wedding photography education . how to photograph a couple in car lights

1/80 . f/1.4 . ISO 5000 . WB Auto . Sony A7 III . Sony 35mm F1.4 ZA

Photographed by

Photographed by


When we hiked back to the car after this Elopement and the couple session was finished, we were super happy with what we got to photograph during the day. But, we also realized that we did not open the champagne bottle yet, so I asked the couple if they’d like to open it to celebrate the finish of their amazing day. Luckily they were still motivated, so I suggested sitting down in front of my car and pop the bottle there.

I always carry two big trash bags in my bag as a clean base to sit on for situations like this. I loved the fog rolling up from the valley through the light beams, creating a cinematic mood. It was quite a challenge to find the perfect distances between the car, the couple, and the camera and to find the best vertical position and camera angle to avoid direct backlight and at the same time compose the picture to my vision. Once I figured it out the rest worked by itself.

Education for Wedding Photographers . how to pose a couple


Into what the directions were like & how they were given to the couple.

Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural


After placing them on the ground in front of the car I did not have to give any more directions to the couple because they just enjoyed the moment that we created while opening the champagne bottle, cuddling, and kissing.
"Sit down in front of the car".."Cuddle and enjoy!"


Centering the couple in the middle of the image worked very well for this one. The Symmetry of the elements in the image balances the photo and adds to a dramatic mood. The Leading Lines of the shadows, the fog, and the light beams draw the attention right into the middle of the Frame directly to the Couple.

Wedding Photography tips . how to compose

Symmetry is probably the easiest way to achieve a balanced composition. Placing your model in the middle of the frame is the most simple way to draw attention right to the couple. A lower camera position and shooting more upwards can add Drama to your Image and is also a good way to hide distractions in the background.


I simply used Single Point Autofocus and focused right onto the couple’s faces. The autofocus of my Sony is luckily so reliable to focus properly in lower light situations like this. If it´s not working in such situations I would work with simple manual focus and focus peaking or maybe use my headlight to lighten the subject just for the purpose of setting the focus.

Focus point

Single Point

focused on

the couples faces

focusing technology

Single Shot Autofocus

1/80 . f/1.4 . ISO 5000 . WB Auto


Since the main light source was coming from directly behind the couple, this created a rim light that separated them from the dark background. The shadow of the couple created beautiful Lines leading into the center of the Image. I wanted to avoid the lights shining directly into my lens to keep off Light Flares so I had to find a lower position to hide it behind the couple.
Sony A7 III
Sony 35mm F1.4 ZA
Other equipment

How to edit like Dan Jenson

Swipe to see before & after

Editing software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used
Custom Preset
local adjustments
External edits


I used my own preset as a base. Cropped and leveled the image to make it symmetrical. Lifted the exposure and shadows a little bit. Adjusted the white balance a bit more to the warm side and added a bit of noise reduction.

Opens in a new window. not an affiliate link.


Location Name
Kops Stausee
Area / Address
Zeinisjochstraße, 6794 Gaschurn, Austria
Location Type
Website / Instagram / Explore Tag


The main challenge was to hide the strong lights from shining directly into my lens to keep off the strong light flares and to achieve a good composition at the same time.


I drove my car back about 5 meters further after I realized it´s better to hide the lights behind the couple. I tried some different positions (different distances) and chose a lower camera position (lie down on the ground in the end).

How to improve in wedding photography

Final Tips & Advice.

I´ve often heard photographers say “don´t do experiments with paying clients”. I think besides the safe shots you should always make sure to have, you should also try new things over and over again. Couples are very curious when you tell them “let´s try something new” or “let´s do an experiment”. Don´t be afraid, if something doesn´t work out as you´ve expected. There´s nothing to lose as long as you have the safe shots and your couples are having fun. Most of the time I am surprised by the results. It would be so boring to only do your same standard program in every shoot.


What did you think of this story? 

Click on a star to rate it!

Darn! We're sorry we couldn't get a better rating from you

Let us improve this story!

Tell us how we can improve this story? All feedback is welcomed!

Comments & Questions.

How about you? Do you strictly follow your script or decide spontaneously? Do you try new things with paying clients or only in styled shoots?

Leave a Reply

Dan Jenson.

Hi, I am Daniel. I live in the beautiful mountains of Austria. After photographing film for many years I was pretty late to the wedding game but immediately fell in love with it. I am capturing mainly local weddings and elopements to be able to spend as much time as possible with my lovely family and see my kids growing up. I love to connect with my couples and try to find and capture their deep connection and their story in a true and authentic way.

active since


main body

Sony A7 III

favorite lens

Sony Zeiss 55mm f/1.8

current home


„There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in“ - Leonard Cohen

More from

Dan Jenson

Choose a plan:

Most Popular


Per month


Every 3 Months


Every 12 Months

All prices are inclusive of the German Mwst. 19%

Each plans give you access to all content, current & future and can be cancelled at any time. When you become a premium member, you’re supporting not just the platform, but the artists too.