• Bedroom
  • off center
  • vows
  • Unposed
  • tears
  • Soft Light
  • Signing
  • Rule of thirds
  • Room
  • Quiet
  • Natural Light
  • calm
  • Natural
  • Mid range
  • Leading lines
  • intimate
  • Indoor
  • gentle
  • Directional Light
  • Crying
  • Window Light

The story behind the image

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This moment was captured on one of the most emotional elopement days I’ve had the pleasure of photographing. The couple (also mega-amazing photographers) flew in from Poland to elope in the Scottish highlands in Fall with their closest friends. The groom happened to also be a really talented musician and on the morning of their elopement (before their ‘first look’) the groom surprised the bride with a song played on acoustic guitar.
It was a moment I remember vividly and a moment that I knew I had to capture properly to do it justice.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

A lot of thought went into how this moment would unravel successfully. The groom mentioned that he would like to surprise the bride with a song however it would be before their ‘first look’ so it had to be orchestrated in a way that they wouldn’t see one another while he was playing. I scouted the house earlier in the morning when I arrived and found a way to position them that would work. I asked the bride to stand against a wall in the bedroom and the groom to stand just outside the door facing away from the bride.

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What did you say?

If you (bride) could position yourself here against this wall and look towards the window that would be great and if you (groom) could stand just outside the room here to the right of the door that would be awesome. Ok guys, whenever you feel ready!:)

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Tone of Directions



I wanted to compose this shot in a way that I could quickly switch focus between the bride and also the groom as he was playing the guitar without having to move my position too much. Having shots focused on the Bride’s emotional reaction with the groom in the foreground of the photo like this also gave context to what was happening when viewed as a whole story on a blog post or in an album. Using the 85mm lens I was able to stand just outside the doorway but still be physically close enough to capture the Bride’s emotional response.

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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Single point autofocus (centre frame) with the viewfinder, I focused on the bride’s face, locked the focus and then recomposed the shot (focus and recomposing).

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The Brides face

Equipment &

Nikon D750
Nikkor 85mm f/1.8
1/400 @ f/2.0 ISO4000 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

It was a dark and cloudy day in Scotland so the light coming through the window was very minimal. When scouting for a location in the house for the bride to stand in I knew that she would have to be facing a window so that her face and body would be illuminated and her reaction could be clearly seen. You can see from the shadow behind her that the window is directly in front of her (about 3 meters away) out of frame. The groom was also slightly illuminated from another window to my right.

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Light Type

Natural Light



Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

Edited with The Kitcheners ‘Emotive’ presets as a base. White balance and exposure corrected and the image cropped and straightened.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic


The biggest challenge was having enough natural light in the house to shoot with! I never use speed light / flash as I personally feel the artificial flash / speed light would strip away the mood and natural tones from the photo. In an intimate moment like this using flash / speed light would also be very distracting too.

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To overcome this I pushed the camera exposure settings to it’s near upper limits. I kept the aperture at f2.0 to let as much light in as possible, used a slow enough shutter speed to let in light but be able to be ready any sudden movement and set the ISO to 4000.

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Location Name


Location aDDRESS

Glencoe scotland

Loation Type

Private Home / AirBnB / Apartment


United Kingdom

Take time to get to know the exposure limits and capabilities of your camera! For instance I know that with the Nikon D750 I can bump the ISO to 6400 and still have a clean, useable image with pleasant film-like grain. Anything above ISO6400 and things start to break down a bit.

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