• Back lit
  • Natural
  • Sunset
  • sunny
  • Sun flare
  • Rim Light
  • Outdoor
  • natural frames
  • Mountains
  • Bright
  • holding hands
  • Harsh Light
  • full body
  • Center Framed
  • canyon
  • calm
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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This beautiful couple wanted an epic Yosemite elopement and wanted their portrait session as husband and wife with the infamous half dome in the background. I knew the perfect location that would provide the best backdrop the national park could offer with an epic sunrise. To get to this location and make it in time to witness the sunrise we left the hotel at 3 am.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

The preceding moments that led up to this image consisted of my groom helping his bride up the rock and then having the couple snuggle. They were a naturally affectionate couple and posing them was very easy. I told the couple to look out towards the valley and enjoy the sunrise for a couple of minutes while holding hands. I truly wanted them to remember this moment for the rest of their lives since sunrise in Yosemite is absolutely magical.

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What did you say?

Guys, look out towards the valley and enjoy the sunrise for a few moments together, and hold hands. Really take in this moment together as a couple and forget all about me shooting here

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Tone of Directions



I’m a fan of center composition but also wanted to include half dome in the background so I simply placed them in the center of my frame. I also used the tree on the right and the log on the left to frame the couple.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Since the sun was shining directly into the camera, I took multiple images to make sure I captured the image in focus. I also shielded my lens with my hand to limit the amount of light so the camera could catch focus with back button focus. I then removed my hand and press the shutter button. I also combat this issue by having my camera in live view.

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Focus Mode

Live View Single Shot

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The back of the bride

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
1/8000 @ f/1.4 ISO200 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

I’m a big fan of lens flares and especially the flare that the canon 50mm 1.2L produces. To achieve this effect I opened up my aperture almost as wide as it could go and placed my couple where the sunrise and the cliff meet. As the light hits the lens, it causes it to flare which looks so beautiful. It cane be tricky though as it does interfere with the focusing slightly.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I initially used Gabe McClintock’s roam preset, I lifted the exposure a tad and then added warmth to the image. Since this image looked great even with just applying the preset, I didn’t need to dig in with any local adjustments. The only adjustments I really touched was the white balance (to bring more warmth) as well as a few exposure and contrast sliders to give it that pop that I was after.

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Editing Software
Adobe Photoshop / Camera Raw


Obtaining focus while backlighting can be a challenge with the Canon 5D mark IV.

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I used my hand simply to block the amount of light coming into my lens with my hand and once I caught focus I removed my hand and pressed the shutter.

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Location Name

Yosemite National Park

Location aDDRESS

Yosemite National Park, CA 95389

Loation Type



United States

Going the extra mile for a photoshoot can really make your images stand out. As artists, the extra effort of finding the best location can have a great impact on your creativity and inspiration so if that requires hours of driving or getting out of bed before dawn just go with it.

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