or reassuring sentiment.

Rather, she told me to take a break from my photography. To take some time, whether a week, two weeks, or even a month, and not do anything photography related. And despite how crazy it sounded, I did it.

 

Because deep down, I knew I needed it.

 

 

And so I spent the next two weeks doing things I hadn’t allowed myself to do in a very long time. Because I wasn’t obsessing over the latest batch of photos I needed to edit, or my next blog post I needed to write, I had time to cook nice meals. I watched tv. I worked on personal sewing projects. I read like I used to in high school (sitting on the couch literally all day, promising my roommates that I had indeed moved at some point between breakfast and dinner, despite all evidence to the contrary…)

(Ok, maybe it was only three times: to grab lunch from the kitchen, use the restroom, and answer the door for the UPS guy… but they don’t need to know that…)

Anyway, my point is not to wax eloquent about the benefits of providing solutions over validation when someone comes seeking a listening ear. In fact, normally I actually prefer people to be sympathetic rather than problem-solvers when I share my frustrations and hurts. Because I think most of the time people know how to fix the situation. They just want to know they’re not alone. However this time, this was something I would have never thought of on my own, and deep down, I knew it was what I needed. As Banksy so perfectly summarizes:

 

“If you get tired, learn to rest, not to quite.”

-Banksy

 

Not once in those entire two weeks did I pick up my camera or even open photoshop. During those two weeks, I saw so many changes and improvements in my happiness and wellbeing, changes I had been trying to find for so long. And suddenly they were right there in front of me, blocked from view by my obsessive grip on my photography.

 

(Of course, don’t get me wrong. I still LOVE photography, and I loved photography then. It is my passion! But just because you are passionate about something, doesn’t mean you should be obsessive about something. There is a HUGE difference, which I learned during my two weeks off.

 

 

So since I have had some time to think back on what I learned during this time (and because I love creating lists), I wanted to share the five reasons I think you and I should take a break every once in awhile:

 

First, you need a chance to catch your breath every now and then.

Before my self-imposed break, I woke up in the morning and worked on my photography. During my lunch breaks, I worked on my photography. As soon as I got home, I worked on my photography. Every. Single. Day. Anything not directly related to my photography was quickly brushed aside to the “I’ll do it when I have time” pile (which meant “never”). Looking back, I realized this pace was a frantic one, and it was wearing me down. So during my “vacation”, I did a lot of things…

Let me rephrase…. I did a lot of relaxing things:

I slept. A LOT.

I made nice dinners, as opposed to my go to “dinner” of peanut butter toast (… it has protein, right?)

I watched Netflix when I wanted.

I finished reading a series I had been trying to finish FOR MONTHS.

I sewed clothes just for me.

And most importantly, I didn’t plan out my days. I just did what I felt like doing… and once my two weeks were up… I felt rested. I felt better than I had in a long, long time.

 

Second, if your mind is cluttered, there isn’t room for inspiration.

Saying I was inspired by my vacation is perhaps a little misleading. I didn’t suddenly look at the green beans I was cooking for dinner one night and realize I needed to do a photo series on vegetables (definitely not my style). But after my vacation I felt much more rested, which helped my mind feel clearer. Suddenly there was more brain power and my thoughts were able to reach much deeper as I worked through my photography ideas.

 

Third, you need a chance to check in with your health and your happiness.

My vacation also gave me the time to evaluate where I was in many aspects of my life, primarily my business, my health, and my happiness. Once I wasn’t consumed with obsessively working on my photography, I could see that my business was growing better than I thought it was and it was growing in the direction I wanted it to go (even better)! I could also see that not sleeping was making me feel emotionally unstable (sorry mom for all the dramatic phone calls)! And from a spiritual standpoint, I realized I wasn’t doing the things I needed to be doing to find happiness with where I was (like taking a moment to appreciate all the incredible things I had in my life and recognize everything that had been happening with my photography).

 

 

Fourth, you need time to reorganize and prioritize the things that matter most.

With that perspective, refreshed, open-eyed, and inspired, I saw the changes I needed to make in my life. Areas I could improve on so they didn’t stress me out as much. I needed to remember where I started and recognize how far I’d come… much more often. I needed to take time for myself. Not myself as in Madeline Shayne the photographer, but myself as in Madeline… the girl who loves to read fantasy, be outside, refurbish furniture, and take photographs of beautiful things (and maybe watch a little anime or the Great British Baking Show every once in awhile).

