• Artificial Light
  • night
  • winter weather
  • Winter
  • tahoe wedding photographer
  • tahoe wedding
  • Snowy
  • snow wedding couple
  • Snow behind couple
  • Snow
  • Rule of thirds
  • Outdoor
  • off camera flash
  • Natural
  • Back lit
  • Mid range
  • leaning foreheads
  • lake tahoe
  • Intimate Framing
  • intimate
  • gentle
  • Evening
  • Cold
  • Close up
  • Center Framed
  • calm
  • Backlit
  • winter wedding

The story behind the image

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I have always loved the look of backlit photos. Add snow, and it levels up the magic! This wedding ceremony was outdoors, but the reception was indoors. There was a predicted snowstorm coming that evening, but I don’t think anyone grasped how huge it would really be. As the night progressed, the snowflakes got bigger and started accumulating quickly. There was easily over a foot of snow on my car by the time I left the wedding, and the plow trucks were having a hard time keeping up with the heavy snowfall.

The sound of standing in the middle of a snowstorm is so quiet and everything around you seems to be muted. It feels intimate as it naturally mutes the noises around you and allows you to focus in on the one(s) you are with. When I saw how dense the snow was, I had to set up a flash and try some backlit photos, hoping to pull in the bride and groom as soon as it was dialed in. I took photos of guests who volunteered to jump in first, and then pulled the bride and groom out to get this shot.

This couple was pretty adventurous and I knew they would be up to standing in the snow for a quick shot, but I felt like maybe I should let them stay warm inside. After a few practice shots with guests, I asked them if they would be up to taking a few shots in the snow and showed them some of the shots I had just taken to show them it would be worth it! They were definitely up for it and came out into the snow without blinking an eye. We took several photos of them dancing in the snow, and playing a bit, but something about this shot stood out as my favorite of them all.

For this shot, I only backlit the photo and pulled up the light in front in post. It was pretty underexposed for what I usually shoot. If I attempted this shot again, I would probably play around with a flash in front as well as the back, but I love the soft front light that I ended up with in this photo so I’m not sure if I would change anything.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I told them to place their foreheads together, close their eyes, and to take in this quiet time together. It feels like a moment where time stopped. The total time we were out on the deck was probably only a few minutes, but it turned into several friends coming out to play cornhole in the snow and they threw on jackets and partied outside.

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What did you say?

Okay, I want you to pull each other in close and lean your foreheads in to touch, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Enjoy this quiet moment together.

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Tone of Directions



I liked it centered and felt like their bodies sort of made the shape of a heart. The goal was to capture the intimacy of the moment. I made sure it was pretty cropped in, highlighting the magic of the snow falling all around them.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I placed the focus on her face and made sure the two of them were on a similar plane so that their faces would be in focus. I had my focus in auto and used the grid focus in camera to make sure it was on her face. The tricky thing about shooting in the snow is that sometimes the camera wants to focus on the snow instead of your subject. I think part of it was luck and part of it was making sure I had my camera set up to stay focused on the couple.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Multi Point

Focused on

the bride's nose

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Sigma 85mm f/1.4
Yongnuo YN600EX-RT II
1/200 @ f/2.0 ISO400 WB-Auto

The way the EXIF is written out follows the common photographic method (with the inclusion of White Balance at the end). Here it is broken down:

Shutter Speed @ Aperture ISO White Balance.

Light & Weather

I had a Yongnuo Speedlight with a mini softbox on it directly behind the couple. I was attempting to highlight the snow as much as possible all around them by backlighting the whole scene. It was fairly easy, but I did practice with a few people before I pulled the couple outside to make sure the light was looking good. I would maybe try lighting the front of them with some soft light next time so it’s not so backlit, but I ended up really liking the look of it once the exposure was pulled up in post.

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Light Type

Artificial Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

Soulmate Presets- SMAL 01 with grain removed and blue saturation pulled almost all the way down. I was after a muted, somewhat warm and soft tone. I used the light brush to paint a little bit of light over the darker shadows around the groom’s nose and eyes. I pulled up the noise reduction to 30 and color noise reduction to 30 as well. The entire image exposure was brought up quite a bit to see the details in their face. I also pulled up the blacks a little bit and contrast down a little bit to brighten their faces even more. No cloning or healing, and this was all done in Lightroom.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used


The snowstorm itself was challenging because the camera gear was quickly getting covered in snow as well as the photo coming out dark and underexposed.

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I set up my light on a stand and covered it with a jacket until I was ready to use it.
I pulled up the exposure and blacks and softened the contrast. Then, I added noise reduction to give it a soft feel.

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Location Name

The Idle Hour, South Lake Tahoe

Location aDDRESS

3351 Lake Tahoe Blvd, South Lake Tahoe, CA 96150

Loation Type

Wedding / Event Venue


United States

I learned that it’s always worth the effort to backlight in a snowstorm! I would try to experiment even more with different light setups and more front light. I would definitely try this again and also try a slow shutter spin while backlit.

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