Creative Engagement Photo Session from Atlantic Beach, Florida

Dave and Julie in Atlantic Beach with surfboards for Save-The-Date card

Many people have asked me how Julie and I created our self portrait “Surfers on the Beach” Save-The-Date card that was recently sent out.  So here we go.


  • Nikon Camera
  • Nikon 50mm f/1.4
  • Tripod
  • Nikon SB910 Flash
  • Pocket Wizards
  • 2 surfboards
  • ability to run quickly

STEP #1: Take Julie’s Photo – Wake up early before the sun comes up and carry two large surfboards out to the beach.  Position Julie facing West, with her back to the soon to be rising sun, which will give a beautiful hair light to the “talent”.  Position camera on tripod and compose image, leaving enough room for Julie to later photograph me.  Mark spot with “X” in the sand.  Go back to camera, set manual focus, timer at 10 seconds, and with flash in hand press the shutter button.  Next, run to Julie hold the flash as high as possible and wait for the camera to fire both shutter and flash in hand (with attached pocket wizard).  Run back to camera, check image, adjust camera/light settings to taste, and repeat numerous times until the “talent” likes the photos of themselves.

STEP#2 Take My Photo Julie photographs me repeating the same process, keeping the camera settings and focus exactly the same.

STEP#3 PROCESS -Upload images to Adobe Lightroom and choose two images that you are both happy.  Color correct and sync so that both photos have the same color balance.

STEP#4 Create Composite Image – Export images into Photoshop where you can combine both photos, using layers, and mad photoshop skills.

Step#5 Add Save the Date Text – Create several types of layers including Multiply, Color Burn, and Dodge with text to make realistic looking graphics for surfboards.

Step#6 File Save!

Engagement Photo with surfboards in Atlantic Beach Florida


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