It’s ok if I don’t shoot as much as I wanted to in a month.

It’s ok if I don’t grow my following as much as I would like.

It’s ok if I don’t make as much money as I had hoped.

What’s really important is that I take the time to be in the moment. To enjoy the process of creating, purely for beauty’s sake. To remember who I am as an individual, of which photography is only one aspect. There are many sides to me, and I shouldn’t let one of them completely overpower all the others.

 

And finally, taking a break gives you time to prepare for the next sprint… or marathon…

When my vacation was over, I felt so much better about everything in my life. I felt organized and refreshed. And I felt ready to start again. To give it my all again (with maybe a little more time set aside more frequently for the things that bring me joy outside of photography).

And do you know what happened once I reached that point?

I got an email from Kristina A Bishoff Music, telling me we had permission from Kristen Britain to create the artwork for the official Green Rider Book Soundtrack.

Was I a frantic mess again once I got that news? Yes. Absolutely!

Did I have time to breath or really think about anything for the next month and a half? Not really… but I knew it was temporary, and I knew that once it was all over, my number one priority was to take it slow and to be proud of what I had accomplished.

Right now I have about 5,000 images to go through. I have costumes I need (and want!) to photograph. I have new shoots I need to make costumes for. And I have more client shoots this weekend.

But I also have a puppy, and the New England countryside surrounding me. The outdoors are calling, so for now I’ll work on one image at a time, enjoy my time with Freya, and appreciate my life and what I’ve been able to accomplish in this year of growth.

Because it’s pretty remarkable when you take a minute to appreciate it.

By | 2017-10-25T12:28:17+00:00 October 25th, 2017|Personal Thoughts|2 Comments

Let’s Make This Simple: DON’T Follow Me Everywhere (Unless You Really Want To)!

To be completely honest, I don’t want you to follow me on every single social media platform.

I’m serious. Please don’t.

 

…let me explain:

I get it. You’re busy. Goodness knows I don’t have the desire OR time to consistently and methodically check my Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, email, and my top five favorite blogs all in one sitting… and I am pretty sure you don’t either.

So let me help you pick which platform you should be following me on, and which you shouldn’t.

 

Crown by Gems and Bones Jewelry: https://www.etsy.com/shop/gemsandbones

 

#1 – My blog:

It’s kind of a given, but my blog is where I share thoughts, insights, and general updates on what I’m up to. As you’ve read in the past, you’ll have noticed that I’ve shared everything from why I think collaborating is important to the latest photos from my Passages and Green Rider projects.

 

#2 – My mailing list:

With my mailing list, there are two things my email subscribers get for signing up:

  1. I let everyone on my mailing list know when a new blog post has been published, so you know exactly when to check. It’s the best way to stay up to date with my work without having to check my blog every day to see if I’ve posted a new update.
  2. I ALSO send out all the behind the scenes details behind my new series Passages to my email subscribers (like what inspired me to create each image, progress on the prop and costume making, the symbolism behind the props and costumes, and other interesting facts that relate to the series).

Now, why shouldn’t you join my mailing list?

If you hate checking email and deep down in your heart you know my emails are just going to be added to the 5,331 unread emails currently sitting in your inbox, please don’t sign up for this. I’m serious.

Here’s why:

  1. There’s nothing more annoying then getting emails you don’t read (reminding you of all the time you DON’T have to sit down and read them). I don’t want my emails to be the source of this frustration for you!
  2. The truth is, you are actually doing me a disservice every time you receive one of my emails and you don’t open it! Really! Every email I send out that doesn’t get opened brings my readership stats down, and that’s not good for business! Now, this is ABSOLUTELY not to say that I don’t want you following my work, because I do! I promise!

If you do, however, like getting new emails in your inbox and you want a short weekly update on what I’ve been up to (including new images I’ve created), then my mailing list is definitely for you!

Click here to sign up for mailing list!

 

 

 

#3 – Facebook:

Facebook is a bit like my mailing list in that I share all of my blog updates here. I also share new items that have been added to my shop, as well as previews of what is happening on my Patreon profile. Like my newsletter, it’s the best way to keep up to date with what’s happening, without having to check my blog every day to see if I’ve posted something.

And while I don’t share any exclusive behind the scenes details on my Facebook page (remember, that’s only for my email subscribers), following me here is a convenient way to keep up with my work by incorporating it into your daily routine… because we all know you (and I) can all too easily get caught scrolling down the Facebook rabbit hole…

If this sounds like you, do yourself a favor and add some beautiful images to your jaunt down the rabbit’s hole.

