Photographed by Melli & Shayne

Story

One of the things we really love shooting is these small little elopements/vow renewals from couples who travel far and beyond to have that magical experience of the Alps as they share their love for each other. We personally think it’s such a sweet little idea and we’ve absolutely adored every single one of these clients.

And these two in particular were just so much fun. We had just made our way down to a gorgeous little lake after spending the first half of the afternoon atop the mountains for the vow renewals. As we got here, the sun was still pretty darn high and harsh which we, at the time, didn’t quite want to be shooting in. Since we had time until the late evening, we opted to go find an area to just hang out while the light got a little softer.

While waiting, we saw our couple standing and speaking to each other, and we saw this burst of sunlight come through just above them. We instantly loved this shot, and as quickly as we could, got ourselves into position and caught them off guard.
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Directions

EnergeticFunnyJokes

Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
As our couple wasn’t really paying attention to us, we took this chance to catch them off guard. We got ourselves into position and exclaimed at just how “super gorgeous & Hollywood-like” they looked standing there being all-natural. This naturally caused them to blush and giggle as it was completely unexpected.
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“God-Damn you guys look great! Weooh!!! Looking like real Hollywood celebrities basking in that golden sun! God-damn gorgeous folk you are!”
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Composition

Center FramedWideFull Body

The sun played a bit of a compositional role in this image and so we aimed to keep it still visible. We chose to shoot this in portrait since it feels a lot more intimate and closer, despite the fact that this is a full-body shot. We tried to fill 2/3rds of the frame with the couple leaving the last 1/3rd for the sun, space, and breathing room.
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Try and find a balance in your compositions by breaking it down into a few equal-sized sections. Choose to fill up X amount of those sections with your subject and be aware of what you are not filling up.

Focusing

Single Point Focused on Grooms Suit Single Shot Autofocus
Since we shot into the sun, the focusing was quite a nightmare. The sun flares cause the camera to really struggle to find enough contrast. What we did was briefly hid the sun with our hand, found a focus on the groom’s suit, and then removed our hand while still half-pressing the shutter button and fired away.
Light & Weather

Back litRim LightBrightAfternoon

The light was coming directly behind our couple without anything blocking or softening it. Since it was a bit too harsh to shoot cross-lit, we shot into the light. We did this because it meant that there was shadow cast onto our couple’s faces when they turned around. Light is generally softer and easier in the shade and this is one way of shooting in harsh light. Though at the expense of losing details in the sky.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/1600 f/1.8 ISO 100 WB Auto

Camera

Canon 5D mark IV

Lens

Canon 50mm f/1.2 L

Editing

Adobe Lightroom Classic The Protea Presets

Software used:

 

To edit this shot, we applied our base Protea preset and adjusted the usual exposure, contrasts, highlights & shadow sliders to get the overall mood and tone of the image we were after. We then adjusted the white balance to bring in a bit more warmth. We noticed that the colors started to get a little saturated, so we spent a bit of time in the HSL panels tweaking the greens, yellows and oranges to better balance the overall image. We then added a radial filter over the sun with the dehaze slider dragged downwards to enhance the sunflare. Finally, we added a gentle vignette with a layer of grain to finish off the image.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
The focusing was definitely the biggest challenge with this shot because we were shooting directly into a blasting ball of fire.

Location

Garden / Field Germany

Geroldsee

Geroldsee, Germany

Final tips & Advice

Don’t hesitate. Had we hesitated and not went with our cheeky little gut instinct to catch our couple off-guard, we wouldn’t have been able to come back with such a genuine moment between the two. Even if things seem a bit silly, so long as they are done in good nature and with good intentions, it’s all good. Don’t leave the shoot wondering “what if”. 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.

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