Night photography of wedding bride and groom drinking wine

How I shot it : Natalie and Luke

20 DEC 16 – Learn – by Lucas Kraus


This is perhaps one of my favourite shots I have ever taken. It was taken around 3 years ago at La Aqua in Darling Harbour. I had been wanting to do a shot like this for a long time, and when I saw the candle on the table and an interesting background with plenty of light I quickly asked Natalie and Luke if I could grab them for about 2 minutes.

Camera settings

In order to let in enough light, I had to really push my cameras capabilities. It is quite a dark scene and I grabbed candles from around the venue to light their faces. My shutter speed was 1/30. It was important that I shoot this with very stable hands so there was no camera shake. Having my shutter speed at 1/30 allowed enough light from the candles to spill onto their faces and create quite an interesting background.

My aperture was at f2.8, the widest my 24-70mm lens could go. This allowed more light into my sensor and also to blur out the background. My ISO was at 3200. Cameras today have excellent sensors and shooting at ISO 3200 produces only minimal noise. The photograph was still underexposed according to my histogram and LCD screen so it needed quite a bit of editing.

The most important thing I did, or in this case didn’t do was use flash. If I had used flash it would have given a flat and 2 Dimensional light over their face. Instead, using candle light alone and pushing my ISO to 3200 gives it a nice warm, soft light on their faces.


With a shot like this, the posing is essential to perfect. I wanted to create an intimate photo and one that signified that although they are in the middle of a really busy reception, they still had the time to show how much they loved each other.

I had Natalie and Luke come together and bring their heads together. I gave them both a glass of champagne and asked them to tip their glasses towards each other. This was to signify that they are celebrating their marriage with a quiet drink. I also had Natalie put her arm around Luke’s shoulder so you can see her amazing engagement ring.

I asked them to look down towards the candles so more light would spill onto their faces. If they had their eyes open it would look a bit strange so I asked them to close their eyes and produce a soft smile. Natalie and Luke both did a fantastic job and I was thrilled how this wedding photo turned out.


First of all, I had to increase the exposure and shadows in editing as it was a tad underexposed. I also did skin smoothing on Natalie as the candle light was creating some unflattering shadows on her face.

The colour balance was also a bit out of wack so I had to do some correction there. I added in just a bit of contrast to give the photograph a little more punch and reduced clarity a tad to give it a more softer look.


It took me about 5 different attempts to get this correct. First I used a little bit of flash which I decided against. I then shot it at ISO 1600 which was far to dark. I then took about 4 to 5 photos at 1/30 and prayed that my hands were steady enough to not create camera shake.

I don’t want to sound full of my self, but I love this photo. I love the chaotic background of the Darling Harbour lights and the juxtaposition of Natalie and Luke having a quite moment to themselves. I love the warm light created by the candles on the table as opposed to the blue light of the background. If you are looking for a professional wedding photographer in the Brisbane area please visit our Contact Page to make an enquiry.

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