Photographed by Melli & Shayne


To be honest, it would be a lie to say that we’re always given perfect light & environments to shoot in. At least, for our own style & taste. Sadly, this was the case here for our brides getting ready. While the room and everything was nice, it was flooded with big windows and bright light coming on in; and since our style tends to use more directional / moody light, it was definitely a challenge to create something that still fell within our style.

But, that being said – there is absolutely no harm in trying something different. So we did. We chose to shoot this portrait a bit brighter, exposing for the shadows and not worrying too much about the blown-out background. But where things are interesting is that we didn’t actually pose our bride here. We said nothing.

She had just got into her dress and naturally was exploring herself in her dress. At this moment, she turned, picked up the back of her dress and we happened to have positioned ourselves in the right place at the right time.

Sometimes these portraits that happen naturally – without any directing or instructions from us – can be the most beautiful. Simple. Elegant. Natural.
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Center FramedBroken RulesMid Range

Our composition is far from perfect in this shot as we wish we were a step back to include her hand and not have it cut off. But at the moment, we saw her turn into this position, we did the best we could in the very brief moment we had to capture it. We were immediately drawn to the details of her crown so we focused more on including this in the frame than anything else. The goal was meant to be a detail shot – however, we ended up really liking the wider version of it to include much more of the bride.
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Compositions are incredibly powerful and important, and sometimes you may not get it right. But you have to remember to ask yourself, “is this a moment/photo that the couple would love?” and if you can answer yes, then deliver it. In the end, it’s about them – not our picture-perfect portfolio.


Single Point Focused on The Crown Live View Continuous
Since we were immediately drawn to the details of her crown, we moved our focus point right over the hair so that we would get those details in focus. It was fairly simple to do but one had to be quiet fast in order to capture it.
Light & Weather

Back litBrightWindow LightNatural Light

The light was coming in from almost all directions in this room as we were surrounded by big windows. Fortunately, we had curtains that we could close which helped soften the light. Our bride stood in the corner between the two main windows and this caused everything to be super bright. For that reason, and accepting that we won’t get that directional light that we love, we made sure to expose for the shadows of the bride.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/640 f/2 ISO 1600 WB Auto


Canon R6


Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic The Protea Presets

Software used:


Adobe Lightroom

Editing this shot involved keeping the shadows brighter to include the details of our bride while also trying not to go overboard with the blown-out background. We applied our “Protea Preset” to the image and then adjusted the white balance to get the tones we were after. Our bride was also naturally quite pale so we had to find a balance where it still looked natural. We increased the shadows and exposure to keep the bride from being too dark.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The main challenge we faced was working with this brighter light. We normally find it more aesthetically pleasing to have directional light where our subjects have dimensions created by the highlights & shadows


Private Home / AirBnB / Apartment Austria

Private Home

Primmersdorf 1, 2095, Austria

Final tips & Advice

Remember that in the end, it’s about creating work that matters to your couple. Not so much your portfolio. Do your best for your couple – as they are the most important.

One thing to try out is to capture portraits of the bride when they aren’t even staged or planned. Keep vigilant and look out for moments where she falls into a position that is beautiful. It happens way more than you think – and it’s all about anticipating 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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