How I shot this: An Engagement Session at the Four Seasons in Hamsphire

It may be easy to presume that this image is a double exposure. I’m a big fan of double exposures and have been using the in-camera double exposure settings that Canon cameras have at weddings for many years. Whilst double exposures take a lot of thinking about in terms of layering exposures and composition, later models of the EOS 5d and also the newer mirrorless EOS R have the ability to be able to see a base image when shooting double exposures which helps a lot. Anyway, having said all that, this image isn’t a double exposure. It’s just one frame. The thinking is similar to a double exposure though as it seems there is a second image (the sky) dominating the dark parts of the image containing the couple.

Background

This was the second part of a ‘live’ engagement shoot. Nick and Kristen are from Boston USA and Nick planned the whole thing to a tea, including getting Kirsten’s parents over in secret to celebrate with them. I had spoken with Nick on the phone but we met (secretly) before the shoot at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hampshire. 

Technique

I had the idea for this image whilst scouting the location waiting for my lovely couple to arrive. This is a technique I’ve used quite a few times before and involves shooting right through a building that has windows on both sides. This particular building was some kind of summer/lake house with windows all around. I stood outside the building shooting through a closed window, focusing on Kristen and Nick in the distance on the other side of the building. I had to wait for the sun to go behind the clouds so that the exposure had better balance between the scene on the ground and the clouds. Getting the camera close to the window allowed me to see the reflection of the sky behind me which was easily visible against the much darker wooden ceiling inside the building. You can see the wooden beams in the blue part at the top of the image. It was then a case of asking my couple to walk across the scene and wait for the right moment.

Editing – Not much really – my usual preset plus a bit of a gradient from the top with negative highlights to eliminate distracting highlights, and positive clarity to emphasize the detail sky reflection.

Engagement shoot at Four Seasons Hampshire
Engagement shoot at Four Seasons Hampshire
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