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This shot was completely unplanned as we prompted them in the beginning but soon turned into a more candid moment. The only thing that was “planned” throughout this entire shoot was the picnic setup. We went into this day wanting to create a timeless stylized shoot that focused mainly on the couple’s true personality and that required a lot of getting to know them right on the spot and feeling out their mood.

This shot was half planned and unplanned all at the same time …so it was all what happened in the moment/fate if that is even a thing while shooting?!! ;)

It was me and two other amazing photographers who both had their own way of photographing this particular moment and a lot of the time we stacked on top of each other or were shoulder to shoulder haha! Pretty sure I was leaning up against one of the girls while taking this photo!

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

Right in the middle of our shoot we (*Katy Rose and Nicole Marie + Me = DREAM TEAM) prompted Alexis and Franz to go in for a slow kiss and right when we were about to capture what we were hoping was a dramatic and more romantic moment …these two couldn’t help but break character and let their all their true sense of humor take over!

Granted this was Alexis and Franz’s first-ever styled/couple shoot they have ever modeled for together, so we wanted to go along with however they normally interacted with each other on the daily to make sure they constantly felt comfortable through the entire shoot. Almost every prompt we used on them would eventually transpire into a more raw moment of them doing their own thing. These two were naturals!

What did you say?

Go in for a very slow kiss with Alexis’s hand pulling in Franz for the kiss. BOOM. Un-prompted laughter the next second!

How did you compose your image?

I went into this photo wanting to use the “Rule of Thirds” to help create a more full and honest composition of the couple’s reaction. By using this simple rule of splitting the frame into three parts (vertically and horizontally), I could use this as a guide to find a balance in the frame.

How and what did you focus on?

I’m a very in-the-moment and fast shooter when it comes to photographing my couples so I always want to get every reaction that happens even if it means getting 100+ shots of the same photo. Like before, this photo was pretty much unplanned and was one that needed to be on continuous autofocus to capture every shot.


How did you use the light in your image?

The sun was going in and out the first few hours of shooting making it sorta difficult in-between, but luckily the clouds came rolling in and created the most seamless and natural light we could have asked for. Everything was done in natural light and had Alexis and Franz facing away from the sun, which would make this more of a “backlit” lighting situation.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II





Shutter Speed






White Balance


How did you edit your image & what did you use?

The sun was constantly going in and out the first few hours of shooting, but luckily I captured this image right when the sun went away for a hot second making the editing process of this image effortless. I use G-Presets Pack 04 for all my photos (*obviously I’ve tweaked them a lot to match my personal style). Even though it was cloudy in this photo I decided to underexpose a little bit just in case the sun came back. This made the editing process so easy as I was able to lift any highlights or take down any unwanted shadows from the photo. I did use the gradient adjustment to lighten the bottom part of the image as I wanted to draw some attention to the picnic arrangement.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

The only challenge was the constant back and forth with the sun coming in and out while shooting, but for the most part it was easy and so much fun to capture. We really challenged ourselves to be openly creative with lighting, setup, and prompting our couple.

How did you solve them?

There only solution to dealing with changing light is to just keep an eye on your exposure settings or just simply underexpose slightly. It’s much easier (and better) to recover details from shadows than it is from highlights.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

My greatest tip to achieving such an unexpected and genuine reaction like Alexis and Franz is to prompt your couples in a way that gives them something to do or even if it is more a specific prompt/pose let whatever happen HAPPEN. There are so many couples out there that are given such a simple prompt that will easily make them laugh even if it’s having them kiss or having one of the couples whisper something into the other partner’s ear before trying to go in for a kiss. It can be anything from whispering your favorite veggie, cereal, or favorite body part of their significant other in their sexiest voice can always be a real fun prompt to do when wanting to get more emotion out of your couple.

Ivy Hansen

Shooting since


Current Home

United States of America



I’m Ivy, like the vine and I’m a destination wedding & elopement photographer based out of Minneapolis. I like to spend most of my time photographing my couples along the North Shores of Minnesota, which is where I spent the majority of my childhood camping, hiking, and making some of the greatest memories with my family. Most of my inspiration comes from being surrounded by nature, the lake, and mountains.

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