the Shoot

Location Equipment
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This was my first trip to Utah, and I was so amazed by the landscape. I traveled there with my dear friend Georgia Grace (also a very talented photographer) who offered to model for me. We went to goodwill that morning a found this dress for $16. Georgia had been to Utah multiple times before and wanted to take me to The Great Saltair for sunset photos. Neither of us could have anticipated how spectacular that sunset would be – it was truly something magical. I did not have any particular shots in mind going into this shoot, but I knew I really wanted an emphasis to be on the landscape. As this was a very last-minute shoot, we did not have any flowers, details, or props, but with a sunset like that, you really did not need much!
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Location Name

The Great Saltair

Location aDDRESS

12408 W Saltair Dr, Magna, UT 84044


United States

Location TYPE




Canon 5D Mark III




Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II

Lens Filter


Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Calm Playful Movement


Georgia is a very talented model so very little direction was needed on my part. I told her I would be focusing on wide shots and asked her to give me lots of movement. I wanted it to feel ethereal and whimsical.

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What was said

“Now hold the skirt of your dress in both hands and start twirling around.”

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Why I composed the way I did

I generally follow the rule of thirds in most wide shots like this, but here I really wanted to emphasize the point of reflection by placing it right in the center. And to show off this combination of sky and mountains, I really wanted the backdrop to seem grand and imposing so I got low to the ground and backed far away from my subject to keep her small in the frame.

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Rule of Thirds Center Framed Horizon Line Wide


Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Single Shot Autofocus

Focused on

the model's face

Focus description

I used autofocus to focus on my subject in this image. As there really was nothing else close to her to compete for focus, it was fairly simple to catch focus.

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Shutter Speed






White Balance


Other Light Sources
No additional light sources were used.
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Light &

How the light was used

This was taken as the sun was setting with my subject backlit at a side angle. Sunset is always a favorite time to shoot, and it was exciting to watch the sky change so rapidly. As the sunset, it cast its light across the landscape & the model which created beautiful, soft, highlights & shadows. Gently adding dimensions to everything.

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Soft Light Directional Light Bright Natural Light Sunset Colorful Light

the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &

Editing Software used

Camera Raw

Preset Used
How I edited this image

In Camera Raw, I used TAP presets to mimic Fuji 400 film tones. I adjusted the white balance, brightness, and darken the shadows. I also used HSL and the brush tool to brighten up her skin tone a bit. I did not clone or heal anything.

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Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

This biggest challenge that we had was the fact that the sand was incredibly difficult for the model to walk on in her high heels.

Solutions I found

I had her switch to her boot so she could move more easily to the spot I wanted to be at. And since the dress was long enough to cover the boots, it was pretty easy to have her hide them for the photo.


As much as I love getting to photograph a fully planned styled shoot, sometimes the rush that comes from a spontaneous shoot can really push you to think creatively and drive you to do something different.
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Photographed by

Jessica Doherty

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