• broken rules
  • Natural Light
  • Sunset
  • Stars
  • Star Trails
  • Soft Light
  • simple
  • Outdoor
  • night
  • Natural
  • calm
  • Mountains
  • lower thirds
  • Long Exposure
  • Leading lines
  • Evening
  • Directional Light
  • Dark
  • Center Framed
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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The photo was taken in Jordan, in the Wadi Rum desert. In addition to wedding photos, I also take night photos of Star Trails. I decided to combine these two fields of photography. This photo consists of a large number of photos combined into one. Most shots take 30 seconds of exposure. This method allows you to get the effect you see in the photo where the stars create a trail of light as the earth rotates. We started the shoot around sunset and ended up staying late until the evening to collect all the images I needed for this image to work.

The result is a combination of the two “scenes” of images. The couple at a late sunset evening and the star trails just above. In order for this to have worked well, I also needed to pay attention to the framing for each shot as I wanted them to line up naturally in Photoshop.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I talked to the couple calmly. I asked them to touch each other but didn’t give any specific directions as I wanted this moment to feel natural and not forced. And since the star trails are such an impactful part of the image, there was no point in having the couple “Compete” for attention by doing something extravagant.

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What did you say?

Guys, let’s have you stand here peacefully and make contact with each other. I’ll be up over there taking a bunch of shots and we’ll just need you to hang out down here.

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Tone of Directions



This image is heavily focused on a center-framing composition with the mountains and star trails taking the dominant attention. I had a choice to make; whether to have the center of the star trail ( the Polaris) be in the frame or to have those towering mountains and I chose the mountains since it just felt a lot better in my opinion. The star trails then took less of a main role but more a complimentary role to guide people to the mountains, then the couple.

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Compositional Rules

Leading Lines


Center FramedLower ThirdsWideFull BodyNegative Space


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Here, the focus is set differently depending on the shot: on the bride and groom, on the mountains, and set to infinity (sky). I mainly used manual focusing as autofocus does not work properly at night. And even manual focus is a challenge but it gets better with practice, and taking a ton of photos with a slightly shift in the focus just to be sure.

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Focus Mode

Manual Focus

Focus POints

Multi Point

Focused on

Bride & Groom, Mountains & Sky

Equipment &

Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8
160/ 30s @ f/7,1 / 1.8 ISO160 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

In the photo with the couple, the sun was coming from the left side of the frame where the sun had set and was at a rather later point in the sunset. For the evening photos, the only real light came from the stars as being out in the desert means that we had almost no light pollution. I think that all-night photos are a great adventure and especially in a dark desert, though it does have its challenges.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Light Quality


Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

This photo consists of a large number of photos combined into one. This method allows you to get the effect you see in the photo. I used several programs for this purpose, incl. Photoshop. I made many corrections, stamps, and brushes, and I removed unnecessary, distracting elements. I enhanced the natural colors of the stars (resulting from redshift).

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic, Adobe Photoshop
Preset Used
Own custom Preset


This photo was taken in quite difficult conditions, at night, in the desert, in the dark, and far away from civilization. It is not possible to even light a flashlight, as it would ruin the frame. There were also flying planes.

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You have to like what you are doing and be calm and patient.

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Location Name

Wadi Rum Desert

Location aDDRESS

Wadi Rum Reserve, Jordan

Loation Type




A Star Trails photo is definitely a photo to prepare for, be knowledgeable about astronomy, have a tripod, plan, and plenty of time with you. It is not a photo that will be taken in a short time. But it’s worth it, because the effect is beautiful, and the execution itself is a great adventure. I am already planning another one.

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