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This picture was taken at one of our friends’ place at an Inspiration Indoor Workshops in September 2021. I wanted to introduce our students to the use of light and to give them an understanding of how light can be used to reinforce different emotions and tell stories.

In this image, the couple was placed against the wall in such a way that the window light + the shadows of the window frame illuminated their faces and were the focus. The challenge was to find the right photo settings since the sun was shining very strongly and the goal of the picture was to still remain “soft”.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

I asked the two to sit on the floor, “knotted” together but with their faces positioned in the light. I wanted the two to have their hands on each other to increase their bond and passion. The coolness and nonchalance of the two should be reinforced with the scantily clad outfits and the cigarette in his hand.

What did you say?

Guys, let’s have you sit on the floor and get yourselves into a knot. I want you to look into the lens, as cool as you can. Calm. Arrogant. And just give me that look.

How did you compose your image?

In this picture, I decided to crop it so that the picture appears intimate and the play of light remains in the foreground. The intimacy is favored by the interaction of the couple, the cigarette in his right hand, and the light clothing.

How and what did you focus on?

In this picture, I focused on the couple’s faces. It wasn’t exactly easy as the sun “burned out” the structure of the faces and it wasn’t that easy for the two of them to look directly into the sun and keep their eyes open all the time. So I asked the couple to close their eyes and only open them at “3” so that they both had their eyes open at the same time.


How did you use the light in your image?

I wanted the direct sunlight, which was shining through the window and projecting the window frame as a shadow on the wall, to be positioned on the couple’s faces so that they were framed by the sun. The couple’s pose is already intimate and close enough that the focus should be on the emotions on their faces.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Canon R6


Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L





Shutter Speed






White Balance


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

I used my presets, which I usually only have to adjust for temperature, brightness, and black tones. I used the brush to paint the burnt-out faces darker, i.e. reduced “highlights” and “white”. I also straightened the image. I always shoot with a warm temperature (about 6000k) and prefer the temperature a little cooler afterward.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic


own custom preset

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What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge was the direct sunlight, which was really strong and I had to close the aperture. But I didn’t want the image to be too sharp, high in contrast, and too hard, so I worked with a 1/30 shutter speed and stretched cling film in front of the lens to soften the light. Shooting through a Pro-Mist filter and cling film is another challenge.

How did you solve them?

I communicated with the couple and asked them to stay in their pose and not open their eyes until I asked them to so I could focus on shooting with a steady hand.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

Learn to play with light. During the shoot, it was difficult to suggest this lighting situation to the participants, as they had to get out of their comfort zone and use camera settings that they otherwise never use. Creativity is only possible if you are willing to step out of your comfort zone and think outside the box. And seeing and using light makes you creatively independent.

Kathrin Krok

Shooting since


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Hi, I’m Kathrin, I’m not very good at telling stories. I prefer to let pictures speak. There are pictures of pretty much every situation in my life. Even of the most embarrassing haircut I ever had to wear on my head. And I think that’s the most beautiful thing about photography.

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