Photographed by Melli & Shayne

Story

Photographing destination elopements is one of the most incredible experiences you can have as a wedding photographer. Getting to travel and see a new place while working very intimately and closely with your clients to create something really beautiful is, to us, an absolute dream.

With shooting these elopements comes a whole new set of little challenges and successes though. For example, the getting ready is often times quite…quiet. There’s no friends around motivating the bridal couple, or loud music playing as the guests arrive. It’s a very peaceful time.

This mean that you, as the photographer, become the main point of contact & social interaction with your couple before they head out to the ceremony. It’s totally okay to take a few moments and be their “friend”. Help them out with things like putting on shoes, tying their ties or even sharing a quick drink. It goes a long way when you can build up this confidence and relationship between your couple and you.
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Directions

CalmPosedSeriousSitting

We had our groom sit in the chair at the desk as he drank his glass of whiskey. We asked him to sit with his leg crossed over the other and to look outside the window while holding his glass; with the goal to give a confident yet relaxed feel to his posture.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“Sit with your leg over the other and get comfy. Hold your glass and even go in for a sip. Totally relax here! You’re the boss man”
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Composition

Center FramedLeading LinesWideFull Body

As the room had a lot of character to it, we really wanted to bring this out in this image. We chose to use a wider lens so we could fill the frame with these details – and by keeping our groom in the center, we were able to bring the attention to him first.

We also had him sit in the light coming in from the window which helped, and closed the curtains behind him to stop the giant blown out highlights.
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If you have dark / low light rooms where you plan to shoot; take a few moments and step back. Squint one of your eyes and close the other and have a look around for patches of light. It’s more obvious to see when your eyes are squinted like that (try it! one eye closed, one eye squinted). Those patches of light can totally be used both in wide compositions (Where most of your frame is dark and the light is hitting your subject) and even closer up.

Focusing

Single Point Focused on The grooms face Single Shot Autofocus
We focused on our groom with our single point autofocus since it was the easiest way to ensure that we had him sharp. With a room full of details like this, it can be risky to use all the AF points since it may lock onto something else in the frame and not your subject.
Light & Weather

Harsh LightDirectional LightDarkMoodyWindow LightNatural LightIndoor

We had our groom sit at the desk which just so happened to be by the windows. We wanted a pool of light to fall onto him which would help bring attention to him in this busy frame. We made sure to keep his face either towards us or outside so that we could always have it lit.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/640 f/2 ISO 500 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:

 

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.
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This image was edited with

M&S The Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
One challenge we had was the fact that the room was so full of beautiful little details that would quickly overwhelm the image and take attention away from our groom.

Location

Safari Tanzania

Sasakwa Lodge

Grumeti Game Reserve, Tanzania

Final tips & Advice

If you want to place your subject in the corner of a room where the outside is really bright compared to the indoors – see if you can close the curtains. It’ll stop the huge blown-out windows from dominating the frame and taking away the attention from your subject.

Don’t forget to grab detail shots too – as in, go up close and get his hand on the glass and other smaller points of interest.
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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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