Alice In Wonderland Shoot

Like the Harry Potter image I created in November I’ve wanted to do an Alice in Wonderland shoot for some time. I didn’t want to just re-create a still from the movie I wanted it to either be humorous or have a hidden meaning, an emotion or perhaps a reference to problems in our society. Something that might amuse the viewer or start a conversation.

Artists have the ability to say things in their work that is sometimes too hard to be spoken, such a powerful tool in this day and age when everyone has opinion about everything. During my research I came across an interesting article on Artists as Activists: Pursuing Social Justice 

It features some of the artists involved in Gutfreund Cornett Art’s mission, a series of exhibitions around the U.S. tackling social injustice issues.

“There is much that is needed to be said, to make people stop, look and listen, to confront social injustice issues. Art can often say what words cannot. We want to bring powerful artwork to the general public that reflects on these issues and encourages change.” Karen Gutfreund

The artists involved have created work that addresses serious issues like wealth disparity, immigration, racism, gender and equality issues, reform of the criminal justice system, and gun violence. “Ignorance is bliss” Their intent is to start a dialogue and raise awareness of these sensitive issues.



The result of my research brought me to the concept of creating an image that showed the effect that mobile phones have on our youth. On the face of it, it’s not as serious as many of the issues addressed in the exhibition above. But on the other hand is it? If it’s affecting our children so much that the first thing they do when they wake up in the morning is reach for their phone and with them for the whole day and is the last thing they look at before going to sleep then how do we tackle the addiction. How will it affect them when they grow up, will they have social interaction or mental health issues and how will this affect society as a whole?

one recent study found that 99.9% of a large sample of English 15-year olds use at least one kind of digital technology every day.

There is no confirmed medical evidence that says technology will damage our children’s health. Prolonged use will only lead to a sedentary life which is bad for our body and mind so moderation is the answer. Unfortunately technology has become an unavoidable part of our daily lives, used for gaming, shopping, banking, communication, so many things… I know myself if I ever need to find something out we just ask google!

On the other side of the debate there are also ways that technology is helping children to grow and develop in a positive way. In an article from it suggest that:

Benefits of Technology & the Right Kind of Screen Time for Children

  • Technology allows for creativity & freedom of expression
  • Technology aids in socialization and relationship building
  • Technology allows for independence and empowerment
  • Technology improves problem solving and perseverance
  • Technology helps instill an entrepreneurial spirit
  • Technology enhances learning
  • Technology jobs are (and will be) in high demand

We are living in an exciting time with constant developments in technology and as long as it is used in moderation then it shouldn’t be a problem



The concept behind my image is to address the effect that mobile phones / technology has on our youth using inspiration from Alice In Wonderland. I plan to use the scene where Alice falls down the rabbit hole, curiosity still the cause but with a mobile phone at the forefront – She’s so engrossed in using the phone she is totally oblivious to what’s going on around her. Falling down the hole .. into the unknown, will represent the future, because we don’t actually know the long-term effects of using technology in every aspect of our lives.

Alice mood board.jpg




I don’t intend to spend any money, adopting Brooke Shaden’s approach, I will use things I have, can borrow or make.

  • Tea Set
  • Vintage chair
  • Vintage table
  • Vintage mirror
  • Mobile Phone
  • Blue & white dress
  • Drink me bottle
  • Clock
  • Books


  • Falling down the rabbit hole
  • Looking at the phone
  • Taking a selfie
  • Playing a game on the phone
  • Falling down the rabbit hole head first because she’s dropped the phone
  • Sitting on a chair using the phone oblivious to the fact she’s falling down a hole




  • Nikon D850 & Sigma Art 50mm 1.4
  • Tripod
  • Jinbei Light, Softball Diffuser, Strobe & 150cm Octobox
  • Backdrop stand & Black paper backdrop
  • Props – chair, tea set, book, phone, table & lace


I had my chosen sketch and my mood boards with me, this made it easy to pose Sophie and the props in the right place. Knowing where everything was meant to be situated still resulted in taking quite a lot of photographs because the angles and facial expressions are very rarely achieved in just one shot.

Below are the chosen images for the composite:



As this was a composite I used the same process as in my previous composites with some of the editing techniques learnt from Duczman. I won’t break down the full edit here but you can read about similar ones I’ve done HERE.


I used this leafy stone wall image in several layers to build up the background:

I then cut around the book, table, cup & saucer and added them to the image:

Alice a

The next stage was layers and layers of curves to adjust the highlights and shadows of different areas as well as Dodge & Burn and Hue/Saturation layers. Then the unnecessary highlights were removed and added as needed:

Alice edit explained sml

LAST STAGE – Lifting the shadows & running the image through the Portraiture software


Alice sml

**note for the image above** something that I missed when uploading this image is that when it’s been exported something has happened to the shadows, I have the final image and on screen it doesn’t look like this. I will have to look in to what’s happened when it’s been exported.


Start to finish the edit and getting it ready for print took just over 7 hours. Probably my most difficult composite to date because in all my others there has only been one element that I have had to composite into the image but this had 5. Getting all the separate elements to work together in a composite is really difficult. The simple thing of a highlight or a shadow where it shouldn’t be can instantly make the image look wrong. I am excited to see what it’s going to look like printed, it’s very hard to see all the faults on a computer screen so you need to print it big for them to stand out. Once I’ve seen it in print and done any edits that need doing I will then send it for final print.

When I received the prints I was happy with the portraits but I feel the composite image needs further editing, the shadows under the chair are wrong, like in the image above, around the table it looks a mess, I’m really not sure what’s happened, perhaps I’ve sent the wrong file for print, because the final edit I have of this looks perfect on screen.

I have sent it off to be printed again and will add the photos of comparison when it arrives.