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Contact Sheet: Layering

Yorebridge House, Yorkshire Dales

September 2018

Time for a new contact sheet today and I thought I'd discuss something which I'm keen to add to my imagery as much as possible - layering! Why do I love layering so much? I guess it's down to storytelling - why just tell one singular story, when you have an opportunity to add multiple ones to a single image. I've chosen this moment from Carly + Gary’s Yorebridge House wedding in the Yorkshire Dales because unlike the last contact sheet, where I spent up to 5 minutes perfecting the shot, this one only took 11 seconds!

One of my aims on a wedding day is to make images visually interesting, so that people looking at the gallery are continually taken on a visual journey, which helps to keeps them engaged. One of my techniques is to frame people in certain ways, to help isolate a moment that's happening, and (to take it to the next level) I look to see if I can incorporate something else to help build a layer. In this instance I was inside capturing the table details, when I noticed Carly chatting to one of the guests directly in front of the window. I immediately began looking to frame her and the people behind her between the window pane, setting the aperture to f16 to make sure the whole scene was in focus. You can see in Frames 1, 2 + 3 that framing Carly and the other guests in either of the window panes wasn’t working, so I moved to my right, and it was at this point that I noticed another set of guests standing there, which I realised would make another excellent layer! So for Frame 5 I quickly moved slightly to my right to ensure they were fully in the frame, and Carly's big laugh sealed the moment. All these decisions happened in split-seconds, and without quick movements, and continuously shooting, the moment would've been lost. Would I still have delivered the image had Carly not laughed? Absolutely! But it definitely wouldn't have made my Best of 2017.

Hope you enjoyed this, and would love to hear any feedback you might have :)


Yes!! Superb shot and I love the insight into how it came about. Patience and persistence paid off.

Steven Carter Hewson 14 September 2018

Awesome shot! So much story in one frame.

I thoroughly enjoyed the previous Contact Sheet post, and I’ve got to say that this one doesn’t disappoint! Although I love shooting with a shallow depth of field, it can (if the photographer is not careful) become a bit of a crutch.

I think layering is a great antidote to that - arguably it takes greater skill to execute correctly - and can help advance one’s craft by being more observant, and composing an entire scene. I think this shot is a great example of exactly that.

Getting an understanding of your own personal process via these Contact Sheets articles is very beneficial to me personally. I want to introduce more layering into my approach, and seeing how someone at your level works gives me a guide into how I could potentially hone my technique. As a concept, layering is much-discussed, but I find that the explanation and execution of it is not always clear.

Thanks Kristian. Articles like this, which are more about ‘vision’ and composition are much more inspiring to me than the more plentiful gear or pure technique articles (although those do have their place).

Looking forward to the next one!


Tom Aizenberg 14 September 2018

Very interesting to read about your thought process and how you have to constantly evaluate what you’re shooting to create an image with narrative which takes it to the next level. I also like the repetition of the pale blue which ties it all together really nicely. Nice one dude :)

Rik Pennington 4 October 2018

This is a really useful insight Kristian, I love snippets like this, keep them going! It’s always interesting to see the images either side of the perfect shot to see how your mind works in getting the image you are looking for, and a reminder to us all that if you spot the potential for a shot, stick with it!

Robin Goodlad 9 October 2018

What a great post - and insight to your way of working. It shows how much attention to detail you’re giving your clients, I bet they love you! Superb shot by the way and so great to see the window frame hasn’t been made straight, such a temptation these days. Love your work!

Suzanne Fossey 12 October 2018

What an interesting post. It’s really good to see how a shot evolves and read what your thought process was. Thanks

Ally Stuart 13 October 2018

Great article. I often struggle to choose THE one photograph that gives all the emotions in a scene.

Andrew Miller 23 October 2018
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