• Accident
  • Leading
  • Soft Light
  • sand dunes
  • Rule of thirds
  • out of focus
  • Natural
  • Missed Focus
  • Mid range
  • holding hands
  • Back lit
  • Hill
  • Field
  • Evening
  • Colorful Light
  • Center Framed
  • calm
  • blurry
  • Walking

The story behind the image

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At first, this was an image that we immediately skipped over when going through the culling process. I mean, it’s an easy decision to make since it’s completely out of focus. *sighs*, *hits next button*, and the culling continues. But all of a sudden I stopped. Something “told me” to go back, and I did. I looked closer at the image and realized that this “Missed shot” actually may not be so bad.

I realized then that the little low-hanging cloud directly behind them stole the focus. The reason why was because we used, as usual, a single point in our focusing and we must have missed our couple. And when I looked at this image long enough – I realized, it doesn’t have to be perfect to tell a story. The longer I looked, the more I loved it. It’s imperfect, but it says a lot. It shows where our couple was, what they were doing, what the environment was like, the mood and the atmosphere – all while letting our viewers “imagine” the rest. There is an art in imperfection.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

We asked our couple to walk up the hill holding hands and to have our bride lead the way. While doing so, we encouraged the bride to look back towards the groom as she would do so naturally.

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What did you say?

Alrighty, you see the top of the hill just here? I want you guys to walk up there and let’s have [Bride] up front and leading the way. Hold your hands and look back at [Groom] whenever you can.

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Tone of Directions



Since we were slightly lower than our couple as they climbed the hill, we had to find a spot that allowed us to see them through the grass. We found an angle that gave us a nice balance of grass in the foreground (taking about 1/3 of the frame), our subjects in the middle, and enough breathing room around them. We also fine-tuned our crop while editing to keep the grid intersection closer to our bride’s face (as based on the rule of thirds, this helps to balance points of interest).

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Focusing. This is the wrong image to talk about focusing since we “missed” our goal. But it’s a perfect chance to share that even a reliable method like “single point” focussing does have its challenges. You are in control of where that point lands and if you aren’t able to track your subjects accurately, you stand the chance of missing the focus entirely; and you may not be as “lucky” to have an accidentally good shoot.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The cloud behind

Equipment &

Canon 5D mark IV
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
1/400 @ f/1.8 ISO1000 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

This was taken somewhere around the mid-to-late part of the blue hour which meant the light we got to work with was incredibly beautiful. There was a gorgeous play of color in the sky between the sunset tones and the cool blues of the oncoming evening. We still aimed to have our couple be in a position where their front would catch whatever light remained, so when walking up the hill, we found a spot that allowed them to walk towards where the sun had set.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day


Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

When editing this shot, we applied our Protea presets as a base and cropped the image to straighten the horizon as well as have our bride on the intersection of the rule-of-thirds grid. We then adjusted the exposure, highlights, shadows, blacks & whites as well as the vibrance & saturation just to bring out those colors in the sky. Finally, we added a simple gradient filter to further enhance the sky.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used


The challenge here was definitely nailing the focus on these shots since the light was pretty low, and our subjects were moving which made things that much harder.

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The only solution we found was to switch between live view & shooting through the viewfinder to find what method worked best. For this particular shot, we were shooting through the viewfinder and it just so happened that we missed the focus entirely.

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Location Name

Sankt Peter-Ording

Location aDDRESS

Sankt Peter-Ording, Germany

Loation Type

Beach / Coastal



We all make mistakes. We all come back with images that we never ever want anyone to see. It doesn’t matter how successful or famous or rich or poor we are. The truth is, no one comes back from a shoot with a card full of absolutely perfect, unique images. But amongst these imperfect shots, you may find one that speaks to you. If you ever find yourself looking at a shot that you know is not technically perfect, but for some reason, it still tugs at your heartstrings – why not throw it into the cull. You could always discard it later after editing if you change your mind.

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