Photographed by Melli & Shayne


When we arrived at the groom’s getting ready, we immediately noticed that the room adjacent to where he got dressed was pretty dark. Our first instinct was to say “nope, too dark to shoot here”.

But then we looked a little closer and saw these windows allowing a beam of soft light through. For portraits, this was perfect.

We decided to take our safe shots in a brighter room just in case these ones didn’t work out as we had hoped. Once we knew we got the “money shots”, we moved on to the darker room and used up the remaining time playing with the light, the shadows, and the poses.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
We had our groom stand with his shoulders towards us with his one hand in his pocket. We then asked him to just turn his head and look outside the window, and to completely relax. Taking deep breaths and keeping the shoulders open. Sometimes going a simple route brings out a strong portrait. Not too many directions. Just being in the moment.
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“Stand with your shoulders facing us with your one hand in your pocket. Now, just with your head, look out the window. Take a deep breath and completely relax. Forget about us and just think for a moment. About anything.”
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Center FramedLeading LinesMid Range

Because his posture was so dominant, we wanted to keep his center framed so that all the attention of the viewer is on him. When framing a shot like this that is not full-body – a good rule of thumb to follow is to “cut your subject off” just above their knees. We also left quite a bit of headroom on top so the image feels a bit more spacey.
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If you go for a 3/4 shot frame like this, try cutting your subject off from just above the knee. This leaves just enough information for the viewer to understand where and how he is standing.


Single Point Focused on The grooms face Single Shot Autofocus
Our focus was on the light patch that was falling onto our groom. As this lit an area of his face, we simply moved our focus point over his face and let it lock on.
Light & Weather

Harsh LightDirectional LightWindow LightNatural LightIndoor

The light in the image took a huge role in the whole frame of the image. We found these roof-windows in a darkened area of the room that let in these beams of light. We had our groom stand just underneath it, and turn his face towards the light source. This allowed us to create a very dramatic, contrasty portrait.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/2000 f/1.4 ISO 1600 WB Auto


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
The main challenge we had here was keeping the atmosphere calm and relaxed. As this was taken just before the couple’s first look, it’s natural that emotions and energy are all over the place.


Private Home / AirBnB / Apartment Finland

Private Home

Vantaa, Finland

Final tips & Advice

Keep your eyes open for creative ways to use light. If a room is dark although it has windows – try something new and create a darker, moodier shot.

Remember that your energy as the wedding photographer is incredibly important when creating portraits. Want energetic stuff? Be energetic. Want calm, and quiet? Be that.

When you ask your groom to put his hand in his pocket, pay attention to how this affects his suit jacket. Sometimes it may pull the jacket awkwardly, and if this is the case – it’s better to have the buttons open.
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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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