INDIANA WEDDING & BRANDING PHOTOGRAPHER

Alison Mae

INDIANAPOLIS WEDDING & PERSONAL BRAND PHOTOGRAPHER

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When I first began my wedding photography career, I found myself in some.. not so pretty locations on wedding day mornings. Places like dark church basements with wood paneling and green carpet. Or hotel lobbies with sticky glass top coffee tables and orange and purple patterned chairs. It was nearly impossible to achieve those dreamy, pretty detail photos to match the rest of the wedding day photos, especially in a time crunch. I knew something had to change if I wanted to bring this part of the wedding experience I give my couples up to par. And so I began putting together my wedding detail kit!

Why Bring a Wedding Detail Kit?

Before I dive into what I keep in my kit, first I want to share why I bring one. A lot of wedding photographers feel that you shouldn’t bring a detail kit. In fact, I used to be one of them. That’s right, I insisted on not bringing a kit and using what I found laying around the venue or hotel. I felt that I wanted to only use items that were personal to the couple. But what I realized was that the random trinket I found on a desk in a hotel wasn’t meaningful to my couple any more than some pretty ribbon from my kit. The difference? Random objects you find don’t always help tell the story of the day cohesively.

At the end of the day, the story telling aspect of wedding photography is something I value and I know my couples do too. So before you run out and start buying a bunch of things for your detail kit, I encourage you to really think about the couples you serve and what they value. If elevated detail photos aren’t their thing then keep it simple! But if your couples love seeing all of their carefully selected detail items, perfectly styled, then it’s time to start building your kit, friend!

The Perfect Detail Kit Storage

My detail kit started as a measly ziplock bag with one roll of ivory ribbon and a ring box. And you know what? That was just fine at the time! But over the years I have slowly added things to my kit and therefore I have needed to upgrade my storage system. My current set up is my favorite so far! I found a rolling makeup kit and it was a game changer. The fact that it is on wheels makes things so easy when I’m trying to get everything into the venue efficiently.

Where to Find Things for Your Kit

My kit is a combination of things purchased purposefully for wedding day details and things I’ve stumbled upon while out shopping. There are even a few baubles in there from my own life such as decorative beads from my own bridal shower. Amazon has been great for finding things like ribbon and ring boxes, but the true treasures of my kit come from thrifting. Stop into your local antique shop and keep an eye out for ornate trays or small dishes. Believe it or not, old ash trays and perfume bottles (once cleaned) are great for detail shots.

How to Keep Detail Photos Personal to Your Couple

As I mentioned above, keeping detail photos personal while also keeping things consistent is important to me while I am shooting the detail photos. But if I am using things from my own kit over and over, how do I keep it personal? Simple. Pull as many things from your couple’s details as possible and just pop in a few of your own details. And when you do, keep those in line with their details too. I keep ribbons, wax seals and ring boxes of all colors in my kit so I know I have something that will fit their style perfectly. Stay away from specific items such as decorative scissors and wax seal stamps that don’t fit into the wedding day organically. Your couple likely wouldn’t own these items so avoid using them. (However they might come in handy if you are taking photos specifically for a stationer friend!)

Below are some examples of ways I have combined things from my kit with pieces from the clients to create a custom look!

What I Keep In My Detail Kit

Alright, now it’s time to get down to business. What exactly is in my kit? Let me break it down for you! Here we go:

  • Ring boxes
  • Ribbon
  • Acrylic blocks for creating depth while doing flat lays
  • Plain envelopes in a variety of colors in case provided envelopes are bent
  • Small decorative dishes
  • Wax seals
  • Play dough to help flowers stand up on their own (trust me)
  • Over the door wreath hanger for dresses
  • Clear zip ties for tricky dress hanging locations
  • Pretty hangers (two kinds)
  • Dental wax
  • Stamps
  • Mini lint roller
  • Veil
  • Rollable mats (more on these in another blog)

Detail Kit Bonus Section: Emergency Kit

Most wedding coordinators and planners will carry an emergency kit with them on wedding days. However, unless absolutely everything is at the same venue, there will be times when the coordinator is off handling something else and we are one of the only vendors on site. And inevitably, something comes up missing or a bridesmaid’s dress needs a last minute stitch. In addition to genuinely wanting to help my couples have the best day imaginable and wanting to help anywhere I can, things like this can seriously derail a photography schedule. So I started taking note of things that were needed by my couples or their friends and family and popped it into the bottom drawer of my detail kit. Here’s some of the wedding day emergency items I keep in my kit. Some things might surprise you!

  • Crochet hook for tricky dress buttons
  • Scissors
  • Safety pins
  • Bobbi pins
  • Boutonniere pins
  • Wet wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Mini sewing kit
  • Extra white thread
  • Cork screw and bottle opener
  • Tape
  • Electrical tape
  • Fashion tape
  • Ginger chews for upset stomachs
  • Women’s sanitary products
  • Tide to Go pen and wipes
  • Bug spray
  • Tissues

Looking for more wedding photography advice? Read about my favorite websites for wedding photographers here.

What’s in My Wedding Detail Kit

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