Each photo takes from 1 week to several months of planning and preparations: thinking through the story and the plot, planning the color scheme, sketching, scouting for locations, creating the props, choosing the suitable wardrobe, looking for the right makeup and hairstyle looks and then blending it all together. In some cases, a whole team is involved in the shooting process.
I never use stock imagery to create my art, I shoot all the details myself right there on location, so when everything is combined in the final piece the artwork looks as realistic as possible, no matter how surreal it might seem at a first glance. I pay close attention to shooting all the details in one and the same light, because the light is the soul of a photograph, even when (or even more so) it is not a mere shot, but a complex composite image.
Digital editing is a big part of the creative process. It is usually done after 2-3 months after the shooting has been completed. This allows me to reevaluate and deepen my initial intentions and ideas. I get into a different setting, when I am completely alone with my thoughts and emotions and away from the distractions and interactions present on location. Now it's only my input and my story. Often the whole initial concept might be changed when I work on an image in Lightroom and Photoshop.