• Center Framed
  • Cloudy
  • full body
  • Lake
  • lower thirds
  • Mountains
  • Natural Light
  • Shade
  • Soft Light
  • valley
  • Wide
  • windy

The story behind the image

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We began hiking in the wee hours of the morning so this couple could have a sunrise ceremony overlooking this incredible turquoise lake. We were in Patagonia, the place known for wild winds and unpredictable weather, and some of the most breathtaking and versatile landscapes imaginable. Once we arrived at the lake, the couple changed from hiking attire to their wedding attire. We waited a few moments in the frigid weather until the sunlight started hitting the peaks. Knowing that we were about to witness a spectacular sunrise, it was time for them to break out their vow books and begin their wedding ceremony.

The most important thing about this shot was really showing off the scenery and the couple within it. The sunlight was hitting the peaks, but not yet hitting the couple yet, so a correct exposure was key!
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The lens chosen for this scene was a 35mm, the perfect focal length to capture enough mountains, while still giving more compression than a wider lens such as a 20mm or 24mm. By moving backward and getting a little higher than the couple, I was able to perfectly frame them in the lower third within the negative space of the lake. This framing helps ensure that the couple is going to stand out against the scenery and really be the focal point of the image.

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Lower Thirds


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

For this particular shot, I used live-view to focus. Often times when you’re shooting a big scene like this with a wider angle, your autofocus may have trouble identifying the correct focus point, especially here when the couple was not yet in the sunlight. Putting your camera into live view and zooming in on the couple will help you easily confirm that they are in focus.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The couple

Equipment &

Nikon D750
Nikkor 35mm f/1.4
1/1250 @ f/2.5 ISO160 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

We knew it was time for the ceremony as soon as we started getting some color and sunlight on the mountains in the background. Since it was still so early, the sunlight had not yet gotten over all of the mountains and the couple was still in the shade. Nikon has great shadow recovery so when I shoot in these conditions, I know to expose for the highlights and that I will bring up the shadows in post-productions to even out the lighting scenario.

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Light Type

Natural Light



Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

Since the exposure was for the highlights, it was important to recover a lot of the shadows and blacks for this shot. The Adventure Instead Bright Background preset is perfect for these scenarios! A gradient filter was also used to even out the top and bottom of the photo. Lastly, I bumped the vibrance up to really show off the brilliant colors we witnessed that morning.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic


The extreme wind, and frigid temperatures were a major challenge here.

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The wellbeing and experience of the couple is always a top priority. We had blankets, jackets, and hand warmers nearby. They did take a break halfway through their ceremony to warm back up too. Her hair and dress were constantly whipping around in the wind, so it was important to shoot in continuous mode to nail the perfect shot when her dress and hair blew backwards.

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Location Name

Torres del Paine, Chile

Location aDDRESS

Estancia Pudeto Torres de Paine Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica Chile

Loation Type




Don’t forget to let live-view help you correctly focus when you are shooting with a wide angle and there is a distance between you and your subject! In this scenario, my camera naturally wanted to focus on the lake behind them instead of the couple.

If you’re in a scenario like this and aren’t quite sure what your proper exposure should be, consider setting your camera to exposure compensation mode. This mode tells your camera to take consecutive photos with multiple exposures, so you can be certain that you’re getting all of the detail that you need.

Remember, learning to shoot in these trickier lighting situations will make you a much more confident shooter!

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