Marisa Kraft + The Story Behind

We spotted Marisa’s stunning, light infused photo in our IG tag feed and fell in love! We reached out to her to see if she would be down to being featured in our The Story Behind series and we were ecstatic that she said yes! Reading her answers to our questions, we love how she doesn’t wait for the perfect location to capture a photo. She found a present of perfect light in an ordinary room and played with it to her advantage which resulted into an amazing photo! Keep reading to learn more about how this amazing photo came to be.

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What inspires your art?
My creation process is driven by whatever I find beautiful at that exact moment, which is why my work spans many genres. One day it will be a flamingo at the zoo that looks striking in afternoon light, and the next day it will be a discarded bottle on the streets of Chicago.

Where was this photo taken?
I took this in the hallway of an airport hotel.

How did the location add or hinder to your image?
There is absolutely nothing special about this location….except for the beautiful light that was pouring through the tattered blinds at the perfect angle. I was happy to see that the wall was covered in very plain wallpaper so it wouldn’t distract from the gorgeous light.

DSLR, iphone, instant or film?
DSLR | Nikon D850 and shot with a Nikkor 35mm f1.4 lens.

What were your camera settings for this image?
The settings were f/3.2, 1/250, ISO 640.

Can you tell us “The Story Behind” this shot?
My husband I were leaving for a trip to Quebec City and Montreal… the first trip we had taken without kids in 4 years. We booked a moderate hotel near O’Hare so we would be near the airport to catch our early morning flight. As we wheeled our luggage to our room, my eyes landed on this fantastically lit backdrop. I told my husband we had to take a self portrait there. This was the first set of photos I took during the trip, and it felt like the perfect way to begin our anniversary adventure.

What speaks to you about this image? What specifically made you press the shutter?
I think it is so important to create photos with our significant others. Just us, as a couple, not flanked by kids. Most often, our kids tend to be our subjects. Sometimes, we get in the frame with our kids for family shots, and that is a major victory  But it is rare to get in the frame with JUST our significant other. When we are old and looking back on memories, I want to make sure that I have images that capture the love my husband and I have for each other through all the stages of life. We will love reliving these moments, and our kids will treasure them too.  I knew I had been slacking on this lately, so I told my husband that we really needed to take some during our trip. 

It is always a little awkward to figure out how to pose for these. We started off with some serious shots…but we really aren’t serious people! We kept laughing in between and once, he even smacked my butt! This shot was taken right after that happened…I was laughing pretty hard! It ended up being my favorite from the set because it felt the most “us.”

What was your composition technique with this shot?
I wanted us to be positioned to the left of the frame so the viewer’s eye could follow the light to us.

Did you have any lighting challenges/How did you light the image?
This image is lit entirely by the light from the window. The most challenging part of this was making sure that both of our faces were equally lit. At first, I was completely shadowing his face with mine. I moved him just a bit further from the wall so the light would reach the side of his face. With my back facing the window, I had to also turn my head just a touch so some of the light would reach me too. These issues would have been easily remedied if I was behind the camera, but since it was a self portrait, it took more trial and error.

Did you use any special techniques – freelensing, prism, etc?
No…just a tripod and my cell phone to trigger the shutter.

Was this photo happenstance or did you visualize it prior? If so, how did you envision the image and set up for it?
Like I mentioned, we saw this spot as we walked to our room. We dropped off the luggage and returned with my camera, tripod, and cell phone which I use as a remote.  I set up the tripod about 8-10 feet away from the wall, and then took a few test shots of my husband to adjust my settings. From there, we were kind of winging it! Some shots were absolutely awful, but there were a few keepers in the bunch!

Did you use a preset to edit this image, your own selective edits or a combination of both?
For Black and White editing, I love to start with one of the presets from the Authentic Collection as a base and then hand edit from there.

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  • November 7, 2019


    The lighting in this picture is gorgeous.