Photographed by Melli & Shayne


When we traveled to Zanzibar for a holiday, we didn’t really plan on shooting too much while we were there. In fact, we even hesitated to bring our cameras as we really wanted/needed a break after a hectic wedding season. But, we brought one each just … just in case.

Well, we were pretty stoked that we did. We met this couple at the Surf school and immediately thought they’d be awesome to be in front of our lenses. We had already met them a few days before, and so it was quite easy to just walk up and ask if they’d be keen to go for a little shoot one sunset. They totally went for it.

When we were walking through the village, we found this opening just as the sun was about to hide behind the distant houses and it let out this stunning golden flare. We seized the moment and let our couple play right here in this spot before moving on.
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CalmHolding Each otherMovement

Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
We had our guy hang out with his coconut as chilled as he could, while we asked our girl to move in and gently cuddle him from the side. We asked her to keep her one hand on his chest, and the other around his neck and to focus on each other. Even whisper something sweet here and there.
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“Guys the light here is stunning. [guy], hang tight just where you are and [Girl], if you came in from the side and embraced him while having your hand on his chest (demonstrated it to them) and the other around his neck. That’ll look stunning! And just enjoy that moment together – even whisper something to each other that will make you smile. “
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Center FramedWideFull Body

We chose to shoot this in portrait because there was a ton of ‘features’ of the village all around us and since the moment & the emotion between our couple was the main focus – we didn’t want anything to take away from that. We filled the frame about 4/5ths with our couple leaving just enough breathing room above them and to the sides. We are a bit regretful that we chopped off our guys feet though – we didn’t see that when shooting :(
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It’s always a good idea to shoot both landscape and portrait. That way you have the choice later on when you have more time to analyse your images and decide whether there are distracting elements in the landscape shot or not.


Single Point Focused on The Guy’s Face Single Shot Autofocus
Since shooting into the sun often causes problems with focusing, what we did was bend ourselves slightly lower than our couple so we could hide the sun entirely behind them then slowly moved back up to our composition while holding the focus and fired away.
Light & Weather

Soft LightBack litRim LightBrightSunnySunset

We had our couple stand directly in front of where the sun was setting so we could let the sun peak over their heads and create this gorgeous golden flair. Since shooting into the sun means the side of our couple visible to us is completely in the ‘shade’, they had really a really soft skin to edit.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/400 f/2 ISO 400 WB Auto


Canon 5D mark IV


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic M&S The Roots Presets

Software used:


To edit this shot, we added our protea preset but reduced a lot of the oranges, reds, and yellows as things became a bit too saturated. We reduced the luminance of the oranges quite a bit to try and give a more muted, tanned tone to their skins which were closer to their true color. We adjusted the usual exposure sliders to get the overall mood of the image and finally ended off with some light dodging and burning as well as a cheeky little sun enhancing radial filter.
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This image was edited with

M&S The Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The only challenge we had with this shot was focusing as shooting directly into the sun does cause problems for the camera.


Village Tanzania

Paje Village

Paje, Zanzibar, Tanzania

Final tips & Advice

One thing this shoot taught us was to just go for it. Ask that cute couple if they’d be keen for a shoot and if they say no, well – no one was hurt. But if they say yes – then you’ve just landed up a fun little project. Just go for it.
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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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