• calm
  • Close up
  • Closed Eyes
  • gay
  • Hands on face
  • intimate
  • outdoors
  • Portraits
  • Same Sex
  • Same Sex Couple
  • Shade
  • Soft Light

The story behind the image

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We were working in Tulum for a week and Joa and Braian worked in front of our Airbnb in these two beer and ice cream kiosks right next to each other. We would see them every day bring life to that little corner of the street but connected with them a day before this shoot. We went to have some beers at Joa’s kiosk (he was the cashier) and he asked us what we were doing in Tulum. We explained we were couples photographers and he was fascinated. We joked with him, “Do you have a partner? If you do we would love to photograph you!” He then pointed to the next kiosk and there was Braian, working in the ice cream’s kiosk next to him.

We were inspired by Joa & Braian’s story. They are two Argentinians pursuing their dreams in Mexico. Joa is an actor, Brian is a dancer. They moved there together to pursue their dreams and while doing that they would also work part-time where we met them.

We were in love with their gracious and joyful spirits and asked them to meet us the next day after work. We immediately felt this urge to portray their beautiful energy and story through this session, we knew we had something very rare and special in front of our eyes.

We chose a few spots around their everyday corners to portray part of their story and everyday life.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

For this shot, we really wanted to focus on their faces. Braian and Joa are a same-sex couple so for us, it was very important to portray their faces and similarities. They had similar face shapes and beards so we wanted to accentuate these details and document the gentleness they both carry within. We had them sit in a stair because it was easier for us to be higher than them for this composition. We also placed them chest to chest and asked them to put their faces very symmetric and touch their faces with one hand.

We explained to them what we wanted to create. Before this, we were doing some fun photos with a lot of movement and I remember we stopped and told them “we love your faces and the similarities and contrasts of them, we would like to do a photo where we have both of your faces side to side”. We told them we wanted to do a more artistic photo. We asked them to close their eyes and put their faces cheek with cheek and have the eyes be at the same height. In the first photo we took before this one, their faces were not as symmetric as in this photo so we showed them the photo from the viewfinder and they immediately understood and put their faces like this.

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What did you say?

Guys, we really love your faces and the features you have. I want you to bring your faces side by side, close your eyes and try and keep your eyes on the same level. Awesome! Now, both of you raise your hand and gently lean it on each other’s face.

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Tone of Directions




In this image, we wanted to put our subjects centered, but we also wanted a little bit of Tropical Tulum in the backgrounds. We chose to use a 70 mm lens to magnify their faces and focused on them and their intimacy. Filling the frame with the subjects brings a sense of intimacy and closeness with the viewer, especially in shots like this where the connection with the eyes and the viewer is lost.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We used single point to focus around the couple eyes. It was easy enough to do and was just a matter of moving our single focus point exactly where we wanted it. We didn’t want to leave it up to chance that the camera focused on something else entirely and us missing a really genuine moment between these two.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on


Equipment &

Canon EOS R
Canon RF 28-70mm f/2
1/250 @ f/2.8 ISO200 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 took this photo at the beginning of the couple’s photo session, in the early afternoon when we still had harsh light, so we decided to hide from the sun among the buildings of the place to find soft light. We decided to sit the couple between some palms and a concrete wall that covered us from the harsh light and gave us a monochromatic color palette, that matched with their skins and clothes.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

We used one of our own signatures presets and tweaked it a little bit. We wanted the image to transmit closeness and a warm feeling. We added a warm tone on the Color Grading, adjusted the colors on the HSL, and tweaked the tone curve to give it a film look without touching the highlights because we wanted to preserve the highlights of the picture. We used the brush tool to soften skin and the heal tool to remove temporary marks on the skin. We added a little bit of grain at the end for a film look.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used
Personal Presets


Even when it doesn’t show in the photo, Braian burned one of his arms earlier that day while working. Since we were meeting right after their work, he had a big gauze bandage around his arm. It was not a big deal for us but it was something we had to be aware of when shooting and it was something he was conscious about. Although to be honest in some photos it looked like a fashion statement. haha!

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For this specific photo, we placed Braian in the side where we would use the hand that wasn’t burned.

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Location Name

Casa Xaman in Tulum

Location aDDRESS

Tulum Beach, 77800 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico

Loation Type

Private Home / AirBnB / Apartment



We met this couple less than 24 hours before, in such a random way, so for them it could have been weird to have two strangers photograph them, plus it was their first time being photographed as a couple. We focused on creating a beautiful environment where they would feel loved and celebrated and able to love each other freely. We often do this by chatting a lot throughout a session and listening to their stories.

I think our biggest advice to create an image like this would be to pay attention to the beauty and peculiarities the couple already has. Pay attention to what they were all about and when directing, feel their energy and personality and accentuate that instead of forcing a mood on them that they don’t have. This photo for us spoke about who they were as a couple.

Most importantly, don’t see them as a product that you will later put on social media to market your work, instead always see photography as an opportunity to honor someone else’s love through your art and be completely present while creating.

Oh! And, be very honest and specific when directing a pose, if you have to show them with your body or explain the whole idea, do it.

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