Photographed by Melli & Shayne


Normally during the off-season, we really take the ‘time-off’ quite seriously to allow ourselves to recharge after a busy few months around the world. But sometimes we’ll get a request that is just too awesome to pass up. Super cool & fun couple? Check. In the mountains (Germany)? Check. Combine it with a little family holiday – heck yeah!

So there it was; a beautiful little elopement in the Bavarian Alps and with it, a much-needed family holiday. When I met the couple, they stayed at this incredible hotel and their getting ready room was the absolute bomb! Can’t say that about all the hotel rooms we’ve shot in.

As they were getting ready, I asked the groom to help zip up her dress from behind, and as I had them standing in the window light – I saw this frame before even putting my camera up. I knew I wanted to get a detail shot (so, close up) and all I did was just move my position slightly so I could frame more of the shadow/highlight play instead of going straight on.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
This was almost an unstaged shot, except for the fact that I asked the bride to turn her head to look behind her over her left shoulder. I did this because I wanted the light to hit the side of her face, keeping it still visible while also letting the shadows fall on the rest of her body.
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“Oh Wow! This look incredible! Let’s have you turn your head slightly, to look over your left shoulder as if you could see [Groom]. That’s it”
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Center FramedBroken RulesClose UpIntimate Framing

Being a detail shot, the close-up framing was all intentional. I moved up close and filled the frame with the bride while paying attention to still having a bit of her face in the frame. This just helps tell the story even more than to just having a shot of the dress. There were no particular rules that I followed here, other than to find a point of interest (the light & the dress) and frame it so it took center stage.
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It’s generally better to get the composition as right as possible in-camera, but sometimes you may need to crop later on when you’re editing. That’s totally okay too. But, it’s good practice to find those things as you’re shooting it and getting it right.


Single Point Focused on Hair Live View Continuous
I saw her hair fall just in front of her and realized that this would be a perfect spot to put the focus. Not only does it mean everything else will be sharp & focused that fell on the same plane, it also adds to the story of the detail shot. Not only do we explore the light, shadows & the dress – but the hair too.
Light & Weather

Soft LightDirectional LightDarkMoodyWindow LightNatural LightIndoor

As we were indoors and by a massive window, we had plenty of light to work with. But fortunately, the light fell short which kept a part of the room quite dark. I made sure no artificial lights were on and saw how the light was falling on my couple. I had them stand in the window light and turned slightly towards it; and when I saw this shot, I had to move ever so slightly towards the back of the bride just so I could get my framing right & to capture more shadows than highlights.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/2000 f/1.8 ISO 640 WB Daylight


Canon R5


Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II


Software used:


Adobe Lightroom

For this shot, I wanted to keep the highlights exposed and bring it a bit more shadows so after applying my base Protea Preset, I dropped the exposure and shadows, while slightly adjusting the highlights. I then tweaked the white balance and realized things got a bit too saturated/vibrant for the feeling I was going for. I then dropped the saturation & Vibrance slightly so I ended up with a more muted / dull palette.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The only challenge I had was being fast. I didn’t want to stage this moment as these things generally look better as they happen naturally.


Hotel Germany

Boutiquehotel Werdenfelserei

Alleestraße 28, 82467 Garmisch-Partenkirchen

Final tips & Advice

The main thing here is to just be confident in your skills and not hesitate. Weddings are full of little moments that vanish as fast as they come. Always be ready, always be on the lookout and when you see something – don’t hesitate, go for it.
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Melli & Shayne

Photographer Germany Canon 5D Mark IV Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
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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Everyone fails. It’s how you take it that will separate you from the rest. Failure is a lesson. And knowledge is a win.

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