• afternoon
  • Center Framed
  • clear sky
  • Dark
  • kissing
  • Leading lines
  • Mid range
  • Moody
  • Mountains
  • Outdoor
  • silhouette
  • Sunset
  • Warm

The story behind the image

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This couple was very excited to do their engagement session in Yosemite National Park, and rightly so! We had so much planned for the day. Originally we were going to meet up in the Valley, drive up to Glacier Point Road, and hike to a famous scenic spot for some dreamy sunset photos. But, as things happen, this did not go according to plan at all.

The couple was stuck in traffic that made them 45 minutes late and cut into our hiking time. Thankfully, I spent a summer working and living in Yosemite National Park so I’m pretty familiar with the area and we were able to go somewhere else for an equally stunning sunset session, albeit just a little different.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

When I saw Half Dome illuminated in the alpenglow I noticed that the couple would be in the shade and it would be really difficult to get a straight-on shot. But I saw an opportunity for a romantic silhouette shot against Half Dome. So I had them stand directly in between me and Half Dome and I exposed to capture the glow on the rock face as opposed to my couple, otherwise I would’ve blown out the background.

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What did you say?

Okay guys! Go stand in between me and Half Dome, face each other, and kiss each other as if you were on the cover of a romance novel.”

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Tone of Directions



I wanted to bring focus to the couple accentuated by the natural beauty of the landscape we were in. I had the couple framed within the mountain in the background to avoid any lines cutting through them. This also forms a natural frame around the couple which helps to make the image feel a lot more pleasing.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I used autofocus to focus on the couple instead of the backdrop, I wanted to bring the attention to them knowing that the background was so classic that it would still be recognizable as Half Dome.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

the couple's bodies

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon EF 50mm F/1.2L
1/5000 @ f/1.4 ISO100 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

At this point I think we’d already skipped sunset and gone right into Blue Hour. We were facing East and with the sun setting in the West we had the last bit of light illuminating the background. I think the light was dreamy and worked in our favor!

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Light Type

Natural Light

Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I used Phil Chester’s PS Presets Ps07 Vintage, I liked that it brought a vintage tinge of green to the sky and added some warmth to the alpenglow. I used the clone tool to heal a little bit of tree that was popping in on the right hand side just to clean up the image and remove any distractions.

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Editing Software


Our biggest challenge was the time constraint. We were running out of sunlight very quickly and didn’t have very much time left to capture all of the photos we wanted to.

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We had to act fast! I think accepting the blue hour and alpenglow was the clear solution to make the most with what we had.

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Location Name

Yosemite National Park, California

Location aDDRESS

Yosemite National Park, California

Loation Type



United States

Sometimes as photographers it’s hard because we want to have full control of everything, but rarely do we get that privilege. Knowing how to work in every type of lighting situation is crucial to make sure your clients are satisfied with the images that they receive.

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