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When we think of the old classic wedding photography of back in the day, often what comes to mind are those very still / stiff poses where the subjects are carefully positioned for the photograph and are told to stay still, smile and “look” happy.

It’s amazing how things change over time and how we all push each other to be more creative, to do better work and create something
beautiful for our couples.

Inspired by the “ol’classics”, we still love to do one or two ‘still’ poses. It’s those shots that are strong, that are thought provoking and make for an image that feel’s curated. Which is totally okay!

With all our couples, we’ll take a brief moment to pose them very still. Just so we can grab that strong image of them. Whole. As a couple. As people.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

We had our groom stand facing towards us with his one hand (furthers from the bride) in his pocket while looking out towards the sunset (light source). We then asked our bride to cling onto his other free arm and to look straight into our lens. Finally, we didn’t want “super happy” smiles, but a gentle smirk from our bride was just perfect.

What did you say?

When you cling onto his arm, really cuddle into him. While doing that, look straight into my lens. There you go. And, a little smirk. Not too much, but a ”cool” smirk. Like, you own this moment

How did you compose your image?

We shot this in portrait as well as landscape (so we could choose the best later on) and we loved this version the most since it brought all the attention to our couple. The landscape was already quite “dominant” in terms of
attention-seeking and so by choosing to leave most of it out – we have a much stronger focus on our couple.

How and what did you focus on?

Much like shooting our portraits, we always try and focus on our couple’s eyes, face or point of interest. Naturally, when someone looks at a photograph of a person (or two people) they instinctively look for the eyes (unless they’re excluded from the composition) as it’s a “gateway to the soul” (Corny, i know). By focusing on this when you don’t want to highlight a certain element / detail means that you will “satisfy” the viewer with this search for a connection.


How did you use the light in your image?

The sun had just about set under the horizon and so we had our couple positioned so most of the light was coming from their front & to the side. We wanted to have our groom look towards the light so that his face was lit up nicely and we could have some shadows cast behind him creating dimensions to our subjects. Because our couple was not perpendicular to the sun, our bride had no issues with being shadowed by her husband.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon EF 50mm f/1.2 L





Shutter Speed






White Balance


How did you edit your image & what did you use?

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.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

Our main challenge with this image was not
actually in the posing, composition, light or
anything technical. It was the elements. It was icey cold out there with a strong ocean breeze that made things worse. With our bride wearing a thin wedding dress, we had to be fast between shots.

How did you solve them?

In between the shots we quickly wrapped our bride up with a thick winter jacket and threw some scalves around our groom. The comfort of the couple is amongst the utmost importance because not only does it affect their overall experience (and you want them to have a good time with you right?), but it shows in the images. If someone is freezing to death – you can see it.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

When creating strong poses, it’s best to calm yourself as well. If you’re the fun, joking type of photographer – then it definitely helps to take a step back and allow your couple to relax.

If you’re going to have one of your subject look towards the sun – make sure it has set already.
Otherwise it can hurt their eyes and / or make them squint.


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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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