• afro
  • Harsh Light
  • Rim Light
  • night
  • Natural
  • Moody
  • minimal
  • light behind
  • intimate
  • hat
  • gentle
  • almost kiss
  • Evening
  • Dark
  • Close up
  • close to kissing
  • calm
  • Backlit
  • Back lit
  • Artificial Light
  • Spot Light

The story behind the image

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We kicked this shoot off in the desert of Tenerife (Canary Islands) around when the golden sunset hour transitioned over to the blue hour and went directly into the twilight. I normally like to integrate new elements in every shoot (where possible), elements that I am not entirely comfortable about and that would add a different feel and diversity to my work.

For this shoot, I decided to experiment with artificial light, which, in this case, was nothing more than the car headlamps. I’ve seen photographers playing with it before but I was curious what I could make out of that. The strong backlight highlighting the profiles of the couple was so magical, especially that it was complete darkness by that time, so the contrast was very vivid and gave pictures volume, as I was hoping it would.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I wanted to create an intimate and safe environment for them, so we had calm music running in the background; I channeled my inner meditation teacher and gave them directions using a tranquil tone and quiet voice. I asked them to sit in front of the headlamps and go in for a kiss, but not just kiss. It was a fraction of a second when I captured them being close to each other, but not too close – so there’s still that golden light shining between them.

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What did you say?

Let’s have you guys go in for a kiss, but don’t really kiss. You can do it several times, tilt your heads to different sides, but always keep a little bit of distance in between yourselves

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Tone of Directions



My goal was to capture the intimacy and tranquility of the moment; two people in the middle of the vast black space lit up just by a car headlight. As if they went for a desert drive and stopped in the middle of the road to look at the stars. I decided to do a landscape frame since there are 2 of them and I wanted the blackness to be a major element in the picture.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Since it already was very dark, I was focusing on the lit contours of their faces/profiles.

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Focus Mode

Live View Continuous

Focus POints

Multi Point

Focused on

the lit contours of their profiles

Equipment &

Nikon Z6
Sigma art 35mm f/1.4
1000 @ f/2 ISO3200 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

We had a strong source of the backlight coming from a car headlight. I decided to use backlight for some of these pictures because:
1. I just adore backlight in general and use it a lot in my photography;
2. It adds mystery to the pictures and the intimate feel;
3. It beautifully highlights the lines and gives volume to the subjects, when shot from a close distance.

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Light Type

Artificial Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I use my own presets that are not available to the public yet. For the major part, I was after a soft but warm look as I always try to keep the tones close to the real ones. I pulled the highlights down (i.e. made them a little more creamy), shadows down as well to make the contrast pop. I also pulled the clarity down to achieve a softer look + made the temperature warmer. I think this is all I’ve done for this picture! Oh, and I cropped it as well to get rid of the unimportant space from the left.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used
Own Custom Preset


Oftentimes, when we shoot in low light, it might be challenging to always have the focus on point.

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I was switching to the manual focus and back from time to time in order to keep the image sharp.

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Location Name

Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Location aDDRESS

Teide National Park, Tenerife, Canary Islands

Loation Type




Don’t be afraid to go out of your comfort zone and experiment. If you feel you lack knowledge of artificial light, shoot more using it. If you are not sure how to play up the backlight, go out there and use the sun or even a car headlight as a backlight source. Be careful with the focus, keep it on manual if you can’t get the subjects in focus.

Playing with contact is another thing you can bring into your photography and/or diversify the flow of your session. Make sure you slightly underexpose images like this so you don’t lose any information in the highlights as they play the key role here.

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