An Easy, Quick, and Consistent Way to Light Your Ring and Detail Shots

When you're shooting a wedding, every minute is valuable. There is often a compromise between the amount of time you spend on a shot and the level of quality you can achieve from that shot. That's partly what makes Fstoppers member Paul Keppel's ring shots so great. They take him almost no time to shoot and they look fantastic.

Paul was kind enough to share his quick, reliable, and beautiful process with us in a short video detailing his methods. All you need is a  macro lens and a Yongnuo YN-160 II which can be bought for under $60 (or less if you want to try Ebay).

For a quick summary of his process, Paul places the wedding rings (or other subjects) on any reflective surface, lines them up to get both in focus, places the constant light over them, and gets the shot. Done!

Macro Photography Lighting Fstoppers Paul Keppel

Macro Photography Lighting Fstoppers Paul Keppel

 

Since the power level of the Yongnuo YN-160 II is consistent and produces constant light, you can shoot every ring shot with the same settings. This gives you quick reliable results during any wedding. 

 

Ring Shot Lighting on Fstoppers

Ring Shot Lighting on Fstoppers

Ring Shot Lighting on Fstoppers

 

Not only do rings look great when shot with this lighting method, the same technique can be applied to just about any macro detail shot including jewelry, flowers, garters, etc... I'm sure the same technique could be applied to non-wedding related images too. While the reflective surface gives a beautiful clean image, there is also no limit to the surfaces you can place your subject on as the lighting produces great results regardless.

 

Jewelry Lighting

Watch Lighting

flower Lighting

 

Broach Lighting

 

For more of Paul's work, check out his website.

What other shots do you think this lighting method would help with?

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19 Comments

Anonymous's picture

Ring shots and detail shots are always one of my favorite parts of shooting a wedding.. It almost feels like a break for me

Adam Sparkes's picture

For sure. Although, if I'm honest, it's one of the things that has taken me the longest to feel comfortable with.

Anonymous's picture

Really? I'm the opposite!

Adam Sparkes's picture

I used to be a newspaper guy. Chasing people around in a crowded room, I had covered from the time I was 19. Treating the details like little important "guests" took me a minute. I know, I'm warped. :-)

Jason Vinson's picture

Ring shots is one of the places I try and challenge myself to get something new and different every time. So it can sometimes be one of the harder parts of my day depending on what I come up with.

Adam Sparkes's picture

Definitely going to give this a shot.

Its so quick and easy, I carry a tile in my bag (blue tile with pears and watch) :-)

I arrive early to the brides house and do them first thing, then she gets used to me in the room/house before I actually start bridal prep. As I mostly work alone I photograph the rings during the wedding breakfast as I'm normally the last person to get fed before speeches lol

Adam Sparkes's picture

It's a smart technique, Paul. Now that I've watched the video, I can't believe it's never crossed my mind at all! I usually have at least one LED light with barn doors with me at every wedding. Thanks for sharing!

Just perfect!!! I love it.

thank you :-)

Kaushlesh Biyani's picture

I like how this guarantees you consistent ring shots. I tend to use a video light for my ring shots too, but I usually try and create something different at each wedding - using something unique/interesting.

Love the idea, I may steal it on my next wedding :-) One of my friends has a really cool with the the chandelier reflecting of the surface.

Rob Dolton's picture

Hi Paul, Absolutely love this. Pls excuse the noob question but do I need any other equipment to use this or does it run on batteries alone? I'm thinking of getting one not just for ring shots but I also do macro moth photography and as long as the heat isnt too much, it would be a great addition to the bag.

hi Rob, the one I have runs on 6 AA batteries, the slightly larger yn300 I think has its on battery that looks very simlar to your camera battery. I would have throught it would be fine, as its leds, I'll leave mine on now for a while and see if it gets warm.

Lee Christiansen's picture

There is a similar Yongnuo YN-300 light which is a little larger and brighter- and seems almost the same price. I wonder which might be better... The 160 would give less "wrap" on the light so may give more specular results or would the larger 300 light give a more pleasing finish?

funny enough my 160 comes with a frosted filter, so I may try using it on my next wedding and see if it defuses the specular hightlights :-)

Hey Paul, thanks for sharing this. Grabbed one of those lights the other day thanks to your post. It's great way to get good wrapping light on the subject. My only concern is that I am picking up those LED light patterns on some of the reflective surfaces. I'll give that diffuser gel a try and see if that minimizes it.