What’s in My Wedding Day Styling Kit? | SZP Education

Happy Monday! I am coming at you bright and early with some super awesome education today.  I wanted to share a bit of behind the scenes work with you, and especially for my brides I hope this puts you at ease when you’re thinking about those super beautiful detail shots that you see all over Instagram and Pinterest.  I always bring my style kit to a wedding. Always, always, always. Sometimes I get to a wedding and start looking around the getting ready room and I find amazing things, so I don’t even end up needing my kit.  However, sometimes things are limited and in I swoop with my superhero box to save the day! So the question is: what do I keep in my styling kit? 

In my first few years as a wedding photographer, I kept things like loose glitter, sequins, colored and textured paper, a flashlight, etc.  These were things I’d get at a craft store or the art aisle at Walmart.  Now, I’m not saying that is a bad idea because it is not! For me, they were things that did not go together all of the time but I made it work.  Now, I have things light LED string lights, silk ribbons, dried flowers, fabric swatches, lace, and lots of things that sparkle.  I keep small boxes that are plain colored or textured and fill them with crinkle paper, moss, or cotton balls torn apart.  (Really that looks cooler than you think!) When I sit down with my brides and talk about their wedding details I try to imagine what in my kit will flow with their vision.  I also scour the getting ready area when I arrive, and pull things that will tie it all together.  So sometimes that means that bracelet you’re taking off to replace with your bridal one, will most likely end up in a detail shot or two.  I will almost always try and incorporate your florals in more than one shot.  I LOVE flowers and I know my brides spend some $$ on them.  They also make a beautiful border around invitation suites and backgrounds for jewelry. 

I know that this may seem like a ton of work and you may be asking “Why do you go through all of this trouble for photos of things like a necklace or invitation suite?” I am going to show you just how important it is to really style your details.  It tells a story, rather than just snapping an image. It freezes the moment, the memory that these are your wedding details.  The things you spent the most time perfecting will be brought to life.  

That tray is one of my all time favorites! Here’s a tip for any photographers out there: go to Goodwill! I bought this real silver (numbered and stickers on the back) tray for $3.  Isn’t that amazing? I bring a rather large kit with me, so things like this tray and a few other larger pieces will fit in nicely.  I currently love using depression glass trays-I have a beautiful pink one and a deep emerald one.  If that all seems rather busy for what’s going on, I usually just try and find something light and neutral. Wood works well, as does a bridesmaid dress. 

I wanted to give you an idea of what my setup looks like when I’m shooting your details so here is an example.  I first locate a place with perfect natural light.  Usually by a large window.  In these images you’ll see I was in my screened in patio so light was everywhere.  Next I set up my base.  I used a large fluffy white pillow.  I have used things like dresses, veils, tablecloths, wooden barrels, really anything that will give me an interesting backdrop for those details.  I will fill in with a reflector if need be, and then I just start laying things down.  It takes me about 45 minutes to shoot a full wedding detail.  I know that seems like a lot, but in that time I am also talking with my bride and her girls, snapping a few getting ready candids, and and getting into my creative and comfortable mind before the big moments! 

So, I’ve spilled my beans and shared one of my “secrets” with you all.  What are you going to do with it? I would really LOVE to see what you take from this and put into your own work.  If your style kit needs some amping, and you take some tips from here to your own, snap a few and post them in the comments! Or tag me in the comments on them- I really love seeing my tips in action with other photographers. For my brides, I hope this gave you a breath of relief if you were even a tiny bit worried about  how your bridal details will look.  I will turn your boxes of jewelry and shoes into memories that showcase the time and effort you put into them.  

Have a FANTASTIC Monday everyone! 

xoxo -Sam

May 1, 2017

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