Photographed by Melli & Shayne

Story

When we were chatting to our couple, one of the things they really wanted was to have their first lookout on the pier with the skyline of New York in the background. It was a gorgeous spot and a priceless view. However, the first look happened during the midday sun and there were literally 0 clouds.

So, after taking a few shots out in the sun and doing the best we could in tough light, we moved further back and found a spot that was shaded (cast from the buildings) to have our couple stand-in for a few more shots. We wanted a very simple, classic shot. It’s something we always do before we go into the normal couple shoot stuff. We find there’s just something so cool about the old, classic shots if done right.
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Directions

PosedSeriousLooking into the cameraStanding apart

We had our couple stand facing us, holding hands and looking right into our camera with a simple smile. It was meant to be a classic shot, but with a bit more relaxation to it. We had our groom have his hand in his pocket, and our bride to hold her flowers down to the side. From there, it was a matter of a few silly jokes to get a genuine smile/laugh and that was that.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“Okay guys, stand facing us, hold hands and [groom] keep your hand in your pocket and [Bride], hold your flowers down low – nice and relaxed. There you go, right on! Look here, where’s that gorgeous smile from you guys! There it is!”
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Composition

Center FramedMiddle ThirdsFull Body

We had our couple stand directly in the middle of the frame as we had a ton of leading lines to work with. Almost every line converged towards our couple which immediately gives them a lot of emphasis. We also chose to shoot this a bit wide so we could capture more of the scene and a large portion of the skyline.
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Look for leading lines in your composition as they are an incredibly powerful element to guide your viewer to your subject.

Focusing

Single Point Focused on Their bodies Single Shot Autofocus
Our focus was very easy to achieve as we had plenty of light and contrasts to work with. We shot through our viewfinder, moved our single point over our couple, and let it lock on.
Light & Weather

Harsh LightNatural LightNoonShade

Fortunately, we found this spot that had shade as the sun was really, really strong. The shade helped to soften the light on our couple and since the sun was directly behind us, it also meant our couple didn’t have to squint or hurt their eyes.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/3200 f/2 ISO 100 WB Auto

Camera

Canon 5D mark IV

Lens

Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II

Editing

Adobe Lightroom Classic The Protea Presets

Software used:

 

I applied the Protea preset (flat) to the image as I wanted to keep as much detail both in the highlights and shadows. I then tweaked the usual white balance, exposure, shadows, highlights and saturation sliders until I got close to where I wanted to be. I then finished off by adding in some gradient adjustments to further control and modify the sky as well as the lower half of the image.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The hardest part of this image was trying not to blow out the highlights as we exposed for our couple. Since they were in the shade and the rest of the scene was out in the full, strong sunlight – there was strong contrast that our cameras had to deal with.

Location

City United States

North 5th Street Pier and Park

North 5th Street Pier and Park

Final tips & Advice

We can’t always choose the time of day something happens – and so it’s up to us to figure out solutions and if there really isn’t anything we can do – then we need to shoot it as best as we can. Fortunately though, unless you’re out in the desert at midday, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find somewhere that has a bit of shade to help with your light & the comfort of your couple.

There’s something really cool about classic, posed shots that we encourage everyone to give a go. There’s nothing wrong with doing a posed shot here and there, and often times ends up being the one that’s printed the most. It’s also a cool little warm-up as you can get the “awkward” shots out the way, leaving only the good stuff to come.
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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.

Designed with love by Katharina + Katharina & Shayne Thomas. Background image by Adrián Vilanova

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