ONE FRAME: Lavender and Ivy


ONE FRAME is post series in which I break down a single image to give you a bit of insight on how I shot it, what I was inspired by, and why I made the decisions I did.  I love hearing photographers talk about why they do what they do and I always end up learning little bits of information from those conversations. ONE FRAME is my way sharing my behind-the-scenes with the photo community. Make sure to hover over the icons on the image below to reveal the breakdown.

I spent about 30 minutes chalking and erasing the chalkboard to make sure that I had a pattern in the background that had variation without taking any attention away from Megan. Also,there is a good chance that I looked like a crazy person for that entire half hour.

A diffuser (a thin white sheet can work in a pinch) softened the hard light coming in from the window and left me with that soft glowing light that I love. I also had the black case of my reflector on the ground to stop any window light from bouncing back up under her chin. Indoor lighting seems to require a bit more control to work with but when you get it right, Hot Dang!

Model casting plays a huge role in creating a finished image. I chose to shoot with Megan (among other reasons) because she has a more gentle look and paler skin which helped to bring out the innocence that I wanted in the image. Her look combined with the soft light and muted tones worked together to create a delicate mood that may have been lost with a different model.

I love even lighting but was shooting with only one window which left me with harder shadows on half of her face. To brighten them up, I had a reflector bouncing window light back into this side of Megan which turned hard, dramatic light turned into soft and even light. Bingo!

Equipment choice plays a huge role in my process. Different tools can convey certain moods better than others and I like to have control over that. For this image, I decided to shoot film instead of digital because of the softness that film tends to deliver. If I am aiming for a delicate and intimate image, why not shoot a medium that is going to mimic that?

Contax 645 + 80mm 2 on Kodak Portra 400

This image remains to be one of my absolute favorites. Before I shot this, my style was fairly one dimensional and focused only on higher energy backlit images. This shoot allowed me to give my work a bit more depth with this softer, intimate feeling.  In addition to the difference in style, this shoot was a bit of a departure for me in terms of environment as well. I found that I was getting far too comfortable with my outdoor work and almost fearing shooting inside. In my head, shooting inside had become this monster that I just didn’t want to deal with. I thought that setting something up inside would be nothing short of a failure but once I forced myself to do it, I fell in love with the light I found and the extra thought it forced me to put in. I am still in love with how well everything came together for this shoot and I’ll be shocked if it isn’t still one of my favorites years down the road. Find the full shoot here!

  1. Reply

    Gosh, this is gorgeous. Love these one shot explanations – you do such a good job pointing out how you wanted it to look… & then explaining what technical moves you made to get that look. Thanks!! ;)

  2. Reply

    Love your “One Frame” concept!! Thank you for sharing the behind-the-scenes story. And love your comments about the chalkboard–it’s really those “little” details that make a big difference. And all attention to detail can make an artist look “crazy”. ;) This is a gorgeous shot–you definitely convey “soft”! And I love that mention being almost scared of shooting indoors. I go through those phases too–lots of on-location, outdoor, natural light (then afraid of how well I’ll do in studio), then vice versa. Way to go keeping yourself sharp by pushing yourself to do that which you might fear! That is true discipline! Bravo!

  3. Reply

    Love these breakdowns Ben. Keep up the good work!

  4. Reply

    This was really insightful, Ben. Thank you for sharing!

  5. Reply

    Hot Dang is right! Love this shot!

  6. Reply

    ONE FRAME is really a great teaching tool. Thank you for always being so apt to share with everyone! It is much appreciated.

  7. Reply

    Dude, you are seriously the man. I think you are my absolute favorite person to follow, you’re so inspiring and have such a great attitude.

    • Dang. That is a huge compliment. Thanks Justin! Making me blush over here.

  8. Reply

    This is great! Thank´s for shareing. Love natural light and it´s a beatutiful piece :) /J.

  9. Reply

    Absolutely gorgeous Ben! I loved reading the post!

  10. Reply

    I love your ONE FRAME series almost as much as I love your photography. Thank you so much for sharing, Ben!

  11. Reply

    Perfection. And I love your humility. No ego and oozing talent. A rare combo. Keep these ONE FRAME photos coming! Great idea!

  12. Reply

    A photographer’s photographer.

  13. Reply

    Love your work! As others have said, the “One Frame” thing is amazing – thanks for sharing. The colors in this shot are beautiful. I was wondering, if you don’t mind sharing that is, how did you meter for this shot (@320 ISO and metering for the shadows?), where do you send your film for processing and scanning, and lastly was it scanned on a Noritsu or Frontier? A bunch of questions.. I love the shot! Thanks again.

    • Thanks Mike! I metered for the shadows here and this was developed at Dwaynes Photo Lab and scanned by me on a Canon 8800F!

  14. Reply

    I absolutely love this. I had a shoot today where the window light was so harsh…I didn’t even think to put up a soft white sheet! I’m still learning. I hope to create my own style and capture beautiful memories as this some day :)

  15. Reply

    Thank you so much for the one shot series. explanation and teaching seem to come so naturally for you. you have a beautifully talented eye, as well as the talent of giving knowledge!! You rock don’t change

  16. Reply

    Love this series, I ‘ve always admired this photo of yours! Thanks for the breakdown!

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