Blake Garden, Robyn Sherrill design

 Often, the most fun work of the editing and post production from any photo shoot is finding The One, the one shot that makes you sing.

Gardens offer many, many opportunities; photos can be anywhere.  I had just finished shooting the front entry to this garden when I wandered around back.  As soon as I saw the urn amidst the Pennisetum “Bunny Tails’ I knew there must be a great photo, The One, the best from any photo shoot.

I did not even realized I had The One until I did my post production work back on the computer. Here’s my process:

I took the very wide shot above from a ladder which I always bring to local photo shoots.  It is an especially effective tool with wide angle lenses and gives a nice perspective on the garden.  Then I recognized what a strong composition the designer, Robyn Sherrill, had made by putting the dark foliage of Cotinus ‘Grace’ behind the urn.


A classic horizontal composition, framing just the key elements really draws attention to the urn as the focal point. I also worked the scene by capturing the vertical shot.  With the dark background it could easily be a magazine cover.

But I kept working the scene, trying to find the photo, studying what I was seeing, feeling there was more.  Notice the urn is at the end of a small path and the grasses lean into the space.  There is an opportunity to frame those arching grasses against the fine terra cotta, which by no accident, is directly beyond the path.

OK, now we are getting somewhere.  I am getting excited by what I hope is going to happen.  I think I see it. Graphic and simple, yet with movement, simple shapes that complement each other. Come in even tighter.  Use the design elements of the green patches of grass.  Brighten and saturate the colors . . .


The One.  Balanced yet interconnected shapes.  Blocks of color with lines zipping through.  I love it.

The reason I did not see it sooner, before I got back to the studio, is because the raw image had no zip and was quite plain.  I complain about how much time it takes to process the digital images, but the joy is when you can bring out the beauty.  This is how I first saw it.