the Shoot

Location Equipment
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This beautiful couple got married at a location in LA that allowed them to have access to the rooftop for family pictures. I went to change out camera batteries and caught the bride doing a beautiful turn and snapped the picture. I never had this end image in mind which is how most of my creative edits are. It’s not until I begin culling the gallery that I find an image that intrigues me and I decide to get funky with it to see what art piece I can turn it into. Sometimes it works out great and other times it doesn’t. In this case, I was obsessed!
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Location Name

Los Angeles

Location aDDRESS

6250 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028


United States

Location TYPE




Canon 5D Mark IV




Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II

Lens Filter


Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Calm Playful Movement


I told the couple after finishing their family photos to just take in the scenery since it was on top of an epic roof top overlooking all of Los Angeles at sunset. As I was soaking up the moment I caught a glimpse of her spinning and snapped a pic of her doing so without any directions. I was simply seeing a beautiful moment without needing any direction.

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What was said

Hey guys, just take in the scenery here while I do my thing. I’ll be around shooting and I’ll reach out if there’s anything I need to you to do.

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Why I composed the way I did

When I was composing this shot, I really wanted the viewer’s attention to be directly focused on the bride. I felt such a softness and simple elegance in the way she was twirling in the sunset and I wanted the viewer to be able to feel that in the shot as well. When I began culling the gallery I remember going directly to this shot and knowing I had to make something more artful of this composition. That is when I decided to remove the buildings and floor to remove all distractions and focus solely on making her the center frame and making a more artistic portrait.

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Center Framed Minimalistic Mid Range Symmetry


Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Single Shot Autofocus

Focused on

brides head

Focus description

I was in autofocus mode for this shot because I typically shoot in auto at all times unless I am free lensing or using my tilt-shift. Using my viewfinder I used a single point focus on the bride and snapped the picture quickly because this was a fleeting unprompted moment I needed to get quickly. This is also why I love having my camera in autofocus because I can capture a moment quickly and nail the focus on the subject.

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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

It was a blue hour (the short period of time following golden hour) and we had just finished taking family photos and I told the couple to take in a few minutes of alone time with their view. I was doing the same myself and I noticed she began spinning on the rooftop beautifully and I loved how the light kissed her and her dress so softly. I didn’t have this pre-planned I just soaked in the moment with her by capturing it through my viewfinder.

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Soft Light Back lit Natural Light Afternoon

the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used

No presets were used. 

How I edited this image

As you can see before the image is entirely different than the end results. I first edited the image in Lightroom creating a custom edited preset. I decreased the contrast, highlights, and brought up the exposure. I then had a ton of fun playing with split toning and fine-tuning coloring with the H(hue) S(saturation) L(luminance) sliders. I then brought the image into Photoshop to more accurately remove the buildings in the background as well as the floor. I then used the liquify tool to liquefy her dress in an outward direction to add extra emotion and blended it into the background. I then saved the image back into Lightroom and pulled the image into Alien Skin Exposure 3 to add grain and the side light streak. I was super stoked about the end results and how I let the image really edit itself along the way. My favorite edits are never pre-planned, I just play and have fun with the edit!

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Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

The most challenging part of this shot was the editing process. Getting the dress to blend in with the background seamlessly took a lot of time.

Solutions I found

I found that using a combo of overlays and the spot healing brush on the edges of the places I liquified allowed the dress to blend nicely!


I firmly believe in consistently trying new techniques and being ok with it possibly not working out in the end. That’s how real magic happens in my opinion by learning from past mistakes and always trying to grow by implementing new techniques and stepping outside of the box. Let your imagination lead the edit.
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Photographed by

Mel Rey

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