Before
the Shoot

Location Equipment
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This was one of the final shots of their elopement day. Earlier that afternoon we had been exploring Rocky Mountain National Park, hiking to one of the most picturesque alpine lakes. We took our time and just enjoyed the beautiful outdoors– one of this couple’s favorite things to do together. After sunset, we arrived back at the campsite for the evening. Here the couple enjoyed a campfire + s’mores, all while the sky was growing darker and the stars were becoming brighter and brighter. I think one of the best ways to wrap up your wedding day is with some stargazing. These two planted their feet on the ground and looked upward in amazement. I really wanted to capture how incredible the sky was that night, and how happy and content the couple felt in this moment while they reminisced on their perfect day together.
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Location

Location Name

Estes Park Campground at East Portal

Location aDDRESS

3420 Tunnel Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517

Country

United States

Location TYPE

Garden / Field

Equipment

Camera

Nikon D750

Flash

None

Lens

Nikkor 24mm f/1.4

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 Holding Each other Natural

Description

Directions and communications with couples during night photography is essential. I asked the bride and groom to snuggle up in their blanket, stay as still as possible, and gaze up at the night sky. Believe it or not, they held this still for 10 seconds.

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What was said

Ok, I’m going to try an even longer exposure this time. Take a few deep breathes and then I’ll count you down. Once you hear the click of the shutter, hold nice and still and keep your eyes fixed on the beautiful night sky.

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Composition

Why I composed the way I did

I framed the couple so that one bright star was perfectly centered between their gaze. I loved the near symmetry in the field and trees, and that those lines lead your eyes to the couple, before following their gaze up to the night sky.

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Tags

Center Framed Lower Thirds Leading Lines Wide Full Body

Focus

Focus mode

Single point focus

Focus Technology

Single Shot Autofocus

Focused on

The Couple

Focus description

My focus was on the couple’s faces. I shined my headlamp at them for some brightness to see, zoomed in on live-mode, and then turned my headlamp back off before exposing.

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Shutter Speed

10 sec

Aperture

f/1.4

ISO

3200

White Balance

Auto

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

How the light was used

For this image, I used 100% ambient light. You’ll notice some orange glow coming in from the surrounding campgrounds, but there was no direct light from the sun, moon, or flashlight.

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Tags

Artificial Light Dark Night

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 overall image was warmed up in post-production. A few minor adjustments were made like increasing shadows and blacks, decreasing highlights, and brought up the clarity a bit in Lightroom. Some sharpening and noise reduction was also added as this was photographed at a higher ISO.

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Conclusion

Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

The biggest challenge with this one was getting the subjects to remain still, especially on this chilly summer evening.

Solutions I found

Fortunately, this is a military couple. They are good at standing at attention and were able to hold nice and still. I also took as many photos as necessary until we nailed it, something that I often do when it comes to nighttime portraits.

Advice

Night photography can be extremely experimental. There are so many lighting and environmental factors, and nailing the correct exposure does take some patience. I always set expectations for my couples ahead of time and am extremely communicative with them. I love giving couples a countdown for when they need to remain still, and also giving them time to relax, breathe, and enjoy the experience between photos too.
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Photographed by

Adventure Instead

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Moments before the ceremony, feelings were in full bloom. That's how Gabi felt in that unique and exciting moment. Our photography is intended to record not only images, but photos that speak to the moment we are in! Do not treat brides and grooms as normal people, but as close relatives who depend on all your effort and dedication to make everything perfect.

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