Photographed by Henna Koponen

Story

Before I explain the story behind this photo in detail, I must say this. This photo was shot in Helsinki, Finland during one of the darkest months in the whole year: November. Any photographer living in Finland or who has visited the country during winter time knows this. Usually Finnish natural-light photographers don’t work during the winter months because the days are simply just too short. Regardless of this, I wanted to complete this shoot exactly that time of the year!

The female in the photo, Wia, was very soon moving out from her flat (where the image is taken). We wanted to say goodbyes to the flat as she was moving in with her boyfriend, Manu. We wanted to complete the shoot even it was a very murky and cloudy day and Wia’s flat was in the heart of the city of Helsinki, apartment complex first floor. Aka VERY little light.

As I have worked in this country for many years already, I knew the light would be the biggest challenge. And it was. Wia’s studio apartment only had two windows so I needed to really think through how to position them to get the light just perfectly. Luckily, even one murky light source can be enough! As I continued with the shoot, I quickly noticed how intimate it became. Small space, very low light and very limited options. The best platform for creativity!
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Directions

CalmHolding Each otherNaturalPlayful

“Okay cuties, get nice and comfy, hugs and kisses are welcome. Manu you lead the way and Wia you react!”
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Composition

Rule of ThirdsLower ThirdsLeading LinesMid RangeHigh Angle

The trickier the space, the more creative with your composition you can get. Get uncomfortable! Deny yourself the possibility to only shoot from eye-level! try awkward positions and angles, experiment, get low and get really high. The magic lies in the unexpected!

Focusing

Single Point Focused on Wia’s face Live View Single Shot
Light & Weather

Directional LightDarkMoodyWindow LightNatural LightIndoor

Equipment & EXIF

1/250 f/1.4 ISO 640 WB Auto

Camera

Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens

Sigma 20mm f/1.4

Editing

This image was edited with

Moody Me Original BW

Challenges & Solutions

Location

Private Home / AirBnB / Apartment Finland

Kallio, Helsinki

Kallio, Helsinki

Final tips & Advice

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Henna Koponen

Photographer Finland Canon R6, Canon 5D Mark IV Sigma 50mm 1.4, Helios 44, Tamron 35mm 1.8
I believe we are image makers first, photographers second. My approach on wedding assignments is full trust and freedom. I don’t get goosebumps when thinking about “the traditional and correct way of shooting weddings”. I want to shake the viewer, shock them, make them wonder. The more unique and creative approach I can come up with, the better. I have never wanted to walk the mainstream and create images everyone has already seen. Therefore, my two most important things in photography are: light and composition. I’m not interested in the emotions of my subjects but more fascinated by the power of the technical aspects of creating images. My most successful images are the ones that allow me to manipulate the viewer with the clever and sophisticated use of light and composition. And then, make them stop, and wonder.
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“Photographs are not taken, they are made.” Ansel Adams

Designed with love by Katharina + Katharina & Shayne Thomas. Background image by Adrián Vilanova

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