the Shoot

Location Equipment
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Ish and Dan, also talented photographers got legally married back home and felt the urge to elope somewhere remote, so they came to Mexico and I took them to one of my favorite natural cenotes near Tulum where they read their vows and connected with each other in front of me. We really enjoyed each other’s company, it was easy to connect and create together. We finished an afternoon of sessions between hugs and laughs at the beach by sunset.
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Location Name

Cenote Buho

Location aDDRESS

Cenote Buho, Tulum, Mexico



Location TYPE




Sony A7 iii




Sigma 35mm f/1.4

Lens Filter


Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Calm Posed Serious


We were at a part of the cenote where it was partially a cave and it was pretty dark, so I asked the couple to stand in a spot where I saw the light was softly hitting. But since the background became pretty dark, I took a UV filter that I often use as a prop to play with reflections and I got to reflect on top of the image of the plants that were behind me so I wouldn’t have so much negative space, and also so the location would take part on the photo too.

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What was said

Ok, I want you to stand next to each other and hold hands, with your bodies facing straight to the camera, and your heads facing opposite ways (away from each other).

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Why I composed the way I did

Even though this image is not completely symmetrical, that’s kind of what I was going for, I love centering my couples, while leaving the sides of the frame for our surroundings, literally.

I was going for an intimate and moody vibe. I love creating a feeling of unity and individuality at the same time, which is why they were facing different directions while holding each other to avoid giving a feeling of coldness or distance.

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Center Framed Minimalistic Mid Range


Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Continuous Autofocus

Focused on

the face

Focus description

When shooting a portrait like this, I focused on the subject’s face and then recomposed it. In this case, my background was dark and they had some light so it was an easy choice going for autofocus =.

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Shutter Speed






White Balance


Other Light Sources
No additional light sources were used.
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Light &

How the light was used

My couple was standing in a pretty dark spot, especially behind them. They had sunlight directed from above and this location had a lot of vegetation so that sunlight was diffused. This meant that the light hitting the couple was really, really soft which I felt works well against the harsh, dark background.

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Soft Light Dark Moody Natural Light

the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used

Own Custom Preset

How I edited this image

I liked the moody and dramatic vibe of this spot and the contrast between their opposite color outfits so the only thing I had to do here is adding a little light on the left side of the image so Ish’s face, (on the dark suit) wasn’t so lost in the background. As for presets, from my own, I tried a couple and chose one that didn’t affect their skin a lot. I usually shoot on Auto white balance, in this case, I had to adjust the temperature to a warmer tone.

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Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

The time of the day was perfect for certain spots of the location. However, this particular spot was dark and the sunlight was more diffused from the trees than what I would have preferred, details were missing on the shadows, while the whites looked perfect.

Solutions I found

I went with it, and I put my iso on 500, then I added brightness on post-production where it was needed.


When the light conditions are not ideal but something on that spot attracted you; before you regret shooting there and move to a spot with “better lighting”, just go with it for a minute, a lot of it can come out on the edition part of the process, and you may end up getting your favorite image of your gallery.
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Photographed by

Conie Suarez Bravo

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