The groom puts a ring on the bride's finger

Why I Love This Photo – Exchanging The Rings

The exchanging of the rings is one of the most traditional parts of a wedding ceremony, almost everyone does it. Vicars, celebrants, and registrars are much better at explaining why we do it, so I’d like to talk about my process when taking this shot instead.

I’ve just posted this image on my Instagram feed but felt like I wanted to say more about it than the limited space on there allows. It’s not as straightforward as it looks, and it’s not always possible to get.

During most ceremonies the photographer is, quite rightly, told to find a spot and not move from there. I totally agree with this and even when the registrars and vicars are more accommodating, I find that it’s often too disruptive to start looking for other angles. A 2nd photographer at the back of the room is usually a good way to ensure more variety and as a back up for anything I can’t get at the front.

I carry two cameras with me so I can easily swap between wide angles and telephoto such as this one. For the photographers, I shot this at 135mm, ISO 2500, f2.8 and 1/250s. I used to use a 70-200 but find the big white lens is a bit too intrusive so tend to stick to smaller and lighter primes now. Timing and focus is critical. I always try to focus on the ring is these photos as that is the key part of this image.

The main difficulties with obtaining these shots are from bodies blocking the action. Sometimes the registrar steps in the way, sometimes the couple are standing very close together and angled so that you can’t see the rings. This is when the 2nd photographer really comes in handy. But sometimes it all comes together and everything’s just right, like here.

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