the Shoot

Location Equipment
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This was taken during a couple shoot at an outdoor location in the woods. It was incredibly beautiful. At the end of the session, I looked for a different spot to end off the story and decided to hop into their car. I thought, what better way to end than in the vehicle that will drive them away?

I tried to create an intimate moment, to minimize my presence and be as small as I could be as to not disturb the couple & allow them to truly fall into this magical moment. This doesn’t always happen, but in this case, it worked out great that these became some of my favorite shots from the whole shoot.

I love working in soft light and generally prefer indoor shots to outdoor shots, but these worked out just perfectly and I am really proud of them.
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Location Name

Pineta di Suvero

Location aDDRESS

Liguria, Italy



Location TYPE




Sony A9




Sony 85mm f/1.4

Lens Filter


Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Calm Gentle Intimate Almost Kiss


I tried to intervene as little as possible to allow a more natural moment to flourish between the couple. I did of course give them the idea to get as close as possible and to stop just before they kiss. This is a moment I find the most romantic as it leaves so much for the viewer to explore. I often shoot these moments; the ‘almost kiss’ moments.

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What was said

Okay guys, get as close as possible without touching each other, close your eyes and relax as much as possible.

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Why I composed the way I did

Shooting this in portrait was a perfect choice in my opinion as I excluded a lot of potentially disturbing elements from the image. That way, the couple took all the attention as well as the moment they were sharing. The composition came naturally to me, and what I noticed I did was to have them on the 2 of the 3 thirds where the guy was on the top and the girl on the bottom. This creates a balance in the overall image. I did crop this image later on when editing just to fine-tune the composition.

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Rule of Thirds Close Up Intimate Framing


Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Single Shot Autofocus

Focused on

Her eyes

Focus description

For focusing, 99% of the time I am using autofocus and set it to track the eyes. In this case, I had the focus moved to the girl’s eye & eyelashes as this was the element of the greatest interest.

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Shutter Speed






White Balance


Other Light Sources
No additional light sources were used.
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Light &

How the light was used

All my shots are made with natural light, and I am always on the lookout for soft light that has lights & shadows. I don’t like strong contrasts. I always try and shoot in the afternoon or on cloudy days to have the best conditions. Of course, that’s not always the case. In this case, the light was being diffused and let in through the car window where it was falling onto the guy first, then the girl. I positioned them so that it hit them equally and I could capture the highlights & shadows; which creates dimensions to subjects. Makes them feel more real.

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Soft Light Directional Light Moody Window Light Natural Light

the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used
How I edited this image

For the post-production of this shot, I used lightroom. I first adjusted the exposure, increasing it, as I always underexpose a lot when I shoot, increased the contrast, decreased the texture and saturation to a minimum, and increased the details almost to the maximum to increase the noise a little. I also added extra film grain, but without exaggerating. Finally, I cropped the image to fine-tune my composition.

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Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

The biggest challenge when you have real couples in front of you, not models, is to put them at ease and get to have these shots in which they are really themselves and put themselves into play, leaving aside shyness and opening up to you. In fact, these shots always happen towards the end of the session.

Solutions I found

Each couple has their own characters, so I try to respect them, not to be too insistent, you don’t always get the same complicity, not with everyone, it would be impossible. A little tact and experience will help you understand when to go a little further and when it is not the case.


I am very attached to these shots because I created a level of understanding with the couple that allowed me to play with them and they were extremely open to satisfying my every request. This is the perfect condition for shooting. It will not always be possible but don’t give up, maybe one negative experience will be rewarded by the next. So my advice is not to give up, try, try and try. With the right touch and the right ways, patience, and experience you can achieve everything.
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Photographed by

Martina Ruffini

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