This post will be going behind the scenes of one of my most popular images ever on Facebook. Last week, I shot this image at the end of Candice & Steve’s engagement session out in Union, MO. We had done some night portraits and some sparkler images, and then I looked up and saw how incredibly clear the night sky was since it was so dark without the light pollution of St. Louis. I’m sure they thought I was crazy, but I like to demonstrate that I can be a little crazy, create something amazing, and then they trust me even more for their wedding day when I ask them to do something crazy when they’re all dressed up. Anyway, I had started packing up my gear, and then I stopped and was like go stand over there because I have this wicked awesome idea. They kept mumbling about Taco Bell because they were hungry. Ha!
My D800 with my 24-70 was still on my Manfrotto tripod, and my cable release was still set up. I had very minimal gear on me, so I had to make do. Normally I would have gelled my flash since I wanted the blue/purple sky, but I wanted them to look normal. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that, so I just set the camera to 3000K which made them look like smurfs, but it was easily fixable in Adobe Camera Raw.
I had Steve hold a flashlight at their faces (towards their faces so that I could focus in live view) and put them right at the bottom right corner of the frame. I asked him to gently bring her in for a kiss by holding her chin, and asked them to remain very still. My camera settings were ISO 2000, f/2.8, and 13 second shutter speed. I needed the wide aperture, high ISO, and long shutter speed to capture as much ambient light of the stars as I could without them streaking. I also had my Cactus V6 trigger on camera, and I hand held my Cactus RF60 flash on 1/128 power with a Speedbox 60 up to the right of them, pointing down at Candice’s nose. My flash popped right before the shutter closed. The result was this beautiful image (albeit a little blue on their skin). Warming them up in post and adding some contrast was all that was needed to create this amazing photograph. I hope they print it huge and use it as a piece of artwork!