Putting details in context

When it comes to photographing weddings, I’m a big believer in getting those detail shots in such a way that their context is clear. On its own, a picture of flowers, table decorations, place cards, shoes or whatever isn’t going to have anything like the same emotional resonance as a picture that relates the detail to people, or at least something that shows it’s clearly taken at a wedding.

As an illustration, here’s a picture I took at a wedding earlier this year in Norwich. It’s in a church, it looks like a wedding, the people are obviously concentrating on what’s being said, but the focus is clearly on the coloured ribbons in centre shot, and that’s exactly what I had intended. I like other elements of the composition – the strong curve of the wooden railing linking the people together and drawing the eye to the centre of the frame, but for me the main thing here is to establish the context of the decorative details.

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