Photography Tips: How to Photograph Wedding Rings

Michael Sand
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TIP #1: Photography equipment

The camera gear you choose plays an important role in your success as a wedding photographer. Selecting the right equipment can make a significant difference. But don’t let yourself get distracted by different cameras or different photography equipment.

In the end, it’s how you photograph the camera doesn’t make that much difference. Instead, place more emphasis on perfecting your skills.

— Smaller cameras with larger sensors can produce sharper images and they require less light than 35mm format cameras. Full frame cameras have the sensor size similar to a 35mm film. The advantage of full frame cameras is that you can get a much wider angle of view given by the same size lens.

— Select lenses with image stabilization technology to reduce unnecessary camera shake.

— A flashgun (speedlight) is a handy accessory as it provides additional light to brighten your main photos.

— Computer-based software such as Photoshop and Lightroom help turn your RAW photos into dazzling images.

Your skills will be the critical part of the process. You can utilize the latest camera and lens, but if you haven’t yet mastered the art of wedding photography, it will be all for nothing.

TIP #2: Camera settings

The two basic elements of a successful ring shot are lighting and content.

To get a natural look, you can use a simple, on-camera flash with a diffuser attached. The idea is to light the ring from the side or from behind.

Medium and large flash units or studio strobes are better than a small pocket flash. They provide the power and color temperature to produce a studio-quality look.

TIP #3: Creative Tips

You do, however, need to consider lighting as you shoot the rings by themselves. You can't sit the rings in a dark room and expect them to pop.

The ring is not the oft-photographed circle of the lens, but rather the interplay of light and shadow that gives the ring its form and 3D appearance, as well as the optical illusion of depth. The best way to capture a ring's detail and texture is to find an object that is also circular and place it behind the ring to create a highlight or hide a shadow.

Knowing which lighting conditions to avoid is also essential for photographing a ring. If you're not a photographer I'd suggest you consult a professional. What you *do not* want is low, flat light, which casts unflattering shadows on the shank and facets of the ring. Without a doubt, the most flattering light for a ring is either backlighting (shadows on the face of the ring) or a combination of (shadowed) direct and low fill or rim light (light on the face of the ring).

Example 1: Low, flat light. Unflattering shadows and dark background showing.

Notice that the finger is well lit, as is the face of the diamond. (It can be hard to tell from this shot, but the silhouette on the left is the finger and the other silhouette is the diamond.)