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How to Capture Gorgeous Detail Photos Without Missing the Moments

Blue watercolor invitation suite styled with shoes and bouquet.

If you know me, you know that I firmly believe wedding day details are super important! Not only do details help tell the story and style of the day, but they also are attached to the memories of planning the wedding day! Brides & grooms spend a lot of time picking out and putting together all the little details of their day. Capturing beautiful images of these details preserves wedding day memories, and also wedding planning memories.

I’ve heard other photographers discredit the importance of details with the rationale that capturing the moments and people are far more important. Don’t get me wrong, the moments and people involved in a wedding day are SO important!!! But the way I see it, it’s not a “one or the other” scenario. I believe you can capture gorgeous detail shots WITHOUT sacrificing capturing the moments & people. You can capture the best of both worlds – and you SHOULD!

Below are my top three tips to make sure you don’t miss out on the real moments, while photographing amazing detail shots!

1. Photograph the Details Nearby!

Whenever space and lighting permits, I always opt to photograph details in the same room or suite where the girls are getting ready. On occasion I will need to go to a different area, (in that instance #3 on this list comes in extra handy), but when it’s possible, I will choose to stay nearby. When I’m photographing details in the same room I can be aware if something fun or exciting is happening, like the bridesmaids are about to open some champagne, or the bride’s pump up song comes on Spotify. When those things do happen, because I’m in the same room, I can quickly step away from the details to capture a candid shot of the moment. Then I can dive right back into details. Close proximity makes it easy to bounce back and forth!

2. Start Early.

I always like come extra early the morning of the wedding for lots of reasons, but one of those is to give myself extra time for detail shots. When I can knock out a dress shot and a few flat lays before my “start time” technically even begins, I’m starting the day already ahead of the game! I can take some extra time to get creative with detail shots, and can bounce back and forth between details and candids without worrying that I’m running out of time for details! Starting early is key!

3. Have an assistant!

In addition to having a second shooter, I always work with an assistant too! Having a team of three is super helpful throughout all parts of the day, but especially in the morning when you would typically otherwise be working by yourself! With an assistant, I have an extra pair of hands to help with everything from hanging the dress, to prepping details, and shooting extra candids!

Sometimes while I start with shooting candids I’ll have my assistant:
– bring all the details over by a window
– set up my styling surface if I’m using one
– prep details (un-boxing perfume, taking jewelry out of packaging, buckling shoes, etc.)

A perfume bottle of the blooming bouquet scent is styled with peonies and a ring box.

That way everything is all ready for me to start styling and shooting, and I’ve already captured some candid moments while it’s being prepped! Then I’ll get started styling and shooting details, while my assistant is helping me and also taking extra candids of the girls! Most of my assistants also shoot! They capture third angles of important moments like first look and ceremony, and also help me be in two places at once during the getting ready portion of the day, when my second shooter is busy with the groom!

Estate at Florentine Gardens Wedding, Rivervale, New Jersey, Wedding Photographer, Makeup Bride Preparation, Michelle Elise Artistry

I hope these tips are helpful! It’s not one or the other. You can capture beautiful details AND the real moments too! Approaching my detail time in this way helps me to capture all the things for my couples! 🙂

Want some more detail tips? Check out what’s in my detail styling kit on a wedding day, HERE!

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