Laura Harrey + The Story Behind

“You can’t judge a book by its cover.” Those words ring true with this incredible image from Laura Harrey. She proves to us that even though a location can be a little unappealing, don’t rule it out. Make it work for you and boy are we sure glad she did! Those desert colors play their part with the warm tones and colors of her subject. We were in awe when we spotted it in our tag feed so that’s why we wanted to know more about it. So with that said, let’s welcome Laura in this installment of The Story Behind.

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Where was this photo taken?
The Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia.

How did the location add or hinder to your image?
The location was a huge factor in bringing this image to life. It absolutely added to it.

DSLR, iphone, instant or film?
Canon R mirrorless with a 35mm lens.

What were your camera settings for this image?
This image was shot using the new mirrorless Canon R. It was shot using a 35mm Canon L series prime lens with a lens mount. ISO 100 F 2.2 SS 1/250. I always shoot with my white balance set to Kelvin and this would have been very warm – between 7700 & 9000.

Can you tell us “The Story Behind” this shot?
I wanted to soften the Australian landscape to make potential clients feel that the harsh desert backdrop could also be a place to find quiet and connection with family. The Australian desert is perceived as being dry and stark and a little scary with our spiky native flora and poisonous snakes etc… I wanted to make it feel more welcoming in the hope that people would see it as being beautiful.

What speaks to you about this image? What specifically made you press the shutter?
I love how quiet it feels and I love how connected the mother is to her 3 children. This wasn’t initially the idea I had for this landscape but I think this pose, with their eyes closed is perfect, I think I asked them all to close their eyes and make a wish and that is when I pressed my shutter.

What was your composition technique with this shot?
I wasn’t really trying to follow break any rules with this image. I generally always use the rule of thirds and golden spiral and I feel that that both apply here. I always pose my images in a spiral that is visually pleasing and easy to follow.

Did you have any lighting challenges/How did you light the image?
This image was back lit so in the original RAW file the subjects are quite dark. I edited this image in lightroom and used a radial filter to make the subject pop. I tried to keep as much detail in the background as possible.

Did you use any special techniques – freelensing, prism, etc?
No, I rarely use special techniques – I really should!

Was this photo happenstance or did you visualize it prior? If so, how did you envision the image and set up for it?
This image was well thought out. The client, location and outfits were pre-planned. This pose however was not what I envisioned but i’m so glad we did it.

Did you use a preset to edit this image, your own selective edits or a combination of both?
I did use a preset to edit this image however it was one I created specifically for this session based on a preset I have been using for a long time.

Do you have any addition information you would like to share with our readers?
I had never been to this location before prior to arriving that day and I couldn’t believe how orange the sand was. I brought the orange tones down significantly in post processing as i’m not a huge fan of orange but the tones and the pinnacles themselves and the vast, lonely landscape made me feel like I could have been on another planet. All I could think of was David Bowie singing “Is their life on Mars?”

Continue to be inspired by Laura’s gorgeous work at the following: