jump to

Portray a couple in the middle of nature, exalting the background

We decided to organize the (very intimate) ceremony in this natural location (Terme di Saturnia) because it is a well-known location in Italy; there are natural waterfalls, where the water is always warm (around 37 ° C) and has healing properties.

We wanted our couple to be literally immersed in nature, and to be in contact with it, so we chose to make it right in the water, with the feet in the warm water to have a pleasant feeling of warmth, but above all to symbolize the fluidity of a bond of love; the flow of life, moments, the ability to drag bad moments into the current and always give space to continuous renewal and purification of the soul.

We wanted to highlight our couple in their most intimate and special moment (sharing their vows and the exchange of rings) but at the same time enhance the context in which they were immersed. Even the floral decoration, which was inspired by the colors of the Tuscan dawns, was entirely made in water, to symbolize an explosion of love … like a fountain with its bubbles to surround the couple. For us, the element of Water was really fundamental, as the groom was also a swimmer.

Organizing this shot was a real challenge, both for us photographers and for the suppliers involved. we shot very early in the morning, and in a very rocky and slippery area, and it was not easy even to build the floral installation as the water flowed very strongly as we all as there was a current that carried away part of the flowers.

We learned that in a shot like this, where the focus is not only the couple but mainly the context, nothing should be left to chance, and that you have to imagine the final shot in your mind before making it. Give importance to all the elements that will be present, to the lines and geometries that will make up the shot, but above all that everything inside a photograph communicates something .. a color, a pose, the presence or absence of water.

When for composition reasons (as in this case, the view had to be very open) you cannot speak directly to the couples by guiding them closely step by step, we prefer not to raise our voice to give directions from a distance, but rather to explain what we want to achieve first. and then move away and let them interact more spontaneously. raising your voice to be heard is never positive as it interrupts the romantic atmosphere that is created, and then what we want is to also grasp a part of their spontaneity.

Join the newsletter & be notified of new content

How did you direct your subject(s)?

To get this shot we tried to explain to our couple how we imagined the final result. we talked to them before walking away to shoot from the right perspective; we climbed to the top of a small hill that allowed us to have the perfect view. We first asked them to stay close and savor the sensation of intimacy, to feel the nature around them, to listen to the flow of water, and in the coolness of dawn to transmit heat to each other. We then asked them to start looking into each other’s eyes and then after a while abandon themselves to a delicate and soft kiss, accomplice and aware.

What did you say?

Guys, you are immersed in nature, try to feel the connection with it and between yourselves. Listen to the sound of the flowing water, and while you relax try to get as close as possible to warm up. Caress each other, and look straight into each other’s eyes for a few seconds trying to convey to each other the gratitude and intimacy of this moment, and then let yourself go in a soft and delicate kiss. We will be distant from you and we will not feel the words you exchange, so let yourself go and don’t be ashamed.

How did you compose your image?

I think this composition works because the focus falls exactly on the couple’s embrace. We chose to compose it this way because we wanted to emphasize the subject but at the same time the context. We did not want one of the two to prevail over the other. That’s why we didn’t follow the rule of thirds to the point. We used the line of stones that diagonally cut the shot from the top left to the bottom right corner, and this guides the viewer’s gaze directly on the couple.

Another important element is the upper part of the photo where more movement is perceived (the small waterfalls, the floral part, the hands of the spouses coming into contact) compared to the lower part of the image where everything is calmer (the water creates puddles, the spouses are still in their position, the accumulation of algae gives the idea of ​​something that stops and does not flow). Our goal was however to highlight a connection: connection between two souls and a connection between man and nature, subject and context.

How and what did you focus on?

I focused on the groom’s face, in the exact point where there was a gap of color between the skin and the hair. This helps me to be faster and more precise.
I always focus on an area of complexion, to have a correct exposure, as focusing on a light or dark dress could alter the perception of the metering. I use AF most of the time because it helps me be faster and capture the moment, and I often use point focus because it helps me be more precise. I hardly use the cross mode or others, I prefer to focus on the point that interests me and then move with the camera to compose the image with the focus locked, or sometimes, if I am calmer as in this case, I first compose the image in the viewfinder and then move the focus point with the directional pad.


