Photographed by The Archivers


This photo was taken during a styled elopement shoot planned with a photographer friend, Sandie Boloto. Lance had recently got a smoke machine and was hopeful that he could find a way to use it during this shoot and brought all our lighting equipment with us. While Sandie and Alison were photographing the couple in the bedroom Lance got inspired by the giant shower downstairs that formed a nice enclosed & dark space and quietly got all his equipment and started to set up the light and smoke machine. It was the end of an amazing but very cold shoot that already lasted several hours, we didn’t know if the couple would want to keep it up but when they saw what Lance created they got really excited and that’s how we got this photo!

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Our goal was to create a halo of light so we asked the couple to position themself in front of the light to create that backlit effect and told them to hold each other.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“I know it’s cold so JB hold her close and warm her up, cuddle up, look at each other and stay in front on the light”
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Broken RulesClose UpOff Center

We wanted to be close to give a sense of intimacy while still giving enough space to get the light and smoke in the frame to set the mood. By placing the bride at the center of the image and having the groom on the left, it gave the right balance of space between groom, bride and empty space with light and smoke.
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We all love a good centered photo but sometimes an off centered image can give some nice dynamism, don’t hesitate to play around a bit!


Single Point Focused on Bridge of the bride’s nose Single Shot Autofocus
The focus was a bit challenging because of the lighting conditions but we had time and the moment was slow. We focused on the face of the bride, more specifically near the nose to properly expose the highlight (we use priority aperture mode most of the time and then manually choose how we want the exposure so in this case we underexposed by -1.5 stop).
Light & Weather

Harsh LightArtificial LightBack litDarkMoodyIndoor

This was taken in a small dark enclosed place which allowed us to create light in a controlled way. It also helped getting the smoke more dense and visible. We were in a very tight space so not a lot of movement from one side to the other was possible. Don’t hesitate to ask your couple to move to make sure they are positioned right in front of the light to create the backlit effect.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/100 f/2.0 ISO 640 WB Auto


Canon 5D Mark IV


Sigma 50mm f/1.4

Additional Equipment

Smoke Machine

Flash / External Light

Godox AD600BM

Flash / External Light Setup

The Godox AD600BM was placed on a light stand with the modeling light turned on at the highest intensity for steady continuous light. We used an orange color gel on the light to make it warmer. The light was placed behind the models and slightly above them to give them silhouette and highlights. We filled the space with smoke every few shots to give the space a moody atmosphere.

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Light / Flash

Godox AD600BM

Light / Flash Mode


Light / Flash Power



Standard reflector


Behind the couple and raised a bit above their heads aiming down at them


Software used:


Adobe Lightroom

I used our Earth 02 preset as a base. I wanted the image to reflect the darkness and moodiness we were going for. I lowered the temperature to make it more cold and moody and gave the photo more contrast to have the smoke really pop out.
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This image was edited with

We used the Earth 02 preset from our own Elements Presets Collection

Challenges & Solutions
The most challenging part was the smoke. To have the atmosphere and texture that we wanted in the photo, a lot more smoke than we anticipated was necessary. Also the smoke machine stands on the ground and therefore we needed to make the smoke go up to where the models were.


Wedding / Event Venue France

Les Bonnes Joies

Chemin Des Chayets 78440 Lainville-en-Vexin

Final tips & Advice

We wouldn’t have been comfortable trying this kind of photos on an actual wedding without experimenting it first and getting comfortable and knowing our equipment. So our advice is don’t ever stop creating for yourself and experimenting. Learn new techniques, new equipment, get comfortable with it and then show what you can do to the world and you will attract clients that will book you for those specific skills.
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The Archivers

Photographer France Nikon Z7 II NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S
HI! We are Alison & Lance, a French/American photography couple. We met in 2016 in Paris while studying photography and unexpectedly fell in love. When the time came for Lance to go back to the US he couldn’t picture his life without me and we moved in together. We dream of a peaceful life by a lake, we just don’t know where ahah! We’ve been nomad since 2020 and looking all over Europe, we think it’s now time to try and find it in the US… fingers crossed! In 2019 we started photographing weddings, at the end of our first wedding season we knew it didn’t feel right. Since then we’ve specialised in elopements and recently uncovered our true calling, something unique we hope to bring to life in a year or two… stay tuned!
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Where focus goes, energy flows.

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