Photographed by Melli & Shayne


When we travelled to Cape Town, we had no intention of actually shooting. We wanted / needed a good old holiday and break from the wedding season and wanted to just wind down with a glass of wine overlooking the gorgeous views. But theres the thing – Cape Town is unbelievably stunning.

It didn’t take us long to feel every inch of our body & soul craving to take pictures there. With every corner we turned, our inspiration lit up. We eventually succumbed to our inner desires and said lets just shoot one little project.

We met a good looking couple, asked if they were keen to shoot with us (turned out they were models), found a dress supplier and a florist as well as a makeup artist all within a day or two. Sure, it was a bit of work – but we came home with some of our absolute favourite images. We had no idea the sky was going to explode with this sunset.
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CalmHolding Each otherAlmost Kiss

We asked our groom to stand relaxed slightly facing towards us while we had our bride move in close and face him. We wanted them to form an “open V” shape where they slightly pull away from us. finally, we asked our bride to bring her hand up around the back of his neck and then for them to snuggle in close.
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Calm Energetic
Planned On the spot
Tricky Easy
Posed Natural
“Bring your hand up to the back of his head and bring your foreheads together. Close your eyes and really snuggle into each other. You can even sway slightly, like a slow dance just to get some movement. There you go! Perfect!”
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Center FramedWideFull BodyNatural Frames

We chose to keep our couple full body in the middle of the image to show the grandeur of the scene. We shot wide enough to include the top of the mountain with the clouds and to allow a part of the bursting sunset light to come in from the side. We also paid attention not to shoot at an angle that would make the mountain cut through our couple – rather we had them framed inside it.
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Shoot wider if you want to include more of the environment. But make sure it’s adding to the image and won’t take away too much attention.


Single Point Focused on The Couple Single Shot Autofocus
Since this wasn’t a very difficult image to focus in, we kept our focus mode to single point autofocus simply because we have a lot more control over what is being targeted. We move it to a point of contrast on our couple which always helps the focus.
Light & Weather

Soft LightDirectional LightNatural LightSunset

The light was coming just out of the frame to our right and as the sky was becoming pretty cloudy & stormy, the sunset exploded with color. We had our couple positioned so our groom was facing towards the light, and the back of our bride to have a rim light.
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Equipment & EXIF

1/320 f/1.4 ISO 100 WB Auto


Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon 35mm f/1.4 L II


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 overlooked the fact that our bride’s face would be in the shadow cast by the sunlight. It was only afterward that we saw that it was pretty underexposed.


Mountains South Africa

Signal Hill

Signal Hill, Cape Town, South Africa

Final tips & Advice

When looking for a couple to shoot in a different location – it’s always a bit awkward in the beginning but if you can build up the courage to go and speak to a couple that caught your eye (in person) and ask them – you may be quite surprised. The worst they can say is no. And then what? Just move on :)

While we love this picture to pieces, there is one thing that we wish we could have seen besides the fact that our bride’s face was in the shade. That was our groom’s hand. We realize now that we wish we had it either in his pocket or connected to our bride somehow as it hanging there just to the side take away a bit of the “connection” between the two.

Things like this happen – and to notice when they occur again is to look at your images and criticize yourself. Not harshly. Not in any meaningful way but rather to learn from it. Realize that next time you need to just pay attention to that thing.
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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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