Have you ever wondered how images were created? Not just about the camera settings or the lighting, but what it took to conceptualize the shot even before a camera was involved?
Melli & Shayne, two inspiring wedding photographers & filmmakers from Germany started an Instagram dedicated to answering the “how” behind the shot. Typically, photographers ask one primary question when they see an image: What are your settings? While this may provide an answer for the technical aspect behind a photograph, there are other attributes to consider when studying how to recreate it. We interviewed Shayne and Melli to get more insight on what inspired this project and how it works.
What’s your background in photography? Tell us about yourself.
We have been professional wedding photographers & filmmakers in Germany since early 2014 and although we always loved photography from a much younger age, it was only then that we decided to put all our energy and effort into making it a career of ours. We are really inspired by authentic moments and aim to capture that with our photography & films; and also believe that we don’t necessarily need the top of the line, fanciest equipment to do the job either. In fact, we travel so much for our Weddings that all of our equipment can fit in one (big) bag. Melli (German) and I (South African) work together as a couple team and absolutely love everything about being a wedding photographer and the whole industry. It really is a wild place and there are so many wonderful people out there, photographers and couples, that we get to meet all the time.
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What Inspired You to Start this Account?
We were having a quiet night at home with a bottle of wine and were thinking about what it was like when we first started photography (and not necessarily wedding photography) and we thought about how much resources we had at the time to help us improve our skills and better our photography. We loved reading slrlounge.com (big fans!) and getting all the latest news and techniques – but we also realized that when we saw some incredible photos – we always asked our selves “how did they shoot that?”. Like, what did they do to make that picture a reality? Why was it so captivating?
We then thought about wedding photography – and we quickly realized again that when we saw those photos that made us go “wow!”, we were asking ourselves those very questions. It happened as they say in the movies – “It just came to us”. We thought, how cool would it be to have a platform where we could get to know exactly how an image was created – right from the composition (and why they composed it that way), the directions given to the couple (if any), the lighting and how it was used, the focusing, the camera settings… all of that. So, we started brainstorming, and alas – “How I Shot This” / “HIST” was born.
We wanted to keep the language of the content to be very… ELI5 (Explain it like I’m 5 years old). So that anyone could understand and hopefully be inspired to try these tips out. After a little while of playing around with layouts and designs, we launched on Instagram and have received an overwhelming amount of positive feedback. It, of course, is quite a lot of work for us to consistently post, but it’s so worth it when we receive messages from people who say that we’re helping them and inspiring them. To us, that means the absolute world!
What are the Criteria you Look for When Selecting Images to Post?
We’re looking for lessons to teach. It could be something about the composition and why we framed that image that way, or the way we directed our couples, or how we used the light. Within every image, there is a story to tell, and we also bring that up too – since it’s always cool to know the context of the image or even just a funny back story. We feel that this brings out the fact that there is WAY more to an image than what just meets the eye.
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What Do you Hope Photographers Gain From This?
We really hope photographers are inspired by this platform and would learn a new thing or two to go out and try. The beautiful thing about this industry is that you can never stop learning – and regardless of whether you’re a professional or an amateur – there’s always something new to take with you. We would love to become a resource for photographers, who visits us and walks away feeling motivated, creative and passionate about their craft.
Do you Have Plans to Open up to Other Types of Genres Other than Wedding Photography?
Yes, absolutely! Right now as we are the only content creators for the platform – we have to stick to what we know and that is wedding photography. But we have some solid plans in the works for different genres of photography. Once we’ve ironed out a few last things, we are going to reach out to other photographers with different styles, techniques and things to offer so that we can really create a diverse platform for everyone.
You Also Share Business Tips – Tell us About That.
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“We got inspired by people telling us just how much we are helping them – so much so that we wanted to help them even more. As we’ve been in this industry for around 4-5 years and have made a sustainable business out of it – we thought why not share some business tips and things we’ve learned along the way. The more we can teach you and help you grow, the happier we are. We have no secrets and everything we put out there is honest stuff.”
How can People Stay Updated About Your Progress to the Launch of the New Platform and Features?
“Instagram would be the best place for now, but we will launch an email subscription soon just so it’s easier for everyone to get the launch news and can check out all the new features as they are introduced. Of course, we will share that all on Instagram too – so it’s not a necessity to subscribe.”