Wedding detail shots can sometimes be an area where a photographer might struggle to come up with something compelling. These are the shots of the cake, reception tables, flowers, decorations, and other important details of the wedding. Playing with composition and shallow depth of field are important aspects that help create good detail shots, but I often come across situations where I it is difficult to produce something dramatic. Using the onelight style gives me an additional element to work with, and adds the dynamic look I am after in these shots.
Fortunately with detail shots I can be a bit more methodical in my approach to the image. While I don’t have to worry about the subject moving, I am still pressed to get the shots quickly and move on to coverage of other wedding activities. Typically these shots come between the formals and reception, or between the ceremony and reception if the formals were done previous to the ceremony. Getting great shots requires efficient and creative shooting. My typical approach is to work my way from one side of the reception area to the other starting with the wedding cake.
Depending on lighting conditions my initial shot of each element is an ambient light shot with no flash. I then add the off camera flash from various angles to refine the look. Once I have a compelling shot I like I move on within the room. Of course there are times when I may forgo the ambient shots knowing from experience how a certain scene will look using onelight style. In these situations I rely on experience to compose the scene and capture it in a dramatic image.
For the wedding detail shots I use the same principles as described in my previous onelight posts. By highlighting the subject I am able to bring focus to the areas of the image that are most important. Not only am I focusing attention, but the directional light has a more appealing look than direct flash.