the Shoot

Location Equipment
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Stella, the model, reached out to me several years ago about a photo project she had in mind and asked if I could help her bring it to life. We had an amazing shoot and now, though I moved away, whenever I am back in town I try to see if we can connect again for a photo shoot.

I happened to be visiting the town again and reached out to her in March to see if she had any ideas in mind, as she is creative herself! She said she had been envisioning an ethereal shoot, fairytale-like out in the woods or a meadow. From there, we found a nearby location and had about an hour to make a shoot happen.
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Location Name

Boise, Idaho

Location aDDRESS

4049 S Eckert Rd, Boise, ID 83716


United States

Location TYPE




Canon 5D Mark IV




Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM

Lens Filter


Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Calm Natural Playful


Typically, I give more direction to models/clients however Stella is such an incredible talent! I asked the model to gently frame her face with her hands. Since she was quite experienced, she did it flawlessly.

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What was said

“Frame your face delicately with your hands.”

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Why I composed the way I did

Walking through a park, we came across a twisted mess of branches that seemed to naturally have a center point and place to frame a subject. I directed Stella where to stand so the branches intersected above her head.

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Lower Thirds Leading Lines Mid Range


Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Single Shot Autofocus

Focused on


Focus description

I always want to make sure that I nail focus on the subject’s eyes. I focused on her iris (while her eyes were open) and maintained the same focus point as she moved through various poses with her hands and expressions. She was consistent in her placement however so I did not need to refocus during this sequence.

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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

I used daylight only for this shot. The sun was behind the model, but she as standing in even shade due to the branches and trees behind her. I always try to find even lighting when shooting subjects.

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Soft Light Natural Light Shade Afternoon

the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used
How I edited this image

I like to edit true to color with a little added richness and depth. I use a custom preset that I’ve tinkered over the years, but my plan is to sell and develop a line of presets in the future! After I get the tones, white balance, and exposure to my liking in Lightroom, then I pull the images into Photoshop. In Photoshop I use a frequency separation action to smooth skin that I downloaded from a tutorial on Phlearn. I love keeping the natural texture of a model’s skin so frequency separation is a great way to smooth out imperfections while keeping the image looking natural. My final step is to use light and dark exposure brushes to highlight and contour the subject’s face.

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Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

The biggest challenge was shooting in a semi-urban area with a multi-use trail and even some houses nearby while trying to maintain some semblance of a real woodsy or forest feel.

Solutions I found

The trick was to just keep exploring and moving around the area. We found this spot right at the very end and we could have easily overlooked it if we didn’t keep our eyes open.


My advice is to really explore the area that you are shooting! This shot, my favorite from the session, was actually one of the very last pictures I took. We kept walking through the park looking for interesting backdrops and this spot was found actually when we were walking back to our cars! I thought that the branches looked interesting and asked if she would mind stopping for a few more pictures.
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Photographed by

Leah Flores Designs and Photography

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