PHLEARN MagazineA Peek Inside the Bag of Fantasy Photographer Bella Kotak

A Peek Inside the Bag of Fantasy Photographer Bella Kotak

Initially finding photography by way of bettering her Photoshop skills, fine art fantasy photographer Bella Kotak fell in love with the story, light and subjects she was capturing. Now, Bella spends most of her photographic time outdoors creating beautiful, otherworldly images. Based in Oxford England, she has traveled the world bringing her fairy tale visions to life.

Recently, we had the chance to talk to Bella about her creative process and inspiration; and today, she shares with us the equipment she uses to capture her fantasy world.

How do you determine what gear you need for a shoot?


Since most of the time it’s usually just myself and the model on a shoot, particularly since most of my images are shot on location, I tend to keep my kit as small as possible. I bring only the essentials and only what I feel is suitable for the shot I have in mind to capture. A portrait kit is very different to my kit for my fine art shoots. My bag will have a camera, a maximum of two lenses, a reflector, lights and light stands.


I love to shoot with a Phase One camera system. The one I have is the IQ3 Trichromatic 100MP which shows detail so beautifully. Each file is pretty big with a lot of information, which allows me to push and pull the colors a lot further and really get that soft painterly effect that I’m drawn to.


My favorite lenses are the Schneider Kreuznach 80mm f/2.8 and 120mm f/4.0.


Profoto A1

Li-Ion Battery: 350 Full Power Flashes, High Speed Sync, LED Modeling Light

View on B&H   View on Amazon

I’m only just starting to incorporate controlled lighting into my shoots. For that, I use a Profoto A1 since it’s small and very lightweight. Prior to this, I was shooting predominately natural light.


The bag I use at the moment is the Vanguard VEO 37. It’s small, which forces me to strip back on my kit and still big enough to accommodate a prop or two!


Lately, I’m really enjoying using little Lume Cubes to add some interest in my lighting setups.

In addition to her surreal creations for magazines and gallery showings, Bella has had the honor of creating a series of images for the Birmingham Royal Ballet. When she is not busy creating stunning fantasy images Bella can also be found hosting and co-hosting workshops, such as the upcoming The Creative Experience – Dubai this week. To keep up with all of Bella’s work you can follow her on Instagram and Facebook, or visit her website.

Dena Withrow

Dena is a full-time graphic designer, freelance writer, and hobbyist photographer. In addition, she is a very proud mom to one son and four wonderful dogs. Her love for both writing and photography came at a very early age and has stayed with her ever since. Born and raised in Georgia, Dena still resides in her tiny hometown, along with her husband.

One Subscription. All of PHLEARN

Get Instant Access to Every Tutorial