During the wedding day shoot, one of your goals is to take gorgeous photos of the bride and groom throughout the day. While it is important (and your job) to make them look their best, there are also some additional elements you must remember to photograph. This includes the dress, the bride’s shoes, details of the reception, and of course, the wedding ring photography. Did you know wedding rings represent eternity and infinity for your couple?
Wedding Ring Photography
Before the wedding day, the bride and groom carefully picked rings that represent the unity they will share for years to come. Though ring photography is important to add to the image list for the wedding day, you may have limited time to spend shooting them. There are several interruptions that can happen throughout the wedding day, from late timelines to unexpected incidents. With a shorter timeframe, it can be tricky to capture the essence of the rings in the right way.
At ShootDotEdit, we specialize in color correction services for photographers. We also love to provide insights and tips on topics that can help your wedding photography from pro photographers we work with throughout the year. Shooting the rings is one of the topics we hear about from the wedding photography community. Many photographers wonder how to spice up the ring photos and how to best shoot the rings when there is limited time available.
There are several interruptions that can happen throughout the wedding day, from late timelines to unexpected incidents. With a shorter timeframe, it can be tricky to capture the essence of the rings in the right way. We put together 7 tips to help you take better wedding ring photography for the bride and groom. Take a look below to learn more.
1. Shoot with a Macro Lens
One of our first tips for shooting better wedding ring photography is to shoot with a macro lens. This lens is ideal for specific scenarios, such as shooting wedding rings, where you have to shoot up close. According to Borrow Lenses, a camera and lens rental company:
“A macro lens has the ability to focus from infinity to 1:1 magnification, meaning that the size of the image in real life is the same size as it’s reproduced on the sensor. The magnification ratio tells you how the image projected on the camera’s sensor compares with the subject’s actual size, so a lens with a 1:2 ratio can project an image on its sensor up to half the size of the subject while a lens with a 5:1 ratio can project an image five times the size of the subject. Macro lenses also allow for closer focusing distances than normal lenses.”
There are various focal length options, which range in price. Some of the prices for a macro lens are high but are ideal for photographers who want to create better wedding ring photography.
When shooting the wedding rings, be sure to shoot in manual. Autofocus is typically the go-to when it comes to the wedding day. Since the wedding rings are small, manual mode is the best option to help you focus on the ring.
2. Utilize Depth of Field
After you place the rings in your desired location, it is important to understand how you want the final outcome of the image to look. Are you including additional items in the photo, such as other jewelry? If so, you may want more of the image to be in focus and sharp. If you only want to focus on the rings, adjust your aperture to have a shallow depth of field. According to Canon Australia:
“A small or shallow depth of field (DoF) means a smaller range of focus. The closer the focused distance, the less DOF you get – or in more technical terms: the wider the aperture (lower f-number), the shallower the DoF. A shallow DoF means you can deliberately blur out details in either the background or foreground of the scene, allowing you to draw the viewer’s attention to one particular subject or part of your scene. Therefore, a shallow DOF is good for close ups of faces and creating a sense of intimacy around the focal point within your shot.”
This will help to blur out the rest of the details in the image and keep the focus on one main thing: the rings. You will want to ensure that the rings are sharp so that all of the details can be clearly seen.
When shooting wedding ring photographs, both a wide and narrow aperture can help to bring a different look and feel to your images, so try both to see which you prefer.
One way to ensure you create sharp wedding ring photos is to focus on the prong of the ring. This might seem like the opposite advice, as your first thought might be to focus on the diamond. The reason this does not work is that, with most rings, the prong is usually closer to the lens. When you focus on the prong, you create crisp and sharp photos (and the diamond maintains its look).
3. Find Reflective Surfaces
We talk a lot about scouting locations when it comes to the engagement session or to ensure you are familiar with the ceremony site and know how to shoot the best images. The same can apply to wedding ring photography. When you shoot the rings, scout locations that have reflective surfaces.
Adding interest to your images is always key to standing out in your shooting skills. Using an area that shows a reflection of your couples’ unique rings allows you to mix up the images you provide them. Place the rings on a flat surface, such as a reflective counter or table top. As you frame the image, include the reflection to create depth and dimension to the photo.
