• Beach
  • Natural
  • Water
  • Walking away
  • Walking
  • Unposed
  • Side Light
  • Ocean
  • Movement
  • black & white
  • Moody
  • lower thirds
  • holding hands
  • Dark
  • Contrasty
  • Coast
  • cliffs
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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We totally understand just how awkward it can be to be photographed. In fact, once a year we try and book a photographer to take our own couple shoot not only for us to keep as memories but for us to really see and feel what it’s like to be in front of the camera. With that in mind, whenever we start a shoot, we always level with our couples and let them know that we know exactly how they’re feeling. This helps everyone as they trust us even more so after saying that.

To make things easier to start off with, we always have our couple walk or do something a little bit of a distance away from us. Something simple like walking from A to B. This just gets the whole shoot started and for them to start to understand how we work. While they walk, we often start giving them some subtle ideas and hints of what they can do like “holding hands”, “Bump into each other”, “one leading the other”.

This space and distance really helps to warm up the couple to a point where you can easily move in close and have them feel comfortable with you.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We wanted something simple as we were already intending to move from where we were to the cliffs just ahead. We asked our couple to simply walk hand in hand down by the waters edge and to walk as if they would normally. Nothing special. Nothing fancy.

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What did you say?

Guys, let’s have you walk down together at the waters edge and just walk as you would – holding hands. We’ll move around you and give you a few suggestions but for now – we’re just going from here to there. Don’t think about it too much

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Tone of Directions



We wanted to go for a wide shot in this image as the distant rocks and cliffs were just too awesome to exclude. We chose to frame our couple in the lower half of the image while also being centered as they fell within the same vertical line as the protruding rock in the distance. By keeping them in the lower half, we allowed enough sky and landscape into the frame to add context while also giving a bit of breathing room.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Focusing was very easy. We didn’t choose a specific point on our couple as they were far away enough that it didn’t really matter. We just moved our focus point over our groom and let the camera lock on. We almost always use a single focus point as we don’t want to risk the camera shifting focus to something else.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The Groom

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
1/1000 @ f/2.8 ISO100 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

As this was the beginning of the shoot, the sun was still a little bit above the horizon which caused the light to be a bit harsher than we would have liked. Fortunately, it was off to the side so that when we asked our couple to walk to the other spot, it was lighting them from the side. We positioned ourselves in such a way that the sun was not appearing or flaring into our lens as that would have created too much haze.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

We chose to go for a Black & White edit this time as we felt that the colors were playing a little too harshly. We also love the feeling of the black and white as we had enough play between highlights and shadows. We appled our Black & White preset and adjusted the exposures and shadows/highlights to get the overall contrasts we were after. We then added a bit of grain to the image to have texture.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic


The only challenge we had with this shot was dealing with the harsher light. Taking the actual photo wasn’t hard, but when it came to editing we had to spend some time tweaking it until we got it right.

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It was just a matter of patience and trial and error. We tried a few variations and ultimately kept the highlights low and the shadows slightly up to compensate for the strong contrasts.

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Location Name

Praia Da Adraga

Location aDDRESS

PRAIA DA ADRAGA, Sintra, Portugal

Loation Type

Beach / Coastal



Remember that it is awkward to be photographed. Not everyone is used to it and so if you can sympathise with the couple, you’ll find your connection with them to be even stronger. As a result, they’ll likely trust you more and feel more relaxed and comfortable when you have them be a bit more intimate.

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