Photographed by Melli & Shayne


If ever you find yourself at a wedding where the dinner setup is really something special – take that chance to photograph your couple amongst it. Or even just bridal portraits. It’s a great way to add diversity to your story and you may even come back with some of your favorite shots.

That’s exactly what we did here. We fell in love with the romantic candlelit setup with the tasteful designs and really wanted to make sure we walked away with some kickass shots. We asked our couple if they liked the idea of shooting in there and it worked out perfectly.

In fact, we documented their whole reaction to walking in and seeing it for the first time. Another bonus for our storytelling. We don’t always need to follow the “sequences” of the day, and breaking it up a bit can make your project really interesting.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
We had our bride stand with her feet pointing away from us so we could see her back. From here, we asked her to slightly twist from her waist towards us while keeping her right shoulder slightly raised while holding her flowers down low. Completely relaxed. Finally, we asked her to look down towards her flowers which naturally causes her face to tilt.
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“Turn slightly from your waist and keep your shoulder just a bit up. Hold your flowers completely relaxed and look down at them. Take a deep breath and just relax.”
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Center FramedMiddle ThirdsFull Body

There are a ton of leading lines in this frame and one of the crucial points was to place our bride at the intersection of the tables. That way, both tables lead towards her. We also wanted to keep her full body so we paid close attention to keeping her dress in frame and to leave enough space around her.
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Take a moment to find your compositions before you start shooting. If you work with a partner, have them stand in for you while you try different shots. If you’re alone, ask a guest. Or staff. Chances are they’ll dig to have a cool shot of themselves.


Single Point Focused on The Brides face Single Shot Autofocus
When aiming for full-body bridal portraits, you can be a little less strict on where you actually focus point lands; since if you shoot this far away enough, your whole subject will fall within the focal plane. In any case, it’s good practice to move it towards your subject’s face (even if it makes up a small part of the frame).
Light & Weather

Soft LightIndoorCandles

We chose to use the dining room for the portraits not only because of the beautiful setup but because of the romantic lights from the candles. There were a few windows to the right of our frame which helped light up our bride, and so we made sure to position her in a way that she turned towards the light; lighting her face.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/1250 f/1.6 ISO 1250 WB Shade


Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic M&S The Roots Presets

Software used:


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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This image was edited with

M&S The Roots Presets

Challenges & Solutions
Our main challenge here was the low light and being able to focus accurately.


Wedding / Event Venue Germany

Vila Vita

Eventscheune Dagobertshausen, Im Dorfe 14, 35041 Marburg

Final tips & Advice

If you have a beautiful dinner setup – take the chance to photograph your couple amongst it. It can look super cool. If there are candles, try time it so you can shoot when they are turned on.

Remember to ask your bride to take deep breathes and open her back & shoulders – it helps them form a better posture and looks much more flattering.
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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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