Follow me on Facebook here!

 

#4 – Instagram:

Personally, Instagram is my favorite. But I get that it might not be yours. If it is though, Instagram is the best place to follow me if you want to see my work every single day. Each day (around 12 noon EST) I post a new image, sharing my latest work, products I have for sale, inspirational quotes, throwback pieces, and many other things. It’s fun, it’s quick, it’s casual, and if that’s your style you’ll definitely want to come join me.

Why you shouldn’t follow me on instagram:

If you don’t like seeing anything that is not STRICTLY photography related, don’t follow. On my Instagram, in addition to my photography, I also share some of my favorite quotes, landscape shots, and decor details from around my house, so if you only ever want to see my photography, you might find this annoying. If you love quotes, landscape shots, and home decor, though, come join me!

Follow me on Instagram here!

 

 

 

 

#5 – Patreon:

Now, as much as I love Instagram, Patreon is currently my latest obsession. If you missed the announcement on that and are wondering what the heck Patreon even is, I’ll explain:

Patreon is essentially a mix between a kickstarter and a monthly subscription box. With crowdfunding, I can create and send my products (like greeting cards, prints, and thank you packages) to those who pledge a certain amount of money (I have different reward packages ranging from $1/month – $50/month).

So if the idea of spending a little bit of money each month in exchange for what feels like the Madeline Shayne Photography Subscription Box, then Patreon is a really fun place to follow me! It’s been exciting for me these past few months getting to reward my friends for following me and giving me their support all these years and I think it’s been just as fun for them to be on the receiving side.

To learn more about it, check it out here!

 

So, in summary:

  • If you want to read all my personal thoughts (which may be a bit overly dramatic sometimes, but if nothing else, there is humor to be found in that), read my blog.
  • If you want to know all the symbolism and meaning behind my new series Passages, and notified whenever a new blog post is up, sign up for my mailing list.
  • If you want to stay up to date with my work and you just don’t have the time to keep checking email, my Facebook page is the perfect thing to follow.
  • Which is also the case with my instagram… especially if you want to see fun little updates and uplifting thoughts every day.
  • And finally, if you want to be rewarded for the time you’ve devoted to following my work these past few years (because you DEFINITELY deserve it), pledge to my Patreon. I’d love the chance to send you some of my favorite images and gifts the old school way.
    Because, in my opinion, life is just better when you get real mail.

 

I hope this has cleared up the confusion and helped you to see the best way to follow my work! As always, thank you for your support and for participating in this journey!

 

By | 2017-10-18T11:50:44+00:00 October 18th, 2017|Announcement, Patreon, Personal Thoughts|0 Comments

An Update on the Green Rider Book Soundtrack: A Vlog!

Normally my blogging consistency is something I can be very proud of, as I’ve somehow managed to post something once a week for the last two years. But it has been three weeks since I last updated my blog! Needless to say, this past month has knocked me completely flat!

(In a totally exhausting, but VERY wonderful way!)

 

And while I’m a little embarrassed that I let things slip these past few weeks, I’m much more proud of the things I have accomplished this past month. Achievement number one being that I shot about 90% of the images for the Green Rider Book soundtrack artwork and filmed vlog footage throughout the entire process of prepping for the shoot.

Take that, inconsistent blogging!

 

So, leading up to the Green Rider shoots, there was quite a bit of prep work that went into the images I wanted to create, so as a sort of recompense for my meager updates of late, I wanted to give you a look at the vlog footage I compiled. You can see everything from the new materials I learned to work with, my location scouting excursions, and the furry friend that kept me company while I worked.

 

And while I took quite a bit of footage (because there was quite a bit of preparation), I made sure to cull through and fit all the best pieces in to just under nine minutes of video.

 

So if you have a few minutes, watch how it all started to take shape:

 

 

I’d love to know which part of the preparation was your favorite to watch. The location scouting? Or the making of the Eletian armor (which was my favorite)? Or did you love something else? Let me know in the comments below!

By | 2017-10-11T13:38:43+00:00 October 11th, 2017|Green Rider|1 Comment

Announcing the Green Rider Soundtrack Artwork Contributors!

When Kristen Britain announced on June 30th that an official soundtrack for her novel Green Rider was being created, my first thought was something along the lines of “oh, how exciting!”

