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For Photographers: 3 Tips For Better Ring Shots

3 Tips For Better Ring Shots: Rick+Anna Photography

Happy Friday everyone!  This morning we wanted to share 3 quick/simple tips that we have to get better ring shots on a wedding day!  For us, ring shots have never come naturally or easy –

1 – Keep it authentic to the day.  Selecting the perfect spot to photograph the rings can be overwhelming – there are so many different options in any given room, from a mirrored coffee table to the flowers in the bouquet, and it can be stressful to choose the perfect spot when you’re under a time crunch.  We apply the same rule to rings shots that we apply to all other elements and details that we shoot on a wedding day – and that rule is to keep it authentic to the day.  If we’re shooting a more rustic wedding, for example, we wouldn’t want to shoot the rings on sequins or a mirror, which would have a more glam look.  We want to continually consider how everything is going to look in the wedding album and what will stylistically look the best and mesh with both the color scheme and the overall feel of the wedding.  In the example that we’re going to show below from a styled shoot this past weekend, the theme was bright neon colors, lots of whites, and super modern – so we chose a plain white acrylic surface and then jazzed it up a little bit by pulling in some of the theme’s color elements.

2 – Focus on the diamond or diamond prongs.  For 99% of the wedding day, we choose to shoot “wide open,” which means that we’re typically shooting at f/2.8 or wider.  However, when shooting the rings, we try to set our aperture to f/5.0 or higher – ideally up around f/10 if we have enough light to get as much in focus as possible.  There are specific technical reasons that this is important especially when shooting with a macro lens at a close distance to the subject, which we’ll elaborate on further in a future post, but in plain english we shoot this way because we want a bit more in focus in the ring shots than we would get if we shot them at f/2.8.  Grabbing focus can also be tricky, so we’ve found that if you can’t get a good focus lock on the diamond itself, it’s normally much easier to grab focus on the prongs holding the diamond in place.  Because ensuring great focus can be hard, we also take many more shots than normal to ensure that we have a plenty that are perfectly sharp.

3 – Use you smartphone!  We’re Apple fans around here, so we both have our iPhones with us on wedding days, and we almost always use them for ring shots.  We used to bring LED panel lights for our ring shots, but we’ve found that our phone flashlights do the trick just as well.  We use the iPhone as an off-camera light, and it makes the rings sparkle like crazy AND ensures that we have plenty of light to get a good focus on the diamond or diamond prongs.  There’s no comparison in how beautiful and glowy the rings look as compared to natural light!  We also sometimes end up doing ring shots later in the evening during receptions when it’s dark, and pulling out our phone flashlights makes it much easier to shoot them wherever we’d like regardless of the quantity and quality of light.  You can see a behind the scenes shot of how we use the phone below!

So!  Here are a couple of simple unedited ring shots from this past weekend’s shoot.  For both of these shots, we kept the style authentic to the day by using elements from the styled shoot.  In the shot on the left, we placed the rings on a white acrylic table, with a colored wall far in the background (the wall had an accent of pink, black and neon yellow tape, with a blue chair near it, and because we were pretty far away from the wall all of those colors are nice and blurred, allowed the ring itself to be the focus).  In the shot on the right we simple placed the rings on the table runner for the head table, which was covered in white shiny sequin-type elements, and by making a little pocket in the table runner we were able to fill the entire frame with the fabric and make a seamless little backdrop for the ring.

These images were shot this past weekend on our Canon 5D Mark III, with a 100mm macro 2.8L lens.  Settings: f/3.5, 1/100, ISO 800, white balance set to flash.

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Here’s a pullback of our setup for the image above!  You can make out the colored elements in the background that we used to create a rainbow type effect at the top of the photo (the white wall with black and neon yellow tape, as well as a blue stool), you can see exactly how Rick is holding his iPhone flashlight to hit the diamond of the ring from above and to camera left, and you can also see that in this case we also placed a speedlight on the acrylic table pointed straight down with a pink gel on it to actually illuminate the table with a pink glow.

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Thanks for taking the time to join us on the blog today!  If you have any questions, leave them below!

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