• afternoon
  • Artificial Light
  • Back lit
  • Dancing
  • Energetic
  • Friends
  • Mid range
  • Middle Thirds
  • Party
  • Playful
  • Rim Light
  • Rule of thirds

The story behind the image

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Despite what it looks like, we are not actually on the dancefloor during the party. It’s around 7 pm and it’s the cocktail hour. The couple had hired a live band during the cocktail (in France cocktails last about 2h) before the dinner. So they were playing nice and chilled music while we were doing the couple session, and when they saw us coming back to the cocktail area, the band started to play some of the couple’s favourite music! They ran to the band and started to dance and sing! Their friends joined them and in a minute it turned crazy!
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

As people were singing and dancing, I asked them to come around the couple and closer to them. By asking I mean I was hand-signing to people because there was simply no time to talk. I wanted to see the couple literally surrounded by their families and friends and enjoying the moment with them.

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What did you say?

My hands were talking for me, showing people to come around

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The idea was to show all scenes: the band, the couple, and the people all dancing in a circle around the couple. I was looking for the context, the main characters, and the story. So I stepped into the circle and framed as wide as possible. Also, I used the two lights on the background as a guide to know where the middle of the stage was.

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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

As the couple were turning round and were not close to each other, I moved my focus point on the right of my sensor, so I can have the focus on the groom then on the bride one after the other. I was using the continuous autofocus mode so the camera was continuously recalculating the point on my moving subjects.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The Grooms face

Equipment &

Sony A9
Sony Zeiss 35mm f/1.4
1/250 @ f/f/1.6 ISO2500 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

There are two reasons I decided to shoot with the backlight. The first one is to get a softer light and glow created by the natural haze when shooting backlight. And the second one is to avoid having my own shadow or people shadows on the couple on the other side. The couple is only illuminated by the stage spots and the daylight.

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Light Type

Artificial Light

Time of day


Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I wanted to recreate a party-night mood. So I warmed up the temperature and turned down the exposure and added some contrast. Then I turned down the highlights and white to be softer and creamier. I also desaturated the greens that I thought were distracting. And finally added a little bit of black vignetting to focus the brightest part of my image on my couple in the center.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom CC
Preset Used
Own personal Presets


The main challenge was how fast things happened. In a second it went from a cool couple session to a party mode. No time to analyze the place, or no idea how long the moment would last. I had to think fast to get the best of the moment, choosing the right focus mode, and catch the best expressions.

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The continuous autofocus + high burst mode combo is a huge help in these kinds of situations. Even more so if you’re like me and you like to shoot at or wider than f/2 most of the time.

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Location Name

Domaine du Marchais-Bouchet

Location aDDRESS

Le Marchais Bouchet 49350 Gennes-Val-de-Loire, France

Loation Type

Wedding / Event Venue



For dancing photos, especially if you don’t want to use a flash to keep the intimate mood, don’t be afraid to raise up your ISO. You’ll be able to shoot at a higher shutter speed and avoid blurry pictures. I personally prefer a photo with a bit of grain than a flashlight.

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