Every wedding has details! Buttons, balloons, blankets, baskets, bracelets, bouquets, bristles, bridal gowns, and an abundance more. The details are infinite no matter the budget! And this is a good thing, as the details are one of the things that make each wedding unique and couples want to be able to look back on these details later in life. I MEAN SHOOT! Think about it! A bride puts in how many hours planning her wedding? And then she pays the wedding photographer how much money get it recorded?
The problem as photographers though is that we often feel we don’t have the time to artistically capture these details like we’d want to and thus resort to quickly snapping pictures of as many things as we can in the shortest amount of time possible. Then, after getting all we can, we simply HOPE we got what we need and continue from there. However, this not only does a dis-service to our couples, but also isn’t fun or very professional!
Therefore, here are five simple, EASY suggestions you can play with. I have created a mixture of techniques that will both improve the way you shoot details while also speeding up the process, allowing for a more diverse selection of good, well thought out masterpieces that will wow your client and simply be downright rewarding to stick in your portfolio.
Tip #1 – Set Apart Time for Details
The details are IMPORTANT, so why would you not make time for them as well? “But Daniel, there ISN’T any time?!” My response: in the absence of proper planning, failure is often inevitable. When I am consulting a bride before her wedding day, I BUILD detail shot time into what I do. “But how?!” This is a personal preference thing, but I like to show up an hour before getting ready time begins to do details and I tell my couple that I need to not be expected to capture anything else during this time. Overkill? I think not. Good, planned-out details take time. I would not have been able to think up this shot if I had been rushing through the process, trying to grab random shots when they presented themselves:
I sat here for a good three minutes placing the flowers and shoes at different locations around this room, trying them on the desk, adding a little flash, laying the flowers on the bed. But then I saw it! The dress was already occupying half the window. And after a little testing, the flowers rested PERFECTLY in the shoe without tipping [though there was a HORRIFYING moment after this shot where the cat jumped up there and almost knocked the bouquet right on the floor]. So, I placed everything and got my shot. And by taking this time what exactly was I missing? Well… the bride was downstairs eating a cinnamon roll… Not exactly the most pivotal moment for me to be there capturing her every expression.
Further, even if you don’t want to show up early, I would ask you how long it takes your bridal parties to get ready? I’ve noticed it’s usually somewhere between one and two hours… Now… how many shots of people getting their hair done do you REALLY need? Not THAT many! So, you can get your shots of the beautifying process beginning, work your detail magic, and then make sure to be watching the getting ready process to get some shots in the middle and at the end.
Tip #2 – Macro Lenses/Adapters
There is something breath-taking about being able to get RIGHT UP on something you’d like to photograph. Take this photo for example:
This image was shot with a macro adapter on a 50mm, the result is a sharp, up-close image. Now, how did I create it? Simple! I took the rings and placed them on the bride’s bouquet! Not complicated! The macro adapter allowed me to get in real close and still be able to focus on the ring. Without the adapter, I would have had to back up about ten inches for the lens to focus properly on the ring.
This allows for a MUCH deeper amount of depth in your images. Soon, I hope to be able to purchase a 100mm macro lens. But for all you people like me who aren’t currently living your dream lens life, you can get adapters as part of a four-adapter set and costed $5 on the app called Wish. Super cheap and VERY reliable. They simply screw onto the end of your lens and you’re ready to get up close!
Tip #3 – Find Cohesive Color
While doing details, think long-term. You are going to be creating an album with details from the wedding. You will want those details to all fit together into one, cohesive unit. Color is a MAJOR contributor in creating this unit. Notice this shot, Look at the color of the clothe under the invitation.
Now, look at this image? Recognize the color?
And then finally, look at this! A spread of them next to each other. I will not belabor this point, as it is unnecessary. If you want your images to flow together, find ways to get the colors in everything you do. Take photos of details with the wedding colors in them! Last, here’s a page from the same wedding where I tied in the color of the truck into some details. In so doing, you can create pages, not just photos.
Tip #4 – Focus on the Closest Part
When photographing rings, focus on the part of head that is closest to you. Psychologically, it makes it appear as if the whole ring is in focus, as there aren’t usually many details in the band that need to be focused.
Tip #5 – Dream Big
Go big or go bigger! I am BLOWN AWAY by how creative some people can be with their detail shots! I actually have detail shot role models that I sometimes dream of copying, as their details work is SO creative and fun! So my fifth tip to you is to enjoy what you’re doing and have fun with it! I never want my job as a wedding photographer to grow stale and I know this is one of the necessary steps to make sure this never happens. Every wedding is packed full of its own unique micromoments, just waiting to be captured and I make it my aim to find each and every last one of them!
So find your inspiration, study your craft and get detailing!
I hope some of this helped! If so, drop me a comment at the bottom! I’d love to hear from you! And if it really helped, don’t hesitate to shoot me a message directly to my email.