Before
the Shoot

Location Equipment
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During the winter, we wanted to push ourselves out of our comfort zone and try something a bit different to what we were used to. We had seen all these really beautiful intimate homeshoots and thought it’d be a great idea to try something like that ourselves. I mean, why not?

We asked this couple and they were super keen to hang out with us and try things out. We made sure that they knew that this was an “experimentation” and that there could only be handful of deliverable images – and they were totally cool about it.

I think what’s key when trying something new with a couple is to always manage expectations. Once that’s been set, the field is open.
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Location

Location Name

Private Home

Location aDDRESS

Fürth, Germany

Country

Germany

Location TYPE

Private Home / AirBnB / Apartment

Equipment

Camera

Canon R5

Flash

None

Lens

Canon 50mm f/1.2 L

Lens Filter

None

Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

During
the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Directions

Tone of Directions

Quiet Calm

Action of Directions

Cuddling Intimate Serious

Description

Since we were going for a very, very calm & intimate shot, we had to limit the amount of directions we gave to our couple. We did this for a few reasons; one being that it allows them the “privacy” to forget about us but to also find a moment that is true and authentic to them. As they were sitting in the bathtub with her in front of him, we simply asked her to lean her head back onto his shoulder, close her eyes and listen to the music. We then told them to just go with whatever they feel like. And we were quiet. The whole time. Nothing more.

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What was said

“Let’s have you lean your head back onto his shoulder, and close your eyes. Listen to the music, we’re not even here, and just embrace this peace between each other. This calmness.”

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Composition

Why I composed the way I did

As she had her head leant backwards, we didn’t want to shoot from an angle that would end up being right up her nose, and we were already edging to shoot something top-down. This was the perfect opportunity to try it out. Since the moment itself was very intimate, we felt that a close up framing with just enough ‘body’ to show context would do this shot perfectly.

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Compositional Rules

Rule of Thirds

Compositional Framing

Center Framed Close Up Intimate Framing Top down

Focus

Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Live View Continuous

Focused on

her eyes

Focus description

The absolute goal of the focus here was to be on her eyes. The way she had them closed ever so gently, without “pressure” or “forced effort” is a key storytelling point to this image. Since we shot with the Canon R5, the focusing was incredibly easy and accurate. We simply touched the screen where her eyes were and the camera did the rest.

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Shutter Speed

1/640

Aperture

f/1.2

ISO

4000

White Balance

Auto

Other Light Sources
No additional light sources were used.
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Light &
Exposure

How the light was used

As this was taken during the late evening, we only had the faintest of light left. Fortunately the bathtub was immediately adjacent to a big open window which let in just enough light for us to capture this image with it’s dimensional play between highlights and shadows. We couldn’t exactly position the couple any differently due to them being a tub so we just had to try our best to deal with the soft evening light.

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Type of light

Natural Light Candles

Time of Day

Evening

Quality of LIght

Soft Directional

Weather

Indoor

After
the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &
Presets

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used
How I edited this image

We wanted to keep the warmth in the skin tones without making things feel too “orange washed”, and since we were in the middle of developing our new presets, we ran some tests and found this to be a perfect tonal palette for this shot. We kept the exposure on the darker side to accentuate the intimacy and quietness of the mood but also spent some time making sure the highlights would create dimensions in the image. We then spent sometime cleaning up the skin and softening it out using the brush and spot removal tool. Since it’s such a close up shot, we wanted our couple to really love themselves in this image.

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Conclusion

Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

There were a few challenges with this shot and one of them was the editing. The shot has quite a strong color cast that we had to deal with. The next was the fact that it was a pretty ‘poorly lit’ image, even though we had our ISO up to 4000. We didn’t really realise that we were shooting at 1/640 as we could have had a bit more wiggle room.

Solutions I found

We just spent extra time in the HSL panel to try and reduce the color cast so that the overall tones were a lot smoother. As for the darkeness and ISO issue, there wasn’t much that we did to solve this besides adding on a bit of noise reduction and paying attention to how far we could push the image before it started to break.

Advice

If you have an idea, whether thats a compositional one like here (shooting directly top-down) or something wildly different, just go for it. It’s a digital image. It doesn’t cost you anything to try a shot and delete it if it doesn’t work out. In the end, you’ll be gaining an invaluable insight into what worked, what didn’t and ideally an understanding of why it didn’t work out so that next time, you can try it differently and improve upon it. Never stop learning.
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Photographed by

Melli & Shayne

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