Couple shoot in Cape Town

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We all know about the golden hour of sunlight – that moment the sun has just about set and the whole sky lights up with the warm tones & colors that make people stop and go “wow”!

But, there’s also a period just afterward, when the sun has set and the last remnants of light still linger about. This period, is the blue hour. It doesn’t last long, but if you can manage to capture your couple during this period – you are given an incredible palette to work with some truly soft, beautiful tones. That’s exactly what we did here. One of the best things we learned was to not stop shooting, even after the sun has set. Because this blue hour creeps up, is there for a moment, and then it’s gone.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

We had our couple stand next to each other and form a “V”. We asked both of them to look out towards the setting sun and to have our groom’s hand around the lower back of our bride, gently holding her close.

What did you say?

Stand facing each other with you tummy’s touching, and then I want you to open up and form a sort of “v”. Now, both look out towards the setting sun and just enjoy this moment together. [Groom], put your arm around her waist and bring her in close. Completely be there with each other and forget about us right now.

How did you compose your image?

As we were on top of a viewpoint and there was an interesting scene just behind & below our couple, we chose to shoot this slightly higher up (simply by holding our camera above our head and using live view to see our frame). By shooting in portrait we also kept the amount of scenery minimal as to still bring attention to our couple in this strong pose.

How and what did you focus on?

We used our live view focus here since we wanted to raise our cameras above our heads to make sure the horizon didn’t cut through our couple. Live view focusing is also great for checking exactly what your final exposure will look like.


How did you use the light in your image?

Shooting in blue hour still allows us to work with directional light. The sun had set to the left of the frame and so we asked our couple to look towards it. The lights till lit the front of them and then fell off behind to create a nice play between highlights & shadows. This is beautiful because it adds dimensions to your subject; it helps then stand out and not feel so flat.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L





Shutter Speed






White Balance


How did you edit your image & what did you use?

The edits are made to be warmer with a big focus on skin tones and light play with shadows and highlights. A few minor local adjustments were made (Gradient and Brush) as well as finishing off with a fine layer of grain. The whites are not blown out nor are the blacks 100% crunched.

Software Used

Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

The main challenge we had when creating this image was that the light was fading really fast. So fast that this whole part of the shoot only lasted approximately 2 – 3 minutes (at most). We had to be quite efficient with what we wanted and get into position to capture our shot.

How did you solve them?

It helps to brief your couple a bit before so they know exactly what you want. Bonus if you could also get your composition ready while you wait for that moment to shoot. Keep shooting, and don’t stop until you literally cannot focus anymore.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

If you’re going to have your couple look towards the sunset, just make sure it’s comfortable for them and not going to hurt their eyes. Rather wait until the sun isn’t so harsh or have them look somewhere else but in that general direction.

Secondly, if you have the bridal bouquet with you, why not give it to your groom to hold? Guys holding their bride’s flowers look so rad! Do it. At least, throw it into the mix so have some more variations to choose from.

Finally, if you find that your bride’s hand is looking a little lost hanging to the side, you could always ask her to run her fingers through her dress, pick it up and play with it or just rest it to her side.


Shooting since


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We are Melli & Shayne, a couple coming from vastly different worlds but have been inseparable ever since we met in Zanzibar. We have been passionately capturing love stories since 2014 and have loved every step of the way. We love to meet fellow photographers, to share our knowledge amongst a bottle (or two) of wine and support every one wherever we can.

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