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I had the idea to do this photo specifically with these two in this place, this is their special spot they’ve gone camping to countless times where they run around under the desert moon and create together, shooting film and gathering crystals. I told them my idea of it just being the two of them surrounded by the rocks and nothing else and they fell in love with it and immediately hiked up the small little slot to this spot and stripped down. It turned out better than I thought, with them almost blending in with the desert dirt and formations.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

I told them to face away, lean into one another and wrap their arms around one another,we tried a couple variations and got to this one that just looked so natural and peaceful. I also told them to rest their heads into one another to make it more relaxed.

What did you say?

Walk up to that little rock and stand together side by side facing away from me, then wrap your arms together. We might need to do a couple little variations until we find the right one. Hold that, and then melt your heads into one another and just relax.

How did you compose your image?

I wanted them to blend in with the landscape as much as I could, so I cropped them from the booties up so their legs weren’t distracting lines. Centering them on the bottom of the frame allowed me to capture more of the desert formations and the dark walls helped to center them with the ombre’d dirt.

How and what did you focus on?

I locked in focus on them on my center point (I don’t back button focus, I just always keep the single point centered) and then repositioned my camera to frame and compose the way I wanted while keeping focus.

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How did you use the light in your image?

The couple stood in a small shaded crack between two walls, but the sun was still towards my back which helped create a lot of depth in the details of the shaded areas which helped it not appear so flat.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L

Filter

None

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/1250

Aperture

f/2.5

ISO

400

White Balance

Auto

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

I edited with my Honey preset, mostly adjusting the white highlights to maintain detail in the blown-out section at the top of the image and adjusting split tones to keep skin tones and desert dirt from turning too orange/yellow/red and keeping it as natural as possible while keeping the image warm using brown tones. I also used my photoshop actions “base curve booster” and “gentle curve booster” on the edited JPEG afterward to create a little more contrast and softness in the highlights, as well as pulling any leftover yellow tones I didn’t catch my first go-round editing in lightroom.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset

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What challenges did you face?

I didnt want to lose detail in highlights or shadows even though it was really contrasted to begin with.

How did you solve them?

I set my exposure so the highlights of the couple’s skin still had lots of detail and made sure to pull highlights back in post so the detail in the blown out portion up top wasn’t completely lost.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

Always pull inspiration from your clients! I would have never attempted such a raw set up the image with anyone else besides these two in their special place where they feel the most comfortable and free. Have conversations with them beforehand so you can draw inspiration for their session from their stories.

India Earl

Shooting since

2009

Current Home

United States of America

Website

Instagram

I’m a photographer focusing on documenting love stories of all kinds. Photographing couple’s connections is something so special and close to my heart, capturing who they really are and what their love looks like means the world to me. I’ve never wanted to just be another photographer that can put a couple in front of a pretty sunset and call it good, I’ve always wanted to take things a step further for my clients and make sure they walk away with photos that capture more than just a scene. I have been a photographer for 11 years now and am based in Utah with my two pups and flock of chickens.

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