On your wedding day, it's the little details that make all the difference. From your jewelry and shoes to your bouquet and invitations, each element contributes to the overall look and feel of your big day. As a wedding photographer, I understand the gravity of capturing these details in a way that's both beautiful and timeless. Finding a photographer you trust to get these moments is important in your vendor search. In this post, I'll share some tips and tricks for creating stunning flat lays and detail shots that will make your wedding album truly unforgettable.
A flat lay is a combination of smaller details mixed with aesthetic elements usually taken as a shot from above.
If my couple wants a flat lay photo, I carve out about 30 minutes depending on how many details are included. Specifically because I take several images from every angle, and also because I want to ensure I’m giving variety. If we plan for this time in the schedule, it helps a lot. If all the details you want included in the flat lay are gathered in a box or bag when I arrive, that’s even better!
Here are some things you might include in a flat lay:
- Invitation suite (2 copies)
- Rings and ring boxes
- Perfume or cologne
- Bouquet or boutonniere
- Vow books
- Name plates from your sweetheart table
- Your something borrowed or blue, old or new
- Any other special items that you’ve brought to your wedding day
Some tips for creating a flat lay
Choose either a very minimal background, some photographers carry mats with them for this purpose, or a texture or backdrop from around the venue that adds to the aesthetics of the flat lay. You can also connect with the florist to gather extra loose flowers or ribbon.
If flay lays are a part of every wedding you do, many photographers carry around a flat lay styling box. This can include ribbon, dried flowers, ring boxes, and bolsters. You can also have items such as antique scissors, mirrors, or dishes. It’s important to note that these things aren’t necessary! I don’t personally include them in my detail routine because I’d rather focus on what the couple has on hand from their wedding day details.
If you’re planning to wear a wedding gown, I’m going to let you in on a secret. *It looks better on you than hanging on its own*. In the wedding world, we have created a trend of hanging the dress on a tree or at the venue. I’m not personally a fan of this trend because there is not significance in your outfits unless they’re on you. They’re meant to be worn! If my couple has dreamed about this photo, I’ll capture it, but otherwise I’d prefer to get the details of the sparkles, flowy tulle, and buttons up the back when it’s on the person wearing it.
Part of gathering details is making sure I walk the venue and photograph areas that will bring you right back into the atmosphere of your day. I focus on details like the architecture, the outdoor scenery, or the unique decor elements that make the venue special. Love venues with interesting details like Christianson's Nursery, Fremont Foundry, and The Ebell of Los Angeles.
Signage and Guestbook Table
These are the details throughout your reception that you've put so much time and effort into. They make up half your design! If it's important to my couple, we always make sure I have time to get into the reception space BEFORE the guests take their seats, that way we can get an overall wide shot of the space, as well as the smaller details like place settings, name cards, etc. We don’t need to prep for this section of details at all except to note in the timeline that I need the space empty for a brief time!
Other small wedding details
My goal on a wedding day is to always be ready to capture the smaller more candid wedding day details. Like a flower girl handing off a flower to grandma during the ceremony, last-minute gifts exchanged to parents or bridal party, or close shots on hands holding glasses during speeches. When looking at photographer’s full albums, make sure you see these in-between details and not just the big events from a wedding day. You want someone who knows how to look for it all.
A note for photographers on capturing wedding day details
Every wedding I remind myself that I’m shooting for my couple and not myself. There will be times someone else’s style doesn’t vibe with yours and our job is to take the damn pictures anyway! Include the details that are going to be meaningful to them, and sometimes that takes adjusting our mindset. Our work will live on much longer in people’s hearts and minds than on Instagram.
If you want a photographer who cares about your details, you know how to get a hold of me!
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