How to photograph wedding stationary

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One of the many wonderful things about being in a creative career is that you can learn and be inspired by things that may or may not even be a part of your genre of creativity. For example, reading up and learning about portraiture photography and taking those lessons and applying it to your bride & groom portraits can really up your game.

The same can be said for detail shots. When we first started out with photographing details of the wedding, we found
ourselves struggling to think of compositions, layouts and even backgrounds – until we started to look at wedding stylists and their portfolios. We saw what they were doing, and how they were doing it and made it our goal to improve our shots by thinking out of the box and trying out new things.

It’s a valuable lesson we learnt, and one we do encourage everyone to try out; don’t be afraid to try new things and even take what you know from one thing and apply it to your wedding work. Just make sure you have at least one safe shot in your bag ;)

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How did you compose your image?

Composition is really important when it comes to setting up detail shots like this. Our goal here was to find a balance with the stationary, the ribbon details, the flowers and the hand. We laid out our details on a background that didn’t take too much attention away from our subject and took a few test shots to make sure it balanced. When it didn’t, we moved things around a bit until it felt just right.

How and what did you focus on?

Sometimes focusing on stationary can be tough, especially if there isn’t much contrast between the text and the paper. Our little solution is to focus on either the edges of the paper (where it meets the background) or even on another part of the layout details.

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How did you use the light in your image?

We found a nice shaded area in the courtyard of the castle where our wedding took place. We wanted to work with the soft light since it meant that we could avoid blowing out our highlights or having too much contrast.

What was the gear & settings you used?

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Camera

Canon 5D Mark IV

Lens

Canon EF 35mm f/1.4 L II

Filter

None

Other

None

Shutter Speed

1/500

Aperture

f/1.8

ISO

125

White Balance

Auto

How did you edit your image & what did you use?

The edits are made to be warmer with a big focus on skin tones and light play with shadows and highlights. A few minor local adjustments were made (Gradient and Brush) as well as finishing off with a fine layer of grain. The whites are not blown out nor are the blacks 100% crunched.

Software Used

Adobe Lightroom Classic

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What challenges did you face?

One challenge we faced was trying to figure out just how to lay things in a way that balanced. As we are not experts in this, nor did we have a bucket load of experience to know what little thing should go where, we just had to do our best and try.

How did you solve them?

It helps to be prepared beforehand, but sometimes you get these ideas on the spot and have to just improvise. It helps to set something up, take a picture, and then look at that picture long enough to see how things are feeling. If you are not 100% sure, change something up. But all the while keep shooting. You may not get that banger shot at your first wedding you do this at, but over time you’ll start to know what works and what doesn’t.

Can you share any last thoughts or advice?

If you ever feel stuck on what to learn to improve your photography game, try to explore other genres of photography. Learn about portraiture, about still life, fashion, street photography – all of those can benefit your wedding work :)

When setting up your stationary shots, take some elements from the wedding to add to your styling. Things like a few flowers and decorations can really add to your image and give it more context. If you’re feeling up for it and someone willing is nearby, maybe have them use their hand to interact a bit with the details. It can add a bit more interest to the final image.

MELLI and SHAYNE

Shooting since

2014

Current Home

Germany

Website

Instagram

We are Melli & Shayne, a couple coming from vastly different worlds but have been inseparable ever since we met in Zanzibar. We have been passionately capturing love stories since 2014 and have loved every step of the way. We love to meet fellow photographers, to share our knowledge amongst a bottle (or two) of wine and support every one wherever we can.

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