• Artificial Light
  • calm
  • Center Framed
  • Dark
  • full body
  • holding each other
  • Leading lines
  • looking up
  • lower thirds
  • Natural
  • night
  • Stars
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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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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Describe how you spoke to 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.

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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.

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Tone of Directions



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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Lower Thirds


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

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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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The Couple

Equipment &

Nikon D750
Nikkor 24mm f/1.4
10 sec @ f/1.4 ISO3200 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

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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Light Type

Artificial Light

Time of day


Editing Workflow

How did you edit 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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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic


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

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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.

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Location Name

Estes Park Campground at East Portal

Location aDDRESS

3420 Tunnel Rd, Estes Park, CO 80517

Loation Type

Garden / Field


United States

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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