Before
the Shoot

Location Equipment
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The story of this photo is amazing! To this day, when I come back to it, I have goosebumps and I’m very excited! It was my first, I repeat – the first session in 2020, all during the Covid-19 pandemic. Before the wedding season – I bought a drone and thought maybe there would be an opportunity to use it.

It was June 2020. A very hot day. We agreed on a place with the couple much earlier. It was just supposed to be sand, desert, and them. She and he. Their love. Only them. We chose Polish dunes in the north of the country. Łeba is the exact place. For the most part – we took photos from the land.

It was sunny and very hot.

The photos were taken by themselves. Aneta and Kamil worked together beautifully with me. They smiled and fooled around all the time; hugging and playing. They were an amazing couple! When I was taking pictures – the sun was coming down closer to the horizon and it dawned on me … But I have a drone in my backpack! WOW, I exclaimed. There was no one in the dunes – ONLY US.

With such a brilliant light – I couldn’t help but turn on the drone! I told them quickly about my idea. They were excited about it and the only obstacle in our way was … the wind. It was blowing quite hard. I have a Mavic AIR so it’s a small drone and I was concerned it would be unstable in the wind. After all, this is my first session and the drone flight is only the third … We decided to fly anyways!

I told them to go towards the sun. When I saw the image on my phone screen, I almost jumped up. I had a smile on my face all the time! It was amazing. The flight took literally 5 minutes and during this time I took a lot of shots but this is the best of the series! The photo won many awards, among others, at Lookslikefilm, Photobug Community and MyWed. The entire session was published on Polish wedding portals. It echoed widely throughout the industry. This is my best session ever. What did this session show me? That you have to take risks. You have to be able to take risks. The effects of my risk exceeded my wildest expectations … wow! Everything went as I wanted. It’s amazing!
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Location

Location Name

Łeba

Location aDDRESS

Leba, Poland

Country

Poland

Location TYPE

Desert

Equipment

Camera

DJI MAVIC Air

Flash

None

Lens

DJI Mavic Air 4.5mm

Lens Filter

None

Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

During
the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Directions

Tags

Calm Walking Movement

Description

Everything happened very quickly due to the preparation of the drone for flight and due to the setting sun, but I remember that I told the couple to go towards the sun holding hands. Let them walk slowly and talk to each other. To just enjoy the day and I will take pictures of them from the drone and to not look towards the drone, but focus on where they were going.

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What was said

Guys, I will fly the drone and take pictures of you from above. Just walk hand in hand towards the sunset and try to ignore the drone. Keep walking until I tell you to come back.

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Composition

Why I composed the way I did

The composition in this case was not that difficult. I thought that since the couple is standing on the left side and going to the right, I would just frame them as it is in the picture. On the left side, they are entering the frame (footprints can be seen). The sun is just ahead of them. Almost in the center of the frame. I also wanted to put them on a “Rule of third point” – I think that such framing was the best possible way to show both the scenery and give the couple the spotlight. The plan was to get high enough, but not that high. I wanted to see the dunes in the frame, but also a bit of the sea but also the setting sun approaching the horizon. I absolutely love this composition for this reason – it’s very deep.

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Tags

Horizon Line Wide Off Center

Focus

Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Live View Single Shot

Focused on

On the Couple

Focus description

My focus was to put a pair on one of the intersections of the rule of thirds. I stopped the drone at a given altitude. I aimed the camera to see most of the dunes BUT so that the sun and a piece of the sea were visible in the background. I made sure to set the focus on the couple since they were the subject of my photo. I did this by touching on my phone in the area where the couple was seen.

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Shutter Speed

1/200

Aperture

f/2.8

ISO

100

White Balance

Auto

Other Light Sources
No additional light sources were used.
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Light &
Exposure

How the light was used

This was taken a few minutes before the sunset. Roughly 20:45 in the evening. I wanted the sun to be in front of me and feature in the image so I shot the image from behind the couple walking towards the sun. Shooting backlit photos from the drone can be a bit tricky with the flare but fortunately, I didn’t have this problem. Another reason I wanted to backlight the couple was to let them be separated from the background as the light creates a rim light around them.

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Tags

Back lit Natural Light Sunny Sunset

After
the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &
Presets

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used
How I edited this image

The whole photo was darkened in LIGHTROOM by the exposure sliders. After darkening the photo I picked up the blacks and whites a little. The Clarity slider was reduced to keep things from feeling too harsh. The whole game was about choosing the right white balance and setting the TINT slider. I also used the HSL panel and curves to help bring out the tones I was after. Two gradient filters. On the dunes and at the height of the sun to the horizon. Finally, I slightly sharpened the whole photo. I have not used local corrections or radial filters. I didn’t use Photoshop on this photo. I did everything in the Lightroom..

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Conclusion

Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

The challenge was clearly the strong wind. I told myself that I would take the drone up very slightly for now. To my surprise, the drone behaved very well.

Solutions I found

I just took the drone up slowly and carefully while paying attention to what the controls and systems were telling me.

Advice

The most important thing I learnt from this and by having a drone – is to not hesitate and just fly! If possible of course. The drone offers many possibilities for aerial photography. This is amazing. Everything looks different there. This shot showed me that my drone is great in strong winds and takes good photos “against the sun”. I took a risk which paid off! It’s wonderful. Now I take the drone with me to each engagement or wedding session. It gives me a different perspective from above the couple and the surrounding location. I use it in any conditions as well. Whether the sun is shining or not. Whether there is wind or not. I use what a drone can give me! Remember that!
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Photographed by

Adrian Pluciński Fotografia

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