Dignifying the Detail Shot
Updated: Oct 12, 2019
The detail shot: If you're a photographer like me, you have a love/hate relationship with these seemingly easy images. They're wonderful because they're inanimate and can be easily manipulated without refusal, but it's so easy to find yourself recreating the same shot (IE: dressing hanging on a window). DONE, DONE, DONE. Fellow photographers, we did not get into this business to run through the motions - we are competent, creative, wildly exciting professionals and we can make memories that are unique and personal, not trendy!
Remember details shots are collections of items that are personal treasures and reflect the couple, their story, and their family's history. Dignify these meaningful articles with thoughtful placement, the additional of soft layers, blurred foregrounds, or composition of interesting colors and textures.
We don't often have the luxury of shooting at an incredibly charming castle off the coast of rural northern Ireland where we are swallowed up with interesting shots and historic artifacts that basically do our job for us. In fact, it's often the opposite. We find ourselves at the Marriott hotel, again, in a room that's too small for the bridal party, the overhead lighting glaring down washing out any intimacy or beauty. But, there are different textures, collections of furniture, art and your beautifully creative mind. Look for chairs, sofa cushions or drapes to pierce with the backs of earrings and let them hang down.
Positioning your objects surrounded by natural light, various textures, and vintage patterns, give your detail shots a soft, warm home to be featured in.
Layers. Textures. Lighting. Monochrome! Letting a dress hang in a narrow hallway seems much more grand when it's surrounded by mirrors and lighted sconces.
Tip: Use a cell phone or a glass mirrored table to get two angles of the dress in one shot.
Ring Shot: Give the ring its moment! I found this kind of strange, suspiciously real-looking hand sculpture resting atop a shelf in a hotel room where the bride and her tribe were getting ready. I placed the ring over a finger and boom: peace and love.
My favorite detail shots are when you show how the articles are meant to be used: IE shoes on feet. Bouquets in hand. This helps perspective clients look through your portfolio and imagine how they'll look on their wedding day, and how you'll portray them through your images.
The bouquet was built and designed to enhance the bride. Capturing her holding her flowers as they were meant to be creates purposeful atmosphere. No tricks.