Photo of the Day

Eye-Catching Portraits and Photos of the Week for Aug. 28 

August 28, 2023

By Hillary Grigonis

The rugged beauty of the mountains means inspiration is rarely in short supply. But, shooting in the mountains brings with it a long list of challenges, including temperamental weather, high altitudes, and varying times for sunset. Photographers also often have to work around other visitors enjoying the beauty — or trek to a more remote view. This week, we feature five photographers who tackled the challenge of shooting in the mountains for photographs on a grand scale. Find inspiration in this week’s photos of the week from Becca Lueck, Morgane Raposo, Wes Shinn, Matt Pocknell, and Jack Makin. 

Becca Lueck, Becca Jean Photography 

© Becca Lueck

Shooting in the mountains alters the time of sunset — which can be an even bigger challenge when traveling to an unfamiliar mountain range. While her home in Oregon makes Becca Lueck of Becca Jean Photography familiar with shoots in the Rockies, she captured this image while traveling through Ireland with her friend. While visiting the country, she put out a model call and arranged a session photographing a local photographer’s family. During the shoot, her friend spotted a butterfly and the little girl was able to get the insect to climb on her finger, prompting big genuine smiles. She captured the shot using the Canon R5 and the Canon EF 35mm f1.4L II. 

“I shoot in the mountains a lot, considering I live in Oregon, and the hardest part about it is figuring out what time to start the session to ensure you don’t miss the sun,” Lueck said. “If I can’t scout it in person first, I will use Google Earth to see where the sun is setting and what time.” 

Morgane Raposo, Morgane Raposo Photographer 

© Morgane Raposo

The weather tends to be unpredictable in the mountains — Switzerland and Scotland elopement photographer Morgane Raposo (@MorganeRaposo) says photographers need to be ready to adapt to ensure a great and safe experience. During this elopement, the hike was cut short due to an incoming thunderstorm. Still, Raposo was able to capture this shot portraying just some of the scale of the mountains. She captured the image using the Canon 5D Mark IV and a 24-70mm f2.8 lens. 

“My main inspiration, apart from my clients, is nature. I’ve always loved to create pictures that showcase the beauty of it, and how small we humans are on Earth, especially in those massive landscapes. My aim is to create pictures that makes people feel like they are in some kind of fairytale land, and I feel like this image portrays that well, with the couple looking at some part of the landscape we can only imagine, and the huge mountains, which you can hardly gauge the size, in the background.” 

Wes Shinn, Wes Shinn Photography & Film 

© Wes Shinn

The weather in the mountains can change quickly, often bringing wind. On this day of 30 mph wind gusts, Wes Shinn of Wes Shinn Photography & Film used the wind to create motion in this couple’s portrait taken at Raven’s Roost, Virginia. While wind makes off-camera lighting even more challenging, the shot is still beautifully lit with two AD200s to light both the couple’s faces and the dress. 

“The weather can change in an instant,” Shinn said. “Even with the most accurate forecast, the weather can change from sunny to rainy followed by wind and fog. Not to mention keeping the camera gear secure from all the elements — while maintaining a balance in communicating with couples. There’s a lot going on to capture an image like this, with wind gusts up to 30 mph on this particular day.” 

Matt Pocknell, Matt Pocknell Photography 

© Matt Pocknell

As a wedding and elopement photographer in Scotland, Matt Pocknell (@MattPocknellPhotography) is intimately familiar with the Scottish Highlands microclimates. It’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons in one day, he says. During this wet evening, keeping the couple and his gear dry and warm while reaching the more remote areas was a challenge, but one that resulted in this grand image using the mountains to frame the couple. He captured the shot with the Sony a7R V and the 24mm f1.4 GM lens. 

“I am continuously inspired by the world of cinema and the way in which huge, epic shots are used to set the scene and establish the location of a subject for the viewer,” Pocknell said. “This is something I try to create in my photography. Many of the couples I work with choose to elope to Scotland because they are in love with its vastness and its beauty, and I am always on the hunt for new ways to frame couples in the landscape in a way that amplifies that huge difference in scale between the subject and the mountains. This photo was taken from a viewpoint looking down the Glencoe Valley on a wet evening in the Highlands.” 

Jack Makin, Creek and Country Photo 

© Jack Makin

As a former ski instructor, Jack Makin of Creek and Country Photo is no stranger to the mountains. The photographer was on foot for this shot, however, and he said running up and down the slopes at high altitude was the most challenging part of the shoot. The other challenge was waiting until the frame was clear of other people, as the location in Wengen is popular among skiers. He captured the shot with the Sony a7 III and a Sony 35mm f1.8 lens. 

“I was shooting Matt & Hannah skiing towards me and as they went past, I turned around and this composition just stood out. I saw the little ridge that they are standing on, saw the amazing backdrop and asked them to ski up to it and just have some time with each other,” he said. “I framed them to the left as I think it makes the composition more interesting than if they were centered. I think the scenery completely dictated this photo and I really wanted to try and capture the scale of the mountains behind the couple.” 

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