My second thought was something more like “wouldn’t that just be a DREAM if I could do the artwork for it?”

Almost three months later, I am so, SO grateful I decided to reach out to the composer, Kristina A Bishoff and offer my photoartistry for the album artwork. Now I find myself just three days away from fulfilling that dream I had. I have spent almost every second of free time since reaching out to Kristina completely devoted to giving as much as I possibly could to this project (and I promise that is no exaggeration)!

Truly, just the other day, my mom called me wondering if I was still alive. I suppose I had been so busy that I had forgotten to call my family for weeks at a time (sorry mom)! I’m sure my friends all think that maybe I moved away without telling them.

(I’m still here, friends! Just… being a hermit surrounded by lots and lots of fabric and props!)

Of course, all of this hard work would not have come even close to helping me be ready for this shoot without the work of the incredible contributors who are lending so much to this project! So today, I wanted to recognize all of the people who deserve the credit.

 

 

The largest number of contributors lies in the modeling category, given the sheer number of characters we’re hoping to bring to life in this project! A HUGE thank you to all of the models who will be joining us this weekend!

 

Karigan

Valerie Erb

 

King Zachary

Skipper Plowman

 

The Gray One

Mounted: Noah Clewley

Non-mounted/Shawdell: Brian Mann

 

Captain Mapstone

Kimberly White

 

Immerez

Jeremy McGhee

 

The Green Riders

Corinne

 

Phoebe Clewley

 

Sam  Clewley

 

Noah Clewley

 

PC: Salvato Collection

Katharine Work

 

Katie Shernan

 

The Elts

 

Franziska Drummond

 

 

Brian Mann

 

Kari Tanner

 

Abigail Rose

 

* I will also be creating a photo of the weapons, however the models for this have not been finalized just yet, so that announcement will come later!

 

And now for those who contributed costumes and props for this project:

 

1. Kelsey Krohn, for creating such a wonderful version of the Green Rider great coat! When I asked Kelsey if she had an Instagram or a Facebook account she wanted me to link to when crediting her work, she responded that she just made the costume and wanted to loan it out simply because of her love for the books and wanting to be a part of this project! I love that!

 

2. Gems and Bones for creating some absolutely enchanting crowns I will be using on the Eletian (elven) characters. I’ve worked with this designer before, and have absolutely loved her work. I’ll also be using one of the pieces she is sending me in a very secretive bonus photo I’ll be creating for Kristina’s Kickstarter!

 

 

3. Shelby Robinson and Alice Corsets for one of the most elegant gowns I have ever seen! When my fellow photographer and friend Shelby offered to let me use a gown she purchased from Alice Corsets, I could NOT refuse. This dress will also be for the special bonus image I will be creating, so you’ll have to check out the Kickstarter once it launches to find out how I’m using it!

 

PC: Shelby Robinson Artistry

 

4. Kimberly White of Twist’d Parody for making Captain Mapstone’s uniform (and modeling it), as well as a few of the other pieces you’ll be seeing throughout the images!

 

 

 

The last thing I wanted to share with you guys is the locations for these shoots. Originally I had wanted to do some of the photos up in Acadia National Park, which the world of Sacoridia is strongly based off of. Unfortunately a trip up to Acadia (before the leaves changed) was not in the books this year, so I am a little sad that I won’t get to shoot any of the artwork there.

(Maybe Kristina just needs to compose more soundtracks for the books so I can go up there for the next soundtrack? What do you think, Kristina? *Nudge, nudge*).

However, Massachusetts is close enough to Maine that there are quite a few places that resemble Acadia National Park and therefore Sacoridia near where I live. One such place is the Middlesex Fells Reservation in Stoneham, MA. Just 20 minutes from my house, its one of my favorite places to explore, so I felt it was the perfect spot to shoot some of our Sacoridian scenes.

 

 

 

Of course, one of the biggest hurdles about this project was the number of absolutely crucial pieces that had to come together for this shoot to all work out, so when I say multiple time that “I couldn’t have done this without [fill in the blank]”, I really do mean it. While I couldn’t have done it without all these costume designers and models, I also could NOT have done it without my friend, Katie Shernan.

I have never worked with horses before, despite the fact that they may be one of my favorite animals. I took a few riding lessons when I was… oh, five? And then a few pony rides here and there. So the thought of reaching out to stables, a world SO completely foreign to myself, to convince them to allow me to use their grounds and horses was intimidating to say the least.

