SG15032022

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The Schwarzach Gorge, also known as Schwarzachklamm or Schwarzachdurchbruch, is one of the 100 most beautiful geotopes in Bavaria and has been a protected area since 1936. When I visited and explored this place for the first time, I fell in love with it directly. Then, in mid-December, Jessica and Murtaza sent me a request for their after wedding shoot. All they knew was that they wanted to take pictures in nature. So when Jessica told me about her green wedding dress, I thought that would certainly go well with the gorge in terms of color. So I told them about the Schwarzachklamm.

(Their Muslim wedding was to take place one day before in Frankfurt.) They were totally thrilled by my idea and agreed to shoot there. On the shooting day, it was a few days before Christmas, we met right at the entrance to the gorge. It was snowing heavily, but that only emphasized the magical atmosphere in the gorge. And then it was just them, Jessicas beautiful green wedding dress, the gorge, and my camera while they explored the place together. Just like I had a few weeks ago.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

I had to speak a little louder because it was snowing heavily and they were also a little further away from me. Nevertheless, I tried to speak very calmly and harmoniously so as not to disturb the magical mood. I just asked them to explore the gorge and to walk slowly to the river.

What did you say?

Murtaza, could you hold Jessicas Hand as gently as possible and guide her towards the river? Please take your time while doing so. Look around – left and right – and enjoy the moment. You two look really gorgeous!!

How did you compose your image?

With this picture, I wanted to show off the beauty and the size of the gorge that Jessica and Murtaza were exploring, while also portraying my couple in a beautiful way. For this, I placed them in the lower middle of the picture, allowing the composition to breathe and presenting the gorge as a whole, and framing my couple.

At the same time, I wanted Jessica and Murtaza to still be easily recognizable in size. The right distance was therefore very important. Additionally, the structure, as well as the river and the bench, work as leading lines, drawing even more attention to my couple. I love how harmoniously Jessica’s green wedding dress blends in with the surroundings. It makes the colors repeat themselves in a natural way. The couple almost seems to merge with the location.

How and what did you focus on?

Focusing was a bit difficult, because the canyon was very dark and my ISO was already at 1250. So I opened my aperture down to 1.4 to let more light in. Fortunately, my camera has good autofocus and I was able to capture them sharp & crisp. I think it also helped, that they were walking slowly.

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How did you use the light in your image?

When this picture was taken, the sun had already set behind the clouds. This was one reason why I had to bump up my ISO and open my aperture. The second reason was that the gorge was already dark due to its cave-like structure. The further they went in, the worse the light became. This is why I told my couple to walk towards the river – where they could absorb more of the natural daylight. At least, the rest of it. ;)

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Canon R6

Lens

Sigma Art 35mm f/1.4

Filter

None

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/200

Aperture

f/1.4

ISO

1250

White Balance

Auto

How did you edit your image & what did you use?

I used one of my own Lightroom presets for outdoor pictures and adjusted it. My goal was to get rid of the cooler colors I got in camera and make them feel warm and cozy. I wanted the colors to be earthly toned, while still feeling the winter vibes. The greens were very important because of Jessicas amazing green wedding dress, so I took my time with the green and yellow color sliders. Later, in Photoshop, I got rid of some smaller details in the picture that I found distracting – for example, a branch that stood away in a strange way.

Software Used

Preset

own custom preset

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What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge was definitely the low light. My camera can generally handle it very well, but I’m still cautious about using my ISO too high, because I don’t like the “in-camera-grain” very much.

How did you solve them?

In post-processing, I reduced the heavy grain created by my high ISO and added “artificial grain” instead. I find that this “Lightroom grain” usually looks more even and beautiful.

While shooting, I placed my couple in the best lighting situation there was – away from the dark parts of the gorge and into the cloudy daylight.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

I am very glad that I visited the location in advance and explored it myself. Therefore, it was easy to guide my couple there on the day of the shoot. Also, I knew in advance that there were a lot of visitors on certain days. For this reason, I let the shooting take place during the week and not on a Saturday or Sunday. And of course, I had some concerns about the low light. In hindsight, I think I could have increased my ISO even more. First of all, the grain can be reduced well and secondly, you don’t see it at first glance at all. I think it’s more important just to create an atmospheric image rather than a technically perfect one.

Sarah Guber

Shooting since

2019 (professionally)

Current Home

Nuremberg

Website

Instagram

Hi! I’m Sarah – a wedding photographer based in Nuremberg. I love taking raw and intimate photos in a fairytale-like style. When I am not drinking coffee or reading books, you can find me wandering in the woods or hiking in the mountains. I am a person who falls in love with sunsets and beautiful landescapes again and again. One day I want to travel the world with my camera.

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