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This image was produced in an editorial, where we wanted to put a more industrial context and bring a little lightness amidst the “chaos” of the environment. For this photo, I asked for the table to be set up in the light that was coming in through the windows. I had already seen the possibility of using a smoke machine so that the streaks of light coming through the door would be highlighted, generating this more mysterious air and the attention to the subjects of the scene. We tried not to clean the background of our scenery because we wanted to bring this feeling of lightness in the face of the chaos of an abandoned shed.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

For this image, I wanted to have the couple in such a way that the light was coming from behind them which would create a beautiful rim light that would help separate them from the background. I asked the couple to get as close as possible with their hands under the table, holding each other, and to slowly and gently lean forward like they were going to kiss – but, to not kiss. I wanted them to “almost kiss”.

What did you say?

Mateus and Mari, I want you to get as close as possible to each other, hold your hands under the table, and start to bring your faces together very slowly, but I don’t want you to kiss, when you feel that you are very close, I want that you look deeply into each other’s eyes.

How did you compose your image?

For this composition, I chose to make a portrait photo in order to eliminate the possible visual distractions that I would have on the sides of the image. I tried to make a photo with the couple in the center, giving them the center of attention. An important thing that I tried to do was make sure their heads were amongst the light as I wanted this strong contrast between the background and the couple.

How and what did you focus on?

Focusing with a backlight is never easy, but in this specific case, I didn’t have too many problems because I positioned myself a little higher than the light rays that were beaming in which allowed me to get my focus. The fact that the light was not directly hitting my lens meant this was much easier to do.


How did you use the light in your image?

We wanted to bring a more mysterious feeling to this image and I noticed that there was a very strong light coming in through the door of the shed we were in. Since the shed was naturally very dark, I positioned the table and the couple with their backs to this big shed door in order to catch this streak of light behind the couple which created a beautiful rimlight around them – helping them stand out from the background. It was then that I realized that we could add one more element to the image by adding in some smoke that would really bring out those light rays which would really add to the mysterious feel I was going for.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Canon 5D Mark III


Canon EF 24mm f/1.4 L II





Shutter Speed






White Balance


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

I applied my set of presets and then I tried to improve the white balance of the image because I noticed that it had become a very yellowish tone. Then I spent some time in the tone curve to emphasize more black areas in order to gain contrast between shadow and light in the image. When doing this inevitably the image became a little darker, so I applied a radial filter in the center of the image where the couple and the table are located, in order to bring back a little more clarity to that area. I then brightened up some of the shadows and increased the exposure by 1 point. Once this part was completed, I went to the HSL and decreased the Blue saturation a little because the smoke had a slightly stronger blue saturation than I would have liked.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic


Flat PEREZ -1

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What challenges did you face?

Perhaps the most challenging part of this image was getting the couple to fit together harmoniously and having the light enter just around them.

How did you solve them?

To solve this I have to try to position myself exactly at the height they were sitting to use them as a kind of “light blocker” for the image. This helped me find my focus easily and it also helped with my composition as I wanted the contrast between the couple and the background light to be visible.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

Working with light and shadow always brings drama to images and gives them a certain weight. Try use light so that shadows are not hidden but in a way that shadow and light can harmonize together in the image.

Diogo Perez

Shooting since


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I am a person driven by the new, a complete experiencer who likes to meet people and connect with them. photography entered my life giving me this possibility to connect and experience the new with each shot.

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