TC11042023

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L&D are a couple based in Washington State, USA. They approached us to capture their wild elopement on the Isle of Skye in Scotland. An extremely adventurous couple and keen mountaineers, we had planned an elopement day for them that would take us to several new and slightly tricky spots to reach in the north of Skye. They were keen for dramatic landscapes, adventuring off the beaten path, and for the moody and misty weather that often characterises the ‘misty isle’.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

We primed our couple while they were warm and in shelter behind a rock, telling them that we were waiting for a shoot window. We described the rock that they would be climbing up to, which way to face and what direction we would be shooting from. We knew we wouldn’t have much time, and it was also really cold, so we wanted to keep things really simple. We asked them just to hold on to each other, with the bride resting the side of her head into the groom’s chest and for him to wrap her up. When you have a great location and great conditions, sometimes all you need is the simplest of holds, especially when keeping each other warm is the most natural response. Over-complicated movements in the freezing strong winds just leads to a lot of dress wrangling and time wasting.

What did you say?

When you get up there it’s going to be absolutely freezing, but amazing! Don’t worry about striking a pose, just hold to each other tightly—keep each other warm. Close your eyes and absorb the moment and the elements. If you feel the urge to laugh, cry, kiss, adjust your footing, go ahead. Shout out if you’re getting too cold!

How did you compose your image?

We had a very strong wind which really forced us into a specific range of locations where they weren’t being too buffeted, nor hair or dress blowing into their faces. Fortunately the wind direction favoured us using two natural rock needles that provide a perfect symmetrical framing, and an elevated platform upon which to position the couple. The couple were technically backlit, although the light was completely diffused by the fog.

How and what did you focus on?

The only complication for achieving autofocus was the swirls of fog blowing between the camera and the couple, but once focus was locked, it was an uncomplicated capture.

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How did you use the light in your image?

The day went from relatively bright, harsh light to highly diffused light in a heartbeat as a small snowy weather system moved through our location. The fog noticeably dropped the amount of available light, but we still wanted to freeze-frame the shot so kept the exposure at 1/400 and aperture at a reasonably wide f/2.8. We increased the ISO from 100 to 320. We generally shoot with auto WB as we shoot capture RAWs and correct everything in post.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Nikon D750

Lens

Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 G

Filter

Tiffen 1/4 black pro-mist

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/400

Aperture

f/2.8

ISO

320

White Balance

Auto

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

We used our standard tonal preset, which sets up a relatively muted palette with not terribly aggressive tone curves. As we were shooting into a very bright, but highly diffused light, the couple’s bodies facing us were in soft shadow. However, we needed to balance the couple’s brightness against the background. We use subject masks in LrC to achieve that (so much easier now than in past versions of LrC!), raising the exposure and highlights on the couples, while using sky masks to drop the brightness a little from the backdrop. We also used a background mask to select and then dehaze the background by around 10 points so that we could see a little more of the rock forms behind them.

Shooting into the light like this can confuse the white balance, and it can take a little while in post to decide which way we want to go with this. Knowing the natural colours of the rock offers a good neutral point for correcting both the exposure and the white balance, correcting for any extreme changes to skin tones this produces. The couple’s skin was also rather pink due to the cold, so we altered the red hues very slightly to take the edge off.

There were also some tourists in the background and we couldn’t wait for them to move out of shot, so we just cloned them out. We always aim to get a shot right in camera without making too much extra work in post, but if we can see if it’ll just be an easy clone, then we’ll accept that.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom CC, Other

Preset

Personal preset

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What challenges did you face?

The main challenges were the freezing wind, limiting the time to capture images, as well as the fog itself….while it adds to the mood, a little too much of it means you can’t see a thing!

How did you solve them?

Timing. Keeping things simple and being ready for our moment.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

We always say luck is a product of preparation and opportunity. We went up the Storr on a day that, on the face of it, wasn’t going to give us the moods that we were hoping for. We already knew several good locations, but before the clouds rolled in they hadn’t been ideal due to the harsh light. However, being at the location, with knowledge of the space and angles meant that we were perfectly prepared to take advantage of an intense, but short-lived, weather phenomenon that rolled through. We’ve lost count of the number of times similar events have happened to us on past shoots, so it pays to be ready for them.

The Caryls Photography

Shooting since

2018

Current Home

Scotland

Website

Instagram

We’re Katy and Jim: lovers of life, light and the great outdoors! We’re a husband and wife photography team, based in beautiful Scotland. We’ve been photographing weddings regularly since 2018, and it’s been quite a ride! We’re two quite different people, who essentially love the same things (nature, adventure, travel and people). While Jim is very much a cerebral person: a creative yet analytical thinker who loves a research task and is very methodical and detail-oriented; Katy is more of an intuitive soul, who is spontaneous, creative and empathetic. You could say we’re chalk and cheese! But we find that by working closely together, and listening to each other’s gut instincts, we always bring out the best on a shoot—two heads are better than one, as they say! As photographers, we’re passionate about storytelling, documenting the heartfelt moments and capturing not just what a couple’s wedding day looks like, but what it ‘feels’ like. When we deliver a gallery, we always aim to transport a couple back in time, to allow them to re-live their special day all over again! We feel that, at heart, this is the power of wedding photography. We specialise in intimate weddings and elopements throughout Scotland, the UK and beyond! We’re always super-excited and inspired by destination weddings and the opportunity to shoot against a different canvas.

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