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When Aneet and Justin reached out to me about photographing their elopement in Yosemite I was understandably beyond excited as someone who had never been there before. They were from Wisconsin and it was their first time exploring a place so mountainous and majestic, so they knew that all they really wanted was that one “epic” shot that they’d cherish forever. I’d seen that shot before, the one that hinted just how enormous and high up that cliff at Taft Point really was with two tiny humans perched atop, and was so excited to take one for myself. We scoped out their ceremony the day before but none of us were prepared for how truly breathtaking the view would be at sunset. The colors that filled the sky and shadowed the mountains right as the sun went down is so much more than a single photo could capture. And don’t worry, I promise there’s much more space between their feet and the edge than it looks!

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

I positioned the two just far out enough on the cliff that they were undoubtedly safe, but still visible from the far away lookout point I was shooting from in order to get the full view. I told them to simply face each other and talk, hold hands, or whatever else came naturally. Once I was at the vantage point they were too far away to give any more direction so I let them interact with each other naturally.

What did you say?

Stand right here you guys and face each other. I’m going to go back over there and get this shot wide. Do your thing and be all cute and cuddly

How did you compose your image?

The main focus of this image was to show off the grandeur of the 3500 ft cliff by capturing it from as far away as I could and contrasting it with the tiny frames of the couple. I chose to frame the cliff in the lower two thirds and the sky/couple in the upper so that it highlighted both.

How and what did you focus on?

Since it was a super-wide shot I didn’t need to focus on anything too specific. I tried to focus as closely to the couple as possible to make sure they were in clear as the cliff.

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How did you use the light in your image?

This was the very end of our session. We caught that very last amount of colorful sunlight after the bright orange glow had died down and the sky was a soft pink and blue. I love this lighting, especially with this location, because it creates so many layers in the mountain backdrop and more of a contrast with the image of the couple.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens

Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II

Filter

None

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/320

Aperture

f/1.8

ISO

800

White Balance

8300

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

I added my custom preset, then brought down the temperature. My presets are on the warm side when first applied so I wanted to cool it down to make the blues in the backdrop more prominent. I increased the contrast just a tad and voila!

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

I didn’t have much control over the couples posing or other random people walking in and out of the frame since it’s a popular spot.

How did you solve them?

Just be patient and wait for people to move out of the way if needed! Take lots of photos to make sure you get the frame you want.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

Try different lenses! I shot this same image on multiple lenses and in different orientations to find what I liked best. Each gave a different effect.

Autumn Nicole

Shooting since

2015

Current Home

United States of America

Website

Instagram

Hi friends! My name is Autumn. I’m a wedding and elopement photographer based in beautiful Utah. I soak up as much inspiration as I can from the beautiful nature I’m so lucky to live near. Photography has such a huge place in my heart. I love capturing that magical connection between two people and taking photos that capture them and their relationship in the truest form. So excited to be here and help you guys learn!

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