Photographed by Melli & Shayne

Story

When we spoke to our couple, they mentioned how at the wedding venue there was this stunning cliff that broke off into the ocean right at their doorstep. They mentioned it a few times and so we got the hint – we definitely need to go and take some shots there.

When the time came though, we had a look at everything, and while yes, it was incredibly stunning. It wasn’t a shot that we are normally chasing. As much as we adore those ‘small couples in big landscape’ images, we just aren’t too experienced with it nor is it something we actively show in our Instagram as something that forms part of our style.

BUT, we are advocates for always pushing ourselves and trying something new. Even if it isn’t perfect, sometimes – it’s these imperfect shots that teach us the most. For example, I wish we had a wider lens to shoot this. I wish we could have more of the cliff in the frame, and better composition. But with the fading light, and huge distance between us and the couple plus a time schedule, we did what we could and moved onto the shots we knew we’d be super proud of.
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Directions

WalkingDancingMovement

As our couple was to walk quite a distance away from us, we made sure to give them a briefing of not only what to do, but where to do it. We asked them to keep an eye out for our hand signals of when to stop, and when to start. We asked them to move to the point in the middle of the arch, and to practice their first dance; and to throw in a few spins while they’re at it.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“Righty guys – let’s give this a shot. When you get to the middle of the arch on the cliff, look towards us and we’ll direct you where to stand with our hands. We’ll give you a thumbs up and then practice your first dance together. Even go for a few spins here and there where you [to the groom] hold her hand up and let her spin beneath”
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Composition

Middle ThirdsWideOff Center

The composition here is definitely not the strongest, though we did aim to keep the couple below the horizon line. We did this because we found it more distracting to have the horizon cut right through them. Where our composition failed was the fact that we didn’t include enough ‘breathing’ room around the cliff to make the image feel a bit more ‘on purpose’. That being said, we did aim to keep the couple in the center of the frame as they would be competing for attention from the landscape, and so having them almost dead-center, we gave them a bit more emphasis.
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If you’re unsure on a composition, shoot a bit wider than you think you’d need to so you have a bit more flexibility later on when trying to crop the image.

Focusing

Single Point Focused on the couple Live View Single Shot
As our couple was pretty far away, we made sure to use the smallest focus box on the live view screen and we quickly zoomed in to make sure they were sharp. We had it on One Shot as we didn’t want to lose focus in case we moved or something flew in front of our lens (such as the seagulls nearby).
Light & Weather

Soft LightNatural LightAfternoon

This was taken fairly late into the sunset as the sun was just about to set. Since the sun was already quite low and behind us (to the right), we had our couple lit quite nicely. We didn’t really have much of a choice on where we could shoot from as we aimed to get the composition over the light.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/320 f/1.4 ISO 100 WB Auto

Camera

Canon R6

Lens

Canon RF50mm f/1.2 L USM

Editing

Adobe Lightroom Classic The Protea Presets

Software used:

 

For this shot, we threw on our protea preset and tweaked the usual exposure settings in the Basic panel to get the overall tones we were after. We made sure to keep the white balance fairly neutral as we wanted to retain the blues of the ocean as we felt it would contrast nicely with the warm colors of the rocks & the sky. We then ventured into the HSL panel and tweaked things a bit further such as boosting the blues & magentas.

We added a large radial filter stretching across the screen over our couple which allowed us to darken the edges gradually, which further helped to bring more attention to our couple.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The biggest challenge would be the composition. Thinking about it, it’s the main part of the image that i wish we did a better job with.

Location

Cliffs Portugal

Suites Alba Hotel

Estr. de Albandeira, 8400-403 Lagoa, Portugal

Final tips & Advice

The best piece of advice I can give is to learn from your mistakes. Mistakes and failures are good things. They help us see where we need to get better at. They help us grow. And if you can spot where you went wrong, then you’re on a good path to figuring out how to not repeat it / solve it in the future. Embrace failure.
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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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