Photographed by Melli & Shayne


As wedding photographers, our portfolio is our most crucial tool for booking the right clients. Having a portfolio that you are proud of and that reflects your style, your vision and what you want to attract more of is incredibly important. This shoot was a free shoot we did during the earlier years of our business.

We wanted to create something that we knew would work for our portfolio and would help us reach more of our target clients. We arrived at the location quite early because we really wanted to make sure we wouldn’t miss the perfect light. In this case, we were a little too early and found a cool little spot to have a coffee before the shoot. Nothing wrong with that :) Rather too early than rushing and stressing about time.

Most importantly, we made sure for this shoot to have full control of every aspect; the location, the styling, the color compositions, every detail. We really wanted to showcase our aesthetics and especially attract people with the same preferences for soft natural tones, golden sunset light, and epic nature. As we didn’t have anyone like this book us by then, it was the perfect way to bring our portfolio in the right direction.

We can only encourage you to try and set up shoots like this for yourself. It has helped us so much and even made us develop our style more deeply. We have made connections that we would otherwise have not and we had a lot of lessons learned that we could bring in for our next styled shoots.
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Holding Each otherPlayfulDancing

Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
This was a spontaneous moment between our couple as we simply asked them to change positions so that he was taller than her, and in doing so, he very carefully gave her a hand and made sure she was safe while walking on this rock.
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“Guys, we need to change it up a bit, it’s better when he is standing higher than you, can you switch sides quick? and carefully of course!”
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Center FramedLower ThirdsLeading LinesFull Body

We had our couple stand on this rock and composed the frame in portrait to bring all the attention to the couple and to where they were standing. It’s always nice to include the landscape elements where you can, and to also hide those that you find distracting. With an 85mm we were also able to compress the scene together and bring even more focus to our couple.
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Shooting wide shots with a long lens in portrait mode is a nice way to add diversity and variation to your photo story. Don’t be afraid to try new things, just so long as you have a bunch of safe shots from that set to deliver just in case your experiment doesn’t work out.


Single Point Focused on The Girls body Single Shot Autofocus
We had a little challenge with the focusing here as the sun was just peaking over the mountain range, causing a flare in our lens. What helped was to briefly cover the sun with one hand and then lock the focus on your couple. Then, remove the hand and keep shooting.
Light & Weather

Soft LightBack litRim LightNatural LightSunnyAfternoon

Taken during the late afternoon, the sun was just about to hide behind the mountain tops. It was at that point where we got this crazy amount of haze that poured through resulting in this golden wash behind the couple.

The weather was super clear this day, and so we opted to wait until the sun was behind the mountains to keep shooting and get that soft light.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/640 f/2.2 ISO 1600 WB Auto


Canon 5D Mark III


Canon 85mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic M&S The Roots Presets

Software used:


The edits are made to be warmer with a big focus on skin tones and light play with shadows and highlights. A few minor local adjustments were made (Gradient and Brush) as well as finishing off with a fine layer of grain. The whites are not blown out nor are the blacks 100% crunched.
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This image was edited with

M&S The Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
Our challenges with this shoot was firstly to make sure our couple was safe during this shot. They were on this uneven rock and we really didn’t want them to slip or hurt themselves.

We also had a little tricky situation with focusing since the haze created by the sun on the mountain range also flared up our lens. This made it really tough to lock on for our cameras.


Lake Austria


Vorderer Langbathsee, 4802 Ebensee, Austria

Final tips & Advice

Always have your camera ready, even when you’re directing your couple to new spots or poses. Sometimes it even helps to have your camera up to you face and talk to them. It may seem a bit weird at first but it doesn’t take long for everyone to get used to it. If you’re doing a free shoot for your portfolio, you absolutely have to be in charge of as much things as you can. Especially the styling since that plays a big role in the final feel of the image.
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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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