Wedding-Day Photography: It's All in the Details

Learn ways to help your photographer capture the small elements that mean the most to you.

In capturing your wedding day, tiny details add richness and depth to the storyline. If you are a couple who values these details, then there are several things you can do to ensure that your supporting cast gets a moment in the spotlight.

wedding welcome bag detail shot invitations paper goods
Photo: Vue Photography

There are so many facets to a wedding day and how the story unfolds. It’s the job of the photographer to document the whole tale with each act playing out like a Hollywood film. Though the bride and groom are the focus, the “supporting characters” are also strong pieces of the narrative – not just the bridesmaids and groomsmen, but the details: something borrowed and blue, shoes that carry the bride through one of the most memorable moments of her life, the dress, the invitation suite, a hand-drawn monogram, and more. Most of these things have been well thought-out and considered for months – even years – before saying “I do.”

In capturing the celebration, these tiny snippets add richness and depth to the storyline. If you are a couple who values these details, then there are several things you can do to ensure that your supporting cast gets a moment in the spotlight. 

Share Your Thoughts
As much as we all wish we had the power to read minds, it’s simply not possible. Like any good relationship, communication is key. Be sure to convey your thoughts and expectations regarding what you’d like your photographer to cover. Set the scene, relay a rundown of what elements you’ve incorporated, tell the stories behind the pieces, and share any ideas you may have. If there are facets that might not seem incredibly visually appealing – such as a patch inside your dress or a brooch on a bouquet – but are meaningful nonetheless, this is your chance to make it known.

Time Is of the Essence
Timelines can be tricky and you’ll need to plan accordingly in order for you to take center stage. Set aside time in the schedule just for the detail shots. For instance, you can add 20 minutes prior to documenting hair and makeup to concentrate solely on these goodies. Before your photography team arrives, set all the items, such as paper goods, rings, shoes, etc. in one spot. That way, as soon as they arrive, they can dive in and cross each item off the list. This will ensure that your photographer can focus on faces and events for the rest of the day, and the details won’t be forgotten!

Location Matters
Sometimes the scene is too crowded. With a hotel room spilling over with bridesmaids, stylists, gowns hanging, and Champagne flowing, it can be tough to gain the necessary space. Location scouting can be a brilliant move. If you’re running on schedule and can release control, set your photographer free. Let them know it’s perfectly acceptable if they want to take the precious items to a new location to shoot. When given the chance, it can result in phenomenal work and spark a creative cord within your photographer. Once, while in New Orleans, I found a chandelier shop across the street from the hotel. I was thrilled when the boutique agreed to let me hang the dress there and the bride allowed me free reign. It’s exciting to be able to work outside of the box and really do what the couple has hired me to do –  capture lasting, artful images of their celebrations.

Another option is to have your wedding planner pass off a set of paper goods, a welcome box, etc. on the night of the rehearsal. If your photography team is up for it, they can shoot them at any point they want prior to the big day. It’s not a bad option if you can plan ahead and have extras you don’t mind letting go of for a bit.

A wedding day passes so quickly. In the blink of an eye, the band will be announcing the last song and you’ll be happily running through a tunnel of sparkling fireworks. Following the nuptials, photographs will be all that remain. To ensure the story is well-documented and the supporting characters get their moments of fame, plan ahead. With a little communication, time, and freedom, your details will be captured without stealing your spotlight.

For more ideas, discover 15 must-have detail shots for your wedding album, learn how to choose the right photographer for you, and get tips for your bridal portraits.