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Aah the rings of marriage. As many’a groomsman speech has pointed them out: the engagement ring, the wedding ring and the suffering. Har har. Jewellery is pretty much the main detail of an engagement. As soon as the girlfriends take a breath after a long and high-pitched shriek, they want to see the ring. Then comes the wedding and the rings are only one of many details. Details that, come that huge and long-awaited day, YOU are responsible for photographing. She stayed up many a sleepless night tossing and turning over the colour of their centrepieces. You had better damn well take a picture of them.
There are a few wedding detail shots you should get at every wedding: the dress, the shoes the rings.
I like to take the shot of the rings someplace meaningful. While at the house photographing the bride getting ready, I like to snoop around the house and see if there’s anything that looks to be of deep meaning. An heirloom sculpture, a sumptuous velvet armchair or blown glass. Or I style the rings on the bridal bouquet or flowers in the garden. I heard a couple talking about their azaleas so I quickly borrowed their (Tiffany’s!) rings and placed them on a dewdrop covered azalea in their garden:
I seldom photograph the rings on the hands of the bride and groom (you know the one…resting gently on the bouquet). I think it’s so much more creative to photograph the rings as your main subject, completely independent of their wearers. They’re like a little golden couple all on their own.
Now to the technical. The ring shot must be absolutely perfectly focused and sharp as a tack. A beginner can use macro mode on their camera. A photographer who ventures into manual should use a nice open aperture for shallow depth of field and pay attention to your focus points. For this type of shot, I like to manually select my focal point. Then, you can be sure that what looks great on screen won’t be out of focus in the computer.
As for editing, I always further sharpen my ring shot and run some actions to juice up the colours and the light. A vignette can be a great way to pull even more of the viewer’s focus into the rings. And when shooting the rings on flowers, it’s not always easy to find a perfect flower. Find one as perfect as you can and then heal out any brown spots or wilty edges.
The ring shot is one of my all time favourite shots. I love searching out the perfect spot for them to rest and positioning them just so. And they’re by far the easiest subjects of the day. I mean…who ever heard of a ringzilla?!