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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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How did you direct your subject(s)?

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.

What did you say?

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.

How did you compose your image?

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.

How and what did you focus on?

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.


How did you use the light in your image?

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.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Nikon D750


Nikkor 24mm f/1.4





Shutter Speed

10 sec





White Balance


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

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.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

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

How did you solve them?

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.

Can you share any last thoughts or 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.

Adventure Instead

Shooting since


Current Home

United States of America



We are Maddie Mae, Amber, and Tori. We’re photographers, elopement consultants, cheerleaders, and the go-to adventure buddy for our couples on the day they say their vows.

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