Every wedding day I follow pretty much the same routine: I arrive early, I greet the bride and her tribe, and then I ask one simple question: Can I see the engagement ring and wedding rings?
My first luxury lens was a macro lens, a Nikkor 40mm; I shot everything with that little guy. Bugs. Coins. Pencils. I took pictures of anything and everything that I wanted to get a close-up view. As I transitioned into portrait photography and I upgraded from the baby 40mm to the beastly 105mm, it quickly became a camera bag staple on wedding days. I just adore how the elements of the day look larger than life, especially the rings. The way the diamond glints light like a prism, the way the band glimmers…it’s all so gorgeous, so lovely, and it makes ring shots a nice addition to the final gallery.
Engagement rings have evolved a ton from their first use in either Egyptian times or Ancient Rome (scholars differ in the where and when the tradition started). In Roman times, it was not uncommon for would-be brides to have two rings: a gilded band for wearing out and about, and then an iron one for wearing while in the home.
The first use of a diamond engagement ring wasn’t until 1477 when Archduke Maximilian of Austria proposed/became betrothed to Mary of Burgundy. After their coupling, those of higher social standing began incorporating the gem into their rings; the diamond trend became more common with the discovery of diamonds in South Africa in 1866 (by 1872 these mines were putting out over one million carats a year). Diamond popularity waned in the United States in the years after World War I and the Great Depression, which lead the company De Beers to begin a marketing campaign more brilliant than the diamonds they procured, emphasizing that “a diamond is forever” (they also brought us the idea of the four Cs—cut, clarity, color, and carat—as well as the idea that the giver should spend one month’s income on the engagement ring, which of course was eventually upped to two).
All this history will bring you to your knees–well, at least to one knee–and with that “Yes!” will start a new chapter in your history book. This is why I really, REALLY appreciate engagement ring shots, and they are the symbol of your next step.
Here are a few of the favorite next steps for KLP Couples…
Do you have a favorite ring shot? Let us know below!
Kayla Lee is a Minnesota-based wedding and elopement photographer who provides services to elegant, authentic, joyful couples who not only choose their own adventures, but also live them to the fullest.