Behind the Photo – Elegant Dubai Wedding from Paul Santos

Paul Santos Photography After Photos © Paul Santos Photography

Taken in Dubai last year, this shot by Paul Santos won a Best of the Best in 2014 and remains one of our favorites to date. When a photo properly incorporates a venue’s architecture, the result is utterly magical. On top of the gorgeous lines and clean angles of this shot, there’s a feeling of intimacy… almost as though you’re peeping through a window to observe a guarded moment. I keep returning to this photo to better understand the space and the movement. Lucky for us, Paul is here today to take us through the making of this image step-by-step.


Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Dubai




Nikon Df + Nikoor 85mm f/1.8 Lens

Camera Settings:

F/1.8, ISO 2000, 1/100 sec

Paul Santos Photography Before

The Inspiration:

With the outside temperature exceeding 40°C I wanted to make the best use of the cool air conditioned interior for portraits before we headed outside. The lower levels of this hotel were busy, and the ceiling details of this building really intrigued me, so I took a varied series of shots encompassing the inside architecture of the building. For this image, I took just two shots, one with Nadia’s hand visible, and one without. Both images had an LED light placed on the floor behind them to create a stronger focus on the bride and groom. In between myself and the couple, was nothing but a 4 floor drop as I was shooting from one of the upper building sections to another. The shot was simply taken to frame the couple using the buildings strong interesting lines.

Paul Santos Photography After

Post Production:

Like all my images, it was edited to finish in ACR. I always saw this photo as black and white, with no colour to detract from the strong lines and curves surrounding the couple. The highlights were slightly pushed against the darker background and a slight amount of sharpening applied. Then finish.

Thanks to Paul for sharing this behind the photo story with us! Love learning about the making of phenomenal photography from industry leaders? Then be sure to check out our complete list of Behind the Photo articles. If you would like to dominate a photo for a Behind the Photo feature, comment below or email editorial(at)


(2) comments

  1. Her little hand gesture under his chin makes this whole photo for me! Love it!

  2. I have always loved this image since i first saw it on Paul’s blog. It’s great to hear first hand the way it was shot and also that it has been distinctly recognised by Junebug.

    Great choice 🙂

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