How a photographer lit and photographed this couple in Antelope Canyon
A common source of inspiration for photographers, and a very popular tourist spot, Arizona’s Antelope Canyon is truly wonderful. Formed mostly due to erosion from flash floods, its passages cover a length of around 600 metres (2,000ft).
It’s no surprise, then that it’s a popular destination for portraits, especially for California wedding photographer Christine Diaz. When I saw the image above, the colour and vibrancy just leaped out at me. I had to get in touch with Christine to find out more.
While a very inspiring place, we asked Christine what drew her to this location in the first place.
Antelope Canyon is truly one of the most beautiful locations on the West Coast. The shape and contour of the canyon is extremely fascinating and, to my eye, a photographer’s playground.
Not only did the rock formations attract my attention, but the majestic variety of colors the canyon possesses captured my desire to make the thirteen hour journey to this location.
And there was me thinking that 2-3 hours to get to a location was a long drive. Thirteen hours each way is dedication!
With an excited engagement couple in tow, we toured and photographed within the canyon over the course of two days using very minimal equipment that could be easily transported on foot.
Packing light for working on location certainly makes life easier, especially when you have to walk. Christine told us about the gear she used to make this shot and the lighting setup.
One flash unit placed directly behind the subjects provided some background separation. The other placed camera right in front of the subjects with a diffuser acted as the key light.
Shooting on location often presents challenges, even when you’re not at a heavy tourist destination. Christine told DIYP about some of the issues she faced and how she got through them.
Shooting here did present some challenges. Since Antelope Canyon is a very popular tourist spot we had to work fast to avoid strangers in our shots.
Also, the light proved to be challenging at times in certain areas, so careful thought and consideration regarding light and location was essential to the success of these images.
In some cases, the light was perfect. In other scenarios we had to “create” the light. Nevertheless, we were able to overcome these various challenges quickly and efficiently to produce stunning imagery.
Christine tries to get her images as close to the finished product in camera as possible. So, post processing is minimal, although still required.
I used Lightroom to do the basic processing. The images were then handed to Ramiro Cervantes for a little more work in Photoshop. Enhancements included sharpening, vibrance, selective color saturation, vignetting, and filters from Nik Effects.
My idea was to create impactful engagement masterpiece images that would accurately represent the amazing natural beauty this canyon has to offer. My experienced team and I were able to do just that, and I am very proud to have had the opportunity to shoot at Antelope Canyon.
Well, it certainly looks like Christine accomplished what she set out to achieve. We thank Christine for her time and talking to us about this session.
Antelope Canyon is one of those places I’d love to visit myself. Even if not to photograph it, just to see it in person. The camera tends to understate just how amazing many locations are. So, to actually be there and experience it first hand must be something else.
Have you been to Antelope Canyon? Have you made photographs there? Where else in the world would you love to go and shoot? Let us know in the comments.
John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.