• afternoon
  • Leading lines
  • sunny
  • sand dunes
  • Rule of thirds
  • Natural Light
  • natural frames
  • Movement
  • Leading
  • Back lit
  • Hill
  • Harsh Light
  • Germany
  • Free
  • Energetic
  • dunes
  • Beach
  • Walking

The story behind the image

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One of the first things we do when location scouting is looking at where the light will be at what time. Especially if you are going to be shooting in clear conditions where the sun will be out in a full blast. This helps us find the right spots and timings to shoot our couple to get the most out of the day. In this particular case, we wanted to have a set where we shot into the light – it creates a brighter and sort of “ethereal” feel to the image. We found this spot that ticked off a lot of our boxes (enough space, light direction, compositional elements, etc…) and went ahead with the shoot.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We had our couple hold hands and walk up and down this sandy pathway. While walking, we asked the groom to look back at the bride and to “bring her with him”. We even threw in a few ‘dirty’ jokes just to get them laughing and having a great time.

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What did you say?

Hey guys, let’s have you walk up to the top of the hill and back a few times. While doing that, [Groom] hold [Bride]’s hand and look back towards her. Take her with you; just like you were taking her to the bedroom!!

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The strongest feature of this composition was the natural frame the pathway created around our couple. With the two leading lines on either side, the point in which the lines converge is right where our couple’s faces are. This naturally leads the viewers straight to the couple and straight to where we intended.

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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Since we were shooting into the light, the focusing was a bit challenging. The flare from the sun made it more difficult for our camera to lock on to our subjects. Since we shoot almost always in “single point” mode where we have only one focus point, it allowed us to position it somewhere where the flare wasn’t so strong. Such as the groom’s face. This made all the difference.

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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
1/2000 @ f/2.2 ISO160 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

Since the sun was still quite high and our goal was to include the sun (And ideally it’s flares) in the shot, we made sure to shoot into the light. We chose to shoot this in portrait to limit how much of the sun actually made it into the frame. One of the reasons we like to shoot into the light is because it creates a beautiful rim light around our couple, separating them from the background.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

The edit of this shot was fairly straight forward as I simply applied our Protea Preset and then increased the exposure to get their skin tones brighter and cleaner. I then went into “local edit” mode which meant I removed a lot of distractions with the spot-removal tool, brushed in some shadows & highlights as well as created a radial filter to enhance the sunlight.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used


The only challenge we had was finding that focus lock. Since the flare was pretty harsh and there was a lot of movement in the frame, it did become quite tricky.

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When shooting with a single point of focus, it tells the camera to forget everything else and only look for a lock on that specific point. It’s an absolute life saver in tricky situations.

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Location Name

Sankt Peter Ording

Location aDDRESS

Sankt Peter Ording, Germany

Loation Type

Beach / Coastal



Definitely try to play that game with yourself whenever you have a moment. Find those compositions wherever you happen to be as not only is it a good exercise for your imagination, but it’ll really help you come up with some cool ideas when you’re out shooting.

Also, don’t be afraid to throw in some dirty jokes here and there if you think your couple can handle it. Get to know them and if you feel they’re the type of people that could deal with it positively, then catch them off guard and capture their reactions.

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