• Artificial Light
  • Fun
  • Rule of thirds
  • Party
  • off camera light
  • off camera flash
  • night
  • Movement
  • Mid range
  • linked arms
  • Indoor
  • Flash
  • Back light
  • external light
  • Evening
  • Directional Light
  • dance floor
  • Dance
  • Center Framed
  • Candid
  • Backlit
  • Back lit
  • Spin

The story behind the image

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After dinner and the speeches of the parents, the bridal couple headed towards the dance floor for the first dance. During the pre-wedding talks with the couple, I suggested that colorful disco lights would not be too pretty for a romantic first dance and suggested things like fairy lights and sparklers instead.

These lights make a big difference in the atmosphere and won’t take away from the focus of the couple. In order to get the right exposure though, I do have to use a flash as the dance normally takes place somewhere quite dark.

So of course there is a little challenge here every time. And every dance presents this challenge because it is absolutely impossible to plan photographically. The aim of the whole image was to reflect the energy and the prevailing mood during the wedding dance in light and form and to evoke this feeling when looking at the picture.

My aim is to connect a feeling, an atmosphere, or a memory with the images. And this is often not achieved through perfection – art is not perfect.
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The picture should act as a frame for the wedding dance. The bride and groom with their energy and movement should be in the foreground. That’s why I chose a very narrow frame. Nevertheless, something of the atmosphere should be recognizable at the edges, namely the guests standing in a circle with sparklers.

Placing the couple during the dance is of course not possible. But I myself moved along in such a way that I could place the couple in the middle, in order to draw the eye directly to it and to direct the focus completely to the two and their energy.

I often disregard the rule of the “golden ratio” and place my couple in the middle of the picture. For me, this creates a completely different emotion when I look at the picture because my own focus and feeling are directed more intensely towards the couple.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

The couple was moving so very fast during the dance, so I used autofocus on one of them at any given time. The eye focus can lead to problems here (surrounded by the guests), as the eyes of a guest may be captured by the camera instead of the couple. This way, i was much more in control of what was being focused on.

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Focus Mode

Continuous Autofocus

Focus POints

Multi Point

Focused on

Bride & Groom at seperate times

Equipment &

Sony A7 III
Sony 85mm f/1.8
1/250 @ f/1.8 ISO1250 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

Complete darkness after sunset during a wedding celebration is always a challenge because often when flash is used in pictures, it no longer looks natural. That’s why I prefer to avoid using a pop-up flash on the camera, and if I do, then only with a diffuser for it. However, I prefer to use a flash with a diffuser. This gives me the opportunity to recreate the direction of light that I would assume in natural light. I usually use the backlight of the off-camera flash in the dance to illustrate the energy and ‘Joie de Vivre’ and intensity of the couple as a stylistic device through, for example, the flare or light reflections that spruce up the image.

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Light Type

Artificial Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I used my own “Lichttrunken” preset and adjusted it in the orange tones, white balance, and exposure. My preset made the lighting situation seem much warmer and the atmosphere of the sparklers and the resulting light became clearer and more realistic. Due to the strong backlight, the image blows out a bit and it is necessary to adjust or increase the contrasts and clarity to bring back details. Apart from that, however, I did not make any corrections or retouching. I only used a radial filter to darken the outer areas and draw the eye more easily to the bride and groom.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used


The biggest challenge was the darkness, the unpredictable movement of the bridal couple, and the limited space. Such a lighting situation requires creativity and spontaneity. Intervention is of course not possible during the dance, so maximum flexibility is required.

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Try to anticipate the space for the dance, position your flash so that you have the desired direction of light, ask the guests not to go in front of the flash for the period of the bride and groom’s dance, and then be flexible with the bride and groom’s movements and energy. This will allow you to incorporate that energy into the image.

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Location Name

Waldorfer Höfe in Ochtendung

Location aDDRESS

Waldorferhöfe 10, 56299 Ochtendung, Germany

Loation Type




Use the movements and the energy of the bridal couple for artistic effects in the picture and try use the light creatively.
The dance is always something special and it should also be visualized in the picture through artistic light, for example. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about wedding dances, it’s that you can try prepare for it, but it’s a surprise every time and requires full attention and flexibility.

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