• almost kiss
  • Intimate Framing
  • Sunset
  • Soft Light
  • Roots Presets
  • Natural Light
  • Natural
  • Moody
  • Mid range
  • intimate
  • Beach
  • holding each other
  • fill frame
  • Coast
  • Cloudy
  • Close up
  • Center Framed
  • Carry
  • Blue Hour
  • Warm

The story behind the image

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After spending the day traveling on scooters in Sri Lanka, and having found this awesome little beach bar on the coast to end the day off, we thought we’d sneak in a cheeky little couple shoot of our friends.

Not only was it so much fun shooting in the ocean and on the beach, but it was also a beautiful chance to take advantage of the blue hour that we were given. It’s that point of the day where the sun has set completely and the last remnants of light linger until they fade.

This image certainly had its technical challenges in terms of nailing a sharp focus, but even if we missed this – a moment matters more.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We asked our guy to pick up his girl and have her legs wrap right around his body. While holding her up, we then encouraged them to move in close, and bring their foreheads together, and to really snuggle. To let their hands move along their bodies and completely “be” in that moment.

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What did you say?

“[once being held up] Bring your foreheads together and let yourselves snuggle. Close your eyes, and just love each other. Feel each other. And forget everything else, and just be with each other right now in this moment”.

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We wanted to capture a feeling of intimacy for this photo as the moment they shared was honestly very true, and very beautiful. We simply moved up close enough to fill the frame almost entirely with them. We also kept each subject on either side of the frame as to help balance the overall composition.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Focusing in such low light definitely has challenges as the camera starts to struggle to detect contrasts and points to lock on to. This particular shot is not perfectly in focus. In fact, the focus landed on our guy’s shoulder. It’s not technically perfect, but the moment & story it tells is worth more than a perfectly crisp photo. Moments matter more than technicality.

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Focus Mode

Live View Single Shot

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The Girls smile

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
1/320 @ f/1.6 ISO1000 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

This was taken at the end of the blue hour. The sun had set and the very last little bits of light were all that we had left. At this point, we were shooting until we simply couldn’t shoot anymore and since the light was so soft and so gentle – we didn’t really need to pay attention to where it was coming from.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day




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


Focusing in such low light certainly was the hardest thing we had to deal with, along with fading light. It got to a point where it was so dark that our camera’s simply stopped focusing altogether.

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We switched to Live view to help the camera focus as in this mode, the camera tries to artificially increase the exposure for a moment to find a focus lock before returning to the previous exposure. It’s definitely slow and not always reliable, but at this point of the day, it’s definitely a good option.

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Location Name

The Frog Rock

Location aDDRESS

624, Dallawella, A2, Unawatuna 80600, Sri Lanka

Loation Type

Beach / Coastal


Sri Lanka

A photo doesn’t always have to be technically perfect. In the end, what matters most is the moment & the story that it can tell. Especially if it’s something close to your couple.

This is not to say that you shouldn’t aim to get things right in camera, it’s only to allow yourself the freedom to be creative and try new things out. Do everything with intention and it’s much easier to see the art in it than to just take an “accident” and dress it up nicely.

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