• Bathtub
  • intimate
  • Water
  • top down
  • Soft Light
  • off center
  • Natural Light
  • Natural
  • Moody
  • Intimate Framing
  • Indoor
  • broken rules
  • Home
  • holding each other
  • Evening
  • Directional Light
  • Dark
  • Closed Eyes
  • Close up
  • calm
  • Window Light

The story behind the image

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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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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

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 did you say?

“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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Tone of Directions

Quiet, Calm


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


Center FramedClose UpIntimate FramingTop down


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

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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Focus Mode

Live View Continuous

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

her eyes

Equipment &

Canon R5
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
1/640 @ f/1.2 ISO4000 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 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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Light Type

Natural LightCandles

Light Quality


Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit 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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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used


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.

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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.

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Location Name

Private Home

Location aDDRESS

Fürth, Germany

Loation Type

Private Home / AirBnB / Apartment



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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