Dastardly Demelza

March 18, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

DAS.TARD.LY origin: mid-16th Century
1. dull or stupid
2. cowardly
3. characterised by underhandedness or treachery

1. English origins.
2. Popular in Australia.
3. I don't know what it means, it just sounded cool, old timey and started with a D.

The first few years after deciding I wanted to be a photographer, I was collecting costumes. Made sense since I started out shooting pinup/character portraits but the problem is I haven't used most of them and they're taking up half of my wardrobe. That doesn't even include all of the random crap I've hoarded for props. Last year I decided I should really use them at least once before I die and hit up Lamia Emilia to see if she had done a pirate shoot yet. 

The night before I had everything ready to go: the dress, the pirate hat, gun, jewellery, gold coins (I told you I owned a lot of crap)...and then I decided I really needed a pirate map and made one staining it with some old tea bags in the cupboard. I thought it would be funny to put a 'google maps' in the corner since printed maps basically don't exist anymore.

This shoot itself was bittersweet for me and also why I took so long to edit the photos. We did this photoshoot last September and here we are six months later and I've finally finished them. This isn't the longest I've taken to edit photos though - my Space Girl shoot took me about 3 years and there's photos from my Tafe days I still haven't looked at and probably never will because some of them are just BAD.

Unlike my past beach shoots I wanted to try using my light modifiers. I only own two but I was really keen to see how an octobox and beauty dish worked in that environment. Until now I've only ever used them at the pine plantation. Ideally I wanted to try late afternoon but 11am on Father's Day was the only time we could do it. Knowing me, I wanted to do it for Pirate's Day and didn't deliver. I got a friend to help me out so I could get all my gear to the beach and had someone to hold the light stand, we did the shoot, got home, checkout out the photos and they all looked pretty good so project successful. This was immediately followed with "what was the point of this project, it's not like I can ever do it again?". The reality hit hard that I already struggle physically with things so really what was the point of doing something I can't go and do again. I definitely can't carry this stuff around, let alone on public transport, and I can't afford to hire someone to assistant. It really dampened the entire shoot and I didn't want to look at the photos. 


Luckily for me Lamia Emilia is totally cool with me taking my time because she knows she'll get the photos eventually. She also knows where I live if she really wanted to hunt me down. 

The goal for the shoot was to get a few pinup/playful style shots and some more serious ones as a homage to Johnny Depp but it's so hard trying to see the back of the camera in daylight that I spent more time trying to make sure I wasn't failing with the lighting instead. I know histograms exist but I also don't know histograms exist. I've never looked at one in my life so not really any point starting now.


I wanted to do two types of edits but ended up having three different ones. I liked the idea of having different 'sets' within the set so when shared on social media it's not just 10 photos that look identical. 

For the 'pinup' I wanted bright colours and clouds but Perth didn't understand the assignment and gave us a clear blue sky. Easily fixed, I stood out on my balcony for 2 minutes and snapped some clouds when they did come out.

For the others, I really love the Pirates Of The Caribbean artwork and wanted to see what I could do myself. I have so much respect for digital artists. I didn't even do that much to my photos but it really tested my patience. I added some moody clouds, a bit more landscape to the horizon and played around with colours and gradients. One image I took further and tried to fix up some bad lighting effects. The flash didn't fire a few times so one photo (below) had unflattering light on her face and random shadows.  For a couple of images I wanted to include a destroyed ship of some kind. There was a few around but this one ship stood out so I settled for trying to make it look like it was on fire. After all, if we're going to have a clumsy useless Jack Sparrow type pirate...we need a disaster in the background! IMG_4948IMG_4948

For anyone new to stock photos - PEXELS has the most amazing selection of images and they're free to use - just credit the photographers!

These are the photos used. 

stockstock 1. My photo

2. Photo by Moritz Böing from Pexel

3. Photo by Brendon Becker from Pexel

4. Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

"The problem is not the problem. The problem is your attitude about the problem. Do you understand?"

- Jack Sparrow
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Um… And is it just me, or do pirates need to take a little bit better care of their fuckin’ maps? You know, when I find a pirate’s map, it’s… it’s always tea-stained, and the edges are burnt, and it’s like if you’re a pirate, all right, and you’re gonna make this map and expect me to carry it around the globe as I search for your treasure, then laminate it.

- Bo Burnham

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Why is the rum always gone?

- Jack Sparrow

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"Aye, tough mermaids are, the lot of them" 

- Blackbeard

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You can follow my wonderful model Lamia Emilia on social media as well Facebook / Instagram

Feel free to leave a comment below and let us know what you think!






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