For wedding photographers operating in our world of social media likes, incredible images of the bride and groom typically get the most attention and engagement, making the other images from the day seem less important. However, an experienced wedding photographer knows that clients expect beautiful photos from every part of the day. One of these categories of wedding day photos is the wedding details. These include wedding venue photos, florals, wardrobe, jewelry, and any other parts of the day that don’t involve people. These images are critical, not only for the client’s overall satisfaction, but also for a photographer’s viral marketing. These are the photos that best reflect the hard work of the florists, designers, planners, and other wedding vendors, making them the photos that are most likely shared by your fellow vendors.

We asked one of our favorite wedding planners, Jeannie Savage of Details Details, to list the top 10 reasons she would likely share a photographer’s images of her work on social media and other outlets.
Here are Jeannie’s top ten tips:

The following education is directly from the videos in our Wedding Photography Training System, a complete, 8 workshop program to master wedding photography. If you’re a wedding photographer looking to take the next step in your business, we encourage you to check it out.

1. Style The Invites

Bring a styling board or use props (linens, textures, etc.) to create a pleasant backdrop for the invites. It also helps to place coins under the invites to elevate them and create a drop shadow for depth. Jeannie notes that paper goods are huge for publications, so much so that publications may not accept submissions if images of the paper goods are not included, so consider these must-haves. Finally, photographers should get the coordinator’s final approval before completing the images of the invites.

2. Mind The Details

Always mind the details. When shooting across a row of seats to highlight a long table, for example, make sure to straighten the chairs and other elements on the table. Coordinators will not share the images if they don’t capture the coordinator’s best work. Also, be sure to ask the coordinator for approval of the hero shots (sweetheart table, tables with featured centerpieces, etc.).

3. Soften The Look Of Hard Light Ceremonies

If the ceremony site is out in the open and exposed to hard light, and if you cannot return to capture the ceremony details at a later time when the sun has gone down enough to soften the light, shoot to maximize your dynamic range and retain the information. You can lift shadows in post or lower highlights if necessary. Also, use a scrim for soft light with close up details.

4. Know What To Remove

Sometimes, what you don’t capture in an image is as important as what you do capture. When shooting table tops, it’s usually a good idea to remove the salt and pepper shakers, as well as the table numbers, unless they were designed to fit the theme of the decor. More often, table numbers are generic in appearance and don’t really add to/fit in with the look of the table/decor.

When shooting wide shots, kindly ask that all vendors, venue staff, etc. clear the area so that they are not featured in the image (see above). A lot of times, coordinators will be more than happy to help you clear the room for the wide shot. It is important for them that it looks great, too.

5. Shoot To The Style

Shoot to the desired look of the setup, whether it’s meant to look brighter or more moody. Avoid overly dramatic details, as they’re not published as often, and turn up the room lights if necessary. When pin lighting, avoid overly dark shadows. Instead, shoot so that the histogram leans more to the right, and lift the shadows during post-production.

6. Limit Carpet/Negative Space

Avoid leaving too much negative space in the frame as it makes the setup look small, which is especially bad if the decor is supposed to look grand and elaborate. Remember, you can shoot from the chair cushion up on the table closest to you to frame out the carpet while capturing a room.

7. Watch And Coordinate

Watch out for open service doors, vendors standing around, exit signs, and ladders/lights/etc. when capturing details. All of these distractions will take away from the setup, and as previously mentioned, coordinators will not share the images if they don’t capture the coordinator’s best work.

8. Stage Food And Drink

Publications and clients/vendors love food and drink images, and they help boost a large part of vendor sales. While a buffet line may not fall under this level of care (though it might, depending on the client), dessert and similarly adorned tables deserve the extra attention to detail. Lighting is important in food and beverage shots, and we recommend using diffused light (through an umbrella or similar gobo) to soften the light cast upon the subject(s). If these shots are taking place outside and the available/natural light is soft enough as is, then use the natural light.

