Photographed by Melli & Shayne

Story

When shooting couples, we are often moving around them and capturing angles that are wide, close up, mid range and what have you. We do this because not only does it help increase the chances of coming back with an absolute banger shot, it also keeps your eyes and inspiration active the whole time. You’re constantly looking for things when you move; wide shots (what to include, what to exclude, etc…), close ups (what details, what movements, gestures). All of these things.

For this shot, we moved right up close after we had them get real intimate with each other and we simply asked the girl to bring her hand up to the guy’s neck/cheek; but she instinctively played with his lips. It was perfect; we didn’t really need to correct or change anything and instead, we let them have their moment as is.
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Directions

CalmIntimatePlayfulAlmost Kiss

Getting them into a close up position simply involved us asking them stand as close as possible, get their foreheads together and from there – to take the moment as it comes. We asked the girl to hold onto his neck/check as they go in for a loving embrace and it was at this moment that she decided to play with his lips.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“guys, we want you to get real close. Hold on to each other, and bring your foreheads together. [Girl], that’s beautiful – bring your hand up to his neck, or his cheek and go in for that loving embrace. oh, shit that’s awesome. Keep doing what you’re doing. Amazing you guys!”
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Composition

Center FramedClose UpIntimate Framing

The whole compositional goal of this shot was to show intimacy, passion & the gesture of the hand on the lips. When we saw this moment arise, we moved in closer to fill the frame with the couple and even consciously cutting off parts of their head to ensure the frame was filled while keeping the hand in the center. Their bodies created a natural frame around the hand which draws our attention straight towards it. The arm also creates a leading line going straight up to towards where the finger touches the lip. All of these ‘micro’ elements make up the composition.
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Move in close to your subjects and when you do, try not to disturb them. it’s already super weird being photographed while you’re being intimate with someone, so make sure they’re not disturbed by your presence when you’re up close.

Focusing

Single Point Focused on Finger/Lips Single Shot Autofocus
We moved our single focus point right over the finger/lips as we knew immediately that this was the point of interest for us. It allowed us to exactly focus on this area keeping it sharp while the rest of the image would potentially fall into a blur or bokeh.
Light & Weather

Soft LightBack litSunnySunset

This shot was taken during sunset and we specifically had them with their backs towards the sunset. We did this because it meant their faces were cast in shadow creating a much softer light to work with while also being flattering and hiding any blemishes. The fact that the sun was behind the couple also meant that we had a brilliant rim light that separates our couple from the background.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/1000 f/2 ISO 200 WB Auto

Camera

Canon 5D mark IV

Lens

Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II

Editing

Adobe Lightroom Classic The Protea Presets

Software used:

 

We used our Protea presets for this edit as we really wanted to keep the tones more tanned, darker, and muted as it felt more reminiscent of the sunset happening. We adjusted the exposure sliders to keep the overall feeling of the image on the slightly “darker” side, while also enhancing the highlights. We added in a gentle radial filter to create a manual vignette which helps to lead the eyes to our point of interest.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The main challenge here was not disturbing their moment. It happened more or less naturally and we didn’t want our presence or directions to break that moment.

Location

Village Tanzania

Paje Village

Paje, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Final tips & Advice

When it comes to moments of delicacy, be as quiet and gentle as you can. The moment can be broken very easily and it’s really hard to get it back ‘naturally’. So, learn to control yourself, your emotions, your volume, and your movements so that when something like this happens, you can become… a ninja.
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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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