This project was all about pushing myself to my limits, though, so I was completely ready to step out of my comfort zone and contact as many stables in the area as needed to find my equine models. On the afternoon I was writing up my proposal, though, and mentally preparing myself for what would have probably been quite a few rejections, my friend Katie sent me one of the most fortuitously timed messages I have ever received. In the middle of proofreading my proposal for the stables, a notification popped up on my Facebook feed, catching my attention. Katie had send me a message, offering to connect me with some stables and horses she worked with. You just cannot make these kinds of coincidences up! Ultimately, Katie played a HUGE role in finding the location and the equine models needed for the shoot!

The sigh of relief I felt leaving my body after finalizing the location and the horses a few days later was absolutely monumental!  Thank you, Katie, so, SO deeply, for reaching out and offering to be such an integral part of the success of this project!

 

So for all of the equestrian scenes, we will be shooting at Chuck Patti Training Center in Merrimac, Ma! Lying in northern Massachusetts, the facilities at these stables are casual and comfortable, which I love. A shoot can be a little stressful, so I feel very fortunate that Katie was able to connect me with a location where everyone can feel relaxed the day of. I think this will hugely help everything run as smoothly as possible! Surrounded by beautiful pastures and forests, I really do feel like I lucked out with being able to shoot here!

 

 

 

Of course, while I feel like this is a pretty good summary of the amount of effort everyone has been putting into this project, there is even more that I haven’t mentioned here (if I did, this blog post might end up being the size of one of Kristen Britain’s novels)! So throughout all of this I’ve also been recording vlog footage and will continue to do so throughout the course of this project. These vlog updates will include details like the making of the costumes, footage from the day of the shoot, and my thoughts on the progress of the project (I might even include a few speed edit videos of some of the images)! Follow me on Instagram and Facebook to stay up to date on that!

 

There are a TON of moving parts to this, which has seemed very overwhelming at times. I have never been more immersed in a fantasy novel than I have with Green Rider, but throughout all of this and despite all of the stress, I have had SO much fun. I absolutely would not change one aspect of it all! So to all my amazing contributors, to all the Green Rider fans, and to Kristina and Kristen most especially, thank you for letting me be a part of this! Saturday can’t come soon enough!

 

(P.S. On Saturday and Sunday, I am planning on going live on Facebook and Instagram during the shoot periodically throughout the day. Be sure to be following me on Facebook (Madeline Shayne Photography) and Instagram (@madelineshaynephoto) to know when I go live!)

By | 2017-09-22T12:10:13+00:00 September 20th, 2017|Announcement, Green Rider|0 Comments

I’d Like To Introduce Myself

While I was home in Arkansas, I finally did something that I’ve been very much wanting to do for quite some time:

I filmed an “about me” video.

This may seem like a strange thing to be wanting as badly as I did, but each time I looked at my About Me page on my Patreon, it just felt so… stationary. I wanted something that was more alive and could give you a better idea of who I am and why I create the way I do.

So, while doing a shoot I had planned to do while back in Arkansas, I had my brother film some footage and (combined with other snips and clippings of my life) began to compile a video that would give you some sort of an idea of who I am.

In this video, there is footage of me in some of my very favorite places back home in Arkansas, at work in my new studio space (which I’ll be sharing more of once everything is all settled), and of my shoots. I’ll let the video do the rest of the talking:

 

Watch my “about me” video here on my Patreon profile!

 

This video is honest. It’s me, and that’s what I love most about it. What do you think? Leave a comment below and let me know!

By | 2017-09-12T21:20:23+00:00 September 13th, 2017|Announcement, Behind the Scenes, Personal Thoughts|0 Comments

I’m FINALLY Sharing the Next Scene of “Passages”! Come Look!

It’s been awhile since I talked about Passages, mostly because of the Green Rider project that I currently have in the works, but today I finally have the next set of images from Passages to share with you!

 

 

While I won’t always be shooting these photos chronologically (as far as the storyline goes), I did just so happen to shoot the Prologue and Scene one back to back, which was kind of nice. It helped me carry over the theme and mood from the first scene into these new images quite well.

In the last scene (the Prologue) Chloë hasn’t set off on her adventure yet, but she wonders what lies outside her little world. Scene one truly begins the adventure, as we see Chloë walking down the path through her forest, cloaked and ready to see what’s out there.

