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‘The Exchange’ | How You Shot It by Jason Marino, Imagine Photography

By Jason Marino on August 29th 2015

How You Shot It is a series where you show us how you shot an image. Many who use our presets love to share their special processing recipes. You can join the SLR Lounge Community group on Facebook and share your favorite images and recipes as well! Or for a chance to have your shoot featured, click here.

About the Guest Contributor

Jason Marino is a professional photographer who along with his charming, talented wife, JoAnne, travels the world eating…and sometimes taking pictures.  You can check out their work and learn more about them at

afterThis idea came about shortly after we arrived at the hotel.  We walked through these doors to enter via the back entrance, and when we were informed last minute the bride and groom were in need of a place to read letters to one another (yet not see one another), this spot immediately came to mind.

While JoAnne stayed upstairs with the bride and shot her getting ready, I went downstairs and set up our lights. The clients were adamant about not seeing each other prior to the ceremony, so when the groom arrived I read him the riot act telling him “no matter what you do, do not turn around or you’ll accidentally see your bride!”  The bride came down shortly thereafter, and we told her to sit down directly behind the groom and not to look behind her.

They handed each other their personal letters and began to read, I shot from this spot and my wife move around and shot from different perspectives, both of us capturing dozens of images of the scene before us.  As we were shooting, we noticed the emotions start to build.  It was a beautiful moment, and we’re so glad they felt free enough to just let the emotions run as we shot.

The shot itself was pretty easy though we had to meter for the big, bright windows outdoors and make sure not to blow them out.  That’s where our love of off camera flash came in.  Using MagMod MagGrids with 1/4 CTO Gels on our flashes, we were able to expose for the windows yet dial in as much light as necessary to expose our subjects properly and not get too much light spill on the sofa, wall, and floor.


Image SOOC

We love deep, rich, moody processing, so we try to shoot for that in camera knowing we can pull down shadows and blacks later.  We used our own base preset which ups the contrast, drops the blacks, enriches the color tones, raises the saturation and vibrance just a touch, and gives a lot of mood in the image.

We also burned down the windows (and some of the surrounding background) by several stops, so they weren’t competing for the viewer’s attention.  We really wanted the subjects to be the only focus of this photo.

Lightroom Settings

  • Contrast +37
  • Highlights -21
  • Shadows +19
  • Whites +36
  • Blacks -29
  • Clarity +30
  • Vibrance +10
  • Saturation +5
  • Camera Calibration Saturation Blue Primary +30 (Your clients will thank you for this one.)

Gear List:

This shot seems simple, but it was all rather rushed and last minute, and that’s the beauty of being familiar with your equipment and knowing what you need to do the job.  We had to put this together in a matter of minutes and be sure it would come out how we needed, or the entire moment would have been lost.  Having trust between you and your clients is paramount to a situation like this going off without a hitch.  Our clients had to trust us to not only come up with a location last minute but to also capture it in a compelling way.


About the “How to Shoot It” Series

This educational series highlights amazing images from our writers as well as our community. The goal is to not only feature inspirational work but to provide valuable education for our photography community. If you would like to submit your work or shoot to be considered, please click here.

This site contains affiliate links to products. We may receive a commission for purchases made through these links, however, this does not impact accuracy or integrity of our content.

Jason Marino, along with his wife JoAnne, travels the world eating street food in sketchy alleys, making loud noise on guitars, and occasionally photographs a wedding. Check out more of his work at the links below:


Q&A Discussions

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  1. Fred Erunkulu


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  2. Alicia Lacey

    Hey! Okay, so I have a logistics question. You sat him down first and then grabbed the bride… how did you get her to her seat without seeing the groom sitting with his back facing her? Sorry for the question, I just think this is lovely and would love to know how it worked out!!!

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    • Jason Marino

      Haha. Great question. She didn’t mind seeing the back of him. For situations like this, or a first look, it’s usually more important to the couple that the groom not see the bride. She walked in from the right where there was more lobby area and an elevator she has come down. :)

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  3. Sadanand Chungath

    Love the concept and processing with the exception of not fixing the perspective. I’ll call it an artistic choice and leave it there

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  4. Ricki Richardson

    i just love this! Wonderfully captured

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  6. Scott Mosley

    “Camera Calibration Saturation Blue Primary +30 (Your clients will thank you for this one.)”

    Can you explain this a little more for me? Is this a setting you always use? How does it alter the image? Sorry if it’s a dumb question.

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    • Justin Haugen

      It gives some punch to your images, but I find I have to be careful with this slider as it can make your shadows too blue.

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    • Scott Mosley

      I played around with it, and really like that range for landscapes, but got some less than desirable results for some images I shot in a church (shadows unnaturally blue). I could see +20-30 Being a good starting point for most images though as it gets rid of some of the ‘muddiness’ that result from dark yellow tones, so thank you of the tip! Do you import all images with +30 as a starting point as default?

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    • Jason Marino

      ww use it to give the skin some nice, rich tones. It can definitely be “too much” and mess with shadows if you aren’t careful. We use it on all images as our standard recipe. I’ve found 30 to be a nice place for us. Thx for the questions and comments everyone!

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  7. Justin Haugen

    I was really impressed with this on the magmod page. Great photo. Thanks for the write up!

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  8. David Blanchard

    Love the concept and processing with the exception of not fixing the perspective. I’ll call it an artistic choice and leave it there.

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    • Jason Marino

      I was losing the little bit of floor I had under them when I fixed the perspective, so in hindsight I would have framed them with more floor under them and fixed perspective. Cheers

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