Like most aspects of weddings, photography is a field filled with trends and passing fads. Some trends are awful and it’s best they make a quiet exit, while others are great and here to stay —at least for awhile.
One trend that seems to swing back and forth like a pendulum is wedding detail shots. It seems like a few years back, couples wanted photos of every single detail. Photographers could spend hours shooting the dress and shoes, the ring, venue, invitations, you name it. I understand the desire to have everything documented. After all, that’s why you chose those details.
More recently, though, it seems like couples don’t always want the detail shots. They prefer faces of guests, candids and ceremony photos. I get that too. Some couples feel like a wedding should be about people rather than things. And if the budget is a concern, it might seem like an easy way to trim time and save. This is the other side of the pendulum.
A Case for Detail Shots
There’s something to be said for detail shots. I’m a big advocate of telling a whole, complete wedding day story. Typically, a story begins with the couple getting ready, peaks with a ceremony and ends with a reception and the couple calling it a successful night. In that story, and most definitely in the album, detail shots are the perfect transition from one moment to the next.
Nothing in an extreme form is great. You don’t want an album full of pretty things and no people. You certainly don’t want your photographer spending so much time getting detail shots that moments are being missed. Weddings are about those moments and there are no do-overs.
Likewise, you don’t want an album filled only with people and none of the details that you worked so hard on to make your day special. A lot of money is spent on those intricate details, and it’s ok to want pretty pictures of them.
A Place for Details
The place for detail photos in an album is when you’re telling a story and you need that extra something to help your story flow. The detail photos can create a phenomenal transition piece to your wedding story. That said, it’s important to find a photographer who understands how to tell a story and the significance of those transitional pieces. They’re an important piece of the story, but they’re not the story.
When you look at your wedding album in the years to come, you’re going to want to remember the big things, like how dad cried as he kissed your cheek at the end of the aisle, how adorable the flower girl was when she threw all of her flowers in one spot and how your best man pretended to forget the rings. But you’re also going to want to remember the not-so-big things, like the embroidered handkerchief you gave to your parents in case they got teary, the pocket watch that was gifted to the groom from his great-grandfather, and the intricate beading of the dress it took you three shopping trips and countless hours to find.
It’s all part of the story. You’ll love to reminisce about the guests and the day. With detail shots, you’ll also have a story that starts at the beginning and flows through to the very end.
“Details are the difference between good stuff and great stuff.” – Stephen Brewster
St. Louis Wedding Photographer