Photographing the bridal details is one of those parts of the wedding day (in mine & Justin’s division of labor) where I take the lead! I love styling them up, I love documenting heirlooms, and it fits so much with our Why because I believe that the fashions of the day become so much a part of the nostalgia & iconic nature of photographs in years to come. Just think of Grace Kelly in her long sleeve lace wedding dress or Jackie O in that pill box hat, or I also think of my own grandma in her wedding day suit at City Hall. Overtime, I have come up with some go-to tricks on making the most of the detail shots & so today I wanted to share them with you! Here they are, 5 Steps to Make the Most of Your Detail Shots!
1. Ask for the bride to provide some styling elements. I know a lot of photographers & planners who carry a styling kit with them (full of awesome things like ribbon and vintage stamps and fabrics to shoot on) and that is such a genius idea that we are definitely going to be doing as well! But in addition to that, remember to also ask the bride to provide some styling elements that are personal to her. One of our favorite series of detail shots ever happened when the bride included this gorgeous gold hand mirror that belonged to her Grandma!
2. Make more use of your macro. I know pretty much all of us will break out the macro to shoot details of the rings or inscriptions. But the next time you shoot details, try keeping that lens on longer! I LOVE to use it to shoot medium details like the perfume or even sometimes the shoes. I just back way up to choose my composition & then I put that macro to work to get gorgeous creamy & compressed backgrounds!
3. Simplify your background. There is a reason why DaVinci said “simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” (followed up by Coco Chanel with “simplicity is the keynote of all true elegance”). Our brains are trained to be attracted to those things it doesn’t have to spend too much time making sense of. When your background is cluttered or noisy, people will be repelled from it on a basic subconscious level without ever really knowing why. That’s why I always love to use the chair or surface I’m shooting on to fill the frame and simplify what the viewer is seeing.
4. Make your details feel larger than life. I love to shoot either straight across or sometimes even slightly up at my details. This makes them feel larger than life in the image. We believe that even small details can tell a BIG story (like the bottle of perfume that was passed down for three generations from the bride’s grandmother) and the best part is now our HOW backs up our WHY.
5. If you want the details to feel softer, make sure you are minding your fill. We love to travel with a small Profoto pop up reflector (which we can prop up on a chair next to our detail set up) to keep those shadows nice and soft (i.e. our contrast low). It also works great in a pinch as a scrim if you are getting hard dappled light from the window, that you can block by using the reflector.
Ok, that’s it for now!! Happy Pancake Day friends! Feel free to leave any questions in the comments below!
**PS: if you need MORE help with things like managing contrast, lighting your details, drawing your angles of light, and knowing how to deal with difficult, terribly lit rooms and still get soft gorgeous detail shots, then definitely check out our Lighting the Bridal Details Guide which is on special for $20 off in our J&M Store TODAY!