the Shoot

Location Equipment
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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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Location Name


Location aDDRESS

Grumeti Game Reserve, Tanzania



Location TYPE




Canon 5D Mark IV




Canon 50mm f/1.2 L

Lens Filter


Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Calm Hand movements 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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What was said

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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Why I composed the way I did

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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Center Framed Close Up Intimate Framing


Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Single Shot Autofocus

Focused on

The Fingers

Focus description

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.

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Shutter Speed






White Balance


Other Light Sources
No additional light sources were used.
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Light &

How the light was used

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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Directional Light Rim Light Window Light Indoor

the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used
How I edited this image

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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Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

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.

Solutions I found

We made sure to do test shots before asking our bride to stand in that spot. Since we always work as a team, finding someone to stand in place was easy.


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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Photographed by

Melli & Shayne

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