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This wedding day was very special for us because 2 years earlier we also captured this lovely couple’s surprise marriage proposal in the Scottish highlands!
We were so excited when they got back in touch with us again to ask us to document their wedding day! The couple was from the United States and wanted to return to the place they became engaged to share the experience this time with their families. It was a huge honour for us and it was one of the most emotional days we’ve ever photographed.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

I arrived to the morning preparations about 30 minutes earlier to have a look around each room in the house and found this room upstairs with some great light shining through the window illuminating the bed.
When it came time for the groom to put on his boots I asked him to sit on the bed so that the light would illuminate him too. Whenever a bride or groom is getting ready I usually position them where I want them to be (based on the light). I then let them do their thing without interrupting.

What did you say?

If you could just take a seat here on the bed and put your shoes on that would be great! Pretend I’m not here and just do your thing.

How did you compose your image?

I wanted to use the doorway to frame the groom while he was getting ready and decided to shoot at this angle because there were a lot of distractions behind the wall to the left that I didn’t want in the shot. The groom was positioned in the middle of the shot however the rule of thirds is still being adhered to with the doorframe and walls on either side taking up a third of the frame each.

How and what did you focus on?

I used single point continuous autofocus (centre frame) with the viewfinder, focused on the groom’s head, locked the focus and then slightly recomposed the shot to achieve the exact framing I wanted.


How did you use the light in your image?

Whenever photographing preparations there’s always one thing I look for when I walk into the room for the first time… a window! With a window you can do anything. I’ll generally position a bride or groom in front of or next to a window, cut out any light from other windows by closing the curtains and use the light from that 1 window to illuminate them.

I wanted to the light being emitted through the window to land on the groom so I positioned him on the bed to put his boots on. As there was very little light coming from the opposite direction on the window, the side of him closest to me is mostly dark which creates a really cool outline effect of light around him. It would be easy to assume that the more light you have, the better the photo will be but in my experience usually the opposite is true. If you’re aiming for more ‘moodier’ photos using just one light source will illuminate the subject while throwing the rest of the photo into darkness which leaves more to the imagination and brings out those deep, dark, cinematic tones.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Nikon D750


Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G





Shutter Speed






White Balance


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

Edited with The Kitcheners ‘Emotive’ color preset used as a base. The photo was straightened, exposure was increased slightly and white balance was corrected to make the shot a bit more warmer.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

One challenge that is often faced when photographing preparations photos is taking photos that are free of distractions. Often things can get a bit hectic in the morning and the last thing on people’s minds is a clean and tidy room (which is understandable). For this particular shot there were items such as jackets, shopping bags and other various things on the bed and also behind the wall to the left of the photo and I didn’t really have to to clean everything away.

How did you solve them?

When I don’t have time to do a quick room tidy I try to frame photos in a way that I can simply cut all these distractions out. Stepping out of the room and shooting through a door frame or shooting from behind a wall is a good way to get clean, minimal shots that focus solely on the subject.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

Try experimenting by shooting with just one indoor light source to create more dramatic photos. Cut out all light except for one window, position the subject next to the window and observe the light hitting their body/face. Expose for the bright side of their face and check your results.

The Kitcheners

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We’re Dylan and Joanna and we’ve been photographing weddings and elopements since 2011. Lovers of the great outdoors, an adventure and meeting new people, it was our passion for all of these things that led us to find one another in Australia 11 years ago. We didn’t waste time, we got engaged after 3 months and tied the knot pretty soon after. It all happened pretty quickly but sometimes you just know when you know! For a long time we were both looking for a way to express ourselves creatively and after searching high and low we discovered that photographing people in love and their stories was what made our hearts race. We’re passionate about the real emotions, the honest moments and capturing how it all really felt. To us that’s what it’s all about! Today we live in Edinburgh, Scotland documenting elopements and weddings around the UK, Europe and further abroad.

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