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A moment captured on a mountain top in the Transylvania region of Romania and probably one of the most unforgettable moments I’ve experienced as a wedding photographer.
It was approaching the end of the day and we’d already been shooting photos for a couple of hours with the couple but we all made the last minute decision to try one more location about 30 minutes further into the mountains.
Once we finally arrived was noticed light was disappearing fast so it was a literal race to the top of the mountain to get to a nice spot just before the sun vanished.
We ran up an incline for about 15 minutes and I don’t remember being more out of breath in my whole life!
When we reached the peak a blanket of fog rolled in as the sun was descending and it couldn’t have a more perfect moment.
We had about 10 minutes worth of incredible light and we made the most of every second.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

I wanted to capture a shot of the groom holding the bride while they’re both facing the sun together as it descended behind the mountains. I faced them both in this direction because I wanted the sunlight to be outlining both of their faces and bodies to give them some separation from the background. I asked them to stand like this and simply look towards the foggy mountains for a couple of minutes so that I had enough time to move around and get a few angles.

What did you say?

Ok guys if you could both face towards the sun that would be awesome and if you could stand really close together and put your arms around her and hold her tight that would be awesome too. Enjoy this beautiful moment for 2 minutes and I’m just going to run around and get a few snaps.

How did you compose your image?

Normally my first instinct for ‘hero shots’ such as this one is to place the couple right in the middle of the photo. 9/10 this is what I do.
However in this situation the sun was an important element and I wanted to capture a composition that would illustrate the couple looking over towards the sun. Using the rule of thirds I placed both the couple and the sun close to both vertical lines.

How and what did you focus on?

Single point continuous autofocus (centre frame) with the viewfinder, I focused on the couple, locked the focus and then recomposed the shot (focus and recomposing).

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How did you use the light in your image?

I wanted the slightly diffused light from the setting sun to create an outline around the couple so I positioned them to the left of the frame and the sun to the right. The low blanket of clouds we’re moving really fast so the light was changing constantly and it was like nothing I’d ever seen before.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Nikon D750

Lens

Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 G

Filter

None

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/1600

Aperture

f/2.0

ISO

100

White Balance

AUTO

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

Edited with The Kitcheners ‘Emotive’ color preset. Exposure was lifted, white balance corrected and highlight details were recovered using the highlights slider in Lightroom. A little bit of extra exposure was brushed onto the couple to bring back a bit of detail in the darkness.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge was making sure I didn’t overexpose the image too much and lose all the highlight information around the area of the sun. The light was constantly changing (getting brighter then darker) every few seconds due to the clouds moving by really quickly so I had to keep an eye on my exposure settings.

How did you solve them?

I basically underexposed the photo to make sure that all detail around the sun and bright parts of the clouds were captured. The great thing about shooting RAW is that it’s easy to correct exposure and recover a little bit of lost detail in the highlights in post production.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

The most important element of capturing this image was a technical one. Having control of your exposure!
If highlight details are important to the photo make sure to expose correctly to capture them. If I hasn’t underexposed this photo much of the detail in the clouds outside of the sun would have been completely lost and the overall effect wouldn’t be as powerful.

The Kitcheners

Shooting since

2011

Current Home

Scotland

Website

Instagram

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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