5 Tips for Shooting Detail Shots at Weddings - Digital Photography School

5 Tips for Shooting Detail Shots at Weddings

To be completely honest, there are few things i enjoy more than capturing gorgeous detail shots on a wedding day. No matter how chaotic or behind the day is running, I will make or find the time to capture the little details which the Bride and Groom labored to choose, but most likely will never remember.

“It’s all in the details” is true to life as much as it is to the success of a wedding photographer. I’ve often been asked, “why would we want pictures of the shoes?” Honestly, it’s very simple: The details fade. The jewelry will break or get lost. The cake will get eaten until the very last bite leftover from the freezer at that one year anniversary. The dress will get packed away or sold. It’s just fact.

The details make each wedding different. Unique to each couple. This is really important to capture and preserve. And surprisingly enough, its not as difficult as you may think to create beautiful pictures of beautiful details. Think through the following tips and you’ll be on the right track.

1. Clarity

Clarity1.jpg

This the most important element to a ring or jewelry shot. Blur or a soft focus typically does not work well at all. The best ring shots are those that are sharp and clear and piercingly detailed.

Clarity2.jpg

2. Small Depth of Field

SmallDOF.jpg

It may be based on preference, but I am completely convinced that a small depth of file is at least the second most important quality of jewelry shots. It’s not so much to eliminate distraction (though it absolutely does); it’s more to create an interesting and textured background for your isolated subject.

SmallDOF2.jpg

SmallDOF3.jpg

3. Environment / Background

Environment1.jpg

Jewelry can technically become macro shots, but I prefer those images that also are strong compositionally. Of course you can take a pretty picture of a gorgeous ring, but work to make it memorable and unique. Incorporate special little elements of the wedding of that couple to create a truly captivating image worthy of a gallery.

Environment2.jpg

4. Light

Light1.jpg
Lighting in a ring or jewelry shot shouldn’t be overlooked. Basic fact: Lighting will make or break your detail shots. Use sidelight. Use soft light. Use direct light. Use it with intentionality and you will capture breathtaking photos.

Light2.jpg

5. Composition

Composition1.jpg
It’s easy to create ring or jewelry shots bull’s eyed in the middle of the frame. Don’t constantly revert to this. Keep variety and interest in your shots by placing them in the frame using your rule of thirds. Use other elements in your environment to do this successfully. This is quite a bit easier in jewelry shots with necklaces or bracelets, but you can absolutely do so with ring shots as well.

Composition2.jpg

Typically ring shots are among the most important, but don’t forget the other jewelry as well. Little pieces on that special day can’t be replaced. Your clients will not only love and appreciate what you create, but you will too.

Read more from our Tips & Tutorials category.

Christina N Dickson is a visionary artist and philanthropist in Portland Oregon. Her work includes wedding photography www.BrideInspired.com and leadership with www.RevMediaBlog.com.

  • http://www.kerstenbeck.com Erik Kerstenbeck

    Hi

    Here is a common trick to make a heart shadow from a book and wedding ring – just find the right light, use a close-up lens and voila!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/image-of-the-day-wedding-rings/

  • Mei Teng

    I enjoy seeing other details of a wedding like the dress, jewellery, shoes, bouquet. Nice shot of the cuff links.

  • http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/ Mridula

    This is such a great idea! And some of the tips would for any jewelry shoot.

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2012/03/colorful-pictures-from-dilli-haat.html

  • http://www.photo-roll.com/ Sachin Verma
  • http://www.guigphotography.com Guig

    Really nice ideas Christina and things that are often overlooked. Thanks for another great article!

  • http://http//chakdephotography.wordpress.com/ Mohammed

    Here’s a pic from my 1st ever wedding photography of my very close friend, as I’m from India, The Marriages are a lot more dramatic in here! hope u wud enjoy this!

    http://chakdephotography.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/promise1.jpg

  • http://disney-photography-blog.com/ Alexx

    I like the tips about the jewelry. I plan on doing some wedding shots soon.

    http://disney-photography-blog.com/

  • http://alexsablan.com Alex Sablan

    I think you capture the details amazingly. Great job.

  • tonyjr

    Nothing about the cake [ shadows here can be problematic . ]
    The bible , Rosary , candles , veil , bridal boquae , mens corsages .
    The pros don’t bother – so a hobbiest like me turn into heros . You want the little things -?
    Make an album with The cake , bible , Rosary , candles , veil , bridal boquae , mens corsages , each brides maid and escort , the wedding table at reception , Both sets of parents , God parents and grand parents , the flower boy and girl ,
    You can put these in the cheapest album you can find and money won’t buy the smile and thanks you get .

  • http://www.naturalportraitsandevents.co Norm Levin

    Ring shots are required. If I can, I try to get them separately. If not, at least a close-up on the couple’s hands, which is more personal. That can cause problems if the groom has poorly manicured fingernails.

    The rings photograph best when they’re at the center of attention in a non-distracting background. Here I chose to use the box the corsages came in. Wide aperture, rule of thirds, indirect lighting and a bit of romance in the placement of the rings all creating this image:

    http://www.naturalportraitsandevents.com/Weddings/Becca-and-Chris/18783371_NxDvc2#!i=813502374&k=3xY5X

  • Bill M

    Would these shots be center point AF, with spot metering?

  • http://gaunledream.com GaunleDream

    Nice :) Learning something :)

  • http://www.photomint.com/blog Lara White

    gorgeous, gorgeous detail shots! Christina, I agree, I am also a big fan of the details. It’s really how the story of the day comes to life. It’s also a way of improving upon reality in a way, because a close up of a detail can often be so much more beautiful than the whole scene. It’s a way of isolating beauty from the ordinary.

