Photographed by Melli & Shayne


Whenever we start a shoot, we like to allow our couples some space to warm up. That normally involves starting with some basic walking shots where they are a little bit of a distance away from us. Just so they get used to the whole “Camera pointing at us” feeling. And for this shoot, we dived right in with the portraits. Why? Well, this was the 3rd day of shooting our couple and we already had such an amazing connection. Especially after their epic wedding the day before (and epic is no joke – fireworks during the first kiss? 5 different bands? Thousand string lights? All in Sicily?? Yup).

But I digress. We got to this spot which we found simply by looking on Google Maps for their After wedding shoot and as we got there, we saw just how awesome the light was starting to become. We asked our bride if she was keen to start with some simple bridal portraits just to get the ball rolling and she totally jumped on it. As the sun was a little too high for us to move towards the cliffs & coastline, we chose to stick around just here in the fields and do some pretty neat backlit shots.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
We simply asked our bride to walk up and down the road and while doing so, to hold and play with her dress. We asked her that when she swung her dress, to look down towards it. This helps her to forget about looking into our camera and can bring out some really beautiful, and flattering angles.
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“Alrighty [Bride], let’s have you walk up and down here and while you’re walking, I want you to play with your dress. Hold it up and let it catch some wind, let it swing side to side and all the while, try and look down towards it. You can look in either direction but just try not to look into our camera unless we ask you to.”
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Center FramedMiddle ThirdsMid Range

As our bride neared us, we wanted to fill the frame with her as her movements were really graceful and we felt that a tighter composition would bring out more of this drama than one that was too wide. We let her walk right up close to us while we kept shooting, and we left just enough space around her so we could fine-tune the crop when editing. This compostion works not only because all points of interest are within one column, but her arms also create these leading lines that lead back towards her.
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To get variations in your shots, let your subjects walk up to you so you can start with wide frames, and then as they get closer, your composition becomes tighter.


Single Point Focused on The Dress Live View Continuous
We lost a bit of focus on her face unfortunately and we think it was because of the flare from the sun. The camera seemed to then quickly jump to her dress for focus, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. It just wasn’t our intention. That being said, it’s such a minor imperfection that it’ll only really matter to those who are pedantic about these things. Which, most importantly, our couple were not .
Light & Weather

Harsh LightBack litNatural LightSunnyAfternoon

We purposely chose to backlight our bride in this shot as the sun was still a little too harsh for us to use it directionally. By backlighting our bride, we were able to make her dress and her hair really glow and stand out from the background. We also framed the image so a bit of the sun started to peek in from the top causing a flare. This can be quite challenging as it may throw your focus off (as it happened here).
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Equipment & EXIF

1/4000 f/1.8 ISO 200 WB Auto


Canon 5D mark IV


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic The Protea Presets

Software used:


We really wanted to bring out the warmth of the sun with this shot and so our edits were definitely made with this in mind. We applied our protea preset and then adjusted the usual white balance, exposure, contrasts, shadows, highlights, and the rest of the sliders in the Basic panel until we got the overall tone that we wanted. We added a slight vignette to darken the edges and added a radial filter to enhance the sun slightly.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The main challenge was the focus as with such a strong flare, the camera really struggled to find it’s lock.


Garden / Field Italy

Oasi Gelsomineto

96012 Avola, Province of Syracuse, Italy

Final tips & Advice

If you find yourself in a situation where the light isn’t super soft and easy to work with, really try use it as a backlight. It’s quite simple and can be really really beautiful. Just expose for the skin of your subject and accept that the background may very well blow out. You could also vary your angle and shooting height to see if you could frame it slightly differently.
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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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