Photographed by Melli & Shayne


Ceremonies are arguably one of the most important parts of the wedding day. It’s our duty as wedding photographers to do whatever we can to capture those precious moments in the best way possible. But sometimes, things can become a bit chaotic. Especially in a small room that is jam-packed full of people and limited space, plus having to capture both photos and videos.

For this first kiss, this shot was more “accidental” than planned as the first kiss happened to be incredibly passionate and slow-tempo’d. For this reason, after securing our safe shots with the main lenses we used (50mm + 35mm), we quickly switched over to the 85mm to grab a different perspective. We only did this once we were certain we had our safe shots.

This image isn’t tacked sharp. In fact, it’s pretty much out of focus – but what matters most is the emotion it conveys. Our couple, upon receiving it, never once mentioned or complained about the lack of focus. Instead, they said that this was the image that encapsulated their moment they shared. We were close to not delivering it since it wasn’t “technically” perfect. But we’re glad we did.
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Rule of ThirdsCenter FramedMid Range

Composing with such a long lens doesn’t really allow you too much freedom, especially when it’s of a moment that goes by pretty quick. We played it safe by having our couple in the direct center and filling the whole frame with them with a bit of breathing room above and around them. We didn’t pay too much attention to the background or any other compositional elements as it was likely going to be covered in bokeh. Which, it was.
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There’s nothing wrong with playing it safe. Especially for moments that are risky as they happen only once, and are amongst the most meaningful.


Single Point Focused on The Brides head Single Shot Autofocus
It turns out that we focused on the back of our bride’s head, and being somewhat close to them, the focal plain was quite unforgiving resulting in our groom (who should have been in focus) being out of focus. We shot this through the viewfinder with a single point, though in the moment, and the rush to get that shot lead the point over the bride’s head.
Light & Weather

Soft LightWindow LightNatural LightIndoor

There were two large windows on either side of the couple at the alter, but the one off to the left was where the sun was shining through the most. It wasn’t the easiest light as the room was so small, that the harsh light pouring in pushed our highlights pretty high. We exposed for the skin of our couple to try and retain a workable dynamic range (enough details in the highlights & shadows) to recover later in post.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/500 f/1.2 ISO 500 WB Auto


Canon 5D Mark III


Canon 85mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic Roots Presets

Software used:


This was a pretty tricky image to edit as the focus made the image feel a lot softer than what we had liked. We spent quite a bit of time with the dodging and burning to “fake” some sharpness to a certain degree. After applying our protea presets, we adjusted the global exposures to get the tones we liked (tweaking the HSL to correct for the skin tones). We also enhanced the light slightly by using a radial filter as this helps “mask” the out of focus parts.
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This image was edited with

Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
Despite missing focus, the main challenge was editing. We were not super happy with how soft it felt. It was this point where it didn’t look intentionally out of focus so it just didn’t sit right.


Chapel Italy


Castel Freudenstein Str. Masaccio, 39057 Appiano sulla strada del vino BZ, Italy

Final tips & Advice

Only attempt creative shots of moments like this when you know you have your safe shots. Or at least, you have another photographer who you can rely on to capture the moment perfectly. The risk of missing a decent shot is not worth it just to try something new. Even if that’s a new lens or composition.
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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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