• architecture
  • broken rules
  • building
  • cool pose
  • Creative
  • Directional Light
  • full body
  • Harsh Light
  • Leading lines
  • off center
  • Outdoor
  • Shadows
  • standing apart
  • Street
  • sunny
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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One look at that building with the sun beaming down on it and we knew we had to use it somehow!! We’re already a huge fan of using harsh sun and shadows in our work, so walking past this building was like being handed dinner on a silver platter.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Tina and Akash were really accustomed to the way we worked by the time this photograph was taken. It was near the end of our session and we were just walking back to our car when we came across this building. I jumped a little in excitement and asked if they would humour me by standing on the ramp next to the building. I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted them, but it always helps to get the bodies there, see how the shadows play and then adjust as needed.

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What did you say?

OWW! Guys, this building is super cool, do you want to try something with it? (They excitingly nod!) Let’s start with you both on that slopey bit over there. Stand slightly apart and just look out in front of you for now. Try not to stare in the sun!

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With a lot of our work we think about the dimensionality, the depth of the image. A lot of time that comes through our work as foreground blur or using the background to frame our subject in some way. In this case, I was able to find a concrete bench near by which had similar angles to the building. It made for some easy framing!

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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Since they were really far away my AF point was about the size of their entire body. That’s okay! Auto focus did the trick and zooming into the image on the back of the camera help confirm that the image was sharp.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot

Focus POints

Single Focus Point

Focused on

Couple's body

Equipment &

Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II
1/3200 @ f/5.6 ISO160 WB-5500K

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

It was mid summer in the late afternoon during this shot. The light was strong and dare I say, harsh. Not the easiest to work with, but when used in this way, it’s pretty dramatic and fun to see the results. On super sunny days, it seems like the only option is to look for a shady spot, but we actually prefer the sun, it’s dynamic and adds a certain something that we gravitate towards.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

We applied our preset first and made a few adjustments. Our Canon’s run a little more towards magenta than we want them to, so correcting that was first on the docket. We added a radial mask around the two of them and increased the exposure slightly. Highlights were brought down a touch as well. Finally a little straightening and the photo was done!

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Editing Software
Preset Used
Our own creation


With direct sunlight it’s best to see what you’re being given and then decide on how you want to use it, instead of the other way around. It would have seemed easier to look at the building and find a cool angle to capture our couple and the building together, but then the challenge would be to figure out how to work all those elements together with the sun shining down the way it is.

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Instead, look at how the sun is shining down, think of it as your key light in a studio setting. But instead of you placing your subjects in the studio and then moving the key light to light them, do it all backwards instead! The key light is already placed and can not be moved, so where should your subjects go?

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Location Name

University of British Columbia

Location aDDRESS

Forest Sciences Centre, 2424 Main Mall, Vancouver, BC V6T 1Z4

Loation Type




I would definitely do this shot again, or at least come here and play with the sun at a different time. That’s the best and worst part about working in living spaces (vs. a studio) sometimes you get the most spectacular lighting and environmental elements and the next day you could get absolutely crap from the exact same place! Being a wedding photographer is about taking all the different elements you’re being given in that moment and figuring out the best way to apply your style and approach.

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