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When it comes to shooting a styled shoot, one thing we make sure of is that we really shoot until it just becomes way too dark. So dark that focusing becomes pretty much impossible. But, for this one – we wanted to try something new. We’d always been inspired by the use of lanterns and since these lanterns were a part of the ceremony setup – it made absolute sense to try and incorporate them in a few shots.

For this particular shot, we wanted to really emphasize a feeling of adventure. By having our bride lead the groom, we’re lending it to a story. Where are they going? Where are they? Why are they out so late? And in the end – shouldn’t ever photograph be a story?

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How did you direct your subject(s)?

We asked our couple to hold hands and to have the bride walk down the path first while the groom was to follow. While walking, we asked them to keep their lanterns slightly raised and to keep an eye on where they were walking (for safety).

What did you say?

Okay guys, let’s have you [bride] come down to us through the path while you hold hands with [groom]. Just keep your lanterns raised slightly so they don’t get lost amongst the grass, and so it can light your way a bit. Also, make sure you’re watching where you step. We don’t want you to trip or hurt yourself

How did you compose your image?

The main goal of this composition was to showcase our couple in this awesome setting. We chose to use a wider lens to allow enough scenery in the shot to give everything the right amount of context. Our couple was also on a hill, which meant they walked downwards towards us, allowing us a pretty cool angle to capture.

How and what did you focus on?

Focusing at this point of the evening is incredibly challenging. However, with the lanterns emitting just enough light for the cameras to find a lock point – we managed to do just that. We used our live view in Servo mode (continuously tracks our couple) as it helped keep the couple sharp as they moved down towards us.


How did you use the light in your image?

This was taken during the heart of the blue hour. Even though the sun had set well below the horizon, we still had a tiny bit of directional light coming from where the sun dropped. Since it wasn’t actually making much of a difference, we instead focused on where our couple was and how we composed this shot.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Canon 5D Mark IV


Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II





Shutter Speed






White Balance


How did you edit your image & what did you use?

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.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic


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What challenges did you face?

One of the challenges in this image was the fact that there was quite a bit of wind blowing. This meant our lanterns were at risk of being blown out, and then we’d waste precious time & light trying to relight them.

How did you solve them?

Fortunately, we had larger lanterns that could house the candles, and close just enough to give it full protection. However, we still kept in our minds that they could go off any moment – and with that, we didn’t waste too much time with intricate poses or the like. We knew the shot we wanted, and we went for it.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

If you put in all that work & effort to do a styled shoot – take full advantage of it. Shoot right until you simply cannot shoot anymore. Even go as far as finding new ways to shoot when it’s dark, for a ton of reasons. Practice, new content, different content, the whole experience and really maximizing the chances of coming back with sick images.

Editing work like this can also be a challenge. Take your time, take a few breaks, and come back to it with fresh eyes. It’s worth it to spend that little bit of extra time on an image you really really like.


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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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