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This photo was quite a challenge. Not so much because of the composition or the light. But because we got to take the pictures in one of the most sought-after Airbnb in the world. We had almost no time because we were only allowed 30 minutes for a full session. So all the flower set up, all the preparation, the conversation with the couple, and so on.

For me the human connection is fundamental. That’s why having to shoot so fast is not something I’m too fond of. I stepped out of my comfort zone because I wanted to take advantage of the amazing space we had available to us.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

I asked them to embrace each other and sink into the sound of the river flowing nearby. That way I got them to relax a bit from all the stress that had been generated by having to take the photos there so quickly.

What did you say?

I want you to embrace each other and just let the sound of the flowing river sink you guys right in. Forget about everything else.

How did you compose your image?

The location was a very important part of the composition. It’s not every day you shoot in a place like this. Also, as you can see in the photo, there was a mandala made of flowers on the floor that I wanted to appear in because some local artisans and my girl (who is a wedding planner), had organized it. There were several elements that I knew had to appear in the photo to gain drama and showmanship. On the one hand the hut so characteristic of Bali. On the other, the flower mandala, and finally the couple. I composed everything in balance looking for them to be the focal point, but that with a second look you could appreciate all the details they had around them.

How and what did you focus on?

I used a single center point. I always do it this way. When at some distance, focus on the nose of the models to get a proper focus on the whole scene.


How did you use the light in your image?

It was a cloudy day in Bali. But the main source of light was behind me. So I just shoot with the light on my back facing the couple. Fortunately this meant that they were lit up quite nicely and in soft light due to the clouds. Thats the joy of shooting in ‘bad weather’. The light is very forgiving.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II





Shutter Speed






White Balance


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

I used my Andromeda preset pack that I used a few years ago. I played especially with the greens, to adjust and desaturate them because the colors were too vivid for my taste in the original photograph. I also tried to raise the exposure a bit because I usually shoot underexposed.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge I faced was the lack of time. Also, the male model didn’t bring the clothes I had in my vision, and I had to improvise. In this case, I asked him to take off his shirt to give a more natural look appropriate for this photo.

How did you solve them?

Since I had no more than half an hour for the photos, I had to look for the most impressive locations and not leave too much time between photos. In my day-to-day, I try to do this kind of session with more tranquility to make the couples feel comfortable and have all the naturalness that I look for in my work. Luckily, I transmitted all these ideas and problems to the whole team so that they knew that we were working against the clock. Everyone did their part to make it a success in the end.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

My main advice, for this photo, is to compose as quickly as possible trying to eliminate as many distractions as possible. If we want to introduce too many elements, we run the risk of ending up creating a photo in which the person looking at it doesn’t know where to stop their view. Better to reassure the viewer.

Joy Zamora

Shooting since


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Telling stories of love, has to be the most beautiful job in the world and I feel so fortunate that I get to work closely with couples who invite me into such an intimate and emotional part of their lives. I’m a destination wedding photographer that loves the human connection.

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