  • http://www.derycktormeyphotography.com Deryck Tormey

    Great tips and so true. The little details are often overlooked but when looking back at an album can bring more of a smile than your standard posed full length bridal shot

  • ccting

    Excellent!!!! Hoping to get more articles from you..

  • http://dewandemmer.com Dewan Demmer

    One thing I know with a shallow DOF is try ensure you have do not have something distracting out of focus, sometimes something mundane becomes distracting due it it being out of focus. The images are great, and for me they work all the better because there is not clutter or distractions.
    Very Nice.
    Here is one of mine of wedding rings.
    http://www.dewandemmer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Eloise-Hein-Holton-2012-DewanDemmer.com-2120.jpg

  • http://www.gajgallery.com Henry James

    Highly impressive post!!! After that special day, nothing remains in our hand except a photography, as there are more chances of the things we used for wedding to get windup from our memory…..So, taking a detailed snap of the costumes, jewelry, shoes etc is “THE BEST IDEA.”,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Thanks a lot for sharing and keep sharing….

  • Theresa Hughes-Hayes

    Love it! Thanks

  • Davado van Dommelen

    yeah thanks

Some older comments

  • Henry James

    May 14, 2013 06:28 pm

    Highly impressive post!!! After that special day, nothing remains in our hand except a photography, as there are more chances of the things we used for wedding to get windup from our memory.....So, taking a detailed snap of the costumes, jewelry, shoes etc is "THE BEST IDEA.",,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,Thanks a lot for sharing and keep sharing....

  • Dewan Demmer

    July 10, 2012 08:53 pm

    One thing I know with a shallow DOF is try ensure you have do not have something distracting out of focus, sometimes something mundane becomes distracting due it it being out of focus. The images are great, and for me they work all the better because there is not clutter or distractions.
    Very Nice.
    Here is one of mine of wedding rings.
    http://www.dewandemmer.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Eloise-Hein-Holton-2012-DewanDemmer.com-2120.jpg

  • ccting

    July 6, 2012 09:29 am

    Excellent!!!! Hoping to get more articles from you..

  • Deryck Tormey

    July 3, 2012 06:16 pm

    Great tips and so true. The little details are often overlooked but when looking back at an album can bring more of a smile than your standard posed full length bridal shot

  • Lara White

    June 16, 2012 01:54 am

    gorgeous, gorgeous detail shots! Christina, I agree, I am also a big fan of the details. It's really how the story of the day comes to life. It's also a way of improving upon reality in a way, because a close up of a detail can often be so much more beautiful than the whole scene. It's a way of isolating beauty from the ordinary.

  • GaunleDream

    June 16, 2012 01:20 am

    Nice :) Learning something :)

  • Bill M

    June 15, 2012 04:32 am

    Would these shots be center point AF, with spot metering?

  • Norm Levin

    June 15, 2012 04:28 am

    Ring shots are required. If I can, I try to get them separately. If not, at least a close-up on the couple's hands, which is more personal. That can cause problems if the groom has poorly manicured fingernails.

    The rings photograph best when they're at the center of attention in a non-distracting background. Here I chose to use the box the corsages came in. Wide aperture, rule of thirds, indirect lighting and a bit of romance in the placement of the rings all creating this image:

    http://www.naturalportraitsandevents.com/Weddings/Becca-and-Chris/18783371_NxDvc2#!i=813502374&k=3xY5X

  • tonyjr

    June 15, 2012 02:33 am

    Nothing about the cake [ shadows here can be problematic . ]
    The bible , Rosary , candles , veil , bridal boquae , mens corsages .
    The pros don't bother - so a hobbiest like me turn into heros . You want the little things -?
    Make an album with The cake , bible , Rosary , candles , veil , bridal boquae , mens corsages , each brides maid and escort , the wedding table at reception , Both sets of parents , God parents and grand parents , the flower boy and girl ,
    You can put these in the cheapest album you can find and money won't buy the smile and thanks you get .

  • Alex Sablan

    June 15, 2012 02:17 am

    I think you capture the details amazingly. Great job.

  • Alexx

    June 15, 2012 12:13 am

    I like the tips about the jewelry. I plan on doing some wedding shots soon.

    http://disney-photography-blog.com/

  • Mohammed

    June 14, 2012 09:26 pm

    Here's a pic from my 1st ever wedding photography of my very close friend, as I'm from India, The Marriages are a lot more dramatic in here! hope u wud enjoy this!

    http://chakdephotography.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/promise1.jpg

  • Guig

    June 14, 2012 04:42 pm

    Really nice ideas Christina and things that are often overlooked. Thanks for another great article!

  • Sachin Verma

    June 14, 2012 12:43 am

    Nice tips.

    http://www.photo-roll.com/

  • Mridula

    June 13, 2012 03:35 pm

    This is such a great idea! And some of the tips would for any jewelry shoot.

    http://blogs.gonomad.com/traveltalesfromindia/2012/03/colorful-pictures-from-dilli-haat.html

  • Mei Teng

    June 13, 2012 10:35 am

    I enjoy seeing other details of a wedding like the dress, jewellery, shoes, bouquet. Nice shot of the cuff links.

  • Erik Kerstenbeck

    June 13, 2012 03:01 am

    Hi

    Here is a common trick to make a heart shadow from a book and wedding ring - just find the right light, use a close-up lens and voila!

    http://kerstenbeckphotoart.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/image-of-the-day-wedding-rings/

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