Working the Scene

September 15, 2017  •  Leave a Comment


          Melissa Southern




We have been encouraging everyone to work the scene, to look past the initial view to find the hidden gems, to find the interesting part of the scene. This is also part of the process in developing your concept, of actually “creating” a photograph instead of just taking a picture. This process is valid whether you are starting from an idea in your head or you are out on a hike and come upon a scene that speaks to you.




Kyle and I “create” our photographs both ways. Sometimes we sketch out our ideas, set up the scene, manipulate the lighting and the elements, and work through several drafts before we come to a final photograph, which then is subjected to post-processing to fine tune it to exactly what we intended from the beginning. Sometimes, we come upon a scene that we really like. We spend the time to walk around it, looking at it from different perspectives until we find the angle we like best. We try to hone in on what elements in that scene are most important to us. Is it a particular flower, a combination of colors, a pattern, a texture, a framing of elements? This is a very important step and sometimes occurs subconsciously. Then we work with the light we have, possibly using flash, reflectors, and/or diffusers to adjust the lighting to what we need.


Untitled-1Untitled-1 Photography is a creative process that does take time and effort . . . . and practice. Here is an example from my own front yard. All of the photos in this blog are from this same bit of overgrown garden.


I have a really scraggly garden around the light post right in front of my house. I have expanded it over the years but have never really spent the time to weed it and take care of it as I should, which results in a crazy mess. However, there are some gems in that mess. I have spent the time to photograph some of those gems. By using my point of focus, my aperture, and the focal length of my lens, I have come up with some nice photographs from what at first glance is a disaster. Here are a few of those.


Untitled-9Untitled-9 Untitled-8Untitled-8


Untitled-3Untitled-3 Untitled-4Untitled-4


Bottom line, take the time to really work into an area. Don’t write it off before you really explore it. Sometimes, you won’t find anything that really grabs you. In those times, don’t shoot. Sometimes, you find something amazing hiding right in front of you. In those times, get out that tripod and get something beautiful, even if you only have a few minutes to spare.


Untitled-7Untitled-7 Untitled-6Untitled-6


Experiment and have fun with process. If you don’t really get what you want the first time, come back again and try something different, like different lighting, a different time of day, a different lens, etc. In other words, work your scene!


Happy Shooting!



No comments posted.

Subscribe to My Weekly Blog

* indicates required