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Our Valentine’s Portrait

It’s Valentine’s Day!… and we’re fortunate and thankful to be spending it together again. Over the years we’ve hung up a few photos of myself and many photos of Kay lol. So this year (and also keeping up with our new year’s resolution) we wanted to create a special photo of BOTH of us that we could hang up and look back on. So this photo held extra meaning for us… not only did we have fun brainstorming this idea, and not only were we super anxious to try and carry it out… we now can print it and hang it on our “US” wall. yays! It’s amazing what you can do when you put that extra effort into it… even if there’s nobody around to click the camera for you. =)

Anyways, we hope you all have a very special valentine’s day. Remember that this day isn’t just for “love birds”; friends and family can make wonderful valentines as well.

valentines 002 Our Valentines Portrait

The idea of “floating hearts” came to us awhile back… we both liked it so much it really got us to thinking about trying out different things. Our first idea, the Valentine’s sneak peek photo incorporated floating hearts by manipulating the camera settings to create the perfect bokeh hearts. With the photo above, we wanted hearts to literally fly… with the camera capturing some motion through depth of field. Hope you guys like this photo as much as we enjoyed creating it. Read below for tips on how you can recreate something like this.

BTS notes:

Take a look at the setup photo below… it really is a straight forward shot. We mounted the camera onto our boom-arm and set it up for self timer interval. After snapping a few test shots to get the proper framing, the rest was really about the initial creative idea… and then hoping mother nature doesn’t sneeze down on your shoot. There was a good gust at one point that sent a bunch of our cut-out hearts over to our neighbor’s yard. oops haha. The worst part about this shoot was picking up all the hearts and trying it all over again to get the perfect shot.

Camera settings:

The best setting for your camera on something like this is to use manual mode and manual focus. It’s the only way you’re going to keep the focus on your subject while the hearts fly by. Also, if on auto-focus… the focus hunting might lose you the perfect “money” shot you’re hoping for.


Natural light is the best way to light an idea like this. It’s the only way your camera shutter will be able to keep up. If you used a flash, you would have to wait for the recycle time… this would keep you from shooting in burst mode to capture all the hearts, petals.. etc flying by.

valentines bts 001 Our Valentines Portrait
valentines bts 002 Our Valentines Portrait

Gear used:

  • Nikon D700 with Nikon 35mm f/2D: The 35mm on the full frame camera D700 is just wide enough to capture the whole scene. It’s quickly becoming a favorite lens of ours.
  • Avenger Century Stand Grip/Boom Arm kit: when you are hoisting a ton of $$$ in camera equipment overhead… you better make sure you have a reliable boom. When you have a cheap boom… if you are lucky… your gear falls to the ground; worst case? your camera konks your model in the head! uh oh!. That’s why you stick with a tried and true brand like Avenger. This sucker is heavy duty. Century Stands (C-stands) are much more stable than typical light stands. This stand breaks into three pieces: legs, pole, boom arm. It weighs about 20lbs, so it’s heavy but still portable if you really need to take it somewhere. This C-stand is also what we use for our studio lights when we mount larger modifiers on it.
  • Arca-Swiss Monoball PO ball-head: you know you need a “real” ball head when every time you mount your camera to your tripod and tilt it down.. it keeps on sagging and tilting. We’ve been there before lol. This ball head will screw onto your tripod… or anything else (like our boom). Attach your camera to this ball-head with an appropriate plate and it’s locked on. One twist to loosen the ball… then swivel to a position you want… then just another twist to lock it tight. Rock solid grip!
Posted in: Photography, Portraits   |   Tags: BTS info, BTS photo, couples, hearts, natural light, Nikon 35mm f2 photos, Nikon D700 photos, outdoor photography, outdoor portrait, self portrait, valentines portrait  |   Post a comment.
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14 Comments shared. Your thoughts are welcome.

  1. Mai
    Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 8:22 am | Permalink

    I love how you guys share the BTS! They’re cute, funny and very helpful.

  2. Xia
    Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 11:12 am | Permalink

    Such a sweet picture! Happy love day! =)

  3. Evelyn
    Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 11:38 am | Permalink

    Wow, I really really really like it. Makes me want a session for Jerry and I! So tempting…!

  4. Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 11:41 am | Permalink

    I love your photo!! Gosh, do you have more? Love it, love it, love it!! Aww…I really like Ty’s outfit and Kay, your dress is amazing!!

  5. Lori
    Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 12:20 pm | Permalink


    OMG you guys are so ridiculously cute. The picture is beautiful, but I want to see more!!! lol How did you guys get the hearts the fall down as you were lying on the deck…? Love Kay’s dress and the giant flower in her hair.

  6. Ying
    Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    that is a sweet shot!!!

  7. Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    totally HOT. missing a BIG ring KAY. LOL i still love it–Ty and KAY always amazing little things like this makes me SMILE big for the DAY

  8. Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 6:10 pm | Permalink

    LOL! The BTS shots at the end gets me every time. You guys are so creative. Come back to MN soon! Stain and I want dibs on a photo session. ;)

  9. Nou Vang
    Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 7:03 pm | Permalink

    The photo looks awesome. Love the dress.

  10. Lily
    Posted Monday, February 14th 2011, at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    You two are sooooo talented and look soooo good together. Love it. Keep sharing.

  11. digit
    Posted Tuesday, February 15th 2011, at 12:02 pm | Permalink

    I just want to put Kay on top of a cake. She’s so cute. You too, Ty!

  12. Posted Wednesday, February 16th 2011, at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Omg, you two just amaze me day by day! I give you two props for everything just working alone just the two of you! Ans such lovely pictures to cherish! You guys will look back and be very thankful for them.:)

  13. grace
    Posted Thursday, February 17th 2011, at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    soo cute you two are! happy late v-day! i love the BTS shots!

  14. Blia
    Posted Friday, April 8th 2011, at 11:40 pm | Permalink

    You guys are so funny! I love how you guys just post these funny knick knack directions to follow! Thank you!

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