Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye.
~Helen Keller

Sometimes I struggle for a long time with an idea for a photo shoot. Other times, they roll out like lava pouring out of a volcano. Luckily, I’ve been smart enough to save them along with notes, so when I get to a dry spell, I’ll have something to work on.

This past weekend, I was staying at a friend’s farm in PA. Unfortunately, my days were full of work and night descended when we got back to the farm, making shooting difficult. I had packed sparse camera gear – my camera, a 28-75 mm lens, a remote and a tripod. Not even one flash.

The textures of the old barns, stone walls, broken down equipment! Horses, a cow (that’s Elmer below), dogs. So many things to feast my eye on, yet so little time. Sunday morning before I went to the airport was the only time I would be able to shoot, and I didn’t have much time. I focused on 2 ideas, both of which I shot but have not yet edited. Because of the time shortage, I sat down the night before and did story boards as well as practiced some of the poses in the mirror–it needed to go fast.

One of the ideas I wanted to do was, in the spirit of Halloween, have a headless farmer. I thought it would be a hoot with this old tractor. Alas, by the time I figured out what I wanted to do, I had to pack and the sun was already too high. (These were taken with my iPhone).


I was kind of bummed, because the tractor was really cool, and I’m not going to PA again any time soon. But then I realized that I do have a wedding dress, complete with rusty drip marks down the front from a leaky roof. Sunny and in the low 80s today, we are likely not to see more weather like this for a very long time.

Thankfully, my children are typically willing subjects and game to my exploits. When I explained what I wanted to do for the shoot to my daughter, she quickly agreed. The photo on the bottom is her just having a ball spinning around in my dress. Bonding time, her and me.

Although the concept was very simple, the editing actually took a really long time. All the leaves blowing were added in to the photo. The head she is holding is hers, but the hair is mine. With no idea of how to lop of her head in Photoshop, I just experimented. The head is actually from a different photo, as I liked the bewildered and bemused expression of this one but the pose of another. Several layers of the dress comprise the flowing aspect.

After watching several YouTube videos on how to whiten skin and following direction , I deleted those layers and experimented. Finally, I added in 3 layers of textures–2 from Photoshop Papers and 1 from Brooke Shaden.

It doesn’t matter if we don’t know how to do something. Experiment, research, ask questions, search online. And create . Today, I got lucky, because I could bond with my teenager for a little while too.

Halloween layers

Technical stuff:
Camera: Nikon D 600
Lens: Tamron 28-75 2.8
F 6.3, 1/50
ISO 1250

Edited in Photoshop CC 2014