 

 

In some of the images Chloë is holding a bag of seeds, cupping a few of them in her hands as she looks at how very different they each are. I explained the symbolism behind the seeds in the email I sent out to my friends on my mailing list (you can view that by signing up here), but as she holds them in her hand she thinks about what to do with them. Should she plant them? Or should she put them back in her bag and save them for later?

I guess we’ll find out in later images…. For now I’ll leave it a little bit of a mystery. 😉

 

Of course, I have several people to thank for helping with this image, and so I wanted to briefly recognize them here. Without them, my job would have been much more difficult, so thank you guys for making my second Passages shoot such a fun one!

First, my sister McKenna, for saving me from having to do the makeup. Funnily enough, I love doing my own makeup… but I do not like doing it for other people. That extends to my photo projects. It’s the only part of my process that I don’t enjoy. I always say that people have superpowers… I think one of McKenna’s (because she has many) is gorgeous makeup.

(Mine is getting a ton of stuff done in a limited amount of time, in case you were curious).

 

 

Second, my sister’s friend, Annabella. She acted as my tripod throughout the shoot, holding my phone flashlight to illuminate my sister’s face. It may seem trivial, but it makes a HUGE difference when faces are properly lit in an image. Not only does it look better (no black sockets where your eye should be because of the sun’s harsh light), but it also helps the camera to be able to focus on the parts that it should. A small thing to help with, but very important,  nonetheless!

 

 

Third, my brother. Who deserves some sort of special reward. If everyone has a superpower, than everyone has their own version of kryptonite, and small insects are my brother’s. Since he was little, anytime he goes outside, ticks, mosquitoes, and whatever else lives out there swarm to him like honey bees to a garden in the height of spring. I lost track of how many bites he  had after spending the shoot getting video for me, but I think it was in the 100s. So when you see my next video edit, just think of Rob and his sacrifices for the perfect shot.

 

 

Finally, my youngest sister, miss Chloë, who yes, carries the same name as the protagonist of Passages. Surprisingly I actually researched which name to choose, and for very purposeful and symbolic reasons, I chose the same name… Did you know that Chloë means “green shoot” or “fresh bloom”. The coincidence seems to be almost spiritual in its perfection. Is that a strange thing to say?

Anyway, thank you Chloë, for wearing a full length gown, 22-inch wig, and thick velvet cloak in JULY, in ARKANSAS. I was hot in my shorts and t-shirt and she did not even break a sweat. She’s wonderful, she’s perfect, and I can’t wait to shoot the rest of this series with her and the countless other people I know will be a part of this project.

 

Want to read about the symbolism behind these images? Such as why I chose the color I did, or why she’s carrying a bag of seeds? Just fill out this form to be added to my mailing list, and I’ll share all of that with you!

 

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By | 2017-09-06T14:34:23+00:00 September 6th, 2017|Passages|0 Comments

Losing My Faith During the Climb

I had a completely different post written for today.

But yesterday, something told me to write this instead.

I kept telling myself that it wasn’t relevant to the news I have to share. I’ve also told myself that I’ve already discussed my frustrations and whined more than enough on this blog. Neither of these arguments, however, could prevent me from feeling like what I had originally prepared was not what I should be sharing today.

Recognizing that these promptings to change course have often led to good places, I guess I will stop fighting it. So here I am, 100% honest and (quite possibly) ready to embarrass myself entirely with my exaggerated whining.

 

 

At the beginning of the month, I spent some much needed time back home in Arkansas with my family. While I had planned this trip months in advance, I had no idea how much I would have needed this trip when I booked the flights.

As it turns out, in the weeks leading up to my trip, I was not in the best of places. Ever since I moved to Boston, I have struggled with purpose. That’s not to say I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I knew that and I still do. I just didn’t know how to get there. After being led so unwaveringly towards Boston prior to my move in June of 2015, at the time I felt that this move was the first of what would be many steps on the path to what I wanted. When I arrived in this city, however, I suddenly found that all of the guidance I had  previously depended on had unexplainably vanished.

I prayed a lot about this… and my prayers often sounded like “I’m here… what’s next?”

But I didn’t get any answers. I even tried making my own decisions, rather than waiting for answers, knowing that often Heavenly Father wants us to decide. But every step I took, every decision I tried to make felt wrong. Leaving Boston felt wrong. Looking for a new job felt wrong. Moving back home felt wrong. And with every new direction I faced feeling wrong, still I fought the only option left to me: keeping the course and continuing to do what I was doing. That couldn’t be the answer… to just keep going? Could it? My life is one that has been built on constant change. On constantly taking a step forward and upward, and I knew my answer would resemble that trajectory. And yet, despite how much I prayed… still I got no answer. By the time my two year anniversary of life in Boston arrived, I was angry.

