• book
  • Natural Light
  • Window Light
  • vows
  • Unposed
  • storytelling
  • Soft Light
  • Rule of thirds
  • one light
  • notes
  • Moody
  • Center Framed
  • Low Light
  • Leading lines
  • lay flat
  • Indoor
  • Hands
  • grainy
  • Details
  • Dark
  • Close up
  • writing

The story behind the image

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Our couple had flown all the way from Brazil to get married amongst the German Alps during the December winter and it was just the sweetest thing ever. We have so many good memories from our time spent with these two on their elopement that we will always look back at it as being one of our favourite weddings of 2017.

Both Bride & Groom got ready in the same room, though the groom was up in a little studio just above the bride as they still wanted to see each other for the first time down where they would share their vows. We kept the groom hidden away and amongst doing so, he mentioned that he had to write his vows into a nice leather book that they bought specifically for this. We looked around the darkroom and found this table that had a tiny bit of window light pouring on it and so naturally we encouraged him to write there.

We didn’t ask him to do anything else besides do what he’s gotta do. We only positioned himself so the light was hitting his hands a bit nicer. The rest was just storytelling. We took wide shots and close up shots; all keeping in mind that these images (often overlooked) help build the bigger picture of the day.
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The goal with framing this shot was to create a path for the eyes to follow until it reaches the hands of the groom. We did this by having the book come out from the left side of the frame and the hands on the right to create a sense of balance. There are leading lines (center of the book) that go straight to the hands which help the overall flow of the image. Finally, we also wanted to emphasise the action of the groom writing, so we placed teh part where the pen hit the paper as close to the center as possible.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

The focus here needed to be quite specific as we wanted the main point of the image to be the writing. To achieve this, we set our camera to use only one focus point and positioned that exactly where the words were being written were.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on


Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 100mm f/2.8 L Macro
1/80 @ f/2.8 ISO2500 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

The light was coming from a small window just in front of our groom where he sat and wrote. This little pocket of light was awesome for this type of shot as the play between highlights & shadows (contrast) was perfect for the moodiness we were after. We had him sit in a way where the light was illuminating the front of his hands, while we shot from a slight side angle to capture those highlights & shadows in one frame.

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Light Type

Natural Light



Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

With the editing of this shot, we wanted to really draw attention to the hands and so we applied our base preset and tweaked all the exposure sliders to keep a darker, moodier tone. We then used a radial filter to create a manual vignette (darkening, blurring) which helped to bring more attention on the hands writing.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic


The biggest challenge was actually positioning him in the light correctly. We were not as experienced as we are now and so we were prone to making mistakes in using limited light sources.

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It helped to quickly check the back of the screen and analyze how the image turned out. Had we not done this, we wouldn’t have got a shot that we liked as much. Our first few shots were brighter, more direct & forward facing.

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Location Name

Riessersee Hotel

Location aDDRESS

Riess 5, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Loation Type




It really helps to take a moment and quickly go through the shots you took. Of course, only if the moment allows it. If it’s something that is not time-sensitive or can easily be photographed again, take that chance to quickly ‘skimp’ through it all and make sure you come back with a shot you really like. If you don’t, try something completely new and push yourself.

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