March 26, 2020

Bridal Basics: What should I include for our detail photos?

I will never forget looking through my parent’s fireproof box of important papers in the weeks leading up to my wedding. Chris was going to be in town for the weekend, and we needed to apply for our marriage license. Naturally, I had no idea where any of those necessary documents were, but I figured that box would at least be a good place to start.

Luckily enough, all of the necessary papers were right there, and after a quick happy dance for hitting the jackpot on my first try, I reached in to pick them up. Little did I know, the bigger treasure was hiding underneath!

You see, underneath all of those papers was an old leather bound booklet.

The Marriage Service was embossed on the cover in gold lettering, and inside, my grandparent’s ceremony readings, wedding vows, and witness signatures filled the pages. It was amazing, and I immediately knew I wanted it to be somehow included in our day. After all, they will be celebrating SIXTY years of marriage in the spring!

The images our wedding photographer grabbed of that book always make me smile, and it’s one of the main reasons I encourage my brides to think of family heirlooms when they’re gathering the details they want photographed at the beginning of the day!

And, while something like your grandparent’s wedding ceremony booklet may seem like a random thing to include in the “getting ready” details, those kind of heirlooms are what personalize your story and make the images yours. However, there are quite a few other things to include when you prepare for this part of the day, too!

So, to help you be as organized as possible, I’ve created a list of common items that really complete the “detail” portion of your day.

What to Include: A Detail Photos Packing List

All Three Rings! Traditionally, the best man has wedding band duty before the ceremony, but I love shooting all three of your rings when I do the other detail shots to create a consistent look for your gallery and album. I love thinking about all the stories and memories those bands will bear together in the future, and it is such an honor to document them as one piece!

Your Dress AND Veil While most brides plan for images of their dress, I love when they have their veil ready to go when I arrive, too! I often use the veil to create depth and layers for the detail pictures. A few tips: remember to take off all the tags before I arrive, so that we don’t have to miss out on any shooting time. It also helps to have both items steamed and ready to go, as wrinkles can be distracting in photos.

Any Wedding Jewelry you will be wearing. Another detail that often gets overlooked is jewelry! I love taking individual photos of each item and using them in larger pictures, too. Whether it’s your grandmother’s pearls, earrings gifted to you by your almost-husband, your mom’s bracelet she wore on her wedding day, or something new just for you, it’s a piece that now has such meaning to your family!

Your Wedding Shoes …preferably with the sticker already taken off the bottom! :) I also recommend waiting until after these photos to put in any arch support or no-slide stickers.

A copy of your wedding stationary (and envelope if possible!) I love using your invitation to really tie everything together — plus, it makes the perfect backdrop! Using your wedding stationary helps ground your detail pieces and contributes to the storytelling aspect of your day. I will often pair these images with location shots when designing wedding albums to help create the setting for your love story!

Your bouquet I absolutely LOVE when my brides have their flowers delivered to the getting ready location. Not only does it mean you will have your bouquet for your first look, but it also lets me capture your color scheme even more in your detail photos! Plus, there is just something about rings and fluffy flowers that makes my heart smile.

I also love using spare stems or leftover pieces to add texture to detail photos. Greenery adds so much life to these kind of photos, so it never hurts to run it by your florist and ask for the leftover pieces to be saved! Andrea with Bella Sorella Floral Design is SO good about sharing with me — I always love the images we get when we work together!

Last but not lease, any other significant details or family heirlooms! This is where things like my grandparent’s ceremony book come into play! Any DIY objects or items that have personal meaning are great to include in this section. It could be a fun ring box, your perfume, a clutch, your something-old-something-new-something-borrowed-something-blue, or a special handkerchief.

Again, I think there is so much value to photographing the details you’ve painstakingly debated and chosen on your wedding day. They’re not just “pretty photos”: they are part of what makes your wedding story yours.

And, the more organized you can make this part of the day, the more quickly I can get to photographing other important things, too! I always ask my brides to collect all their details in a box or bag so my second shooter and I can get right to work without disrupting anything when we arrive. I try to find great natural light for these photos — whether that’s taking the items outdoors or just shooting near a large window or light source!

I hope this list was helpful in thinking of items you’d like photographed for the “getting ready” portion of your day! Comment below with any other items or ideas you may have — I look forward to hearing from you!

Indianapolis, IN




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Sami Orndorff is a Wedding Photographer & Lifestyle Newborn Photographer located in the greater Indianapolis area.