I was angry with God.

I refused to pray.

I was giving up.

 

 

Ooof, that’s dramatic.

But it’s the truth. Never in my life have I been angry with God. I’ve been angry with people many times in my life… but never with my Heavenly Father. And NEVER have I decided to take my anger out by refusing to pray to him.

But I had had enough.

You know how they always say at church that you should have faith during your hard times, not just when life is great? Well, in that moment, I was the worst offender. In my depression, I was absolutely certain that Heavenly Father was purposefully ignoring me.

And yet, despite my anger, I decided to give it one more try. Before flying home, I said one more prayer. And it was a simple one:

“When I go back to Arkansas, tell me, even if it’s with just the slightest of an impression, whether or not I should move back to Arkansas.”

I just needed some sort of guidance. With low expectations, I kept my prayer simple.

Miraculously, the weekend before I flew back, I received word that a potential project I had been exploring had been given the green light. Maybe God was listening… but I wasn’t willing to bet on it, just yet. And yet, when I flew home, I had the faintest of hopes that perhaps Heavenly Father wasn’t ignoring me… and that maybe… just maybe… he would actually answer this one small prayer.

 

 

 

One of the central themes of Passages is the acorn, and I feel this symbol is entirely applicable in this situation. I clung to that little seed of faith, hoping that at the end of my trip, I would come back with something

 

And while I was home, I actually received my answer.

It wasn’t earth-shattering… no one screamed it in my ear. But I had a feeling, and when I boarded my flight back to Boston, I found that I once again had hope. I also found that I had come to a few realizations:

The prayers I had been saying, never actually went unanswered. Rather, they were being answered just a tiny bit, every single day. So tiny, that I never even saw it happening. The fact that I have a job that allows me to leave work physically AND mentally at 5 pm every day has been part of the answer. The fact that I have friends who are always willing to model for me whenever I need to create something has been part of the answer. The fact that I, the antithesis of a morning person, have somehow had the energy to wake up at 5 am every morning to work on my photography has been part of the answer. Every choice presented to me, every friendship made, and every new creative habit formed have been part of the answer.

I was just too blinded by my impatience to see it.

While I was back in Arkansas, I shot the next scene of Passages, and it’s funny how much of a “coincidence” it was that I shot the particular scene I did: the very beginning of Chloë’s grand adventure. Thinking back on where I was, and on where I am now, I can’t help but feel that Passages really has become much like a diary for me. Like Chloë in this scene, I am once again filled with hope and ready to see what lies ahead of me on my journey.

 

A preview of one of the images from Scene 1, which I will be sharing next week!

 

I’m no longer angry at Heavenly Father, thankfully. Recent events have convinced me that He was never actually ignoring me… that he has been answering my prayers all along. Passages and the Green Rider project aren’t just something that Heavenly Father handed me after I threw a temper tantrum and decided to stop talking to Him. They are two projects that He has been guiding me towards one tiny and seemingly unimportant decision at a time. How wrong I was to assume that He has stopped guiding me, caring about me, or answering me.

As a friend recently told me, we often mark our successes and triumphs by reaching the pinnacle of the mountain. What we often forget, though, is that every step up that mountain are just as important as that last step to the top. Every step are individual moments of success that lead us to the ultimate achievement. Every step should be celebrated just as much as our final climb.

 

Like Chloë in the first scene, I didn’t come back from Arkansas to start this next adventure with an undeniably concrete path or some grand answer to my prayers. But I came back full of hope and happiness. I came back ready to start the adventure.

And so, it is on that note, that I want to share a small something I have been working on over the past few weeks: my first ever vlog update! All the work I have put into this image has been my release from all these frustrating feelings I have had lately, and I have found that it has been fun to talk through my ideas with someone (even if it was just the camera). So if you want to see how I created the costume for the Passages scene I discussed in this post, as well as some footage from the day I shot this back in Arkansas, come check it out. I’ll share a little preview here, but you’ll want to visit my Patreon to see the full patron-only exclusive vlog update!

 

 

See the full video here!

By | 2017-08-31T07:01:21+00:00 August 31st, 2017|Announcement, Passages, Personal Thoughts|0 Comments