If there are no reflective surfaces in your immediate reach, use your phone as a surface. With your macro lens, you can focus on the rings and make it seem as if they are on a more typical reflective surface. This is a quick fix when you are in a pinch and do not have any other surface to work with for this shot.
4. Incorporate your Surroundings
Regardless of where your shoot is, it is important to work with what you are provided in terms of the environment. Just like you do when you scout a location, take a look around the shooting site and position the rings in a place that will help highlight the details of them. Look for flat surfaces or materials that will make perfect backdrops for the rings. These items can include the bride and groom’s accessories or furniture that is provided in the location.
Depending on the shoot and clients, it may be difficult to bring additional items for ring shots to help position them. That is why it is crucial to work with your environment and the things you can use. Be creative and try things you have not before to see if they will work. If you do not have time to practice during the wedding day shoot, take time outside to practice outside of your shoots. You can set up scenarios where you did not bring any additional materials and you need to find new ways to shoot the rings. Then, you can apply your practice to your wedding shoots and impress your clients. Practicing your photography skills is always essential to help grow your skills.
Since the bride and groom have planned the day down to the last detail, it is important to capture the theme of the overall day. While positioning the rings for your shot, make sure to include something that represents the theme your couple chose. Perhaps their wedding focuses on a relaxed beach day or a cold and snowy day in the mountains. To capture the theme, incorporate something from the location, such as a seashell or a snowy tree branch that the rings are rested on.
In addition to the theme, be sure to include something sentimental in the images. The rings can be paired with many other items and objects. Based on what you know about the couple and what is available to you, include those items you know mean the most to them. These can include the bride’s shoes, bouquet, jewelry, or even the groom’s cufflinks. This is easy to do even when you have a limited time to plan for shooting the wedding rings.
5. Use a Video Light
Our next tip for better wedding ring photography is to use a video light. This is a small and consistent light source. It provides a harsh and direct light. Since rings are relatively smaller accessories to photograph, it can be helpful to use an additional light source to highlight the unique details. Video lights are portable and allow you to have flexibility during your shoot. This is perfect so you do not need to add additional weight to your camera bag and you can move around freely.
As you place the rings together in a creative and unique way, position the light over the rings. Positioning the light over the rings creates a softer light that showcases the unique details of the rings. If you have a second shooter or assistant with you, have them help out with this. They can hold or position the video light as necessary while you focus on capturing the creative shots.
Also, while you have the video light available, create bokeh for an interesting approach. Bokeh will look great with the wedding rings and can enhance the overall look of the photos.
6. Avoid Distracting Backgrounds
Sometimes, finding the simplest background can create the most stunning ring shots. The great thing about simple backgrounds is that they can be found anywhere. Look for a solid color on a table, a piece of fabric without a busy pattern, a chair, or even a windowsill. By incorporating a background that is not distracting, you can direct the attention to the rings and make them the focal point of the image. If you find a simple background and use a shallow depth of field, the ring will stand out, and the color of the background will become a blur.
As you look for the best backgrounds for your wedding ring photography, be on the lookout for symmetry. This is especially true when you work with more than one ring. Since they are so small, focusing on symmetry will help you create a stunning photo your clients will love.
7. Capture the Right Light
When you are working with rings, consider the fact that they may feature large, reflective stones that do not always look perfect in any light. Make sure to observe the current lighting situation to see where the best light is in the location. Look for natural light from the sun, or bright lights if you are in a location without natural light. If you are shooting with a macro lens, you may need more light available to ensure that the rings are in focus and sharp.
Try using the flashlight from your phone to light the wedding rings. This can be a great alternative if you are in a time crunch and do not have time to use an off-camera flash or any other light sources.
Capturing the details of the wedding day assists you in creating a cohesive story in your images. Your couple will love the unique ways you captured the wedding ring photography and will likely want to add them to their wedding album. Find out more of the most important shots to capture during the entire wedding day when you download our free Guide: 127 Essential Wedding Images You Must Capture. Click on the banner below to grab your photography playbook today!