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How I Got the Photo - Using a Prism


I met an awesome make-up artist who has an amazing vision through Model Mayhem. She loves to dream up and plan out stylized shoots and collaborate with others to make those dream shoots become a reality. I was fortunate enough to be the photographer for this shoot - and it was a blast!

The make-up artist, Lina Montgomery, planned out everything, from finding the perfect dress, a model to fit into the perfect dress, finding a hair stylist and even finding a florist willing to donate a bouquet for the shoot. I was in charge of location, timing of the shoot and taking the pictures. I invited a photographer friend, Wendy Miller, to shoot with us as well. It was a huge collaborative effort and everyone had a lot of fun. Lina was very involved with the entire process - she stayed during the shoot, helping with holding a light stand or reflector and just having fun with us.


This is one of my favorite pictures from the shoot. It was towards the end of the shoot and the last location on site. The cherry blossom trees were in full bloom and the petals were falling, making it look like it was raining petals. The whole scene felt a bit surreal. That’s when I decided I wanted to get out my prism to play around with it. This technique is technically called prisming. Not every picture through a prism is going to turn out perfect. Sometimes it will catch an ugly reflection of the ground or something you don’t want - but the beauty of it is you just keep moving it around until you find the perfect angle. You will get a one of a kind look. The most important thing to notice when prisming is the light. You'll want to experiment and see how the light source affects the reflections and colors the prism creates. Spin and rotate the prism until you get your desired look. The pose was exactly what I was going for. I directed the model, Kristin, to look up and soak in the beauty of the moment. I wanted to capture joy, beauty and serenity. Kristin nailed it!

Gear and Settings

f/3.2, shutter 1/200 and iso 100.

I lit the model with an off camera flash, using a YN560 through an Octabox.

Post Processing

I did some basic adjustments in Lightroom - below is the before and after:

I also really love this version in black and white!

Have you experimented with shooting through a prism? If so, please leave a comment below with a link to your picture. If not, I challenge you to go try it out -- share your photo on instagram and tag it with #photographerscooperative.



Erika Sneeringer is a litigation paralegal and hobbyist photographer living in Baltimore, Maryland USA. Outside of photography, her favorite activities are hiking and exploring the outdoors with her family. You can view Erika’s portfolio here or follow her on Instagram at esneer1.

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