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The Artifice Club

Midsummer Night’s STEAM

“A heart that beats an incredible machine made of blood and love and hope and lust and steam”- Sugarland

Last Saturday Mark, Intern Vee and I photographed A Midsummer Night’s STEAM: A Dandies and Darlings Dance. The event was put on by The Artifice Club, a Steampunk Collective.

If you are not sure what Steampunk is…an explanation from the interwebs:

“A sub-genre of speculative fiction, frequently featuring elements of fantasy.  It involves a setting where steam power is widely used—whether in an alternate history such as Victorian era Britain or “Wild West“-era United States, or in a post-apocalyptic time —that incorporates elements of either science fiction or fantasy.”

The event was not just a dance but an array of fun and interesting diversions. There were a variety of demonstrations, a croquet tournament and a Fashion contest that benefitted DREAM Daschund Rescue. The competition for the fashion contest was fierce! I really admire the work that goes in to an intricate costume/outfit.

Of course no dance is complete without amazing music, Lords and Ladies: A Vaudevillian Disc Jockey Extra-Ordinaries and Crystal Bright and the Silver Hands had everyone moving.

Tip: If you see that an event is hosted by The Artifice Club GO!! You will have a splendid time!

Steampunk! Midsummer Night’s Steam | by LeahAndMark

– Posted by Mark

We photograph a lot of different subjects. Weddings. Family Portraits. Events – and anything else we feel like. But we’ve been deep in wedding season so it’s been a while since we’ve photographed anything Steampunk!

(Download Gallery Here)

Of course – over the past few years we have stepped out and gotten a few opportunities – [DragonCon] [Photoshoot] and it was kind of a nice change of pace to be able to photograph The Artifice Club’s event “A Midsummer Night’s STEAM: A Dandies and Darlings Dance” - which took place at the Solarium down in Oakhurst!

The thing with gatherings such as these is that you have to control yourself, and basically not try to shoot EVERYTHING. Because there really IS a lot of eye-candy that you’ll want to photograph, but if you try to capture EVERYTHING – chances are good that you’re going to end up with a collection of photos that aren’t any better than stuff people capture with point-n-shoots at a convention. And that’s great if you’re trying to ‘just get a photo’ – but if you’re trying to make something better than the average tourist – you should probably take your time and just generally be a bit more selective.

My biggest tip though? – Don’t always try to get the WHOLE outfit/costume – even if the person is posing or trying to show off a particular aspect. Make YOUR Photo, not theirs.

Still. It was nice to get out of wedding mode for a night and be around a slightly different atmosphere.

Steampunk! The Artifice Club. Midsummer Night’s Steam. Masquerade. The Solarium. Photos

(Download Gallery Here)

SteamPunk Ball


Click Here for the SteamPunk! Preview Set: (This isn’t all of the photos – just a small subset – I’ll finish editing all of them this weekend.)

Last Saturday we shot two events – SugarComa and then the Mechanical Masquerade: a SteamPunk Ball. The ball was put on by the Syrens of the South – they’re a burlesque troupe and they also provide classes – which is partly why you’ll see a bit of burlesque in the preview photo gallery.

For those of you who aren’t up on your fandoms, Steampunk is:

a sub-genre of science fiction and speculative fiction, frequently featuring elements of fantasy, that came into prominence in the 1980s and early 1990s. The term denotes works set in an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century, and often Victorian era England—but with prominent elements of either science fiction or fantasy, such as fictional technological inventions like those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne, or real technological developments like the computer occurring at an earlier date.

And even though I’m generally past my days of Cosplaying – I still very much appreciate and admire the work that goes into any good outfit/costume (since you know, it’s at the point where people don’t consider these ‘costumes’ anymore – and try their hardest to make it their daily wear – whether it’s SteamPunk or Lolita fashion.)

Consistently good photography is often times all about making decisions – which is why you’ll find many photographers shooting on full manual – because we want to control as much as possible with our photos – which means we’re making snap decisions just as everything is going on. Fortunately, with a portrait booth you can make many decisions ahead of time. I decided that instead of the usual ‘old-timey’ look that waaaay toooo many photographers choose for SteamPunk, that I would go with glam. As much as possible – well, in this case it means LENS FLARE Everywhere!


Because some of these people put A LOT of work into making their outfits and pulling pieces together – and they should get photos that show that off and not merely just ‘capture’ a flat image. At least that was the general grand idea in my head. Execution of that idea is… always different 🙂

Fortunately I had help – Leah and our friend Paralee (of fame!) came along and worked the event with me. In fact, Paralee shot half the time and once I decided on a light setup and put everything in place, we just switched back and forth as to who would shoot the portrait.


Now the thing about portraits and working with people who aren’t used to modeling/posing – is that once you have your lights setup, much of the burden of creating a ‘good’ photo is actually on the photographer. Because it’s at that point where it’s the photographer’s job to direct the subjects into not only ‘good’ poses, but something interesting. Or else your photos end up on Awkward Family Photos. (Working with professional models is different because it’s more of a collaboration between the two since the model actually needs to know how to model.)

(I will admit though, I use the ‘Dodge This’ shot from the Matrix way too often – but come on, it’s always fun)


And while photographers will often blame the clients as to why their portraits were bad (or worse, boring) – the photographer really has to do everything within their power to make it happen and just ‘get the shot’ – the ones who don’t make excuses are usually the ones who always get ‘the shot’ – no matter what – even when the subject was difficult to work with, somehow a professional will still get it. Right? Right. – by the way – fortunately everyone at this event that let us shoot them was extremely easy and fun to work with.

Um…. go off on tangents much?

Hey. It’s Friday. Awesome.

Click Here for the SteamPunk! Preview Set: (This isn’t all of the photos – just a small subset – I’ll finish editing all of them this weekend.)