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This was one of those “once in a lifetime” moments and we were so fortunate that we saw the opportunity before it was too late.

As we had just finished the couple shoot and were already in the jeep driving back to meet the rest of the family, we saw the herd of Giraffes moving up ahead and in the same direction as us. It was at that moment that we “saw” this shot in our minds. We turned to our couple (who were pretty much done with the couple shoot and just wanted to go grab a drink with everyone) and asked them, with big puppy-dog eyes if we could grab just one last shot.

They laughed and agreed. We pulled off the road, climb out of the jeep, and moved ever so slowly towards to Giraffes. Since these animals are incredibly skittish, we had to be careful not to spook them. Our directions to the couple were simple, quiet, and to the point. And bam, the herd moved across our frame and this shot happened. A moment we all won’t soon forget.

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

We had our couple simply stand next to each other while holding hands but to keep a slight gap between them. We then asked each of them to look out in different directions; the bride to her left and the groom to his right. Finally, we told them to just enjoy what they were seeing and to take this whole moment in.

What did you say?

Alright, guys, as quiet as possible, when you get over there just stand very simply next to each other and hold your hands. Keep a little space between you and then [Bride], I want you to look out to the left side and [Groom], to look to the right. Enjoy this moment, and take it all in. How friggen amazing is this?

How did you compose your image?

The goal of composing almost all the elements on the lower line was to allow enough space and breathing room in the whole image. Secondly, since a gorgeous storm was starting to form, we really wanted to give a bit more emphasis to the sky since this added so much more drama to the shot. It balances because all the interest is in the bottom, but the mood and atmosphere are being influenced by the top.

How and what did you focus on?

Since we had quite a few elements in this shot that our camera could have tried focusing on, we made sure to switch to a single point and positioned that over our couple. That way, the camera only looked to focus on what that point was on and not anything else in the frame.


How did you use the light in your image?

At this point, the sun had already set and the light seen in the image was the very last bits that remained. Because of this, we weren’t too limited on how we positioned ourselves and the couple since in all directions we’d have relatively the same, soft light. We focused more on the composition and the subjects.

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?

We edited this shot with our Protea Presets as a base but took some extra time to enhance the fading light. We did this by using a radial filter and playing with the white balance, dehaze, exposure, and saturation while keeping the feathering to 100. We also globally adjusted the white balance to be warmer and tweaked the exposure & contrast settings to get the edginess that we liked.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic


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What challenges did you face?

Trying to calm our excitement and not make too much noise was definitely a challenge since it was all just so incredible. We also had to act pretty fast since not only was the light fading fast, but the animals were moving.

How did you solve them?

It just helps to breathe and calm down as much as possible, and to move very, very slowly. As our couple was walking towards the spot we asked them to go, we were already taking pictures. And shooting as much as we could. This just helped us increase the chance of getting our shot in case the animals bolted away.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

One of the best pieces of advice we ever received was to keep shooting right until we simply couldn’t shoot anymore. Right into the blue hour and the end of it. Some of the best moments happen then, and the light is just too gorgeous and lovely to work with.

You may come across times when your couple is pretty much “done” with the photos. It’s tiring for them and they also want to hang out with their friends and family; so just keep that in mind and don’t force them into something and ruin their experience. If you really must get the last few shots, ask them very nicely and legit keep to your words. Take the shots, high five them, and call it done.


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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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