Photographed by Melli & Shayne


Ever since we started this whole How I Shot This project, we’ve found ourselves being so incredibly inspired by all the work that gets submitted here. So much so that we pushed ourselves to try something new at this wedding.

The couple was getting ready at the same hotel and during this time, the sky was clear and the sun was out in full force. This created the usual harsh and generally unpleasant lighting that we often run away from. However, when we arrived at the hotel, we noticed the shape of the light & shadow created by the building and immediately thought about trying a shot here and embracing harsh light.

When it came time to do the portraits, we had our bride stand in the sunlight and we gave it a shot. We knew just off to the side in the shade was going to be perfect & easy to work with light so we didn’t hesitate to try something new and different.

Finally, when it came to the ‘pose’ we had our bride in, we really wanted to have her calm and simple; eyes closed, and to have her almost ‘absorb’ the sunlight as it hits her. This was important as the goal of the image was meant to show peace and tranquility in this spot of light amongst the darkness of the shadows.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
We asked our bride to simply stand with her body turned slightly towards where the sun was coming from, and had her close her eyes (also to protect her eyes, and stop her from squinting). We then encouraged her to turn her head even more towrads the sun and to just ‘enjoy the sunshine’ and to keep the bouquet nice and relaxed as she held it up.
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“”[Bride], let’s have you stand here and turn ever so slightly towards the sun! Awesome! Close your eyes, and turn just your head even more towards the sun and I want you to really “feel” the sunshine. Enjoy it. And take a deep breath””
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Broken RulesLeading LinesMinimalisticWideFull Body

We wanted the highlight to form a part of the composition, however we were not able to capture it entirely – so what we ended up deciding on was to have the bride positioned more on the left side of the frame to allow more space for the light to have a roll. It’s definitely not perfect, but it feels a lot more balanced than if we had the bride straight up in the middle.
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Consider having the light & shadow form a part of your composition. Sometimes it helps to squint your eyes and look at the scene to have a better idea of what’s available to you.


Single Point Focused on The Bride’s eyes Single Shot Autofocus
Since our goal of this image was to capture the expression on the face of our bride, the focus point was simply moved over her eyes. We had plenty of light & contrasts to work with so we had zero issues finding focus.
Light & Weather

Harsh LightFront LitDirectional LightDarkMoodyNatural LightSunnyNoon

We had our bride stand just at the corner of the spot of light that was falling on the ground to help us find a balance in our composition. We then had her turn and look towards the light since we wanted her face to be lit – and to still have some shadows visible to give dimensions. The light was incredibly harsh so we did have to expose with a fast shutter speed to keep the details in the highlights.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/8000 f/2 ISO 100 WB Auto


Canon R5


Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II


Adobe Lightroom Classic The Protea Presets

Software used:


Adobe Lightroom

We applied our protea preset as a base but since this was shot in harsh light, we did have to tweak the white balance and the orange tones to calm them down a bit. Apart from this, we kept the edit dark and punchy by keeping the shadows really low down as well as the blacks.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The only challenge we had with this image was controlling the saturated oranges that came with our preset. Since our presets are not built for such harsh lighting conditions, we did have to pay attention to what we were doing.


Courtyard Germany

Gasthaus zur Sonne

Gasthaus zur Sonne, Hauptstraße 18, 97334 Nordheim

Final tips & Advice

Guys – don’t be afraid or hesitate to try something new. Even if it doesn’t work and looks utter rubbish – at least you tried and you can learn from your mistakes. That’s one of the main things that separates those who make it to the top, is that they try new things. Sure, you don’t always see their mistakes but believe me – they have them. Just try.
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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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