How to Shoot a PLACE SETTING
Whether you're in a rush at a real wedding or find yourself with a little more time during a styled shoot, getting a good clean shot of at least one place setting can be a nice addition to a layout. While there are lots of options that could work well given the particular tablescape (and it's always a good idea to try several angles and configurations) the example above and at right is always an easy win. Getting this shot allows you to safely check off your table shot if you are pressed for time and, ideally, leaves you with time to experiment and try other angles that might be even better.
So let’s break this shot down a little...
HERE ARE SEVERAL TIPS:
Find a place setting with the best lighting situation in the room.
Try to get up above for a nice bird's-eye-view. (If you have to stand on a chair be careful not to leave a dirty seat for a guest. Or fall.)
Try to make the plate a pretty clean circle rather than a distorted oval.
The focus should probably be on the plate or whatever is on the plate.
Try to keep your flatware pretty straight for the camera (which may not look straight in real life).
When possible, give a little space between each utensil and the plate so it doesn't feel crowded.
Avoid having a flower arrangement centered directly above a plate. It creates a bad tangent—the plate and arrangement are held in tension and begin to compete for attention. It's usually better to center the plate and off-center the flowers, letting the plate be the star and the flowers be an accessory.
Remove any unnecessary items.
Iron or photoshop out any severely distracting wrinkles (a few gentle ones are ok because it looks real and gives appropriate texture.)
And because I don't want you to think I'm saying the above shot is the only way to do it, here are some nice variations on this shot...
HOW TO DESIGN A TABLESCAPE
Watch the excerpt of the video below explaining a little of my perspective on color when creating a tablescape.