• black & white
  • Blur
  • broken rules
  • calm
  • Center Framed
  • Creative
  • Leading lines
  • Moody
  • natural frames
  • Natural Light
  • photoshop
  • Posed
  • Shade
  • Soft Light
  • Walking
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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It was the 22nd March 2020, a beautiful but incredibly cold day in the central belt of Scotland. Just days before the first Coronavirus lockdown in the UK. I would soon find out that this would be the last wedding I shoot for a while.

I was booked as a matter of emergency, 3 days before the wedding. The pandemic was quickly gaining momentum, the shelves in local shops were empty and everyone was growing more and more concerned.

Although it was an intimate ceremony followed by a short photo-walk rather than a wedding of the size it was planned to be in first place, it couldn’t have been more perfect.

After Claire and Fraser said their I do’s, we went for a walk alongside the river. The two, although worried about “posing” at the beginning, quickly settled into it realising that there is no posing as such but rather good conversation mixed with silly prompts and dad jokes.

This photo was taken towards the end of the photoshoot. The sun was quickly coming down and we were just on our way back to the car to warm up. As we were marching towards the car park, we spotted this little hut that belongs to the Dollar Golf Club – a place the Groom spent a lot of time over the years.

I had this idea in my head that even a simple wall can be an incredible background for a wedding photo. The camera sees the world differently to the way we see it – I explained to the couple. With a tiny dose of scepticism and a few jumping jacks to warm up, they decided to let me prove it to them.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I wanted the photo to oscillate around the bride. I asked Fraser to take a few steps forward and relax. As he was slowly walking, I asked Claire to lean comfortably against the door, and look around – to the left, over my shoulder and then follow Fraser with her eyes. I took a few photos to later choose the one that seems most effortless and natural. I knew that it’s the white dress framed by the dark door framed by the white wall that would draw the eye. Everything else was meant to be a blur.

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What did you say?

Okay Fraser, remember how we talked about walking like you’re on a catwalk? Very slowly walk towards the car. Perfect. Now Claire, lean against that door and get as comfortable as you can be. Maybe tuck your elbows in to warm up a bit, and look around you – to the left, over my shoulder and then follow your brand new, hot husband with your eyes.

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Tone of Directions



The wall of the golf hut was a geometric shape and so deserves some order in the composition. I knew I would have to tidy the photo up in Photoshop – there were too many distractions in it – from the signs on and above the door, to the telephone lines above. What drew my eye was the tree line headed towards the apex of the building. I thought that it would guide the viewers eyes perfectly towards the centre of the frame if it was mirrored on the other side. I wanted the world in the picture to be slightly surreal and blurry, almost as if it’s not a photo but a peephole glimpse into the wedding day. Distorted but focused on the bride.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I used single point focus on the bride. I tend to do that with most pictures. Sometimes I lock the focus and reframe. In this case it was not necessary.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The bride's face

Equipment &

Nikon D750
Sigma Art 35mm F1.4 DG HSM
1/3200 @ f/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

The sun was quickly coming down and had already hidden behind the trees to the left. The subjects were in full shade which made the light very even, soft and flattering. The goal here wasn’t to create something with harsh light but to rather have things really pleasantly lit.

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Light Type

Natural Light



Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

Stage 1: The preset

I tend to modify my presets each wedding I shoot. As far as I remember I used one of the original B&W presets from Jacob Loafman. Once the preset was applied I removed all the grain, added some sharpness and exported the photo to JPG in full resolution.

Stage 2: Photoshop edit

I then edited all the imperfections out – the overhead lines, the signs, the floodlight and some imperfections on the wall. I copied the layer and flipped it horizontally. I then added a mask, inverted it and proceeded to brush through it over most of the right hand side of the image to create symmetry in the treeline. I saved the JPG.

Stage 3: Exposure Software

As minimum I always use Exposure to add grain to my images. It’s a common step I apply to every single photo I deliver. In this case I created two layers – the bottom one, where I applied a Petzval lens bokeh effect. The Petzval lens was the first photographic portrait objective lens in the history of photography. It was developed by the Voigtländer company. I had a chance to play with one of the original Petzval lenses a while ago. Its beautiful swirly bokeh fired up my imagination and changed the way I see bokeh forever. The Exposure filter is pretty good at imitating the original if it’s applied lightly. In case of this photo, I pushed it all the way, straying far from the original.

Once I had the bokeh nailed down, I simply added the Rodinal Developer 25% grain. I exported the photo to JPG.

Stage 4: JPEG Mini

As I do with all my galleries to save precious space – I ran the picture through JPEG Mini, saving 75% of its weight.

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Editing Software
Lightroom, Photoshop, Exposure 6 and JPEG Mini
Preset Used
own custom preset


It was freezing cold. If you have never been to Scotland in winter or early spring you may underestimate the combination of high humidity, low temperature and wind. It sucks the warmth out of you in seconds so having a walkaround photoshoot without a thermal flask full of tea and a warm jacket to put on inbetween the photos can be a difficult task!

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Silly jokes, a lot of movement and a spare jacket can do miracles!

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Location Name

Dollar, Clackmannanshire

Location aDDRESS

2 Back Rd, Dollar FK14 7EA

Loation Type

Old House


United Kingdom

This shot was a typical Hail Mary. Some of the best ideas I’ve had come to me when the photoshoot is nearly done, when the weather gets worse or when I think I can no longer muster my creativity to come up with something meaningful. Then boom. I get this idea that I desperately want to try so I try to convince the couple to go with it. It was this exact way with the picture above.

Remember, never is too late to get that one last shot. You never know what you’ll end up with!

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