• broken rules
  • calm
  • Contemporary
  • Dark
  • Directional Light
  • Harsh Light
  • Mid range
  • Moody
  • Natural Light
  • negative space
  • Posed
  • Rule of thirds
  • Serious

The story behind the image

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David and Lilian are both creatives so they knew what they wanted, which was something moody and somewhat abstract. The sun was high which was a challenge but at the same time I used it to my advantage to play with shadows and the harsh light. Ultimately it was through the use of this harsh light that I could achieve something with a little drama and mood, which was exactly what they were after.

I placed them both about 2 metres apart both in the direct sun. The distance between them forced me to choose to focus on one of them and have the other slightly out of focus, which still being lit well. I had to make sure that they were well positioned for the frame so I got them to move only slightly left or right so I could get everything framed well.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I simply asked them to stand in a certain way without too much energy or laughter. My goal with this was to create a really strong, contemporary image and by removing the usual “laughing, smiling and kissing” moments, we’re left with two beautiful humans.

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What did you say?

David, stand here in the light and look over your left shoulder and just contemplate. Completely at ease. Lilian, I want you in the back in that spot of light and to gaze over to David.

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Tone of Directions



The main goal in the composition of this image was to create mood and give the image a little bit of that abstract feel to it. I achieved this by making sure the light was on them and underexposing the background. The less clutter I could have in the frame the better the image would be.

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Compositional Rules

Broken Rules


WideNegative Space


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I focused on the bride for this shot. Whilst I debated in my own mind where to focus I figured that naturally one would want to focus on the subject closer to the camera, so I did the opposite.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

Bride's eyes

Equipment &

Sony a7iv
50mm f/1.2 GM
1/5000 @ f/1.4 ISO80 WB-Shade

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 completely natural light. The light was behind me but hitting my couple directly. This is possibly the hardest light to work with because typically it’s so harsh that you’d want the light behind them. But in this image, the harsh light is EVERYTHING that makes this moody image work. Make sure you tell your couple not to look at the light directly… (for obvious reasons).

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Light Type

Natural Light

Light Quality

Harsh,Front Lit

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I used my own preset here and made sure to keep the edit dark and moody. I wanted to embrace the negative space created by the darkness and accentuate the couple in the spotlights. I kept the skin tones more on the warm side via the white balance and HSL sliders and finally adjusted the sharpening to just bring a little bit more out of the image.

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used
Own preset


The main challenge was to make the harsh light work well on their faces.

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Tilting their faces in the right direction worked a treat. Groom’s face had to be more of a profile look whilst the bride had to tilt her face up (chin up) so as to not have too much shadow on her eyes.

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Location Name

Sydney CBD

Location aDDRESS

Pitt Street Sydney

Loation Type




Don’t second guess yourself on tyring to do a shot that is a little abstract. In fact, I told my couple that I’ll give this frame a go, but if it didn’t work out we can just move on. Be honest with them. Not all shots work out but you’ll never know if you don’t try it.

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