Photographing ring shots, use what’s around you.

WEDDING CLIENT: Crystal & Joel, see their wedding post here

Ring shots. They are the a staple in wedding photography. It’s one of those ‘must have’ photos at every wedding, as they make it in just about every wedding album and lets face it, every bride wants to show off their ring, regardless of how modest or luxurious it is.

As wedding photographers, our challenge is to assess the surroundings and use it to the best of our abilities to create amazing photographs for our bride & grooms. It’s also very easy to shoot certain things the same way over and over….and over again, as any seasoned photographer and they can testify that at some point, in some area they’ve done this. The key to over coming is to not do anything…let me explain.

The first step as a photographer is to assess the environment you’re in. What are the “gifts” of the room (as Wedding Photographer Roberto Valenzuela puts it). What does the room or area you’re in have that you can use as a backdrop or what elements can you use to make your photos look amazing versus a standard snap shot? The key at times is to look beyond the obvious, not that you can’t use it however, maybe that’s where everyone else has photographed at and the point is to make your work stand out from the crowd.

Getting back to the ring shot. Looking at this first image ↴ where would you think it was photographed at? The rocks give you a clue, however it can throw you off as well.

Let’s take a look at the behind the scene look at how I shot all the photographs in this post.

Not probably what you were expecting huh. That’s the beauty of it. You can really shoot anywhere using what is around to bring the illusion of something greater. As you can see I was shooting on a coffee table. There were three items I found that I wanted to use as possible elements for the ring shot, the rocks/pebbles in the vase, an orange sash that was used on a present that was just lying around and a bird nest decoration that was going to be used in the wedding.

My thought process was at first that the desk made for a the best surface to shoot on. I love the contrast of a dark wood surface against the bright and reflective rings. But I didn’t want to just simply put the rings on the table and take a few shots and move on, I wanted to put more thought into it. So I looked around and saw the rocks/pebbles in the vase and I poured out some onto the table (don’t worry, I asked first). To be honest, I wasn’t sure if this would work but I knew if it didn’t look well in the test shot, I would move on to the next idea. Luckily it did look good and so I proceeded to pour out enough rocks to give me the background depth it needed in the shot so I didn’t see the table in the background. All in all I loved the results from this setup. Some may be asking yourselves, what’s up with the candle so close to the setup. I was attempting to add in some different colors cast and reflection onto the scene, which turned out ok in the color version, but once I converted it to b&w, the image just stood out much more than it’s color counterpart, so I stood with the b&w version.

It the other shots I you can partially see the desk as I swiftly moved through setups and then to compose the shots and see what worked or not. Because I did have a few extra minutes to play with this whole setup, I was able to setup and compose a few different ways. Which netted me about 15-20 different photos to choose from in post. The following are the final photos I selected to move on to editing and ultimately were given to client.

I was happy with the results in the end and I learned a great lesson that day which I’ve since applied it to all areas of photography (which is really a basic fundamental of a photographers process), is to stop and just take a glance all around before you do anything. Because what isn’t the most obvious can turn out to be exactly what will make the best photos.


Here are the rest of the photos that I photographed the same desk just staged differently using various props laying around.

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