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This was basically an afterwedding shoot which took place one day before the actual wedding, which I absolutely loved! The couple decided to stroll around in Vienna and visit all the places that meant something to them and where they already made some memories together. I knew that we were going to be near a subway and I wanted to try this kind of shot. It took us a few tries because of people walking through the frame and waiting for the subway to arrive but it paid off and it was a fun experience.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

We talked through everything before we set up the shot because it gets quite loud when the subway arrives or departs and I never feel comfortable shouting instructions when strangers are around so everything was discussed beforehand. For this photo I wanted them to stay as still as possible since it would be a longer exposure than usual and therefore the pose had to be static – no movement etc.

What did you say?

Could you please stay as still as possible and don’t move for as long as the subway needs to arrive or depart? Touching your forehead and nose should work best. I’ll let you know when we’re done – we might have to redo this a few times as it could turn out pretty cool or just meh.

How did you compose your image?

It was clear that I wanted to have the couple centered in the frame (as I do so often) and a bit further away from the camera to be able to include the subway. I wanted to give the image some “headspace” so I included the lights above them and also to have more “static” elements in the image. That way you’d be able to recognize better what part of the image is “moving” and which part is not. The way the door is framing the couple is pure luck and coincidence as I just held the shutter button for as long as the subway was moving.

How and what did you focus on?

As always I shot this photo with continuous autofocus on my Sony (focus area wide) and put the focus field right over the middle of the image where the couple was standing. This wasn’t really necessary since single shot autofocus or even manual focus would have worked perfectly or even better but usually, I’m just too lazy to change that and it works most of the time. That being said, continuous autofocus can easily mess up shots like these when people pass through the image or the autofocus starts hunting for something else. If you want to be safe – switch to AF-S or manual focus so there would be one less thing to worry about when the action happens.

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How did you use the light in your image?

I love the lights in subway stations as they are this long string of lights connected together and when the subject is placed beneath them it creates a beautiful soft light that wraps around the subject and makes it stand out. The lights were above the couple so I just had to place them directly under them. There is just a bit of warm backlight from the subway which is a great contrast to that cool overhead light.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Sony A7 III

Lens

Sony FE 35mm f/1.4 GM

Filter

None

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/35

Aperture

f/1.4

ISO

125

White Balance

4000K

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

I used a modified version of the preset from Anni Graham called “yosemite 01” on this image. After I imported the photos and culled through them I usually apply the preset over every image and for these underground set of photos I wanted a bit of a cooler tone in the highlights. I changed the highlight tones from yellow to a blueish/greenish hue. Not a lot – just very subtle to emphasize that subway/underground feeling with these cold artificial lights. I adjusted the crop to make everything straight and symmetrical and also brightened and warmed up the image by using the exposure and white balance slider. Afterwards I added quite a bit of contrast since I was using a black pro mist filter (1/4 strength) and it would have looked a bit washed out. But I love using a pro mist filter with artificial light as the lights “bloom” and gives a bit of a hazy look.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

We had to redo this photo a few times as people were leaving and entering the subway which wasn’t too bad since it wasn’t rush hour..or so I think. The subway was departing every few minutes so we had a few tries and didn’t lose too much time.

How did you solve them?

We just tried a couple times to not get as many people in the shot. With an exposure time of 1/35s I had to keep the camera super steady so I crouched and held my breath and tried to stay as still as possible.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

I’ve learned that it helps to use the maximum burst rate of your camera every now and then to have more options to choose from. I wish I would have experimented more with different exposure times. In hindsight I should have tried 1/2s or even 1s but then things might have been too blurry. I’ll have to try that next time :)

Lukas Leonte

Shooting since

full time since 2017

Current Home

Austria

Website

Instagram

Hey, I’m Lukas from Austria and I’ve been a full time wedding photographer for almost 5 years soon. Photography for me started as a fun hobby and quickly turned into an outlet to process my emotions through surreal self portraits. Fast forward 10 years later and I’ve photographed a lot of weddings all over the world and I’m now slowly finding my voice in photography again by exploring different genres other than wedding photography.

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