Photographed by Melli & Shayne


For this bridal shot, we wanted to create a strong pose. One that would show confidence amongst such towering and dominant environmental features like the mountains, the stormy clouds and the firey sunset. While our bride in this image was a professional model, and we want to be as transparent about it as possible, we believe wholeheartedly that the tips that we talk about here can work (and have worked) with non-model girls too.
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CalmNaturalSimpleLooking into the camera

Have your bride stand facing towards the light while holding her flowers down low and to then look over her shoulder into your camera. She can also raise her shoulder slightly to create a more flattering posture. It’s important that she is at an angle that doesn’t make her look unnatural when she looks over her shoulder. Too much of angle can then become very uncomfortable.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“Face the light and hold your flowers down low. Now look over your shoulder into my camera and raise your shoulder slightly”
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Rule of ThirdsWideFull BodyOff Center

We wanted to showcase the epic location we were at with this shot and so we framed wide enough to include the mountain, the stormy skies and our bride in full. By placing our bride in the right third of the image, we created a balanced frame with the mountain on the left side, and our bride on the right.

This follows the rule of thirds theory and works really well to create a frame that is pleasing to the eye.
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When shooting wide portraits, try experiment with how wide you actually go. Sometimes having your bride too small in the frame isn’t as powerful as having her a bit closer up.


Single Point Focused on The Brides Face Single Shot Autofocus
We setup our single point autofocus right on our brides face so we knew that we would be getting her sharp. As often as we can, we always try and aim to focus on the face or the eyes since thats where the viewers tend to look for connection when it’s a portrait of someone.
Light & Weather

Directional LightMoodyNatural LightCloudySunset

This was taken at sunset just as the stormy clouds had formed infront of the sun. We positioned our bride so that she faced the light source, and we stood just behind her and to the side. This meant we could get a gorgeous rim light while not completely shadowing her.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/1000 f/2.0 ISO 100 WB Auto


Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic M&S The Roots Presets

Software used:


The edits are made to be warmer with a big focus on skin tones and light play with shadows and highlights. A few minor local adjustments were made (Gradient and Brush) as well as finishing off with a fine layer of grain. The whites are not blown out nor are the blacks 100% crunched.
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This image was edited with

M&S The Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
A challenge we faced here was to get her to look natural when looking over her shoulder. It’s very easy to “over extend” the look.

The second challenge that came into play was our angle behind her. If we were too much at an angle, we would have shot right into the sun creating a blown out sky and her to be in the shadows.


Mountains South Africa

Signal Hill

Signal Hill, Cape Town, South Africa

Final tips & Advice

Try use a 50mm for wide portraits. Its an incredibly versatile lens and can bring out some gorgeous compressions.

Have your bride swing the bouquet gently. It can create a nice flow and a natural look to the image and also gives your bride something to focus on.

Keep your eyes open on your brides dress and make sure to remove any sticks and bush that catch onto it. It’s better to do that then and there than in post.
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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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