9. Create A Cohesive Set Of Images

From the lighting and how it was shot to the post-production and how each image looks, it’s important to ensure that the overall set of wedding decor images looks consistent and cohesive when placed in an album spread or publication layout. If the series is not cohesive, then multiple images will not be featured together, or they may not be featured at all.

The two images above would not work together in a set for publication as the look and feel of each image is nothing like the other. This is why it is important to coordinate with the entire team before capturing wedding decor (or other) images.

10. Share Timely Teasers

Like news events, people are most interested in wedding photos right after it happens. Although it can be difficult to do, depending on a photographer’s workflow, sharing teasers from a wedding in the first day or two after the event will ensure a better chance for achieving higher social media engagement for that event.

Other Pet Peeves

Outside of the top ten list, these are some other pet peeves that could sour a photographer’s working relationship with a coordinator:

  • Large watermarks
  • Limitations (credit + link = enough)
  • Improper credit/tagging
  • Lighting/flashing without low light understanding
  • Finally, you should always be nice to your event design coordinators!

We designed Photographing the Details to train wedding day teams to capture ceremony site and reception ballroom details with efficiency and purpose. Course objectives include working efficiently under time constraints, controlling lighting and colors in any scenario, capturing creative, publishable images that can be shared by venues and vendors, and telling complete and cohesive stories with details.

Bonus – How To Photograph Wedding Decor Under Time Constraints

We polled 312 photographers and asked them what challenges they face when photographing wedding details, which includes ceremony site and reception ballroom decor, among others. We found that 49% ranked not having enough time to adequately shoot details right near the top of the list of pain points and challenges. This might stem from running behind on the timeline, or maybe the details just are not ready as scheduled; either way, the struggle is real. Luckily, there are ways to make it work, even when the clock is working against you.

Address The Timeline Before The Wedding Day

The first place to tackle problems with time constraints is when addressing the timeline during the planning phase of the wedding. It’s important to review the timeline and ensure that adequate time has been set aside for each part of the day. Considering that details often run late as far as being ready to photograph, a rushed window of time for covering the details may mean you’ll end up with no time at all.

Use The Timeline Equation on the wedding day

For the day of the wedding, here’s a great timeline equation to consider based on how close the decor is to being ready versus how you should photograph it:

  • The less complete the details are, the tighter the shot should be.

In other words, if only one or two tables are ready in the reception area, shoot close-ups of the details: Place settings, menus, cutlery, centerpieces, party favors, etc. As the details in the room start to come together, you can shoot wider until everything’s ready and you can capture the wide shot of the room. If the decor is ready when you get in to photograph it, start wide and work towards capturing close-up details. That way, you’ll be covered in case people start walking into the area. The same is true for both ceremony and reception decor.

Communicate With The Coordinator To Avoid Reshoots

Before you photograph the details, however, especially at the reception site, ask the coordinator or the lighting people if the lights are set the way they’re going to look during the actual reception. If the reception ends up being dimly lit with colorful uplighting, it could look dramatically different than how the room looks with the main house lights on. Also, and this is important, make sure the candles on the table (if there are any) are lit. You want to capture the details the way they’ll look during the actual reception to better represent the look and feel the bride and groom wanted to establish when planning their reception.

Consider The Budget When Budgeting Time To Shoot Decor


Based on the budget for the wedding, you’ll likely need to adjust how much time you can expect to have to capture decor images. In other words, the higher the wedding budget, the less time you’ll get to shoot the wedding details, and vice versa. Why is that? Because the details are more extravagant, and there is usually more to shoot. The vendors involved in setting up the details will also need more time, which means you’ll likely get less time with a completed room as well.

Because timelines often go awry throughout a wedding day, it helps when possible to have multiple photographers (a second for sure, and possibly a third shooter/lighting assistant).

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We designed Photographing the Details to train wedding day teams to capture ceremony site and reception ballroom details with efficiency and purpose. Course objectives include working efficiently under time constraints, controlling lighting and colors in any scenario, capturing creative, publishable images that can be shared by venues and vendors, and telling complete and cohesive stories with details.

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