• calm
  • Rocks
  • Wide
  • Warm Tones
  • Walking
  • walk
  • Soft Light
  • small couple
  • simple
  • sand
  • off center
  • Center Framed
  • Neutral Tones
  • Natural Light
  • lower thirds
  • holding hands
  • hand holding
  • Desert
  • Couple Shoot
  • Cloudy
  • wide shot

The story behind the image

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This image holds so much meaning, this couple shares a true, deep love for the desert and wanted to spend the day in this epic desert location to soak up another year of being married to one another. The best way they knew how to celebrate.

In this image, I wanted to portray the peace, simplicity, and depth of this chapter in their lives. Of course, with the most insane backdrop, you could imagine the desert to offer. This specific location offers a handful of difficulties in terms of getting to the spot including hiking, 4×4 off-roading, the heat, lighting, and more. So adequate planning and a strong understanding of this unforgiving terrain were very necessary to pull off this epic shoot.

I draw inspiration from old film, desert textures, colors, and landscape, so seeing this moment come together so perfectly, really made me feel peace and pride in the experience I was able to provide for this couple.

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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

In these moments, I spoke very calmly with my couple to give them space to be present in this moment. Playing beautiful music on my speaker that filled the place with melody also gave us the most surreal vibe and made these moments so epic.

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What did you say?

Guys, I want you to walk down to the water’s edge and just be with each other in this moment. Take it all in together and soak it all up.

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Tone of Directions



I wanted to capture this landscape in its entirety as well as showcase how small these humans were against such an epic landscape. I walked back as far as I could, getting as high as I could on the rocks, and framed the couple in the center of the saddle where they’d be seen the best with the most negative space.

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Lower Thirds


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I focused with Single Shot Autofocus on the couple as they walked, making sure to keep my focus on their heads to ensure the best sharpness and quality. I chose to keep my shutter speed and aperture as high as they could be to guarantee a sharp focus on the subject with being so far back.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

Couple's backs

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II
1/800 @ f/3.0 ISO100 WB-6800K

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

This specific location becomes shaded in the early afternoon, so waiting for that light to become more even was key for this shot. Especially because it created such harsh shadows and bright highlights. The sun was right behind the horizon line of the ridgeline and dipped behind it just before this photo was taken, giving us a well-lit and even light.

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Light Type

Natural Light



Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I have created my own edits and presets over the years and this was edited with one I’ve created recently for specific desert tones and lighting. The key adjustments included HSL sliders to keep the colors warm, yet not too orange, as well as tone curves to give the highlights a more muted look so the shadows and mid-tones became more balanced. There was also some cloning and healing to remove footprints in the body of sand.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used
America the Beautiful by Montana Lee


There were no challenges other than getting to and from the location.

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To conquer this, I was well prepared and knowledgeable as a professional and gained that trust from my couple, to provide them with a safe and enjoyable experience in that harsh desert landscape.

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Location Name

A secret, well protected location :)

Location aDDRESS

Utah Desert, United States of America

Loation Type



United States

The best way I have learned to document moments like this, after lots of planning and preparations, is to make sure my focus is on providing an experience that will truly portray peace, awe, and that feeling I’m trying to capture.

By taking those extra steps of care and attention to detail, photographs and memories like this are achieved. The lighting, subjects, and landscape will all come together as one.

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