Photographed by Melli & Shayne


I’m fairly certain that we’re not alone when I say that dinner time is generally “break” time for us as photographers. Of course we’re always on standby and have normally been briefed as to when any speeches may happen. But for the most part, this is the period where we can relax our legs, charge our equipment, get some much needed food & drinks and prepare ourselves for the evening.

Guests also tend to not like being photogrpahed in the middle of eating too. But despite being on a break, it’s always nice to walk around and just stretch the legs a bit after they’ve calmed and seized a bit. And had I not taken a walk down towards the pool area of this Tuscan villa, I would not have noticed this spectacular site. The clouds had covered the sunset and a the light on the dinner just looked so darn cool.

We spent a bit more time on this photo while editing as we really wanted to bring a bit more empahsis to the crowd at the table as well as the light hitting the building. We wanted to create a feelign of space, a bit of grandeur but also a warm sense of comfort.
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Rule of ThirdsLower ThirdsWide

Composing this shot was all about leaving room for everything. We shot this wide enough to keep as much of the sky in the frame as we wanted while also allowing the building and the table party to play a role. We positioned the dinner party in the lower thirds of the image which left the other 2 thirds free for the sky to dominate.
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Try and find balances in your compositions, even if it means you’re cropping later on when you’re editing. Composition is one of the most overlooked aspects of photography but it’s one of the most important.


Single Point Focused on The Crowd Single Shot Autofocus
This was a fairly straight forward shot to focus as we didn’t face any challenges. We simply moved our single focus point over the crowd at the table and because we were shooting quite a distance away, the focal plane was really large & forgiving, even if we shot with a wide aperture.
Light & Weather

Natural LightSunsetEvening

The light in this photo was coming directly from the sun just behind the group of guests and it was completely covered by the overcast sky. However, the clouds were not thickest which meant that this awesome spot of light shone through (though diffused). We didn’t really have much choice as to where or how we could position ourselves for the light as we focused more on the composition in this shot.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/4000 f/1.6 ISO 1600 WB Auto


Canon 5D mark IV


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic The Protea Presets

Software used:


To edit this shot, I applied the Protea preset as a base and then reduced the exposure quite a lot to bring out more details from the sun in the sky as well as to pick up how the light was hitting the building. I adjusted the exposure sliders, contrast sliders and the usuals until i got the tones I really liked. I then went in with some radial filters to enahnce the sunset light while also creating a manual vigenette to darken the surrounding areas. I did a slight bit of dodging and burning to help some details stick out more and finally cleaned up the image with the spot heal tool.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
Our biggest challenge was deciding what route to go with the edit. Since the original shot was still relatively bright, we had to make a choice whether we keep it bright or move more into a darker tone.


Garden / Field Italy

The Lazy Olive

The Lazy Olive, Loc. Finerri, 7, 53041 Asciano SI, Italy

Final tips & Advice

Don’t forget to look after yourself on the wedding day. Make sure you have a moment during the dinner to get some food, drinks and rest as there’s no point in you exhausting yourself and performing poorly. Besides, most guests don’t want to be photographed with food in their mouths. Just always keep an eye open for speeches and ideally have the bridesmaids/groomsmen come up and let you know when something is going to happen.
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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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