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During the couple shoot, the laces of our bride’s boots came undone and our couple naturally found this rock to sit on while the guy offered to tie them for her. A sweet little gesture of course, and we totally jumped on the opportunity to have them get all close and let them do their thing. 

We asked our girl to find a comfy spot on his leg and just as the boot had been tied, we looked right at the guy and gave him the signal to tickle her. It was a fun, spontaneous moment that they both fully fell into. It turns out that he is often teasing her, tickling her, and playing around so this was totally symbolic of their relationship.

When we asked him to tickle her, we didn’t give it much thought. We didn’t plan or even have the slightest clue that we would suggest this. It was all on the spot, and we figured – why not? If it didn’t work, we’d just move on to something else and forget about it. But if it did, and we captured an awesome shot from it – it was worth it.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

We had the girl sit on the guys lap while he went to tie her boot. Just as he finished, he looked up towards us and we asked him to tickle her. We kept the energy up and let them go wild

What did you say?

Awesome, thanks for tying her boot. Hey [guy], tickle her! Squeeze her knees! Haha that’s it! Go go go!

How did you compose your image?

To be honest, our composition was not the best in this image as we did end up cutting off the guys foot. This happened because we were more focused on this spontaneous moment between the two and we moved our positions slightly. We tried to correct it as best as we could while editing and we settled with keeping the shot wider to show more of the environment, and bring less attention to the cut-off foot.

How and what did you focus on?

As the girl started laughing and moving sporadically, we tried to move our focus point over her as we really wanted her to be the sharpest in the frame. Though the fact that the both of them were on the same position meant that both were easily focused as a result.


How did you use the light in your image?

The sun was had not completely set just yet, but it did drop quite far below a big mountain in the background. It was still high enough to cast out a stunning blast of light which made the image feel a lot more dynamic. Since we had the sun behind our couple, we also got a nice rim light (check the girl’s hair) which separated our couple from the background.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Canon 5D Mark III


Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II





Shutter Speed






White Balance


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

We applied our protea preset as a base and then tweaked the exposures and contrasts to get the overall tones we liked. Since the image was quite underexposed, we were able to retain a lot of details in the highlights – but nonetheless, we chose to push those highlights even brighter to add a bit more “haze” to the image. We then added in a slight sun enhancement via a radial filter to bring out more warmth, and finally ended off with a gradient slider from the left to introduce a bit more shadows.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

The biggest challenge we had was finding a composition/crop that worked as the couple were quite off-center and the foot being cut off didn’t add to the feel of the image

How did you solve them?

We decided to go with the best compromises we could by cropping slightly and keeping as “balanced” as we could. We love the picture nonetheless, and it’s only helped us to be a lot more careful when we’ve been shooting since.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

In the end, what matters more is what your couples/clients think. If the picture you created isn’t technically perfect, or you spot a ton of things you wish you could have done better, but the clients absolutely adore it and it brings back good memories for them – it’s a winner. That’s after all thats what we’re doing – creating these little windows for people to relive these moments.


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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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