• Back lit
  • Natural
  • Soft Light
  • silhouette
  • Rule of thirds
  • Proposal
  • Natural Light
  • natural frames
  • Monument
  • Bird
  • Leading lines
  • Landmark
  • hazy
  • gentle
  • Dark
  • Center Framed
  • calm
  • Wide

The story behind the image

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Taj Mahal is one of the seven wonders of the world. Also, remembered & known as the symbol of love, commissioned by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in 1632 to honour his favourite wife who died while giving birth to their 14th child. Her name was Mumtaz Mahal, which in English translates to something like “Chosen One of the Palace”.

When I met this beautiful couple, they had this very charming chemistry; of the kind, you would immediately adore. When we decided on doing their Prewedding shoot, they decided on Taj Mahal to be the place.

I was excited beyond words. Sometimes you just know with the creative juices flowing in your head and imagining the couple on the location, what magic it would turn out to be. With the romantic chemistry they had and the beautiful Taj Mahal in the background, I couldn’t contain my excitement and couldn’t sleep the night before we were to do their shoot.

We planned to go there early morning at about 6 am. No wonder the Taj Mahal gets visitors from all around the world and it gets super tough to shoot there once the crowd appears. So we started early and went to the furthest end from the entry. To avoid too many people in frames for as long as we could.

For this image, we were shooting from inside the mosque which is exactly to the right of Taj Mahal, from the main entrance. It’s also on a height of about one meter from the ground so that further helped to avoid people in the frame. I kept my camera on the floor to really get a low angle and get a clean shot.

I asked Rahul, it’s the best moment and place to go on his knees and officially propose Surbhi. She earlier shared in our meeting, that he never actually proposed to her. They just had this understanding that they belong to each other. But she would really like to experience the moment when he proposes to her.

So he went down on his knees and while they giggled, I noticed the birds flying through my frame. Benefits of shooting early morning! Nature helps you too, to create magic. I focused on the couple and exposed for Taj Mahal. I wanted to create a dreamy photo with the Taj Mahal and a silhouette of the couple. Rahul proposing to Surbhi with the symbol of love in the background. I got a little lucky to get the birds flying in and out of the frame too at the right moment, so I could add them too.
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Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

Generally, I direct my couples to do some activity that they can enjoy together. For this image, I just wanted to recreate what the Taj Mahal is known for, a symbol of never-ending love. I just asked Rahul to go down on his knees, tell her in his own words why do you feel she’s the one for him, what she means to him. I wanted him to spend a little time there so she could feel the moment and I could get a few shots and adjust my composition if need be.

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What did you say?

Rahul, can now is a perfect chance for you to go down on your knee and tell her why she is the one for you. In your words. Give her that official proposal she deserves and be 100% there in this moment together.

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Tone of Directions



I thought to create this image using a simple rule of thirds. When I spotted the birds, I adjusted the couple in the lower quadrant while trying to get a bird on one of the intersections. I put my camera down on the floor for two reasons. One I wanted to hide the people in the background. We were shooting from a height of about one meter so that helped. Second, I wanted the viewer to have a full view of the Taj Mahal along with the couple in the foreground. An image becomes almost 100% more interesting if there’s some frozen action. Since the couple was stationary, I included the flying bird. It gives the photograph that effect of being still in a moment.

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Center Framed


Describe how you spoke to your subject(s)

The focus was on the couple. However, I exposed for the Taj Mahal. I wanted the Taj to be correctly exposed. One can always paint the couple black in post for a perfect silhouette, but if the highlights are blown, they can’t be recovered in post. Hence, expose the highlights and focus on the couple.

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Focus Mode

Single Shot Autofocus

Focus POints

Single Point

Focused on

The Couple

Equipment &

Nikon D750
Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art
1/1250 @ f/2.8 ISO50 WB-Auto

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

I was working with Natural light. It was behind my subject. It’s always super fun to use natural light and create silhouettes. However, this can only be done when the light source behind is quite big and bright. In order for the subject to be completely dark and thus create a silhouette, the light source behind must be bright.

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Light Type

Natural Light

Editing Workflow

How did you edit this image?

I wanted to retain the white color the Taj Mahal has, plus also wanted to maintain the light intensity of the early morning sun. So I just adjusted the white balance. Also, I used to spot healing tools to edit out the little heads of people I couldn’t manage to hide while taking the shot. Plus, I used a local brush to clean the sky.

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Editing Software
Preset Used
Own personal Presets


Shooting at Taj Mahal in itself is challenging. The moment you enter the Taj Mahal, it’s filled with local photographers offering their services to you. The light constantly changes and there are always too many people to get a clean shot.

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Be patient and choose the right spot away from all the photographers at the main entrance. Shoot low if you can, to hide people in frames and even politely request people to move for a shot.

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Location Name

Taj Mahal

Location aDDRESS

Agra, Taj Mahal, India

Loation Type




Use light to your advantage to create compelling images. There are a lot of things that can be done to produce a different-looking shot. Using a super-wide lens to make the subject smaller and capture Taj bigger. Placing the subject a little farther away from each other with respect to the camera to create layers. Use reflection to hide the area beneath or to create a reflection of taj and/or the couple. There are so many possibilities for creating astounding images here, I would want to explore all the possibilities before making this very shot again.

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