When we chat about photographing wedding details (and more specifically, bridal details), one of the most COMMON questions I get is what to do when you have very minimal bridal details to work with… what then? How do you still style and photograph them to look beautiful and full, even if you don’t have a lot to photograph? Maybe you have a pair of flats, the engagement ring, and maybe one piece of the invitation. What do you do then?
First off, recognize there’s nothing wrong with simple. If your bride has a simpler style or budget, it’s okay! Keep in mind the WHY behind photographing details. It’s not just to take pretty photos… they serve a deeper purpose that we have to remind ourselves of! The whole point of them is to preserve memories for the couple and to serve the vendors who helped create them.
With that said, knowing how to photograph simple details in a really pretty way (even when there isn’t a lot to photograph) IS going to serve your couple and the vendors really well… it will show off the details the bride has well, and still give the vendors variety to use in their marketing.
With that in mind, we’re going to jump right into my top 3 tips for photographing simple, minimal bridal details really well:
1. Bring and use styling elements to style with the details. This is HUGE. Styling elements like ribbon, fabrics, antique trays, ring boxes, stamps, and more add SO much to your photos! I have a lot of neutral and light colored ribbons and fabrics I’ll bring along in my details styling bag, as well as some gorgeous antique trays I found while thrifting. Pro tip, I don’t recommend adding more than two styling elements into a set of details, or it can feel too cluttered and start to take away from the bride’s details! But adding those couple of elements will really help your details photos to shine.
2. Take one shot with ALL of the details in it. I normally don’t do this when I have a lot of details to work with, but when you don’t have a lot, this shot is gold! I will set up one lay flat shot with the one piece of the invitation, the shoes peeping in from the corner, and the ring and any jewelry off to the side – maybe with either some ribbon or fabric flowing in as a “backdrop” for the photo, to make it more full!
Below is an example of a photo I will take when I have minimal details of the bride. See how I used the ribbon almost as a backdrop to make the photo appear to be more full? Even though I only have a pair of flats, one invitation piece, an engagement ring, and a simple pair of earrings in this photo, I was still able to create a photograph that is full and beautiful!
3. Get creative, and gets LOTS of variety within each detail. For example, with the photo above, I could then shoot just the one piece of the invitation on the ribbon (without the shoes and the ring/earrings), then photograph just the shoes on the ribbon. Then, I could shoot just the shoes on the backdrop without the ribbon, just the ring on the backdrop, just the earrings, and on and on it goes. Really mix up your backgrounds, photographing everything on each background, getting lots of different angles (up high/down low), and a horizontal & vertical of everything! This allows you to deliver a full details gallery, even when you don’t have a lot to photograph!
BONUS TIP: Often times, when we’re talking about minimal details, it also means that the bride didn’t include the wedding bands for you to photograph (it’s okay, this happens!) When this does happen, I ensure that I grab all three rings during any down time at the reception to grab a few quick shots (then maybe grab the bouquet to shoot them on, or pull out my styling board again)! It’s not always ideal, but at least you will have some shots of all three rings to include in their final gallery.
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If you’re loving this series, grab my free download below: “6 Secrets for Photographing Wedding Details.” I’m sharing even more tips on how to ROCK your wedding details photos at any wedding: