Pre-dawn engagement photo shoots might not be very future bride’s or every future groom’s cup of tea. Many of you are late risers and would understandably prefer to sleep in rather than having to get up, get yourselves “camera-ready” and go to have pictures taken of you before the sun has even made an appearance. Throw in the fact that in the winter the temperatures during these kinds of engagement photography sessions are often uncomfortably cold, and it is not hard to fathom why many future spouses prefer to give these a miss.
For those who are either early risers or who are willing to make the effort anyway, however, getting your engagement pictures done before dawn can result in some truly magical images. If you are lucky, we can take photos of you and your fiancé(e) in front of a beautiful sunrise. (Unfortunately, the morning when we did this lovely couple’s engagement shoot was overcast.) Even in a colorful sky is not in the cards, though, there is a lot we can do with artificial lighting to create portraiture with dramatic differences between light and shadow. As you can see in this engagement portrait, the results can be absolutely stunning.
We met this future bride and groom at the Tannenbergallee Bridge in Hannover, Germany. It was a venue that they selected — one that was near their house and that offered a nice view of both the sky and the buildings along the canal that runs through that part of the city. After capturing some images of them illuminated from the front, which created a beautiful scene in which they were lit up against the dark background of a city still sleeping, we decided to move our lights to a spot directly behind them and use them to backlight the bride- and groom-to-be.
Lighting this future husband and wife from in this particular way led to some dazzling portraits like the one featured here. There are four things that we particularly like about the series of images that we captured using this technique. First, illuminating them from that angle gave the spouses-to-be a nice rim lighting that helped define the shape of their heads and set them apart from the dark background. Second, the light that spilled over to the sides of their faces that were facing the camera was soft, gentle and flattering. Third, we love the way that the future bride’s blond hair caught the light and blazed to life against the dark sky. Finally, our flash did a great job of putting what is called “catch light” in their eyes.
This last part is extremely important in creating the sort of unforgettable pictures that you would want to print and put on your mantelpiece. Eyes that gleam with light look happier, which is why the beautiful bride-to-be in this photo looks so overjoyed to be in the arms of the man with whom she will be spending the rest of her life.
Location: Mittellandkanal, Hannover.