• calm
  • Melli & Shayne
  • Wide
  • Whiskey
  • Sitting
  • Serious
  • Relaxed
  • Posed
  • Portrait
  • Natural Light
  • Moody
  • Leading lines
  • Center Framed
  • Indoor
  • Harsh Light
  • Groom
  • full body
  • Free
  • Drinking
  • Directional Light
  • Dark
  • Curtains
  • Window Light

The story behind the image

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Photographing destination elopements is one of the most incredible experiences you can have as a wedding photographer. Getting to travel and see a new place while working very intimately and closely with your clients to create something really beautiful is, to us, an absolute dream.

With shooting these elopements comes a whole new set of little challenges and successes though. For example, the getting ready is often times quite…quiet. There’s no friends around motivating the bridal couple, or loud music playing as the guests arrive. It’s a very peaceful time.

This mean that you, as the photographer, become the main point of contact & social interaction with your couple before they head out to the ceremony. It’s totally okay to take a few moments and be their “friend”. Help them out with things like putting on shoes, tying their ties or even sharing a quick drink. It goes a long way when you can build up this confidence and relationship between your couple and you.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We had our groom sit in the chair at the desk as he drank his glass of whiskey. We asked him to sit with his leg crossed over the other and to look outside the window while holding his glass; with the goal to give a confident yet relaxed feel to his posture.

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What did you say?

Sit with your leg over the other and get comfy. Hold your glass and even go in for a sip. Totally relax here! You’re the boss man

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Tone of Directions



As the room had a lot of character to it, we really wanted to bring this out in this image. We chose to use a wider lens so we could fill the frame with these details – and by keeping our groom in the center, we were able to bring the attention to him first.

We also had him sit in the light coming in from the window which helped, and closed the curtains behind him to stop the giant blown out highlights.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We focused on our groom with our single point autofocus since it was the easiest way to ensure that we had him sharp. With a room full of details like this, it can be risky to use all the AF points since it may lock onto something else in the frame and not your subject.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The grooms face

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II
1/640 @ f/2 ISO500 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

We had our groom sit at the desk which just so happened to be by the windows. We wanted a pool of light to fall onto him which would help bring attention to him in this busy frame. We made sure to keep his face either towards us or outside so that we could always have it lit.

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Light Type

Natural Light



Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

The edits are made to be warmer with a big focus on skin tones and light play with shadows and highlights. A few minor local adjustments were made (Gradient and Brush) as well as finishing off with a fine layer of grain. The whites are not blown out nor are the blacks 100% crunched.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic


One challenge we had was the fact that the room was so full of beautiful little details that would quickly overwhelm the image and take attention away from our groom.

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We found a corner in the room where the window was allowing a spot of light to come in. We purposely put our groom there not only to use the window light but to bring attention to him since the rest of the room would fall off into the shadows. This really helped him stand out from the busy room.

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Location Name

Sasakwa Lodge

Location aDDRESS

Grumeti Game Reserve, Tanzania

Loation Type




If you want to place your subject in the corner of a room where the outside is really bright compared to the indoors – see if you can close the curtains. It’ll stop the huge blown-out windows from dominating the frame and taking away the attention from your subject.

Don’t forget to grab detail shots too – as in, go up close and get his hand on the glass and other smaller points of interest.

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