wedding photography education . how to photograph the bridal portraits

1/1000 . f/2.0 . ISO 100 . WB Auto . Canon 5D Mark IV . Canon 50mm f/1.2 L

Photographed by

Photographed by


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.

Education for Wedding Photographers . how to pose a couple


Into what the directions were like & how they were given to the couple.

Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural


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.
Face the light and hold your flowers down low. Now look over your shoulder into my camera and raise your shoulder slightly


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.

Wedding Photography tips . how to compose

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.


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.

Focus point

Single Point

focused on

The Brides Face

focusing technology

Single Shot Autofocus

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Couple kissing underwater

1/1000 . f/2.0 . ISO 100 . WB Auto


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.
Canon 5D Mark IV
Canon 50mm f/1.2 L
Other equipment

How to edit like Melli & Shayne

Swipe to see before & after

Editing software
Adobe Lightroom Classic
Preset Used
M&S The Roots Presets
local adjustments
Brush, Gradient, Radial
External edits


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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Location Name
Signal Hill
Area / Address
Signal Hill, Cape Town, South Africa
Location Type
Website / Instagram / Explore Tag


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.


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 :)

How to improve in wedding photography

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.

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.

active since


main body

Canon 5D Mark IV

favorite lens

Canon 50mm f/1.2 L

current home


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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