Photographed by Melli & Shayne

Story

Smoke bombs at weddings certainly caught on over the passed few years and for good reason. They can be incredibly good fun,bring out a ton of laugher & happiness with the couple and it looks so darn rad in pictures. But one thing we didn’t see too often was incorporating some of the bridesmaids and groomsmen. We absolutely wanted to do just that and bring out as much party-vibes as we could.

After grabbing a good few images with everyone holding a smoke bomb, we decided to try a few where the bride was simply dancing and having a good time in the middle of everyone without her holding a smoke bomb. That way, she could focus way more on her moves, on her dress, on her everything. Needless to say – it worked out pretty cool :)
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Directions

FunnyDancingMovement

Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
Since the guests and the couple were already in the position we wanted them to, we just asked our bride if she’d be cool to dance to the music while everyone else held the smoke bombs. She excitedly agreed – and we simply told her to dance but to play with her dress at the same time; letting it catch some wind as she spins and moves.
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“When you dance, try and hold your dress when you spin so it catches some wind and floats. And party witih everyone! This is your wedding!! Rock it hard girl!”
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Composition

Center FramedMiddle ThirdsFull Body

We wanted to show more of the vertical scenery than the horizontal scenery (hence why we shot this image in portrait) because we felt it would make it a lot more interesting to see how high the smoke went as well as to show more of the tress & nature that was surrounding the scene. We kept our group closer to the bottom third of the image to allow the smoke & trees to fill up the rest.
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Think about what you want to include in your composition – perhaps shooting something in portrait may include more interesting aspects than shooting horizontally. Best advice – shoot both.

Focusing

Single Point Focused on The Bride Single Shot Autofocus
Even though the bride was dancing and moving with a lot of guests partying around her, we didn’t struggle too much with the focus. We simply set our focus point on our bride, had it set to single shot as to not let the camera get tricked by something moving in front of it briefly, and let the camera do its thing.
Light & Weather

Soft LightNatural LightAfternoon

This was taken right as the storm clouds were covering the sun; so it was uber soft light. In fact, we put them under some trees not necessarily to soften the light but rather as an emergency in case it started pouring down with rain. That being said, the light was coming from behind the group as standing under the tree canopy did create a very soft, but present, shadow.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/160 f/1.8 ISO 2500 WB Auto

Camera

Canon 5D mark IV

Lens

Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II

Editing

Adobe Lightroom Classic M&S The Roots Presets

Software used:

 

Editing this shot was very straight forward. We added our protea gold preset and adjusted the usual exposure sliders and white balance to get the tones we liked. We then very simply came in with two gradient adjustments; one for the floor (darkening it) and the other for the top part of the image to further enhance the smoke and its details.
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This image was edited with

M&S The Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
Smoke bombs have a time limit and while it’s exciting to start shooting them, it can be tricky to try and manage an excited group while also trying to get a variation of images

Location

Wedding / Event Venue Portugal

Quinta da Penalva

Quinta da Penalva, Sintra, Portugal

Final tips & Advice

Really consider organizing extra smoke bombs so that you can include some of the bridal party and groomsmen to partake. It’s great fun for everyone and definitely offers a ton of hilarious, fun, and beautiful moments for your couple to remember.

Just keep in mind everyone’s safety. Smoke bombs can be dangerous if not handled with respect and care, and the smoke may even stain certain clothes. So, do your wind checks and ask people to keep it high above their heads.
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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.

Designed with love by Katharina + Katharina & Shayne Thomas. Background image by Adrián Vilanova

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