Photographed by Melli & Shayne


When we were doing our location scouting for this elopement in Tanzania, we found that one of the things that caught our eye the most was not just all the incredible wildlife, but the trees.

These trees are so symbolic to the African plains and as we knew our couple loved everything about Africa, we wanted to use them in a few images. Finding them was not a challenge, but choosing one that had the “prettiest” shape meant we just had to keep our eyes open for those little details. When we took our couple out for the shoot, we stopped along the road, and just up ahead we saw this tree. It had a perfect shape (in our eyes) and we knew right then and there that we wanted to use it.

In the end, what made this really special was that we let the landscape inspire us and to use the features in our image.
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CalmHolding Each otherPlayfulAlmost Kiss

We had our couple stand facing each other and to stand as close as possible. Even asking them to have their bellies touch. From here, we asked our groom to gently bring his hands up and hold just under our brides jawline and on her neck, and cuddle her by bringing their foreheads together. We then had our bride bring her hands up to hold his and for them both to whisper something sweet, something tender and something beautiful to each other.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“Stand facing each other and get as close as possible. So close your bellies are touching. Bring your hands up and gently hold her neck and caress her jaw… there you go. Bring your foreheads together. [Bride] bring your hands up and hold his… even whisper sweet nothings to each other”
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Center FramedBroken RulesWideFull Body

We really focused on our composition for this shot as we wanted this symbolic tree to play a big role in the image. We had our couple share the center of the frame with the tree since both balanced each other out. We also crouched slightly and shot it from their “shoulder level” as we wanted our couple to stand proud amongst the landscape behind them.
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When you want to include a landscape element to form part of your image, make sure to position both your subjects & the element in a way that it balances. Too much to one side or not enough of the one can “upset” the image.


Single Point Focused on The Brides face Single Shot Autofocus
Focusing was really no challenge here as we had plenty of light and contrasts to work with. We moved our single point autofocus over our couple and fired away.
Light & Weather

Soft LightNatural LightCloudyAfternoon

This shot was taken just as the storm was forming in the sky, and at this point – the sun was completely hidden behind a thick layer of clouds. This meant that we were fortunate enough to work with very soft light and could really take advantage of composing our shot in any direction.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/1600 f/2 ISO 125 WB Auto


Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


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
We had no particular challenge with this image.


Safari Tanzania

Sasakwa Lodge

Grumeti Game Reserve, Tanzania

Final tips & Advice

In almost every landscape that attract you, you have to think about what it is that attracts you. In this case, we absolutely loved these trees as they’re so symbollic to Africa. Try use those ‘features’ in your composition.

If you want to make your couple stand more “proudly” amongst a relatively flat landscape, try shooting from a slightly lower angle. It adds “size” to your couple which is powering.
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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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