the Shoot

Location Equipment
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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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Location Name

Signal Hill

Location aDDRESS

Signal Hill, Cape Town, South Africa


South Africa

Location TYPE




Canon 5D Mark IV




Canon 50mm f/1.2 L

Lens Filter


Other Equipment
No additional equipment was used.

the Shoot

Directions Composition Focus Light & Exposure
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Tone of Directions


Action of Directions

Posed Serious


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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What was said

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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Why I composed the way I did

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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Compositional Rules

Leading Lines Off Center Rule of Thirds

Compositional Framing

Wide Full Body


Focus mode

Single point auto focus

Focus Technology

Single Shot Autofocus

Focused on

The Brides Face

Focus description

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.

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Shutter Speed






White Balance


Other Light Sources
No additional light sources were used.
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Light &

How the light was used

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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Type of light

Natural Light

Time of Day


Quality of LIght

Soft Directional Backlit


the Shoot

Editing & Presets
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Editing &

Editing Software used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

Preset Used
How I edited this image

One of the key parts of editing this image was knowing the final outcome that I wanted to achieve. Since this was shot during an incredibly vibrant sunset on top of the mountain, I didn’t want the edit to lose that haze that it sometimes created in these conditions. The original did lack this, so I ultimately knew that I would move to photoshop at some point.

Starting off, i applied the Roots Kilimanjaro preset as a base and then adjusted the exposure & white balance in the image to get an overall feel. I knew that I wanted to put the sun flare on the right side, so I naturally added a radial adjustment to that corner and pushed up the exposure and warmth ever so slightly. This just helps things blend later.

Once I was happy with the overall tones and exposure of the image, I moved it to photoshop where I added the Sun flare. I positioned it large enough to leak onto the bride. Once that was done, I moved back to Lightroom and did the last little tweaks and added grain at the very end. This all helps to blend the image together and makes it feel a lot more believable.

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Challenges Solutions Advice

Challenges & Solutions

Events that were challenging during the shoot

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.

Solutions I found

The best thing to do is to put your camera down for a moment and really look at your bride and see if she is
comfortable in this pose. If not, tell her to turn her shoulders a bit more towards you. It also helps if you encourage her to keep moving from side to side (kinda like dancing). That way, she will naturally fall into those poses.

As for the the angle, we moved around her quite a bit until we found a spot that worked just right for the composition and the light. Don’t be afraid to do this a few times; your subject really won’t mind :)


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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Photographed by

Melli & Shayne

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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