wedding photography – tips for detail shots of the wedding rings
In photographing the detail images of the wedding rings, there are a few things to aim for:
– context within which to place the rings,
– a few images with different angles,
– great lighting which is easily achievable.
Then we also have to take care of the depth-of-field and the tricky focusing …
Context can be photographing the rings with the boxes it came in, especially if there is a (well-known) logo. Or photograph the rings with some other element of the wedding day, such as the bride’s flowers or shoes. With the image at the top, I also placed the rings on the box so that the brand name could be seen. This also gives me a different angle of the rings.
bringing variety through different angles and different backgrounds
The next three images are of the same pair of rings. Different angles, different environment in which I photographed the rings – all in an effort to bring variety to the images.
With the image above, I wanted to show the brand name again. With the next two images, I placed the rings on top of a photo album that was laying on a coffee table in the bride’s living room. It isn’t a wedding album, or wedding related, but I liked the texture of the album cover.
Which brings us to lighting. All these images were taken with just an on-camera speedlight, with the black foamie thing to flag my flash.
positioning your flash
Since I am usually pointing my camera and lens down at the rings, my flash is in an upright or near-upright position so that it points to the wall ahead of me. I want the light to come in at an angle nearly parallel to the table or object that the rings are on. I don’t bounce up into the ceiling since that would give me very flat light. I want the light to come in from “ahead” of me. From a position forward of me so that the light skims the surfaces and the rings.
I am am pointing my lens at an angle downwards at the rings, I bend my speedlight’s head forward so that it points towards the wall ahead of me. The black foamie thing then flags the flash and stops any direct flash from hitting the scene. (If any reader of this blog wants to create a diagram of this, please feel free.)
This brings us to another piece of equipment – the lens. All but one image here was taken with a 105mm f2.8 macro lens. For me, this type of lens is essential to get close enough to objects as small as rings. More about the specific lenses at the end of this article.
With this next image, I did bounce my flash off the ceiling, but forward of me.
on-camera flash modifier – the black foamie thing
The BFT is held in position by two hair bands (Amazon), and the BFT is usually placed on the under-side of the flash-head.
The linked articles will give clearer instruction, especially the video clip on using the black foamie thing.
tips on working with macro lenses
Since macro photography is done at such close focusing distances, the depth-of-field becomes incredibly small. So I do expect some part of the rings to be out of focus. But as long as the important facets of the ring is in focus, then the shot works. It does mean working at apertures of around f11 on a 100mm / 105mm lens. This small aperture, with bounce flash, usually means working around 800 ISO.
Auto-focusing on weddings rings can be really tough. The camera tries to focus on the various facets of the diamonds which act like tiny reflective mirrors. This completely throws the camera’s auto-focusing if you only use the one AF point. The trick to this that I’ve found, is to focus on the ring as well as you can – perhaps part of the ring to the edge of the stones, where the camera can actually grab focus. Then I lock focus, and slowly rock to and fro so that the rings come in and out of focus. When the rings look sharp in my viewfinder, I take the shot. This does imply several attempts to get a shot that is sufficiently crisp across the important parts.
The next photo is the only image here taken with a 24-70mm f2.8 zoom (used at 70mm). For close images though, the macro lens is essential to the task.
recommended macro lenses for detail photos
I favor the 100 / 105mm focal length when it comes to macro lenses. This gives me a comfortable working distance on a full-frame camera. And it also doubles as a portrait lens if I need to.
The best choice here is the Nikon 105mm f/2.8 AF-S VR (vendor), or the Canon EF 100mm f2.8L IS (vendor) macro lens.
If you are using a crop-sensor camera, then there are other good choices which would effectively give you a similar focal length (if you frame the image the same).