Morgan & Rose Photography is an Edinburgh based wedding photographer who travels through Europe to photograph weddings. Behind this name, there is a Sarah, a talented photographer passionate about love. We fell in love with this session she captured in Scotland.
Tribe Collective: What preset did you use to edit these images?
Morgan & Rose Photo: I used Flint & Steel by Tribe Red Leaf.
TC: Can you give us a list of the gear you used for this session?
M&R: I used a Nikon D750, a Nikon 24-70mm 2.8, a Sigma 35mm ART 1.4 and a Nikon 70-200mm 2.8.
TC: What was the inspiration for this session?
M&R: The most delightfully cool and sweet couple (Jacob + Rebecca) got in touch with me about creating a series of engagement photos for them here in Scotland. They are getting married in Kent this summer but were engaged in Edinburgh and so it's understandably a special place for them. At first, we talked about shooting in Edinburgh city centre and then Calton Hill, a landmark hill in the middle of Edinburgh with stunning views… but after lots of discussion with them both, and seeing how absolutely adorable they both were, I felt like I wanted to create something a bit more special.
I’ve been wanting to be more adventurous and photograph Glencoe for ages now and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. Both Jacob and Rebecca loved the idea of visiting the highlands for their shoot but because this was December in Scotland, I knew daylight was going to be at a premium. We agreed to meet at Calton Hill before sunrise, where Jacob proposed to start us off and capture the sun coming up over Arthur’s seat, so it meant a very early start to the day. It was worth it though and we were able to see a lovely deep orange sunrise peek up over the top of Salisbury Crags. We barely spent half an hour there from start to finish before having to jump in the car and head up north. It’s deceptive, Glencoe doesn’t look that far on a map from Edinburgh but since the road network isn’t that modern, it takes nearly 3 hours to get there.
After a quick pit stop for a bite to eat, we were hitting the Glen just after lunchtime and thankfully the area was pretty quiet. Tourists flock to the Highlands in the summer and of course, it’s beautiful any time of year, but during the winter I think it comes into its own, all atmospheric with a very low sun and deep shadows. The most pressing concern that I had on our drive up was the fog that can roll in and obscure the view entirely and on our drive up, this seemed to be the case.
Rannoch Moor was almost entirely obscured by low lying mist. That can have its own aesthetic advantages, but today we just really wanted the view! Luckily, climbing higher into the mountains meant that the fog was mostly burnt away and we were greeted by the iconic view of The Three Sisters, part of a range of mountains called Bidean nam Bian which lies to the south of Glencoe and creates half the famous glen.
TC: Did you encounter any challenges while photographing this the session?
M&R: Our biggest hurdle on the day was the wind and cold. Rebecca was wearing a very summery dress for the weather and at some point, the temperature was well below zero with a strong wind and even in my winter jacket, I was feeling it. Shots were taken quickly and decisively before bundling everyone back into the car to warm up!
We ended the shoot on Lochan na h-Achlaise, a picturesque loch near Rannoch Moor. By the time we were heading home, the fog had disappeared in time to give us a phenomenal sunset with the prettiest pale pink sky to reflect off the water and snow. It was back to Edinburgh in time for dinner and we all commented that we felt as if we'd been visiting a different planet, the contrast between the highlands and city life is so great.
TC: What does your post-production process look like?
M&R: All my shoots are culled using Photo Mechanic and the images I want to edit are imported into a fresh new catalogue in Lightroom. At the moment, I’m loving the Flint & Steel presets so I usually pick an image that I’m particularly keen on and then cycle through the presets to see what really stands out to me. In this case, it was F&S 03.
Minor tweaks are made to the image, I usually add more sharpening, adjust white balance and add a bit more contrast where needed. I batch edit everything to those presets and then go through and tweak/crop each image where needed. Lately, I’ve been editing towards the cooler end of the spectrum, but these images needed that underlying warmth that Flint & Steel does so beautifully.
TC: How has your photography style evolved over time?
M&R: Like many photographers, my style began as light and airy and absolutely still probably falls into that category, but as my style has grown and matured, I personally have started to gravitate towards darker and moodier edits, with more of a film look. But as I’ve always said, not every image is going to suit light and airy and not every image is going to suit dark and moody, so you need to edit to the shoot more than anything.
Here, moody works for Glencoe, it was made for places like Scotland where the steep hills and deep valleys create dramatic shadows, and where often the sun refuses to show itself for most of winter. I see myself continuing to take more risks with my images and incorporate different techniques as I learn. I'm looking forward to trying out the new Summit presets next!
TC: What are your favourite tools for capturing, editing, and enhancing your photographs?
M&R: Photo Mechanic really transformed the way I cull my images. I love that it’s a tool that only has one purpose - so there are no distractions while using it. I don’t get the urge to start editing and it means that I can cull an entire wedding in an hour and only import the chosen images into Lightroom. Pre Photo Mechanic, importing everything into Lightroom and culling from there was a nightmare, and very slow.
My favourite lens is still probably the Nikon 70-200 2.8, as I love the compression it gives the images, especially against dramatic backdrops like the Scottish hills. I recently bought the Sigma ART 35mm 1.4 and I can see why this versatile lens is such a photographer favourite.
One of the best images from the day is the one where Jacob and Rebecca are embracing in front of the Three Sisters with a reflection of the mountains below them. The reflection was done using my iPhone screen to give a beautiful slightly opaque copy of the sky above. Something about the dark screen of the iPhone gives you a really soft transition between the reflection and the rest of the image and it's such an impressive zero cost hack.
Before I found the Flint & Steel presets, I was using a range of different presets from a few different companies. But I was never happy with the results and the lack of consistency from shoot to shoot was frustrating. Tribe presets have really changed the way I edit, for the better.
TC: What is your greatest piece of advice for emerging photographers?
M&R: I would say to be brave and ignore what other people are doing. It's okay to look for inspiration and learn from other photographers you admire, but I’ve wasted so much time comparing myself to other photographers and not being brave enough when it comes to my shoots. A wonderful quote I found a couple of years ago said: “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel” and I keep that with me always.
Everyone is at different levels and there’s always someone else to compare yourself to, so try and avoid it if you can. Also, reach out to other photographers. They are not your competition. They are your new best friends, a resource for new ideas, a potential source of referrals, someone to commiserate with when you’ve had a rough shoot and the only ones who will truly understand when you’ve taken that one photo you can’t stop talking about!