Photographed by Melli & Shayne


As we are huge huge fans of trying new things; even if they end up not working at all, we jumped with excitement when we heard that our couple wanted to try to take some pictures during the night with some fire lanterns. We knew that we’d be facing incredibly challenging situations but that only fueled our excitement more. We were all aware that there’s a 90% chance that it won’t turn out as good as we all hoped, but no one minded and everyone was just keen to try something.

Managing expectations, especially when you’re experimenting, is absolutely key. It just keeps the couple in the loop that potentially this specific shot may not actually meet the ‘quality’ to be delivered. And in our case, while not going to win any awards, we are pretty stoked about it. It was a bit tricky to figure out a pose that worked with the fire lanterns, and looking back at the set of images – the ones where we had the couple calmly snuggled up to each other were the ones that spoke more to us.
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we had our couple stand close to each other and keep the lanterns held out to the side between us and them. We then asked them to snuggle up, turning their faces downwards and into each other. Even mimicking what a cat would do when showing affection (super cheesy, but it gets the message across).
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“guys, stand real close to each other and keep the lanterns just to the side and slightly up. Now, I want you to bring your heads together and turn them downwards slightly. Imagine you’re just snuggling into each other. Very gently. Very softly. And close your eyes. Listen to the wind, the waves, fire”
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Center FramedMinimalisticMid Range

Since the only thing we could see in this image was what was being lit by the lanterns, we kept our composition quite spacious yet still giving our couple the dominant portion of the frame. We took a few wider shots too but this one ended up being our favourite in terms of composition. Having our subjects more or less centered helped to build this picture as we wanted them to take all the attention.
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When working in such situations, try and look at the image from a distance and see the shapes it creates when it’s all abstracted. That can help you find a different or more interesting composition.


Single Point Focused on the Brides hair Single Shot Autofocus
Focusing in such low light is often a huge challenge, but since the lanterns were held quite close to our couple, there was enough light to find the focus and get our subjects nice and sharp.
Light & Weather


The only light we had to work with was coming from the two lanterns. We had our couple hold them out to the side between us and them so they were being lit from the front. We moved around our couple as we were shooting to see where or how we could position the lights and through this movement, we found a few shots we really liked.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/200 f/2 ISO 20,000 WB Auto


Canon R6


Canon RF 50mm f/1.2 L


Adobe Lightroom Classic The Protea Presets

Software used:


Since this shot was taken at an astronomical 20,000 ISO, there was a definite need to remove some noise. Fortunately, though, the canon R6 does a good job in low light and this is largely why we had no fear to push it so far. We added our protea preset to the image and adjusted the white balance to reduce the warmth of the image. We then adjusted the usual exposure sliders to get the contrasty feeling we were after. We then added a few radial filters over the lanterns with the white balance increased and the dehaze decreased to help “spread out the light” and make it feel a little more smooth.
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This image was edited with

The Protea Presets

Challenges & Solutions
Amongst many challenges, the hardest part was coming up with a pose that actually worked for this type of ‘setting’.


Cliffs Portugal

Praia De Albandeira Em Lagoa

Estr. de Albandeira, 8400-403 Lagoa, Portugal

Final tips & Advice

It’s easy to be a bit scared or nervous when trying something completely brand new; especially with wedding clients. But so long as you openly tell them what your plans are and manage their expectations, they may even be super excited to be a part of it. It really doesn’t hurt or harm to tell them that ‘hey, these shots may not work out but i think it’s worth trying’.

And, if they don’t work out – don’t worry about it. Look at the images and try and understand where you went wrong and keep note of that for next time.
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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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