• Barn
  • orange
  • Vintage
  • swipe
  • String Lights
  • standing side by side
  • ring of fire
  • pixel sorting
  • photoshop
  • long edit
  • blue
  • lights
  • lens distortions
  • fire
  • Evening
  • creative editing
  • cool pose
  • chilled
  • Blue Hour
  • Wood

The story behind the image

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As I was just finishing up working this beautiful couple’s wedding and walking back to the parking lot to leave, I looked to see the side of this building which was once covered with a ton of parked cars in front of it, to be now empty. I was in love with the way the lights glowed with the hazy fog in the air. I remember my eyes lit up thinking of placing the couple symmetrically in front of the doors. I knew they were saying goodbye to guests and I was a little nervous to ask if they would be willing to slip away for one last shot. I knew I would regret it though if I didn’t so, I ran back and told them about this epic wall and that I had a cool vision for it. I was pumped when they were excited too and agreed to come to check it out with me. I didn’t have this end edit in mind, I just knew it would be a cool shot for whatever way I decided to edit it.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I spoke with excitement but, also understanding if they didn’t want to be pulled away for another photo moment. I had them stand an even distance from each other and directed them to look towards my camera for the shot. Everything worked perfectly! When it came to directing them I simply asked them to stand an even distance between each other and the doors and to look towards my camera. Then I remember yelling “BOOOOOM MAGIC BABY” after hearing the shutter click.

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What did you say?

heyyyy guys! I’m back with one last epic shot idea and I would be so sad to not ask you before I leave. Would you be down to get creative for a couple more minutes with me? If not no worries, I just had to ask! Can you stand an even distance between each other and just look into my camera! BOOOOOM MAGIC BABY

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When composing this image, I knew that I wanted the whole image to be symmetrical. To give it that evening distributed look that’s pleasing to the eye. For me I wanted the scale of the building to be big yet, for the couple to not disappear in the image either. I had also known that their outfits would contrast lovely against this background as well to allow them to still pop out from their surroundings.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

For this image, I put my autofocus focal point on the couple’s face to ensure they would be in focus. Sometimes it’s just a very simple thing to do and fortunately in this case, i had no problem finding focus.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The grooms eye

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II
1/200 @ f/1.4 ISO1250 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

The sun was setting and the only light I had glowing was from the last bit of sunlight which was setting in front of us and the two lights on the building. I love that this shot had a more moody feel to it by being shot towards the evening.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

Post-production was everything for this image. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do but, I love to let my edits guide my direction as I go with no expectations in mind. I first started the image out in Lightroom where I adjusted the tones and exposure. I liked the moody direction it was going by keeping it darker especially since we shot this image towards it getting dark. I had also used the Dodge brush (lightening) on the couple’s bodies to make them be even lighter in the image allowing them to stand out in the image.

Once I liked how the image looked, I used “command E” (keyboard shortcut to open the image in photoshop) to make further edits in Photoshop. In my opinion, it’s where all of the magic begins. I can really get creative without any limitations in that software. I used the healing tool to remove any unwanted lines on the ground or distractions. I also brought in a ring of fire overlay I had purchase from Lens Distortions.

At first, it was a full circle ring and I began placing it to line up with the two lights. I didn’t like that it was a full circle so I used my eraser tool to only have a half circle and I stretched it to fit from one light to the next. I then adjusted the color and contrast of the ring of fire overlay to match the rest of the image. I had also earlier that week just learned how to do pixel sorting in Photoshop. I can’t remember the specific location I had purchase the plugin for the effect but if you google Pixel Sorting plugin there are a few different plugins you can purchase and use.

I then used a brush tool to paint where I wanted the effect to happen on the image. I had this image of it almost being like lava streaming from the ring of fire overlay and that’s why I had chosen that location to paint it on. I then pressed Command S to save the edits back into Lightroom. I still felt like the image was missing something so I pulled the image into Alien Skin Exposure X3. That’s where I added the bokeh effect to the lights to give them a glow and blur. Overall, this is one of the longest edits I have done for a client but, I was obsessed with the end results and when my clients got it, they yelled “THIS WAS SO WORTH LEAVING OUR GUESTS FOR”.

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Editing Software
Lightroom, Photoshop, Alien Skin Exposure X3
Preset Used


It was getting dark and while this was shot a few years ago, I didn’t have a firm grasp on where my settings should be. I was worried about the noise and amount of grain the image would have and if it would come out clear enough. In post processing it was really challenging to figure out how to properly use the pixel sorting technique and plug in. It took me a few hours to figure out.

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I remember playing with my ISO a lot until I found something I thought would work well enough to edit. In terms of the plug in I just had to watch a ton of YouTube tutorials on it before I finally figured out how to get it to work properly.

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Location Name

Martin Johnson House

Location aDDRESS

8840 Biological Grade, La Jolla, CA 92037

Loation Type



United States

Never be afraid to ask your couple to take that one last shot. The worst thing that could happen is for them to say no, and you can try it out on another couple. You never know what magic will come from asking. That’s one thing I have learned a ton over the past few years and it’s always in that moment that I achieve the most magical edits/shots.

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