• Atmospheric
  • Hotel
  • Room
  • Rim Light
  • Private
  • Portrait
  • no flash
  • Moody
  • Low Light
  • intimate
  • Indoor
  • Germany
  • Bride & Groom
  • full body
  • Free
  • First Dance
  • Evening
  • Directional Light
  • Dark
  • Dance
  • Center Framed
  • Candles
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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For our couple, we really wanted to help create a beautiful ending to the story of their elopement. So far the plan was just to head back to the hotel after the ceremony and the couple shoot, but we decided to do something a little special.

One of us quietly got a hold of the hotel and asked them to set up some candles, bring champagne and arrange the room so it would be pretty by the time our couple came back. They did a fantastic job and our couple was greeted to this incredibly romantic setting.

This whole gesture of arranging and setting up this room for our couple worked absolute wonders for our storytelling since we had a great ending now. We could let the story fade as they dance into the late evening together. It was a beautiful moment, not just for our couple but for us. So, we do encourage this. If you ever have the chance to set up something special, or go that extra mile, do it. Do it for your couple. Do it for you. Do it for the incredible moment you can capture for them.
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We wanted to capture the full bodies of our couple as they gently swayed to their music. It allowed us to show more of the room and capture more of the atmosphere that was there. We even went as far as shooting through things we found in the room, such as the staircase leading up to the master bedroom.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Focusing in such low light is definitely a challenge. We wish we had some secret recipe for nailing it all the time but truth be told, we missed a few shots due to the focusing. The best tip is to look for contrasting elements such as where the dress meets the skin, or even the details of the dress.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The brides back

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II
1/150 @ f/1.4 ISO2500 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 only light source we had was the candles on the table and around the room. We fell in love with this atmosphere and our couple looked so good dancing gently amongst it. We positioned ourselves so we were shooting more or less into the candle light since this gave us a gorgeous natural rim light. If we shot them from the other direction, they would look “flat”. Or almost like we used a pop-up flash.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

Since the main goal of this image was to capture the ambiance of this moment just as much as the moment itself, the editing had to match that vision. We kept our exposures pretty low since we just loved the dimly lit room. We added our protea preset, but had to reduce a lot of the strong saturated colors via the HSL sliders. We tweaked a few things here and there and then proceeded to add a few radial filters (for the vignetting) as well as some dodging & burning with the brush tool. We also took the spot healing tool to clean up a few distractions in the image.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic


The biggest challenge we had was making sure we had the right exposure for such a dimly lit scene. We had to get our balance between being dark and moody ( the look we were going for) but bright enough so that we could actually focus on our couple and outline them.

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A neat little thing that (most) cameras have is their live view shooting. We often switch to this mode to see exactly what our exposure is going to be when we press the shutter. This is pretty standard on mirrorless cameras these days as they all have electronic viewfinders where you see exactly what you’re going to get (but if you’re still old school like us, try out your live view).

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Location Name

Riessersee Hotel

Location aDDRESS

Riess 5, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Loation Type




Definitely try to shoot without a flash when you are given atmospheric settings like this. Chances are that your camera can handle the noise and your post-production can help too. As much as possible, give your couple their space to be alone and forget about you. Try not to make a single sound and move very gently. The whole idea is really to get them into an authentic moment for you to capture.

Finding an ending to an elopement story is really important. However, you go about it, that extra mile that you’re considering doing – do it. It is always worth it.

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