a knife, a camera, a lighter, a lighter, and other items are.
a painting of a group of women surrounded by trees.
a painting of a man and a woman standing in front of a waterfall.
a painting of a naked woman reaching up to a tree.
a woman in a bodysuit holding a sword.
a painting of a man holding a sword next to a woman.
a painting of a woman holding a book.
a man and a woman standing on top of a rock in the ocean.
a painting of a dragon attacking a man.

Chris Koeppen

Fine Art | Last Updated: May 31, 2023

Hey! My name is Chris Koeppen, An Ethereal Fire, and I am a fine art fantasy boudoir photographer who combines images taken in a studio with classical artworks to create pieces that represent both my client’s physical form as well as their creative ideas.

I started my photographic journey at sixteen and have jumped between portraiture, weddings, and advertising campaigns. Now I have finally landed in a niche that I love more than anything else.

I got into photography because I saw this photo of a Canadian pop star named Lights, and I thought, “I wish I could take photos that were that cool.”

My parents got me a little point-and-shoot for Christmas, and I just started taking pictures all the time. Some years later, I actually ended up designing clothing for Lights and shooting promotional material for her, which was the wildest full-circle moment!

I am a huge proponent of using the gear you can afford and learning how to push it to the max of its abilities. My first DSLR was a Canon Rebel T2i which I acquired as I went to college for film school. I wanted something that could do both photos and video and at the time, it was the best option I could afford.

I’ve never really cared about the “camera wars” that many photographers subscribe to, and since I learned Canon’s system first, I just stuck with it. I don’t upgrade my gear unless there is something that the camera physically cannot do, and I have only owned three cameras over the course of my entire professional career.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV – I upgraded from my second camera, the  Canon EOS 6D, to the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV specifically because I was shooting weddings at the time and needed better performance in low light with less color-infused grain.

In my current work, I am thankful for the size of the images produced, as the final artworks are usually around ten thousand pixels on the long edge or even larger.

The colors produced by the Canon system also give me a good base to jump off when creating painterly images. I just find Canon’s color space to be richer by default than others.

Rokinon 35mm F/1.4, Rokinon 24mm F/1.4 – Oh my gosh, I could go on for hours about why I love these lenses. To sum it up, the quality of the craftsmanship on these is simply beautiful.

They are extremely solid and have held up for years and years on end with the same quality images, and they are also unbelievably inexpensive for fixed glass with such a low F-stop!

The drawback, however, is that they are manual focus only. This worked out amazing for me with my background in filmmaking as I was used to manual focus on moving subjects.

It’s not impossible to learn, but it takes time, and in the end, it is worth it for anyone on a budget!

AlienBees B800 – probably one of the most ridiculous parts of my kit bag is that I only have a B800 on loan from my art director, and I have zero preference for the triggers used with it.

For the most part, I lock it to around seventy-five percent power and forget what I am using, as I am not changing my setup much besides raising and lowering the light. I use whatever is available at whichever studio I decide to rent.

Lightroom, Photoshop, Gigapixel Ai – for my current workflow, I import and manage all my images in Lightroom, as well as apply a preset I made to help soften the RAW.

From there, I send them to Photoshop for intensive editing. Because I am using public domain artworks, I often use Gigapixel Ai to upscale the art to match my canvas size, and it’s by far one of the best tools that I make use of.

I also use a Huion H610 V2 for my editing tablet.  It’s a vital part of my workflow as it allows for pressure sensitivity and better control, plus it’s budget-friendly.

I carry a huge bag of cloth, one of which I used as the background for the gear image, and I usually carry five stunt swords of various styles to every shoot, as you never know when you will need an extra cloth or a sword!

My biggest piece of advice to artists, in general, is to ask yourself what you wish existed in the space you are in, and then go out and make it.

An Ethereal Fire exists because I wanted to combine fantasy and boudoir into a genre, but make it focused on the client and imitating classical imagery rather than trying to prescribe modern, sexy aspects to everyone in front of my lens.

I now love what I do more than anything else I have previously done, and I am seeing more success than I had ever envisioned.

You can do it; express yourself.

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