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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.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

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.

What did you say?

“Sit down in front of the car”..”Cuddle and enjoy!”

How did you compose your image?

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.

How and what did you focus on?

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.

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How did you use the light in your image?

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.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Sony A7 III

Lens

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM

Filter

None

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/80

Aperture

f/1.4

ISO

5000

White Balance

Auto

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

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.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset

Custom Preset

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What challenges did you face?

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.

How did you solve them?

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).

Can you share any last thoughts or 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.

Dan Jenson

Shooting since

2018

Current Home

Austria

Website

Instagram

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.

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