FOOD FOR THOUGHT: “One Shot – Start to Finish”, by W. Scott Olsen

Every image has a history. It begins as an idea, either a long-preconceived aesthetic statement, or the rush of serendipity and light on the street. It doesn’t really matter. Every image has a backstory, a biography, a trail left from imagination to print.

Today, we follow one image, from idea to finished file, from hope to the shutter release to post-processing. This is the story of how one single image was made.


W. Scott Olsen is one of the main FRAMES contributors and host of FRAMES Photography Podcast. He is an author of 12 books of narrative nonfiction, most recently Scenes from a Moving Window. His essays and photographs appear widely in literary and commercial magazines. He teaches at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota, USA.


FRAMES Magazine
Every year we release four quarterly printed editions of FRAMES Magazine. Each issue contains 112 pages printed on the highest quality 140g uncoated paper. You receive the magazine delivered straight to your doorstep. We feature both established and emerging photographers of different genres. We pay very close attention to new, visually striking, thought-provoking imagery, while respecting the long-lasting tradition of photography in its purest incarnation.
Learn more >>>

Comments (5):

  1. Susan Gans

    March 17, 2023 at 02:32

    Wonderful series. Thanks for sharing your process. Love this photograph! Was surprised that it was a set up scene with a person you know. Looks so natural that I thought it wasn’t staged or one of a group of photos taken during a “shoot”. Very cool diner. Will have to stop if I am in Fargo again.

    • W. Scott Olsen

      March 17, 2023 at 18:03


  2. Cynthia Gladis

    March 17, 2023 at 17:16

    I really enjoyed this, Scott. I love this series and can’t imagine it in anything but black and white, because your portraits are the stars of the show, and in color they’d get lost in all that red. I don’t know why I never tried to guess the color of the diner before, but how could it be anything BUT red! Really enjoyed watching you process because I also use Lightroom, and in a very similar way. The only thing I do differently is my starting point — I always click “auto” first to see what it gives me and then modify from there. Nice, quirky shot with the way you included, and framed, the headdress with the coffee cup. Thanks for sharing!

    • W. Scott Olsen

      March 17, 2023 at 18:06


  3. W. Scott Olsen

    March 17, 2023 at 18:04



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *