Susan Stripling on Tackling Tough Scenarios As A Wedding Photographer

Susan Striping


Don’t miss Susan Stripling’s live class, The Wedding Photographer Survival Kit, next week. RSVP now.

Weddings are tough. It’s that simple. Photographers have a short window of time to capture an entire album and a long list of “must-have” shots. Add to that well-meaning relatives who think they know more than the pro, and weddings tend to have an abundance of tough scenarios.

Wedding photographer Susan Stipling has certainly seen her fair share of tricky situations. As a photographer shooting across several countries with features in the most well-known publications, Susan has developed strategies for shooting in difficult situations, so that when problems come up on the wedding day, she knows just how to tackle them.

In preparation for her latest class, The Wedding Photographer Survival Kit, Susan answered a few questions on how she works, and of course how she handles tough calls.

On Gear

Susan owns both the Nikon D750 and the D4s. While the D4s is considered Nikon’s top DSLR, the D750 is a mid-range professional model that’s newer and also smaller. What does she use more often? While she still uses both cameras, the D750 has been getting the most use. “It’s such a great, light easy camera and it handles light beautifully,” she said.

On White Balance

During the start of her class, Susan shared that she actually rarely takes the camera off auto white balance. Auto white balance is often accurate and fast in the time crunch that accompanies wedding photography. RAW files make adjusting inaccuracies easier as well. But there’s a few scenarios where she’ll head off the auto white balance. She occasionally switches to the shade preset while shooting outside. And when using flash, she almost always switches over to the flash white balance preset.

Susan Stripling4

When family gets too involved

Sometimes, Susan turns lights off for certain shots. But what happens when a bridesmaid or the mother of the bride insists they stay on, or just goes and turns them back on? Susan said it happens quite frequently. “I try explaining the situation to them, but if they still push back I just turn it off for a few minutes to get my shot then turn it back on.”

On what she’s learned

Susan shot her first wedding back in 2001. Nearly 15 years later, she’s being featured in the top wedding magazines, earning WPPI awards and teaching other photographers. If she could go back in time, what would she tell herself then, as a brand new wedding photographer? “’Save more money’ would be right up there with ‘Stop worrying about what other photographers think of you and your work!’”

Weddings inevitably bring up tough scenarios. That’s why it’s essential to plan for difficult situations ahead of time. Susan makes sure she’s prepared with the right gear, the right techniques and the right response.

Don’t miss Susan Stripling’s live class, The Wedding Photographer Survival Kit, next week. RSVP now.

Hillary Grigonis FOLLOW >

Hillary K. Grigonis is a web content writer and lifestyle photographer from Michigan. After working as a photojournalist for several years, she made the leap and started her own business and now enjoys sharing tips and tricks with emerging photographers.