• "Rivers"
  • None / Simple
  • Sony A7 III
  • soft
  • Single Focus Point
  • Sigma 85mm f/1.4
  • Shade
  • Serious
  • Scotland
  • Rainy
  • Quiet
  • Posed
  • Personal Preset
  • Overcast
  • outdoors
  • Normal
  • Nisi Pro Mist 1/8
  • Adobe Lightroom CC
  • cuddling
  • Autofocus
  • calm
  • Center Framed
  • Close up
  • Cloudy
  • Continuous
  • Hand movements
  • Natural Light
  • holding hands
  • intimate
  • Intimate Framing
  • kissing
  • Mountains
  • Natural
  • Sunset

The story behind the image

This was taken at the very end of our day together. We’d hoped for a sunset, but it was way too cloudy and overcast to get some golden light. Instead, it was dark and atmospheric, so I knew I wanted to create something that reflected that in a cinematic way.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

The light was coming from the right of this frame, so I asked the groom to stand behind the bride and hug her in nice and tight. I explained to them that I didn’t want them to talk, but instead talk with their hands and, most importantly, to keep moving and do whatever feels natural. Sometimes this is difficult when couples aren’t as intimate with each other, but these two took to it really well and were very natural, so I didn’t give as much input as I could have.

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What did you say?

“Okay Mike, stand behind Sarah and huge her in nice and tight, not over the shoulders, but under her arms and wrap your hands around each other. Keep moving, with kisses on the neck, side of the head, and keep your eyes closed”

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Tone of Directions

Quiet, Calm, Normal


I wanted the centre of the frame to be the interaction between the groom and the bride and for them to fill the entire frame. I felt that this helped to magnify the sense of intimacy.

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Compositional Rules

None / Simple


Center FramedClose UpIntimate Framing


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I used the eye autofocus on the Sony camera to lock onto the bride’s eye and kept the back button focus pressed so the focus didn’t slip to somewhere else. It’s important to be super careful when shooting at a low aperture when you’re close up like this, because it’s so easy for the camera to focus on a strand of hair in the wind or a part of the face you don’t want it to, then the main part is out of focus. I ensured that I zoomed into the preview on my camera so I knew they were in focus.

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Focus Mode


Focus POints

Single Focus Point

Focused on

Bride's eye.

Equipment &

Sony A7 III
Sigma 85mm f/1.4
Nisi Pro Mist 1/8
1/250 @ f/1.4 ISO400 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

The sky was completely overcast, so the light was soft, but still noticeable at certain angles. It was sunset, so the light was coming from the West. So, I positioned my couple so that it would hit them side on, with just enough light to highlight their face.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Light Quality


Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I applied my usual preset, which has warmer shadows and cooled highlights. But, it didn’t give the cool effect I was after. So, I changed the colour grade to add blues and greens to the shadows and yellows to the highlights, so that it had more of a cinematic, moody feel.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom CC
Preset Used
Personal Preset


The biggest challenge was editing the image in a cool way without making the skin tones look overly blue or green.

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I had to adjust the HSL tone curve and add warmth to the midtowns in the colour grading panel for a while to get it to look as I envisaged. It took quite a while, but once I did it I was able to apply that edit to the rest of the scene.

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Location Name

Isle of Skye

Location aDDRESS


Loation Type

"Mountains", "Rivers", "Outdoors"



I personally love the 85mm lens for intimate portraits, because I can stay further back and the couple don’t feel like I’m in there face. I’d also say to roll with whatever your couple are like with each other. Some couples aren’t as comfortable being this cuddly and close, which is totally cool, so lean into what they are like together. Fortunately, Mike and Sarah were so close with each other and able to be gentle and soft with their touches in a natural way.

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