Photographed by Melli & Shayne


We totally understand just how awkward it can be to be photographed. In fact, once a year we try and book a photographer to take our own couple shoot not only for us to keep as memories but for us to really see and feel what it’s like to be in front of the camera. With that in mind, whenever we start a shoot, we always level with our couples and let them know that we know exactly how they’re feeling. This helps everyone as they trust us even more so after saying that.

To make things easier to start off with, we always have our couple walk or do something a little bit of a distance away from us. Something simple like walking from A to B. This just gets the whole shoot started and for them to start to understand how we work. While they walk, we often start giving them some subtle ideas and hints of what they can do like “holding hands”, “Bump into each other”, “one leading the other”.

This space and distance really helps to warm up the couple to a point where you can easily move in close and have them feel comfortable with you.
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We wanted something simple as we were already intending to move from where we were to the cliffs just ahead. We asked our couple to simply walk hand in hand down by the waters edge and to walk as if they would normally. Nothing special. Nothing fancy.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“Guys, let’s have you walk down together at the waters edge and just walk as you would – holding hands. We’ll move around you and give you a few suggestions but for now – we’re just going from here to there. Don’t think about it too much”
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Center FramedHorizon LineWide

We wanted to go for a wide shot in this image as the distant rocks and cliffs were just too awesome to exclude. We chose to frame our couple in the lower half of the image while also being centered as they fell within the same vertical line as the protruding rock in the distance. By keeping them in the lower half, we allowed enough sky and landscape into the frame to add context while also giving a bit of breathing room.
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Try and keep your couple framed within the horizon line. As a general rule of thumb, the horizon line doesn’t always look too great when it cuts through their heads. That being said, rules are made to be broken – so if you’re going to go that route – make sure it looks intentional.


Single Point Focused on The Groom Single Shot Autofocus
Focusing was very easy. We didn’t choose a specific point on our couple as they were far away enough that it didn’t really matter. We just moved our focus point over our groom and let the camera lock on. We almost always use a single focus point as we don’t want to risk the camera shifting focus to something else.
Light & Weather

Directional LightMoodySunnyGolden Hour

As this was the beginning of the shoot, the sun was still a little bit above the horizon which caused the light to be a bit harsher than we would have liked. Fortunately, it was off to the side so that when we asked our couple to walk to the other spot, it was lighting them from the side. We positioned ourselves in such a way that the sun was not appearing or flaring into our lens as that would have created too much haze.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/1000 f/2.8 ISO 100 WB Auto


Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic M&S The Roots Presets

Software used:


We chose to go for a Black & White edit this time as we felt that the colors were playing a little too harshly. We also love the feeling of the black and white as we had enough play between highlights and shadows. We appled our Black & White preset and adjusted the exposures and shadows/highlights to get the overall contrasts we were after. We then added a bit of grain to the image to have texture.
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This image was edited with

M&S The Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The only challenge we had with this shot was dealing with the harsher light. Taking the actual photo wasn’t hard, but when it came to editing we had to spend some time tweaking it until we got it right.


Beach / Coastal Portugal

Praia Da Adraga

PRAIA DA ADRAGA, Sintra, Portugal

Final tips & Advice

Remember that it is awkward to be photographed. Not everyone is used to it and so if you can sympathise with the couple, you’ll find your connection with them to be even stronger. As a result, they’ll likely trust you more and feel more relaxed and comfortable when you have them be a bit more intimate.
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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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