DC02032023

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I shot this on the Isle of Skye, where I live and where most of my work is. The entire island is full of epic spots, but there are some hidden gems that are less touristy, but no less incredible. This is one of those places. I’d wanted to shoot at this spot for a while, because it’s right on the coastline and has views out to mainland Scotland. The weather was moody and we got soaked with rain pretty much all day and I knew I wanted a wide epic shot with dark clouds at some point – I just didn’t know when that would be. On Skye, where the weather is changeable, you just need to roll with what you’re given and allow for spontaneity sometimes.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

I told Andrew to hold Susie-Hannah’s right hand with his left and for them to keep a good distance between themselves, with Susie-Hannah behind. That way, their bodies are pointed in my direction and it looks natural.

What did you say?

“Okay guys, if you head over there and take a slow walk along that ridge to the end. Andrew, hold Susie-Hannah’s right hand with your left and make sure you’re either looking to each other or looking up and around, rather than down”

How did you compose your image?

The composition was pretty straight-forward because the scene was already there in front of me. I knew I wanted to place them and the ridge on the lower-third and have the upper two-thirds full of the dark clouds and negative space. I went for a few compositions, where they were placed off to the left and right, but I preferred this centre-composed shot.

How and what did you focus on?

I focussed on the ridge using back-button autofocus. At this distance, I knew they’d be in focus at f1.8.

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How did you use the light in your image?

The entire sky was cloudy, so there wasn’t any direct light from the sun. However, the less dense bank of cloud below the dark ones was a lot brighter and meant that the couple were able to stand out in the image.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Sony A7 III

Lens

Sigma Art 85mm f/1.8

Filter

Nisi Pro Mist 1/8

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/4000

Aperture

f/1.8

ISO

200

White Balance

Auto

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

I applied my preset, which was 90% of the work and that’s usually all I’ll do. But, I wanted to emphasise the dark clouds, so created a linear gradient and darkened it by reducing the exposure, highlights, and blacks. Then, I created another linear gradient for the lighter bank of cloud and increased the highlights, whites, and exposure slightly to make it brighter.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom CC

Preset

Personal Preset

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What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge I had was in post-processing. I wanted to emphasise the drama of the clouds without making the edit unnatural and over processed.

How did you solve them?

I used the reference mode in Lightroom to compare the original edit with the changes I was making, to make sure I wasn’t straying too far from the original shot.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

The biggest advice I can give when shooting an image like this is to keep your head up and explore your surroundings. It’s so easy to get caught out by looking at what the couple are doing and not being mindful of what’s happening around you. Taker time to walk with your couple, cameras away, and explore where you are. You’ll often find some amazing wide compositions. Lastly, the 85mm lens is your best friend for this type of shot where you want to create drama.

David Conaty

Shooting since

2021

Current Home

Isle of Skye

Website

Instagram

Hi, I’m David, an elopement photographer based on the Isle of Skye, and I’ve been shooting elopements in the UK since 2021. It all started when I took up photography as a way to spend more time with my Dad when he got ill. When he passed away, I inherited all of his gear and wanted to make the most of it. And, well, here we are. I found comfort in photography in a way I never thought possible and it has allowed me to express the creative side of myself which had become lost. I’m fascinated by human connection and feel honoured to peek into the lives of my couples for their elopement, telling their story in a way that reflects their true spirit. I’m a bit of an introvert, a lover of wild and epic landscapes, and a sentimental romantic at heart. In my spare time, you’ll find me in full on Dad mode to my twin girls, Eisa and Reina, who keep me on my toes!

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