modern arizona wedding in the desert
  • afternoon
  • midday
  • Unposed
  • sunny
  • strong light
  • sand
  • Rule of thirds
  • Outdoor
  • Natural Light
  • Natural
  • Laughing
  • Back light
  • Horizon Line
  • Harsh Light
  • full body
  • Energetic
  • Desert
  • clear sky
  • Ceremony
  • Candid
  • Back lit
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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For ceremonies, couples are mostly looking at each other so you don’t see their full face a ton, but I love the moments when they look out at their audience after the officiant says something that makes them laugh, or mentions something about their guests! I wanted to create a moment like that! I wanted to create and capture that feeling of “we’re so happy we’re surrounded by our favorite people”!
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

This image was taken at a workshop I host with Olivia Markle, called Yellow! Normally during a real ceremony, I obviously wouldn’t be directing the couple at all but since this is a styled shoot we direct the couple with prompts, for this photo I jokingly told them to look out to all their guests who they are so excited came – when in reality the guests we’re just our students so it got them to laugh! I love being sarcastic with my couples and making jokes to get them to loosen up and get those real smiles out of them!!

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What did you say?

okay now lookout to your guests and see all your very best friends and closest family in the audience who you adore sooooo much

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modern arizona wedding in the desert


I wanted to capture the landscape, specifically the full length of the amazing cactus behind them! I also wanted to add some magic to the image by putting something in the foreground so I grabbed a piece of a plant laying around and held it in front of my camera on the left side, which is how I got that pretty light spot there!

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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

I always use autofocus and for this image, I focused on the bride’s face! I use back button focus and I use continuous focus mode with my camera’s max amount of focus points available (for me that’s 52!) This allows me to move my focus point to wherever I want, so I moved it to be on the bride’s face then I pressed down on my back button to focus and then click the shutter!

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Focus Mode

Continuous Autofocus

Focus POints

Multi Point

Focused on

Brides face - with far away images like this one I just center it in the middle of her face!

Equipment &

Nikon D750
Nikkor 35mm f/1.8
1/4000 @ f/2.2 ISO100 WB-6000K

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

This was around 2.5-3hrs before sunset so the light was still pretty harsh but pretty low in the sky which is great! The key for me when shooting in this type of light is to shoot dark, aka underexpose. It’s going to seem like the couple is super dark but I want to keep the highlights of the sky from being blown out and when editing all it takes is to bring up the blacks and the shadows and your couple will be correctly exposed again!!

We backlit the couple – aka the sun was behind them! The sun was also off to the left which I usually prefer to be directly centered behind them which creates super hazy images from so much sun right behind them. With the sun to the side of them, we got crisper images which I prefer for the majority of photos!

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Light Type

Natural Light

Time of day




Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I used my Tessa Tadlock Preset #1 and then bumped up the warmth until I got that glowy goodness that I love! Then I added a little bit of contrast. Next, I went to the HSL sliders and bumped up the oranges to give their skin more life and blues to make the pretty blue sky pop! Lastly, I upped the luminance at 20 because their faces were a little grainy, so that smooth it out!

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Editing Software
Adobe Lightroom Classic


The blaring sun can always be a bit challenging!

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Under exposing!! Trusting that you will always be able to bring those shadows up while editing!

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Location Name


Location aDDRESS

Phoenix Arizona USA

Loation Type



United States

I’ll never get over how much I love the look of something blurry in the foreground! I really think it just adds so much extra spice and sparkle and interest to an image!!

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