Photographed by Melli & Shayne


At first, this was an image that we immediately skipped over when going through the culling process. I mean, it’s an easy decision to make since it’s completely out of focus. *sighs*, *hits next button*, and the culling continues. But all of a sudden I stopped. Something “told me” to go back, and I did. I looked closer at the image and realized that this “Missed shot” actually may not be so bad.

I realized then that the little low-hanging cloud directly behind them stole the focus. The reason why was because we used, as usual, a single point in our focusing and we must have missed our couple. And when I looked at this image long enough – I realized, it doesn’t have to be perfect to tell a story. The longer I looked, the more I loved it. It’s imperfect, but it says a lot. It shows where our couple was, what they were doing, what the environment was like, the mood and the atmosphere – all while letting our viewers “imagine” the rest. There is an art in imperfection.
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CalmHolding HandsNaturalWalking

We asked our couple to walk up the hill holding hands and to have our bride lead the way. While doing so, we encouraged the bride to look back towards the groom as she would do so naturally.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“Alrighty, you see the top of the hill just here? I want you guys to walk up there and let’s have [Bride] up front and leading the way. Hold your hands and look back at [Groom] whenever you can.”
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Rule of ThirdsCenter FramedMid Range

Since we were slightly lower than our couple as they climbed the hill, we had to find a spot that allowed us to see them through the grass. We found an angle that gave us a nice balance of grass in the foreground (taking about 1/3 of the frame), our subjects in the middle, and enough breathing room around them. We also fine-tuned our crop while editing to keep the grid intersection closer to our bride’s face (as based on the rule of thirds, this helps to balance points of interest).
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Try to vary your angles if you find that your initial composition isn’t striking you too much. Go lower, go higher, shoot through something, shoot wide, shoot close. Try it all.


Single Point Focused on The cloud behind Single Shot Autofocus
Focusing. This is the wrong image to talk about focusing since we “missed” our goal. But it’s a perfect chance to share that even a reliable method like “single point” focussing does have its challenges. You are in control of where that point lands and if you aren’t able to track your subjects accurately, you stand the chance of missing the focus entirely; and you may not be as “lucky” to have an accidentally good shoot.
Light & Weather

Soft LightBack litEveningColorful Light

This was taken somewhere around the mid-to-late part of the blue hour which meant the light we got to work with was incredibly beautiful. There was a gorgeous play of color in the sky between the sunset tones and the cool blues of the oncoming evening. We still aimed to have our couple be in a position where their front would catch whatever light remained, so when walking up the hill, we found a spot that allowed them to walk towards where the sun had set.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/400 f/1.8 ISO 1000 WB Auto


Canon 5D mark IV


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic Roots Presets

Software used:


When editing this shot, we applied our Protea presets as a base and cropped the image to straighten the horizon as well as have our bride on the intersection of the rule-of-thirds grid. We then adjusted the exposure, highlights, shadows, blacks & whites as well as the vibrance & saturation just to bring out those colors in the sky. Finally, we added a simple gradient filter to further enhance the sky.
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This image was edited with

Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The challenge here was definitely nailing the focus on these shots since the light was pretty low, and our subjects were moving which made things that much harder.


Beach / Coastal Germany

Sankt Peter-Ording

Sankt Peter-Ording, Germany

Final tips & Advice

We all make mistakes. We all come back with images that we never ever want anyone to see. It doesn’t matter how successful or famous or rich or poor we are. The truth is, no one comes back from a shoot with a card full of absolutely perfect, unique images. But amongst these imperfect shots, you may find one that speaks to you. If you ever find yourself looking at a shot that you know is not technically perfect, but for some reason, it still tugs at your heartstrings – why not throw it into the cull. You could always discard it later after editing if you change your mind.
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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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