One of those things that often gets overlooked in wedding photos are the wedding rings. It is almost a separate category of wedding photography. Most people think about wedding photography as some combination of photojournalism and formal portraiture. Then maybe a few detail photos of things like place settings, the cake, and shoes are thrown in. But the rings don’t really fit into that category either.
One of the main reasons the ring shot is in a category in and of itself is because it requires an entirely different skill set and equipment from the rest of wedding photography. For starters, rings are a lot smaller than the rest of the wedding details. That is going to require specialized photography equipment; particularly macro lenses and sometimes special lighting. It also takes an eye for finding backgrounds and methods of “posing” the rings.
Macro photography requires a closer focusing distance than most lenses allow in order to get a small object to fill up most of the image. There are three methods of doing this: specialty macro lenses, screw on filters, and extension tubes. I would never recommend using screw in filters since they negatively impact image quality and sharpness. Macro lenses allow focusing closely, but they can be expensive and require carrying an additional lens. I personally prefer extension tubes because they are smaller, lighter, and cheaper than a macro lens. They are placed between the lens and the camera body, and there is no loss of sharpness since there are no actual optics in the tube. The only downside is that they must be removed if not doing macro photography.
As for lighting, I like to get creative. I have used different flashes designed for macro photography, but I will also use whatever is available. I have used everything from desk lamps to flashlights, and even the little LED light on my phone. One of my favorite tools is an 800 lumen bicycle light. It is incredibly powerful, but I can also mount it to a mini tripod in order to position it exactly how I want.
As for backgrounds and posing, I like to try to connect the ring photos to the story telling of the day. That means finding items from the couple (shoes, veils, flowers, etc…) to position the rings on. However, I have also used different reflective surfaces including the screens from phone and iPads. Sometimes I like to position the rings so that I can reveal something from the landscape behind them. It really just comes down to what is available.
Timothy Faust is an award winning wedding photographer from Breckenridge, Colorado. He specializes in destination wedding photography in Colorado and all across the world.