Have you ever arrived at a wedding to photograph the details and felt like there was no time, or became completely overwhelmed due to the chaos of the day? Been there! I’m sharing my biggest tips and tricks for how I shoot wedding day details so that they are beautiful, and consistent but also don’t take up too much of the timeline. If you missed it, I made a video all about this topic over on my Youtube channel.
The details on a wedding day (shoes, rings, dress, etc.) are important elements of the couple’s story, and each piece is significant because it was specially chosen. Photographing the details is typically my first task upon arriving on the wedding day, and is one of my favorite parts of a day. It’s a little like a calm before the storm. Are you ready to dive in? These are my steps for getting it all done…
Educate your bride. This might be the most vital tip I can give you, honestly. In order to have everything I need to do my job well on a wedding day, I have to prepare my client in the weeks leading up to the event. I explain to them that I need their details (I provide a list of what’s needed) gathered together in one place for me before I arrive. And since my brides are like me and they LOVE details, they are more than willing to do what it takes to have amazing photographs. There simply is not time on a wedding day to run around gathering up the details from many different locations and people. If planning is left to the day-of, details will be missed. Another thing I do is have my brides mail me a copy of their invitation. I get to see their wedding colors in person which helps me know what ribbons to bring for styling.
Find the best light. This is my number one priority after I have the details in-hand. Even if there are some great background options, the lighting needs to come first! I look for open shade or window light. In a pinch, I can use flash or a video light, but this is not my preference.
Find a good background. For backgrounds, I look for clean and simple fabrics or furniture that will flow with the details of the day. Sometimes I can use what’s available to me wherever the bride is getting ready, and other times I use a styling board. A styling board is a stretched canvas wrapped in fabric that I use as a background for times when there are no other options I like. This grants me the ability to be picky about my light while not sacrificing the background of the image.
Work large to small. Starting with the complete stationery suite, I style a vertical and horizontal set up and then begin paring back. I will also photograph any other combinations of multiple item pairings at this time. This allows me to get the most complicated photos out of the way first. I then move on to singular details like the rings or shoes.
Less is more. I do use styling aids like ribbons and vintage stamps, however I believe simplicity is key. If a frame feels unbalanced or forced, just remove some items. White space can be a really beautiful element of your composition.
The styling aids I use most are silk ribbons, a small reflector, and vintage stamps. I do not have hard and fast rules for these; I simply use them as I see fit. The little reflector can be great for adding a little extra sparkle or pop to jewelry photos. One way that you can easily add a pop of color and consistency to your photographs is to use the bouquet in your detail images.
My biggest ring photo trick. I’m all about getting beautiful ring photographs. No seriously, I’m that photographer that will be flat on the floor to get the perfect angle!! But sometimes those little guys just won’t cooperate. So what’s my secret? Elmer’s Tac ‘n Stick. This putty will change your life. I’m able to get rings to stand up inside one another using this stuff. It’s a game-changer.
The dress shot. I bring a command hook to weddings so that I’m able to hang the wedding gown virtually anywhere. I’m able choose the location based on light and background rather than my options being just window frames and doors.
I hope these tips give you some insight into how I photograph wedding day details and can serve to help you improve yours! Do you have any tricks to taking beautiful wedding day detail photos? I’d love to hear from you!
Leave me your tips or thoughts in the comments section of the video!