• aerial
  • Mavic
  • Water
  • top down
  • Soft Light
  • soft
  • negative space
  • Mavic Pro
  • lying down
  • Autofocus
  • kissing
  • full body
  • Drone
  • cuddling
  • Couple Shoot
  • Center Framed
  • blue
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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This engagement session was shot at Hapua Quarry in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. This Quarry is no longer in operation, it is over 100 feet deep, it is fed by a natural spring making the water temperature very cold year round and you can see about 25 feet deep into it’s clear turquoise waters. This image was planned weeks before the shoot, the quarry owner had an old rowboat and we wanted to use it for this shoot and an upcoming styled wedding shoot there so we had them paint it all white. The day of this engagement shoot had severe thunderstorms in the forecast. We asked the couple if they would be available to move the shoot up by 2 hours so we could shoot before the weather turned, they agreed! We shot for about 20 minutes with half clear skies and half black clouds and thunder in the background. We knew if we were going to get them out on the boat we had to do it quick, for their own safety and for our drone’s wind speed/rain limitations. We had them row out to the middle of the quarry, the deepest part where the water is pitch black and we flew our drone in for the shot. We shot both video and photos from the drone and from shore for about 5 minutes before the clouds started rolling in and then we had to get them out of there. As soon as they reached the shore it started down pouring, we got our gear tucked back in the car dry enough but we were all soaked! We got the shot literally in the nick of time.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We yelled across the quarry, our voices echoing off the walls.

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What did you say?

Row out to the middle where it’s dark. We are going to shoot with the drone above you, lay down together in the bottom of the boat and kiss!

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Tone of Directions



We wanted them in the boat centered around the deep dark water to convey the enormous and eerie vibe of the quarry.

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Compositional Rules

None / Simple


Center FramedWideHigher AngleFull BodyNegative SpaceTop down


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We shot this with our Drone (DJI Mavic Pro Zoom 2) on manual exposure mode, at 5.6 on auto focus.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot

Focus POints

Multiple Focus Points (Matrix)

Focused on

The entire boat

Equipment &

DJI Mavic Pro Zoom 2
DJI Mavic Pro Zoom 2 (4.78mm)
1/2,000 @ f/5.6 ISO800 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 used all natural light, there wasn’t much since the sun was covered by storm clouds at this point. It did create a cool reflection of the storm clouds in the clear dark water though!

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Light Type

Natural Light

Light Quality


Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

Created a custom look specifically for this image in Lightroom

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom CC, Adobe Photoshop
Preset Used
Own Custom Preset


The incoming storm, our couples safety, flying a drone in windy conditions over deep water.

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We got the shot and got out of there!

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Location Name

Hapua Quarry

Location aDDRESS

Harpers Ferry, West Virginia

Loation Type

Water filled old Quarry surrounded by high cliffs on 3 sides


United States

Check the weather and be fluid to changing lighting and plans. Make sure you are licensed with the FAA (in the US) and insured to fly a drone. Practice flying your drone in different weather conditions and know your drone’s wind speed limitations, keep an eye on radar and wind speed/direction WHILE in flight to insure the safety of people on the ground. Never fly your drone directly above people, always a few feet off to the side, that way if the drone fails it would have just hit the water instead of humans. Be mentally prepared to lose your drone in the water!

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