• Adobe Lightroom CC
  • Intimate Framing
  • soft
  • Single Shot
  • Single Focus Point
  • Roots Presets
  • Quiet
  • Other
  • None / Simple
  • Natural Light
  • K&C Concept promist 1/8
  • Germany
  • Autofocus
  • Cloudy
  • Close up
  • cliff
  • Center Framed
  • Canon R5
  • Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
  • calm
  • Beach
  • Backlit
  • Sunset

The story behind the image

This wedding marked the beginning of our 2022 season and was held on an infamous little island in Germany called Sylt. Besides the journey getting there via train with a toddler (9 hours one way) and back in time to fly to New York (all a story in and of itself), the actual wedding was an incredible way for us to start our season. The whole wedding was incredibly picturesque and our inspiration levels were at an all-time high. When it came time for the couple shoot, edging closer to sunset, we thought back to some of our favourite intimate shots we’ve seen and read here on How I Shot This. This particular image was inspired by the work of the Kitcheners. Who are masters of capturing deep, meaningful hugs. There’s something more profound in a gesture of a hug; holding your loved one with your entire body, than just a kiss. And we approached this moment with that thought in mind. We wanted them to hug each other – like they hadn’t seen each other for so long, or they had just experienced a moment in their life that defined them as a couple.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

For moments like this, the less directions are better. We didn’t want to bombard them with micro-adjustments or to intrude on this intimacy so we simply asked them to hug each other; to keep each other warm and to really, really, really love one another in this embrace.

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What did you say?

Guys, we know it’s cold and we won’t be here long. But let’s go in for a hug. A real, genuine, loving hug and really let your whole body & emotions express this love to each other.

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Tone of Directions

Quiet, Calm


We positioned ourselves so the sun was just peeking in from the side of the frame which worked wonders with our mist filter. We then made sure to fill the frame with the couple as we wanted the full impact of the hug to be present in the composition. By filling the frame, we also bring the viewers into this intimate moment with minimal distractions from the surroundings. We did aim to keep their faces in the top half the image as it just feels a lot more balanced in doing so without allowing too much negative space above them. Even going as far as slightly cropping out the grooms head. It just makes that feeling of intimacy a bit more present.

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Compositional Rules

None / Simple


Center FramedClose UpIntimate Framing


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Focusing was a tad tricky here as we had to deal with the sun flare causing the scene to be a bit too washed out for the camera to find focus. So we moved ourselves slightly to block the sun, get the focus, and then recompose to get the shot while holding the focus.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot

Focus POints

Single Focus Point

Focused on

The Brides eyes

Equipment &

Canon R5
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
K&C Concept promist 1/8
1/400 @ f/2.8 ISO400 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 slightly above the horizon, we felt it was a bit too strong and dominating to include entirely in the frame of the image. This was made even more apparent with the use of the mist filter which disperses the light and can make things feel a bit too hazy. We positioned our couple to have the grooms back against the light, with the brides face turning out to catch any rays it could so we could see her face. We then composed in such a way that the light only slightly peeked into the frame and became an accent, and not a focus of the image.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Light Quality


Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

As it turns out, turning the groom’s back into the sun shielded the light on the bride almost entirely. This left her face very flat and almost lost in the shadows created by the groom. We realised this only after we looked at the images on the computer. Therefore, editing would require a bit more work than normal. We chose to work in black & white here as the moment just matched the tones. After applying the preset, and adjusting the contrasts, highlights & shadows to get the overall mood we wanted, we then went in with the brush and brightened up the brides face slightly while also adding a bit more contrast. We had to be subtle here as it quickly started to look weird if it was pushed too far. We also added in a bit more enhancements to the sun which made it spill over the shoulder even more; adding to the hazy romance of the image.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom CC
Preset Used


Besides the cold and quickly fading light, the biggest challenge was recovering some dimensions in the brides face as it was very flat due to being in the shadow.

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We realised we had to do some local adjustments in lightroom and spent a while finding a balance of how much more to brighten her face without it seeming unnatural.

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Location Name

Landhaus Severins Morsum Kliff

Location aDDRESS

Landhaus Severins Morsum Kliff, Nösistig 13, 25980 Sylt, Germany

Loation Type

Beach, Cliff



Don’t over direct your couples when you want to capture real, genuine moments. Telling them what to do is important, but try not to micro-adjust things. If it’s not perfect, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that the moment is real, that the couple look back at that image and forget entirely that you took the picture – but rather those feelings they felt when in that moment.

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