If you’ve followed my work for very long, you may have noticed how much I love detail shots. It’s so fun to gather all the sentimental, colorful, and tiny components of a wedding. Ideally, I will start with the invitation suite, which may or may not include several different pieces. Sometimes it is only the invitation, and a few times I have even photographed it before the wedding if the couple sends me one. My favorite way to photograph them is to lay the pieces out on a colorful surface — a bedspread, a rug, a tablecloth, etc. If I have access to all the rings at that same time, I might photograph them with the names on the invitation too. The bouquets, boutonnieres, and other floral arrangements are an important part of the theme and color scheme of the day. I like to take the bouquets outside and find some good naturally lit spots to photograph them. If I can find any cool architectural spots or benches, those can make for good photos too. The boutonnieres work best if they’re already on one of the guys’ jackets, so I wait until those are pinned on (or I pin them!) and borrow one of the groomsmen to photograph the pin next to their lapel and tie. The rings are obviously a huge part of the wedding ceremony, and I always try to make those images super personal for the couple. My first step is to switch to my macro lens so that I can get really close to the rings and make them the main focus of the photo, plus really hone in on that diamond! After that, my goal is to find something in one of the wedding colors to position the rings on. Often a napkin, a pocket square, a bridesmaid dress or even the flowers serve as good backdrops. It also helps to have things in the foreground and background to really emphasize the bokeh in the image. Bokeh is that phenomenon you see where the focus of the image is really sharp and everything in the background (and sometimes the foreground) is soft and blurry. Bokeh is dependent on many factors, but the biggest ones are focal length, aperture, and lens compression.
Other things I then photograph leading up the wedding are shoes, jewelry (which I will sometimes shoot together), cufflinks, hangers, bridal gifts, and neckties. At the reception, there are more details too! I love when I get the chance to photograph the reception room before guests are allowed in — there is something beautiful about an immaculately decorated, untouched room. It’s still possible to get those shots once the guests arrive, but it’s harder to get full room and table shots. Inside the room, I will photograph individual place settings, the cake, table service, centerpieces, place cards, menus, and any personal touches the couple has on the table. These include gifts for the guests, candy, bells, or sometimes a note for the guests saying a charitable donation has been made in their honor.
For brides who are planning ahead for the wedding day, plan to have as many of the above elements gathered and ready for the photographer prior to the ceremony. Many of those early pictures I mentioned can happen in the bridal suite or near where she’s getting ready, so that makes it easy. If the couple has decided not to see each other beforehand, the rings may not be all together. In that case, plan to hand the rings over to the photographer immediately after arriving to the reception. I prefer to photograph them in natural light before it gets too dark, but I do have options for photographing the rings after dark now thanks to my Magnet Mod gear and my Eachshot magic tube light.
If you have concerns about any of the detail shots and when or how to make them happen on your wedding day, please ask!