Before
the Shoot

Location Equipment
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I’ve been to this location multiple times on the Isle of Skye, but this was my first time taking a couple – it’s full of these small hills and is a popular tourist attraction because of it.

The elopement was in late August and this was shot in the middle of the afternoon, with the harsh summer sun beaming down on us. The sky was completely covered in a blanket of grey clouds, so it presented the perfect opportunity to create a dramatic, minimal image using lots of negative space.

I always try to pre-visualize images as I visit new locations and often location-scout the day before an elopement to see where the photographic opportunities are. Chelsea and Hunter’s elopement was incredibly beautiful and their ceremony was very emotional – we’d chatted a lot in the months leading up to their day, building a rapport and friendship, so, when their day came, I had a good sense of who they were as a couple.

I knew they shared quite an intense connection and an adventurous streak, so wanted their images to reflect that. I learned that often the best images you make are the easiest ones to create – to keep things simple and let the day flow naturally.
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Location

Location Name

The Fairy Glen

Location aDDRESS

Fairy Glen Car Park, IV51 9XX, UK.

Country

United Kingdom

Location TYPE

Hill

Equipment

Camera

Nikon D750

Flash

None

Lens

Sigma Art 85mm f/1.4

Lens Filter

None

Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

During
the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Directions

Tags

Calm Holding Each other Natural

Description

This was quite a simple one – I knew I wanted to take the couple up this small hill which has impressive views from the top. So, I just told them to walk ahead of me to the top of the hill. There was quite a cool breeze as the mist was starting to roll in, so I told them to hug each other tightly.

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What was said

Okay, guys, I want you to walk to the top of the hill here and hug in tightly when you get there – Hunter, it’s getting a little chilly, so just hold Chelsea nice and tightly to warm her up

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Composition

Why I composed the way I did

I chose to frame the hill in the lower third of the frame, with the couple dead center, meaning the sky took up the majority of the frame. Images with lots of negative space like this simplify an image and ensure there’s nothing to distract the viewer’s eye from the main subject – the couple.

With such a minimal image, finding elements that have a bit of texture helps add depth, so the grassy hill added that element here. In terms of perspective, I was beneath the hill, which meant the couple was framed against the sky. I tried the same shot when I was up on another hill, but it didn’t have the same impact. The goal was to create an intimate portrait that evoked a sense of peace and adventure.

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Tags

Center Framed Lower Thirds Broken Rules Minimalistic Wide Low Angle Negative Space

Focus

Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Continuous Autofocus

Focused on

The couple

Focus description

This was nice and easy – I always shoot in aperture priority with auto ISO and continuous autofocus. Once I had focussed on the couple, I took the shot.

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Shutter Speed

1/4000

Aperture

f/2.5

ISO

100

White Balance

Auto

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

How the light was used

The blanket of grey clouds in the sky helped to diffuse the light, but the sky was still quite bright. So, I needed to underexpose the image a bit. If I could have decided when to shoot this for the best light, I would have taken it nearer sunset so the sky wasn’t as bright. I’ll definitely return to this location and try this shot in different lighting conditions again. The Isle of Skye is known for dramatic weather conditions and moody skies, so the image I see in my mind is of a dark sky, with lots of textured clouds and the couple lit softly.

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Tags

Soft Light Back lit Bright Natural Light Cloudy Afternoon

After
the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &
Presets

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used
How I edited this image

I shot this image underexposed because the sky was quite bright. Once I added the preset, I increased the exposure slightly and cropped it just a tiny bit to make the sure couple were completely centred. Then, once I had found the natural white balance, I added a little more warmth.

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Conclusion

Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

The main challenge here was making sure the sky wasn’t blown out and that the couple were centred on the hill.

Solutions I found

I underexposed the image to help with the bright sky. For the couple to be in the perfect position, I moved around quite a bit and tried a few positions, but this was the one I ended up using. I also tried using my 35mm lens, but it didn’t work because of too many distracting elements beneath the hill.

Advice

The main lesson I learned from this was to try the same shot with multiple angles and lenses so you’ve got options in post-production. I tried the same technique on a couple of other hills in the area, but it just didn’t look right. Don’t be afraid to explore with different perspectives because the best image might end up being the one you didn’t expect.
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Photographed by

David Conaty

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