Photographed by Melli & Shayne


After a nice little break during the winter off-season, our bones started itching for something to shoot. We didn’t have much of a plan in the beginning, but we just knew we wanted to go out and create something cool. So, we set ourselves up with a challenge: find a cool couple, find a location that’s nearby and go shoot.

This project was put together super spontaneously, and we were fortunate enough to find these two. Who was not a real couple, They were both two individuals keen to join us on this shoot, and man, were we stoked with how it came out. Normally, we avoid shooting ‘fake couples’ because we feel that it’s just not authentic. But since this shoot was something for us, creatively, and to help our development of a new project for our presets, we let it slide.

We found the most obvious, yet seemingly uninteresting spot to shoot – a challenge, yes. Right at the University of Erlangen (Germany). Together with the couple, a makeup artist, and a gorgeous sparkly dress we got from a bridal store, we went off to the shoot.

We battled ice-cold winds, and crowds of people all staring and taking their own photos of our little thingy-ma-jig. But you know what? We just focused on what we were doing and we couldn’t be more stoked with the outcome.
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CalmHolding HandsNaturalWalking

Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
We kept this shot simple; we asked the groom to guide the bride up the stairs carefully. This little act of movement and gesture of help made things feel very natural. We did ask the bride to look down towards her flowers just so we could have a better profile of her instead of just the back of her head. Simple.
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“[Groom], let’s have you help [Bride] up the stairs. Go up slowly and carefully and make sure she’s safe. [Bride], perhaps you could gaze down at your flowers while you’re walking up. “
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Rule of ThirdsCenter FramedLeading LinesWideFull Body

Since there were quite a few distractions around us, we chose to shoot this vertically to limit what was included in the frame. This also helped us keep part of the sky, trees and the lights in the background in frame which lends itself to the story. We kept enough space above the couple to allow breathing room and tried to shoot this at a point where the bride wasn’t directly in front of those balls of light. We didn’t want to have complications later on while editing.
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If in doubt, shoot a bit wider than you plan to. It’s always easier to perfect your composition while you’re editing. That being said, if you can get it as close to 100% perfect as you can in-camera, there’s no argument there. It’s always better.


Single Point Focused on The Brides back Live View Single Shot
As the light was dwindling away relatively fast, we had to keep an eye on what our focus was doing. Fortunately, the canon R5 has an insanely good autofocus and so we just kept it on the back of the bride in it’s continuous mode and it followed her as she walked up.
Light & Weather

Soft LightArtificial LightBack litDarkOvercast

At this point, the sun had disappeared behind the buildings and trees behind us. And out of nowhere, the university lights turned on, and initially, we were like “eewww, yuk”. But it actually turned out pretty darn sick. Since the light was incredibly soft, we didn’t really mind where or how we photographed this, but with those lights on in the background, we knew we would get some rim lighting which was awesome to separate the couple from the background. Plus, the filter we had on our camera, it made the light all hazy and gorgeous.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/250 f/1.2 ISO 400 WB Auto


Canon R5


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L

Additional Equipment

Promist Filter


Software used:


Adobe Lightroom

This was an experimental preset that we are working on, and so we applied it and tweaked a few things to keep the saturation of the overall image more muted. We adjusted the white balance to be warmer as well. We then threw on a slight vignette to darken the edges and bring more attention to the couple. After all the exposure, contrast, highlight & shadow settings were tweaked to keep it feeling like an “evening” shot, we then added in some grain just to have a bit of texture over the image.
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This image was edited with

Custom Preset

Challenges & Solutions
The main challenge we had during this shoot was the temperature. It dropped pretty quickly and as our bride wasn’t wearing anything to cover her back and shoulders, she got cold real fast.


Stairs Germany

FAU University

Schloßplatz 4, 91054 Erlangen, Germany

Final tips & Advice

Shoots don’t always have to be complicated or feature an “epic” location. Sometimes keeping things simple leaves room for magic and with less logistical stress, you can focus in on what you want to create.
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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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