How to style the perfect ring shot
As a stylist with a wedding design blog, I am regularly sent submissions for weddings from photographers that I have to turn down. Why? The wedding might have been beautiful and significant, but if it doesn't have the detail shots that I need to showcase as a wedding blogger, I can't feature it.
See, wedding inspiration blogs and magazines have one purpose: we want brides to see the potential for their own wedding day designs by giving them glimpses into how unique the details of their day can be. We do this by showing them specific detail shots rather than featuring the entire wedding. This is why you don't often see pictures of guests, the entire bridal party, family portraits or dancing shots. Most blogs/magazines feature the same detail shots every time: the dress alone, one shot of the bride getting ready, one bridesmaid in motion, one guest table, a close up of a centerpiece, the alter, one dancing shot of the couple, an overhead of the invitation suite, etc. One of my absolute favorite shots to feature is the ring shot.
When done right, a ring shot can tell you exactly what the wedding looks and feels like. It’s not just about showing us how much money the groom dropped on his bride. It’s about showing the significance of the ring and highlighting the style of the entire wedding day: all in one shot. Sounds complicated, right? It really isn't. Here are some of my personal tips for taking the perfect ring shot:
Styling Tip #1: Place the ring on the invitation suite to showcase the style of the wedding. Technically speaking, an invitation is meant to be the first glimpse of aesthetic that a guest sees. I encourage couples to really try to capture the formality and style of their day as best as possible at this first instance. Invitations generally make a perfect, one dimensional background for a ring to sit on top of. If the focus is right on the stone and it is shot on a complimentary angle, the ring will pop right off the invitation and shine rather than get engulfed in the invite.
Styling Tip #2: Never keep the ring in the box, unless the ring box is vintage velvet in some dusty colour and you have a spectacular ring. Ring boxes are the worst. Instead, completely mix your mediums. Because rings are usually quite glamorous and refined, try using opposite materials. Rock, cement and raw wood are all texturally interesting and provide a neutral, organic compliment to the ring.
Styling Tip #3: Don't get creative, please. I see far too many shots of rings on stems of roses, rings standing straight up so the shadows make a heart, overhead ring shots, etc. Honestly, you're thinking way too much. The purpose is the show what the ring looks like, not to get creative shadows cast from the rings. To show it off in the most flattering way, simply place the rings on their sides and find the angle that shows the stone, some of the ring's profile and gives you an idea of what the rest of the ring looks like. The stone should be the focal point and the rest should fall behind it. Seems like a fairly basic idea, but you'd be surprised...
Styling Tip #4: Size matters. I love it when a ring shot appropriately showcases the size of the ring. Sometimes I see images that dwarf the size of the ring, or make it look monstrous and disproportionate. Rings that are placed on or around items that can help the viewer judge the actual size of the ring are the best. Incorporating material with stitching or grain (like the material underneath the stone in the picture above, or perhaps on a piece of raw wood with an obvious grain) really help to show just how large or small the stone actually is.
Styling Tip #5: Keep your colour palettes in check. I am a lover of neutrals. Neutral colours with rings are stunning. Creams, oatmeals, greys, etc. all compliment diamonds very nicely. Darker neutrals like charcoal and oak look nice too but I generally prefer staying in the warm, soft and light range. That's your call though.