Commercial Strategies from Will Reid

Will Reid has been shooting weddings for the past ten years after going to school for commercial photography. He has always had an affinity to photographing objects and having them compliment and support his portrait work. Using his background in commercial photography, Will shares his rules of composition and storytelling in his flat lay work, especially while shooting smaller macro details.

“Simplify your frame as much as possible.”

“Simplify your frame as much as possible.”

What is your advice for getting perfect detail shots on a hectic wedding day?

  1. Simplify your frame as much as possible

  2. Pay close attention to colors, shapes and how they are affecting the composition for better or worse.

  3. Be prepared. Have multiple backgrounds ready (different colors, textures), styling blocks and other items that will help you finesse and place the items where you need them to be.

  4. Ask for a few invitations suites, give yourself as much time as possible - arrive early if necessary.

  5. Always look around to see if there is any foliage, or other elements would compliment your composition.

What are the hardest details to photograph on a wedding day?

I would say the invitations. It's difficult to preserve the textures, and subtlety of the paper, let alone keeping everything straight, and finding the right balance of sizes, shapes, and colours, and the correct information displayed and private information hidden.

How do you tackle photographing small details, like rings and jewelry, do you have a process for that?

Photographing small details always proves to be a difficult thing, especially when photographing jewelry and perfumes. You want to make sure they are lit up from the inside, and aren't looking dull or dead. I really rely on my commercial background when photographing these items: I use small silver cards, white cards, or strategic reflections to ensure these items are looking alive.

What is in your styling kit?

“I always think in odd numbers not even numbers, when using similar items in a frame.”

“I always think in odd numbers not even numbers, when using similar items in a frame.”

My go to items are: a selection of Mrs. Boxes, styling blocks and other risers like memory card cases for fine tuning heights, some ribbons, and a selection of styling florals from the florist.

Are there any compositional rules that you use when you style, especially with ring shots? How do you begin, and what steps do you take? How do you know when you're done?

I’m always looking to keep the viewer's eye moving in a continual “S” shaped or triangular shaped pattern; to keep them interested and not leading their eyes out of the frame. A second rule that I pay attention to is: balance. You have to be aware of what certain colors and shapes are communicating and if they are by nature more dominant than others, and how to effectively balance them out with symmetrical or asymmetrical elements. Finally, I always think in odd numbers not even numbers, when using similar items in the frame. You never really know when you are done styling, so I typically take a few variations of each shot to have a few options to deliver.

“You have to be aware of what certain colors and shapes are communicating.”

“You have to be aware of what certain colors and shapes are communicating.”

Jen Huang