Behind the Scenes with Miss Northerner

May 17, 2018

The chosen shot.

I really want to be more transparent as a blogger and photographer. I would never want it to seem as if all of my photos magically turn out the way I want them. There are a lot of steps to getting that “perfect” shot. So what about the photos leading up to that one? What about the rejects – the ones I don’t end up posting?

Today, we’re going to go behind the scenes to last nights photo shoot. I want to show you the ones that didn’t make the cut and how we ended up getting the shot above.

Nailed it.

The focus was off and a few turned out blurry.

Trying to manage my hair in between shots but my mom caught me.

Arms are looking a little weird in this one.

Laughing about my weird arms.

01 | I had my mom help me.

As I’ve mentioned before, if I’m in the picture, that means either my mom or boyfriend is behind the lens. They’re both such good sports about it all – I honestly don’t know what I’d do if they didn’t help me.

So when it comes to getting photos of myself, here’s what happens:

I’ll have them stand in front of the camera while I adjust my settings. I’ll take a few example photos of them so they can see how I want the photo to be framed, what focal length I’d like, and where to focus. Then we’ll switch places and they’ll start shooting. Sometimes I’ll direct them while they’re holding the camera but I’m not very good at vocalizing my ideas all that much so it’s a lot of running back and forth. Thank goodness they’re both so patient with me!

02 | We waited until sunset.

There’s really no better lighting than golden hour lighting. Especially when you’re out in the country. So my mom and I drove a little ways out of town and starting shooting around 6:30 pm. The light was so stunning!

03 | I knew what I wanted to capture.

When we first started shooting last night, I just wanted a few basic shots of me in this field. So I would walk towards the camera, away from the camera, or just stand still. My mom would take a few shots and I’d check them over, making sure I liked how they were turning out.

After looking through some of them, I noticed when I walked, the bottom of my dress would flip up and catch the light.

It looked super cool so I wanted to try and accentuate that. So instead of just walking in the field, I thought I’d try spinning around in a circle to make the bottom twirl outwards.

04 | I chose the proper settings.

My settings were, f/4, 1/400, ISO 200.

I chose f/4 because I wanted a shallow depth of field. This also lets a good amount of light into the camera.

I chose 1/400 because it was a fast enough shutter speed to freeze my motion. I didn’t want to go any lower because then my motion might have been blurred. And I didn’t want to go any higher because that would cause less light to enter the camera.

Lastly, I chose ISO 200 to brighten up the photo a little bit more.

05 | I set my camera to burst mode.

We took 146 photos to get the one that I ended up posting.

And honestly, it didn’t take long to get that many photos in one sitting. To do this quickly, I switched my camera over to burst mode (also called continuous shooting). In this mode, as long as you’re pressing the shutter button, the camera will keep shooting. It sounds like a mini machine gun!

So I had my mom hold down the shutter while I twirled in a circle. If any of the farmers nearby were watching, I’m sure they got a kick out it. Haha!

06 | Putting everything together.

Now comes the hard part.

Besides the settings, there were a lot of other factors that needed to be right in order to get this photo. And the trickiest part about it is that all these things had to happen at the exact same time. It’s a mix of proper settings and just plain luck!

1. The bottom of the dress needed to be spread out so that the sun hit it.

2. I wanted the sun to also catch my hair so it needed to be fanned out a bit, but not too much where it looked like I was in a wind tunnel. I also wanted my face to be slightly visible.

3. The photo needed to be properly framed. If I can help it, I’ll avoid having the horizon cut through the middle of someone’s head. In these photos, we framed it so the horizon was above me.

4. My arms needed to be posed correctly. If you’ve ever done a photo shoot where you’re the one in front of the camera, then you probably know how awkward it can be. It’s like you suddenly realize you have arms and you have no idea what to do with them. For this shot, I wanted to try and look as natural as possible so I kept my left arm raised a bit.

5. I wanted to try and hide my flip flops but that ended up not happening. Oh well!

Leading up to the best shot.


Still no.

Getting closer…