During my initial phase of opening up to the Faery realm, I would often see them in the form of sparkles moving from one place to another, orbs, flashes of light and sometimes, in the form of shadows. This sparkling light is actually the auric energy surrounding a faery's astral body, which glows when they choose to manifest in the physical realm. They would also appear as faint figures, like the shy Brownie I once met. 

Sometimes they would sit on my right shoulder and read with me, and other times they would appear in my dreams, or during meditation. 

Most of my Faery encounters have occurred in the astral realm, or during the half awakened state, such as the following one - 

Elysia's School for Fairies