Photographed by Melli & Shayne


When we enter the getting room, one of the first things we do is analyze what the light is doing. Where it’s coming from, what type of light it is and how can we use it. Most of the time, rooms are bright enough to pretty much shoot anywhere but not in this particular case. The room, as stunning as it was, was very dark with the only light coming from a window on the side.

Since we avoid shooting with the room lights turned on, we chose to embrace the darkness of the room. In fact, we really wanted to try our hand at capturing a very lowkey image. When it came time for our bride to put on her last details (earrings, necklace, etc…), we simply asked if she would be able to do all of that but at this specific spot we found (and tested earlier).
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CalmHand movementsNatural

Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
We asked our bride to stand in a specific spot at a specific angle (we had tested it before) and asked her to put on her jewellery and last touches here. We reminded her to completely forget about us and to not try and “stage” anything. To do what she has to do, 100% the way she would.
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“We have this awesome spot right here which will light just a small part of you, and so when you stand here can you face towards the window while you put on your earrings and necklace. And don’t worry about us, you do you and we’ll just shoot from a distance. Don’t try and “Force anything”, just put it on as you would.”
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Center FramedClose UpIntimate Framing

We originally shot this image a little wider than the final result, but that’s purely because after editing it and realizing how much of the light we had to work with, we were better able to find a composition that took that into account. Since the light on our bride forms part of the composition. If you pay close attention, you can see a “Triangle” formed by the light that leads from her chest upwards. This naturally guides the eyes towards her actions.
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Sometimes shooting a little wider than you plan to can really help you out when cropping later on. Having that extra room to really fine-tune what looks and feels the best for you is a lifesaver.


Single Point Focused on The Fingers Single Shot Autofocus
Since the main point of interest here was her hands putting on her earrings, we made sure to focus on them. We wanted this to be the first point of interest for the viewer. We simply moved our single focus point over her hands, let it lock, and fired away.
Light & Weather

Directional LightRim LightWindow LightIndoor

The only light source we had in the room that we wanted to use as a window just off to the left side of the image. Our bride stood about 1.5 meters away from the light and turned slightly towards it. Our positioning was crucial as we wanted to find the angle where we had more shadows than highlights.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/250 f/2.2 ISO 1000 WB Auto


Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic Roots Presets

Software used:


Editing this image played a big role as the original shot didn’t quite bring out the drama that we wanted. We first applied our protea preset and then dropped the exposure way down, and slowly increased the highlights and whites to pump up the highlights once more. We then tweaked the white balance, vibrance, saturation and other basic adjustments to get the tones we liked. Finally, we added a radial adjustment to darken more of the scene and only leave the arms & face lit.
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This image was edited with

Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The biggest challenge was finding the angle with the most light. Since the room was dark, but not pitch black, we had to really figure out what that angle was in order for this to work the way we had hoped.


Hotel Tanzania


Grumeti Game Reserve, Tanzania

Final tips & Advice

Even if you don’t normally shoot a certain way, sometimes its totally worth going out of your comfort zone and trying something new. Even if it means the shot may not work out as great as you had hoped – at least you tried and you have something to look back on and figure out where you went wrong and why.
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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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