• Artificial Light
  • medium shot
  • Soft Light
  • simple
  • Rule of thirds
  • Reflection
  • Posed
  • Neon Light
  • natural frames
  • Mirrors
  • Mid range
  • kissing
  • Backlit
  • Kiss
  • Interracial
  • Indoor
  • Creative
  • Close up
  • Center Framed
  • Cellar
  • calm
  • Black and white couple
  • Underground

The story behind the image

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Diving into another world during a kiss was the inspiration behind this photo. Not only to show one moment but add a second layer of conscience. We’ve always loved reflections and the use of mirrors. Mostly we use mirrors to show the bride or groom during the getting-ready part of their wedding day. The challenge behind this photo was on the one hand the positioning of the mirrors and on the other hand the lighting.

The neon sign right behind the couple was so bright in the barely lit room, so the right exposure was an absolute challenge. If we turned off the neon light, the exposure would be much easier but we didn’t want to miss the background layer which makes the composition more interesting. So we used an external steady lamp to brighten up the front a little bit. The natural and warm character was also important so we aimed to keep it present.

We felt quite excited to both capture the reflection and to work against the super bright neon sign in the back. The next time we would add more light from the front. We always try to keep a light mood during our sessions and try to give more prompts than poses. The shown picture was the mixture of a posed base (position of the mirrors) and a prompt.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We told the couple our intentions about the mirrors and the second the mirrors were correctly positioned, we told them to put all their passion into this one kiss. Of course, the position of the hands changed due to the kissing but we did not want to intrude on this passionate moment. This worked quite well but you do not have many tries, because the natural-looking kiss might only happen once. Another kissing round might be too artificial.

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What did you say?

So let´s take some more artsy photos. We would love each of you to hold the mirror in your hand and try to reflect the other one`s face in the mirror. It would be great if you could hold the mirror in this position. But it´s no big deal, if not. So really don´t care too much about it because we have a nice task for you to do: Put all the passion you feel for each other into this one kiss. 3-2-1-go!

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Tone of Directions



As a rule of aesthetics, our eyes always try to spot the brightest area of a photo at first. In our case, the brightest area was the neon sign. Therefore the main point of interest in the photo should be framed by the brightest area to be looked at first. To us, the passionate kiss was the main point of interest in the picture and the second one was the reflection in the mirror. Due to the bright color reflected in the mirror, this is where the eyes go next. So we were quite happy with the composition.

We tried to emphasize the horizontal lines by holding the mirrors at the same height. Horizontal lines seem calm, vertical lines accelerate the view. The goal was to make the kiss look even more intimate so the horizontal lines looked the best to us. We kind of broke the one rule of composition – the golden cut. But as there is more than one point of interest, breaking the golden cut did not bother us too much.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We focused on the bride’s eyes and therefore her lashes which worked out quite well despite the dim light. If it had not worked we would have switched into manual focus.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

the bride's eyes

Equipment &

Sony A7 III
Sigma Art 85mm f/1.4 DG HSM
1/320 @ f/1,8 ISO2000 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

The photo session took place in a barely lit vaulted cellar so the light was not natural. The ceiling was in a reddish tone and the ground brown. The neon sign was really bright and in a cold light color. Right across from the neon sign we installed an artificial light which we didn’t want to be too bright to maintain the authenticity of the photo. Maintaining authenticity was a great challenge. The subjects stood in between the two lights. The photographer stood in front of the artificial light source. It was so much fun to face this kind of challenge!

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Light Type

Artificial Light



Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

We used our own preset (Feather and Moon Presets). This preset creates a warmer look and the shadows appear not too dark. Due to the artificial light in addition to the reddish ceiling, the skin tones looked too red. So we adjusted the saturation of the reds and oranges.

A few local adjustments were made (brush to smooth the skin and to remove the deep red of the groom’s ear by using complementary colors and desaturation) and the reflections in the mirrors were brightened up. In addition, we used the radial brush to lighten up the bride’s skin a little bit as we adjusted the exposure to his skin tone. The whole picture was edited in Adobe Lightroom.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic


The main challenge was handling the light. The harsh neon sign from the back darkens the foreground too much. In addition, the bride’s darker skin reflected the light differently than the groom’s brighter one.

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To solve this problem we used an artificial light and used the radial filter in the post production to lighten up her face a little bit.

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Location Name

Vaulted cellar

Location aDDRESS

Neu-Ulm, Germany

Loation Type




Sometimes you need to face challenges to get the photo you imagined. We’ve learned that it is always worth thinking about lighting. You will learn something out of every photo you take – whether you succeed or fail. So you have nothing to lose. Beyond the technical stuff try to add a more artsy touch to your photo. Be brave, creative, and have fun!

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