Photographed by Gaby Scheer Photo


My creativity got way too giddy upon receiving an inquiry that read, “We want you to take photos of us in the sand dunes…oh and I want to wear a gold glittery dress.” I knew this was going to be good.

I have always been so drawn to dust swirling in dusk, it genuinely captivates me, this location was simply a sea of sand made for my soul.

We made our way out to the barren center of the dunes. Just as the sun began to steep into the sand, I knew it was time to stir up some magic. I had no exact ‘plan’ for this shoot, I just knew to allow the space for creativity to speak to me. To not confining my art to any decided structure or expectation.

This approach is what leads me to my most alive self, a ‘me’ that creates freely and fully. And simple ‘dust catching in the light’ moment being brought to life is a reflection of that passion in which I am grateful to have within me, and bring into my ‘work’.

That raw and uncalculated experience with inspiration is what all of us creatives are addicted to. If you are reading this right now, I am willing to bet that you know exactly what I am talking about. So here is a photo of two people in the sunshine casually engulfed in the dirt. It is rather plain when you think about it, and yet this is the stuff that I live for.

As any portrait photographer would, I have all kinds of traditional poses in my directional vocabulary. It would be undeniably very easy to do the same thing over again and again with my photos. Though the real magic is always stored in that sweet spot of switching it up, in being different, and not forsaking my artists’ intuition. Not for the sake of being ‘unique’, but for the sake of authentically interacting with what creativity my soul may be sparked by. There could be poses upon poses, though what keeps my creativity fresh for me is being intentional in listening to what ignites my passion at any given moment during a session. This ‘pose’ is theoretically unrevolutionary, it is two people + light + sand, but I know that I was following the thrill of it all, and that is what really means something to me. The thought of the sand catching in the light in this grand way excited me, and that approach to my craft is something that I always consider myself ‘successful’ for listening to, if not even just grateful for my awareness of, regardless of any final outcome.
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EnergeticHand movementsPlayfulDancingMovement

“Alright you two, I am going to have you angle in more towards each other. Stare directly at each other. Stand with power and grace, as you already do, then pick up some sand and let it fall through your fingers with your arm outstretched behind you. On the count of three let it drop from your hand slowly.” (I said this all while demonstrating it, to communicate exactly what I was visualizing)”
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Center FramedBroken RulesWide

This composition in and of itself is rather simple, it is more a matter of posing/styling/directing/location that make the image. As I said, this composition stayed entirely in line with how I saw it, as a person standing a few feet away from them observing. The composition was rather straightforward, literally. My advice for composing images like this would be to let yourself dream and try new things with all of the other areas of the session, concepts, and location, etc. that your composition can be as simple as ever and yet still you can produce a meaningful image.


Single Point Focused on The entirety of the couple Continuous Autofocus
Light & Weather

Harsh LightBack litSunnyAfternoon

Equipment & EXIF

1/800 f/1.4 ISO 150 WB Auto


Canon 5D Mark III


Sigma 35mm f/1.4


Adobe Lightroom Classic none

This image was edited with


Challenges & Solutions


Sand Dune United States

Colorado sand dunes

11999 CO-150, Mosca, CO 81146

Final tips & Advice

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Gaby Scheer Photo

Photographer United States of America Canon 5d Mark III 35mm 1.4
My love for photography is more like breath to me than a hobby. Let me lay it out for you: I get chills when I see dust catch in the light, my heart swells when I see wildflowers bloom through cracks in the street, I get giddy when I see the way people in love look at each other, I get emotional when I see smoke painting the air above a freshly blown-out candle. Simply put, I am completely enthralled by the whimsy that is this world. I have become enamored with the way that photography traps these moments into such a miraculous slow-motion space. I believe that fairy tales are not reserved for movies and that an artistic dreamy approach to creating is not a lie, it is a brilliantly magical way of telling the truth. So that is what I do, I tell the truth. I do not make magic, I simply witness it around me, feel it within me, and then hold my breath until I capture it and blend it all together. And that, my friends, is what sets my soul on fire.
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“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. Because what the world needs is more people who have come alive” – Howard Thurman.

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