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In my career in photography, I’ve chosen not to focus on weddings as a business model, and shoot only a few every year. I try to avoid being “traditional” in my approach to weddings, mixing traditional shots or types of shots with my own approach- which may or may not have been borrowed from other photographers I have worked with.
One such shot is the ring shot. It is what’s known as a detail shot, and while this may not be the most important shot of the wedding, it is one of the shots that helps sets the tone of an album, and can allow for a lot of creativity if you have the time. If the shot fails, it will definitely be noticed.
There are many ways to go about these types of shots, some more cliche than others. The one that always comes to mind is a shot of the rings resting on the invitation, or the rings casting a shadow of a heart on a Bible opened to 1st Corinthians. My preference is to find something personal that connects the rings to the bride and groom, or else I’ll pull something from the theme of the day. It may take some digging with your clients to find that personal connection- maybe a story about how they met, or something they share together, but once you find it, it can make shooting the ring shot a lot more fun. If I can’t find a personal connection, I’ll use flowers, the bouquet, or a even a champagne cork. Be creative. There are a lot of ways to photograph wedding rings that will make them stand out.
Technically, while a macro lens is helpful, it’s not absolutely necessary. You can highlight the rings in whatever setting you choose, but be careful not to let them get lost in the setting. Typically I use a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L IS macro lens, but any lens that will let you get fairly close will work, depending on your composition. Ideally, I would use off-camera flash every time, but weddings tend to me fast moving events, and there isn’t always time to do it the way you’d prefer. In this case, I’ll set up a small reflector or bounce card to bounce the flash and give a better quality light. I will often try several angles to get different looks. Outdoor weddings during the day are a bit easier. I’ll look for a shaded area and shoot the rings in the available light.
Ring shots are often my most fun shot of the day. There’s no one stressing about their hair or makeup, and no one trying to pull their attention in a different direction. So use the ring shot as your moment of peace on an otherwise busy day, and have some fun with it.