Photography Deconstructed feat. Haley Hoffman

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As a photographer, there are endless possibilities of what to shoot. Distance, angle, focus, and framing are just a few considerations when taking a single photo. These decisions can happen with careful forethought and planning, but often they occur so rapidly it seems like a gut instinct. Everyone approaches photography differently and naturally gravitates towards different things—which makes sense given the impressive range of styles and content out there. Here is a little insight into what goes behind a photograph from my perspective, aka a mental transcript of what’s probably subconsciously going through my head when I’m shooting.


Subject: Haley
Location: Greystone Mansion
Photographer: Ashley Seryn @ashleyseryn
Model: Haley Hoffman @hellohihaley
Camera: Digital or film? Film or digital? Honestly personal preference, but here’s a comparison for reference.


LIGHT + SHADOW: Lighting is key to any image and is probably what I focus on most. In my opinion, it can make or break an image. Experiment with different lighting situations! My favorite is placing the subject in a shaded area during midday sun—the ground acts like a natural reflector and makes skin look like a Glossier ad (great for selfies too).

FRAMES: Frames can centralize an image, isolating the subject and providing a sense of balance. Look for frames in doorways, archways, or even how a branch is positioned in relation to the trunk of a tree.

NEGATIVE SPACE: I’ve had a childhood art teacher tell me to use the entire canvas—“No wasted space!” she said. However, negative space can be a powerful tool in highlighting the subject. I mean, look at how Haley just pops!

REFLECTIONS: Reflections through windows and mirrors give depth and greater interest level. Hence why you’ll always find me directing my model in front of the nearest glass anything.