How did you use the light in your image?

cerchiamo sempre di sfruttare al massimo la luce naturale perché cerchiamo di rispecchiare l’atmosfera al 100%.. in questo caso abbiamo scattato all’alba, esattamente alle 5.30 di una mattinata di fine luglio. Avevamo bisogno di cogliere la luce perfetta, in un periodo dell’anno in cui la luce è molto dura, specialmente in Toscana, dove abbiamo realizzato questo scatto.
La luce era ancora molto diffusa, il sole era ancora molto molto basso e la zona non era ancora illuminata dai raggi, in quanto si trova circondata da colline che la fanno stare in ” ombra” fino verso le 9.30 del mattino.
Non abbiamo usato luci artificiali, riflettori o flash, anche perché come detto prima, eravamo abbastanza distanti dal soggetto. cercavamo un’illuminazione diffusa sia per la coppia che per il contesto. questo è esattamente il risultato che ci aspettavamo.
Siccome il sole era ancora basso, ho tenuto degli ISO medi e non bassissimi in quanto il sole doveva ancora illuminare la scena, ho usato un diaframma di 2.8 perché anche se l’ottica è molto luminosa (1.2) volevo comunque tenere bene a fuoco il soggetto e non rischiare uno sfocato. infine lo shutter a 200 per cogliere al meglio i loro movimenti.
Ho scelto di scattare la foto leggermente sottoesposta perché mi piace avere le ombre su cui poter andare a lavorare, e non avere zone “bucate” troppo in luce.

Portray a couple in the middle of nature, exalting the background

What was the gear & settings you used?

*Links may contain affiliate links


Canon 5D Mark III


Canon EF 85mm f/1.2 L II





Shutter Speed






White Balance


Portray a couple in the middle of nature, exalting the background

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

For this photo, I used basic corrections for the exposure and on the highlights, and some contrast. I used Dirty Boots and messy hair preset 01 because I love warm tones. I don’t like areas of too intense light, and I always think about emphasizing the shadows a little because they are the ones that give character to a shot.
Then I used a local correction brush to lighten the couple slightly. I think local brushes and masks are essential in post-production.

As a software I always use Lightroom and if I have some more invasive corrections to do I use photoshop, but since our style tends to be natural and adherent to reality it happens only a few times. Photoshop is much more practical for corrections such as the Clone Stamp or Healing Brush, which I didn’t use in this case.

Software Used

Lightroom and Photoshop


DB 01 - Dirty Boots and Messy Hair

*Links may contain affiliate links

What challenges did you face?

The most important challenges were “how to make a place that is really busy at the end of July seem empty”, “how to shoot while being in the water all the time and paying attention to the equipment”, “how to make the most of the light in a place that it goes into shadow very early and from which the sunset is not perceived “

How did you solve them?

We tried to organize the shooting very early in the morning when the location is not yet full of people, and when it filled up during the morning, we tried to use narrower corners or views where there were no people, always paying attention to the correct light.

Shooting in the water all day, we tried to protect the equipment in bags on purpose, and we always wore comfortable shoes with a lot of grip so as not to risk slipping on the rocks.

Finally, we made the most of dawn and early morning, and then resumed shooting around 7.00 pm when a few rays of sunshine during the golden hour illuminated our location; the sunset light was not direct but still gave the sky those warm tones that we love so much and that we still exploited until it became dark.

Portray a couple in the middle of nature, exalting the background

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

We loved this shoot because shooting in the water and chasing the perfect light is not easy. I would have liked to ask my couple to interact with the water more, but we didn’t want to ruin the hairstyle and put the gear at too much risk. I would not change anything about the light we had because it gave an exact idea of that day and that atmosphere. The advice I can give is that you never need to think that something is impossible or difficult to achieve, getting out of your comfort zone always helps you grow and find positive experiences.

Marrymi - Wedding Photography

Shooting since


Current Home




▫️Wedding, Elopement and love stories ▫️Intimate, bucolic and emotional style ▫️Looking for real connections and curated details

Join the newsletter & be notified of new content

Keep on exploring

Valeriya Kulaeva
Sarah Guber
Frank and the Misses
Unique Wedding
Chris & Ruth
India Earl

Want to be a part of
How I Shot This?


Login to your account