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  • Writer's pictureGiovanni Rusconi

A photographer's secrets for capturing all the most important details at weddings

There are so many things to remember when taking wedding photos and so many important moments not to miss . Sometimes it's easy to miss great shots of details surrounding your wedding day. These small details are often things that have been carefully chosen by the couple ahead of their big day and therefore important to them.

Below I explain what , when and how these details can be captured .

Having a specific shot list for your wedding details will be a great help.

Let's see some types of images that we can consider essential to include among the photos of the wedding day.

This way the bride and groom can make sure they truly amaze everyone with their beautiful images that will revive the memory of a fantastic day .


From shoes to accessories


As soon as the photographer arrives at the place where the preparation of the bride or groom takes place, the first thing he will want to photograph will be the shoes and accessories.

Many will buy new shoes specifically for the day and, in some cases, we can say the same when it comes to accessories.

For the bride, it's pretty much a time-honored tradition for the photographer to take a few photos of wedding jewelry and footwear , along with other detail items like a garter or any gift the groom has given.

A shot of the bride's dress hanging is also a nice touch.

The best lens for taking this shot would be one with an aperture wide enough to blur the background. This keeps the attention focused on the wedding dress.

I tend to use a 35mm f/1.8 . This allows me to get in nice and close for maximum sharpness and detail.

If you don't have a wide aperture lens, another trick is to throw a little light on the garment and expose well for the highlights. This causes everything else around it to darken.

When you illuminate details like this, you don't need anything special. A simple desk lamp directed towards your subject can already work well.

If you have an off-camera flash , though, now is a great time to put it to use.


The beauty of flowers


Suppose we shoot the bridal preparation in the morning (as should be done whenever possible). You will find that the florist will deliver the bouquets shortly before leaving for the ceremony location.

It's best to capture some images as soon as they arrive , for two reasons:

First, stems, petals and other foliage can quickly snap or fall off if handled for any length of time.

Secondly, it's very easy for time to fly when you're shooting certain wedding details in the morning.

After photographing the wedding shoes and jewelry, it's a good idea to photograph the bride's hair and makeup as it's being completed . Also, some fun shots of the bridesmaids with the bride are a must at this stage of the day.

Personally I think that for this type of image it is very profitable to focus on getting a few good shots right at this moment.

Before you know it, the bride's car will be outside waiting for her. And you'll need some good photos here too.

Therefore, it is always better to close the flowers chapter as soon as possible so that they are not forgotten later in the day.

We usually photograph flowers against a neutral or plain background . Preferably with them in an upright position (this will, however, obviously depend on the bouquet).

As with the shoes, an angled, off-camera light, or diffuse natural light from a window just off camera, will bring the image to life.

Next you will want to photograph the men's boutonnieres while they are wearing them. It is not necessary to include faces for these shots.

For both bouquets and boutonnieres, I tend to use a longer focal length if I have the space, typically sticking to the 135-200mm range. This is to take advantage of the compression offered by longer lenses and obtain a shallower depth of field .



The details of the ceremony


Of course, capturing all the required full-length shots of the bride and groom at the altar is a categorical imperative to which we dedicate all our efforts. But we also want to take a look around for any personal touches the couple has added or requested for the ceremony location.

Think about floral arrangements that match the bride's bouquet, piano scores (since the couple has likely requested some specific songs), or any other creative additions that describe the couples' interests or passions.

All these little details are important to the couple and we want to impress them by showing that we have understood their importance.

Since flash is prohibited during this part of the day, a wide aperture lens of any focal length will allow plenty of light in , to properly expose the shot without raising the ISO too much. In this way we completely overcome the problem and still obtain decidedly satisfactory shots.



It's time to party!


Wedding party detail shots are one of the easiest (and most relaxed) tasks of the day.

We can usually catch them just by wandering around during the ceremony.

Pictures of the bride's hair pin that belonged to her grandmother, or perhaps the groomsmen's new cufflinks are the kind of thing you'd want immortalized as a keepsake. Along with all the details of the bridesmaids' dresses or wedding suits that are unique or stand out .

The lens used for these depends completely on the camera you are using for candid group portraits. But, let's be honest, getting these wedding detail shots is more about constantly keeping an eye out for potential opportunities than it is about choosing your lens.


Moments of tenderness

These moments can happen at any time during the day because they are, well… spontaneous . As with wedding party detail photos, a lot of this relies on having a keen eye .

These shots could consist of anything from the bride giving a small personal gift to her parents before the ceremony, to the bride's elderly grandfather delicately looking at his granddaughter's ring after the ceremony. Or even something as simple as the groom holding the bride's dress as she walks, with his wedding ring on display.

Again, this is not about choosing the best technical options but rather being able to judge when something “interesting” might happen . Whatever lens you are using will work great if you are able to capture the fleeting moment.


The laid tables


Of all the wedding detail shots, these are probably the richest.

In fact, there are quite a few other detail shots to take at this stage. This is probably where the bride and groom put most of their decorating efforts .

So you need to make sure you capture all the custom elements on the tables . And let's not forget the place cards, especially those of the bride and groom (especially if their names are indicated as "Mr" and "Mrs").

Let's first look for some longer shots on the tables. These should display all or most of the settings, guest place cards (including personalized or unusual items), wedding favors, floral arrangements and centerpieces.

We photograph each table in full, showing the cake well and then the entire room from all angles.

For lens selection, there are a couple of options available. Consider using a 35mm or 50mm prime lens for close-ups and the center of the table . This use is, once again, aimed at maximizing sharpness and detail, with a wide aperture.

For whole-room shots, any lens from 16mm to 24mm might work well, depending on the size of the room .

Remember that with wide-angle shots, the size of the aperture matters less since practically everything will be in focus.


The wedding rings


Without a doubt, these are the most important shots when talking about wedding details .

One of the best times to take photographs of wedding rings is during the reception meal .

We generally never photograph guests during this time. Photographing people while they eat almost never produces particularly beautiful and impactful photos. Not to mention that it is often annoying, both for guests and for the newlyweds, to be photographed while eating.

Therefore it is always a good idea to include something related to your surroundings . Or something that the couple organized specifically during this time of the day.

In light of these premises it is also possible to take some shots of the rings not worn by the spouses.

For example, think about hanging them from a twig if you're in a rustic location in the countryside . Beautiful shots can be obtained if you can take advantage of a large fireplace mantel, a piano or, perhaps, a decorated vase.

Little touches like this will bring back memories of the place for the couple that are awakened every time they see the photos. We always pay attention to the backdrops and props , which must be indicative of where we are.

With that being said we can take it to the next level and get really creative on wedding ring detail shots .

We can thus make everything more beautiful by using colored gels attached to the flash or adding water droplets to create something incredible.

If there are engravings inside the rings, it is a must to capture those too.

Five or six different photographs on the wedding rings will be enough, or perhaps a few more if they, or the packaging, are particularly unusual.

Given the intricate nature and size of most rings, a macro lens of around 100mm would be perfect for these shots.


Of course, this list is not exhaustive.

There may be a whole host of other little details to capture throughout the day. But by taking care of each of the aspects we talked about in this post we will be able to obtain fantastic images which, together with all the other classic shots taken, will help keep the couple's memories of the most important day of their lives alive for years to come .

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