Photographed by Melli & Shayne

Story

When we got a request to shoot a vow renewal in the Arctic Circle of Norway, our hearts literally stopped. We used to live in Scandinavia and so any chance to go back was always a win in our eyes. Sadly though, only one of us (Shayne) could do the trip at the time.

When I got to Tromso, Norway – I had a few days in total and part of these days was one where I was to location scout. The night before, Melli & I looked on Google Maps for some interesting spots around the area and we ended up finding this little coastal town called Hillesoy. I drove there the next morning (about an hour or so drive) and explored the whole area. I climbed up the hill/mountain to see if it was worth it with the couple (it wasn’t quite), walked along the coast, went through marshes – basically, got completely dirty.

I found this spot on the coast that offered not only spots for them to read their vows in silence, but paths to use, beaches to explore, and hillsides overlooking the arctic ocean. One thing I did note though was the wind being quite chilly, and also the sunset. It just didn’t set. It was a constant ‘golden hour’. Needless to say, it was a darn dream to photograph this.
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Directions

EnergeticHolding HandsWalkingMovement

Making them laugh and smile is key here. Throw in jokes and make them feel comfortable about it. Have them walk towards you (or by you) while keeping their faces towards the light source. Encourage them the whole time and don’t be afraid if you sound silly! The more laughs, the better!
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“Put your hands down! You look crazy walking with your hands in the air! Walk towards me… and look out to your right (towards the sun)”
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Composition

Center FramedHorizon LineWideFull Body

My aim in composing this image was to show the environment and their full bodies. This brings the viewer’s attention to multiple places of interest as they are shown where they are, who they are, and how they are dressed. Keeping them center framed also brought the first attention to them while leaving the eyes to wander around after.
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When framing a shot like this, try to avoid cutting their heads with the horizon too much; and to leave enough room around them to see the whole environment.

Focusing

Single Point Focused on The Grooms Body Single Shot Autofocus
Focusing was fairly straightforward for this shot as we had our single point directly over our couple. As the couple was walking towards me, I had to keep refocusing with each picture (easy to do as I Just release the shutter, and fully press it again) as I, at the time, was not a fan of the Servo focusing mode of the camera.
Light & Weather

Soft LightDirectional LightNatural LightSunsetGolden Hour

Using directional light (Light coming from an angle) during sunset can create an incredibly dimensional image by showcasing highlights and shadows. I had them walk towards me while looking out towards the sun. This meant their faces were lit most of the time and we could really play with the shadows that fell off on the other side.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/500 f/2.0 ISO 1000 WB Auto

Camera

Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens

Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II

Editing

Adobe Lightroom Classic M&S The Roots Presets

Software used:

 

To edit this shot, we used an experimental preset that we’re developing which aims to keep things nice and warm without going overboard. We wanted the whites of the dress to stay pure, but the skin tones to have that warm, silky feel to them. We adjusted all our exposure sliders to get the look we were after and then spent a bit of time in the HSL panel tweaking the hues & saturations to get the skin tones we were after. We then added a few radial filters in the image to enhance the sunlight as well as create a manual vigentte. Finally, we finished off with some grain to add some texture to the image.
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This image was edited with

M&S The Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The biggest challenge I had here was the sheer cold temperatures and wind that came from the coast. We had to be fairly quick with our shots as the couple got super cold really quickly.

Location

Beach / Coastal Norway

Hillesoy

Hillesoy 9110 Sommarøy, Norway

Final tips & Advice

Make sure to pack warm with boots and bring something for your couple to help them out too. The parking is quite central on the island and you would have to walk/hike to get to the coasts. It’s easy though.
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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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