• Backlit
  • Dance
  • Dancing
  • Dark
  • Indoor
  • intimate
  • leaning back
  • Moody
  • Natural
  • old building
  • passionate
  • styled
  • Window Light

The story behind the image

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This image is a series of my movement shots but this happens to be the one that stuck with me. The body language between the newlyweds, the soft light coming from behind, and her being a professional ballerina really helped execute what my vision was. A mix of dainty and elegant held by a strong and passionate force. I use a lot of dance references in my prompts and this was the first time ever using it on an actual ballerina so it made it easy but with some gentle guidance and demonstration, any bride or groom wanting an image like this can.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I focus mostly with prompts rather than posing – Point A to Point B. I told my couple that point A was facing each other and arms wrapped around each other (photo opportunity) and then point B was to “dip” her but still stay very close and connected with her. Even reaching towards her and kissing her collar area if he could reach. I told her to fully release back – neck and all. Letting her arm reach towards me, I also had her bring her dress up and let go of it softly and this was the end part of that.

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What did you say?

From point A to B, I want there to be an opportunity for photos. So, move slow and with intent. Point A is being completely wrapped within another, face each other. Point B will be you (him) dipping her but staying very close and maybe even trying to kiss her collar bone or chest. You (her) will completely release and hold on to your dress, releasing it softly towards me. When you let go, soften the hand and fingertips – do not claw or tense them. Okay, ready… action.

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Tone of Directions



I will be the first to admit that I rarely keep composition rules in mind. I shoot very intuitively and maybe even the rules are subconsciously in my mind so I can frame them to look aesthetically pleasing. I knew I wanted the windows in frame to add some glow and that I wanted to focus on her the most, specifically her hands since I gave specific direction on how I wanted them to be. I told her if she was going to move her head, to do it towards me so I can get her full focus. This composition was dependent on shapes between the two and the hand connection.

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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

This was a movement prompt so I was back button focusing on her face as she was moving down and towards me. I am not a huge stickler on sharp focuses, as long as it’s telling the story.

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Focus Mode

Continuous Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

Female's face

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Sigma 35 f/1.4 Art
1/160 @ f/1.4 ISO200 WB-7050K

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

It was midday but the sun was not shining directly in but it was still backlit. It was easy to shoot with the diffused light. While the light was behind them, I moved to the corner of them so they are technically backlit and she is side lit. I wanted the light to hit softly on her hand and hair/face.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

Nostalgic and dreamy. That are my main focuses when editing. Decades is a perfect preset for that as it literally focuses on film-like nostalgia while keeping as much true to color as I can. I did bring clarity down to add to the dreamy effect and lifted the highlights to accentuate the glow. I like to keep images on the warmer side but still keeping with the true to color. I kept shadows down and blacks up to still be moody without the harsh blacks.

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Editing Software


I wanted them to dance around more than they could. It was an abandoned atrium with debris, broken dry wall, glass everywhere. We had to keep the movement in this space pretty minimal which wasn’t my plan.

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Since they were barefoot and I wasn’t, I was able to do the moving around during this. I took advantage of their top body movement and getting different angles since I could move around easily to make sure I was getting variety in this one section we were in.

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Location Name

Urban Decay Atrium

Location aDDRESS

Garfield Park, Chicago

Loation Type

Abandon Atrium


United States

Do not be afraid to move around, don’t stay stagnant. Create shapes and dimensions with your subjects and see it is as 3D rather than 2D. You can get some interesting images when you see the whole body rather than a wide shot where they are only parallel to you.

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