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30 Days of Wedding Photography

Lesson 66 of 76

Client Care

Susan Stripling

30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

66. Client Care


Class Trailer

Day 1

1 Introduction 32:46 2 Evolution of Susan's Style 1:01:14 3 Branding and Identity 30:27 4 Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned 20:51

Day 2

5 Introduction to Gear & Equipment 10:58 6 Lenses Part 1 1:06:53
7 Lenses Part 2 27:48 8 Lighting 42:59

Day 3

9 Seeing the Scene 29:12 10 Seeing the Scene Q&A 25:16 11 Rhythm and Repetition 24:08 12 Leading Lines and Rule of Thirds 23:45 13 Rule of Odds and Double Exposures 39:49

Day 4

14 Intro to Business 24:51

Day 5

15 Financing Your Business 30:49

Day 6

16 Q&A Days 1-4 1:25:43

Day 7

17 Pricing Calculator 32:48

Day 8

18 Package Pricing 20:57

Day 9

19 Marketing 23:07

Day 10

20 Vendor Relationships & Referrals 15:03

Day 11

21 Marketing w Social Media 52:06

Day 12

22 Booking the Client 1:00:42

Day 13

23 The Pricing Conversation 08:15

Day 14

24 Turn A Call Into a Meeting 12:24

Day 15

25 In Person Meeting 21:58

Day 16

26 Wedding Planning 28:41

Day 17

27 Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down 19:17

Day 18

28 Engagement Session Details 36:48

Day 19

29 Engagement Session On Location 35:48

Day 20

30 Wedding Details & Tips 25:49

Day 21

31 Detail Photos Reviewed 36:07

Day 22

32 Bridal Preparation 1:02:57

Day 23

33 Bridal Preparation Photo Review 33:14

Day 24

34 Bridal Prep - What If Scenarios 09:18

Day 25

35 Q&A Days 5-11 1:01:22

Day 26

36 First Look Demo 32:08

Day 27

37 First Look Examples 19:42

Day 28

38 Portraits of the Bride 37:45

Day 29

39 Portraits of the Bride and Groom 20:20 40 Family Portraits Demo 25:29 41 Family Formal Examples 27:43 42 Wedding Ceremony Demo 12:24

Day 30

43 Wedding Ceremony Examples 39:01 44 Different Traditions and Faiths 12:14 45 Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Demo 13:34 46 Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Examples 44:05 47 Wedding Introductions 29:39 48 First Dance 25:02 49 Wedding Toasts 41:28 50 Parent Dances 08:16 51 Wedding Party 44:27 52 Reception Events 12:57 53 Nighttime Portraits 33:01 54 Nighttime Portraits with Found Light 10:08 55 Post Wedding Session Demo 27:51 56 Post Wedding Session Critique 18:57 57 Wedding Day Difficulties 53:54 58 Post Workflow - Backing Up Folder Structure 16:46 59 Post Workflow - Culling Shots 16:20 60 Post Workflow - Outsourcing 20:55 61 Q&A Days 12-23 1:22:10 62 Post Workflow - Gear 30:34 63 Post Workflow - Lightroom Editing 27:36 64 Managing Your Studio 41:33 65 Post Wedding Marketing 37:30 66 Client Care 14:29 67 Pricing for Add-Ons 18:03 68 The Album Process 44:53 69 Balancing Your Business with Life 47:36 70 Post Wedding Problems 26:06 71 Parent Complaints 42:54 72 Unhappy Customers 16:10 73 Working with an Assistant 27:33 74 Assistant Q&A 16:08 75 Lighting with an Assistant 23:47 76 Q&A Days 24-30 38:29

Lesson Info

Client Care

So let's, talk about client care because post wedding marketing goes hand in hand with taking care of your clients after the wedding and to me, client care means actually caring about your client's. I know that might sound a wee bit revolutionary, but it's kind of important that you give a crap about the people that are giving you money for your pictures. It's really important to me? So after the wedding, I'm doing everything that I can. We've already talked about making them feel valued before the wedding. Now my job is after the wedding not only between the wedding and when they received their images, but even after they received their images to make them feel valued to make them feel like the investment that they have spent has not only been in quality photographs, but it's been in a very fantastic customer care experience immediately after the wedding are write letters to the client's parents and any vendor that I can yes, I do. That means a lot of time on monday and tuesday mornin...

g is spent with an actual pen on actual paper, putting it in an actual envelope with a real stamp and mailing it to them. This is my stationery, that's the rug in my office. I have very, very, very beautiful stationery that I had made it a super ultra thick. It was very expensive, and it feels very expensive when you touch it. That was the point. I write a letter to the clients. I have already obtained their post wedding address, so I know what it isthe. Did the bride get ready at her parent's house? Well, then I have a parent's address. Did her parents pay for the wedding with a check or with the credit card that I have her parent's address? Dear mr and mrs abraham, it was fantastic to finally meet you at your daughter's wedding. It really was an honor to document the day for you and your family's. I know that you will absolutely love the images. And I can't wait to share them with you soon. I hope you're having a wonderful time post wedding. I will be in touch best susan done. Do I write the same letter over and over again? Kind of there's only so many ways that you can say thank you're hiring me all. We're cool so I will write to the clients I will write to the parents if I can, and any vendor that I've worked with that I can obtain an address for, I will also write a letter to it is old school, polite manners and you guys know that I've got this cold, bitter blackheart and I have shared it with you, but my clients, they come and they think I'm a sweetheart and the vendors and the venue's think I'm the nicest lady in town because I do my best to be a pleasure to work with, but also to be polite and have manners, because it is so easy nowadays to be all l o l it was awesome to work with you forever. B f f ur totes adore bs that's, not professional. An actual hand written letter is like the retro cool thing to do so may be on a hipster. I'm not a hipster, I can't even make that joke like that's just so gross, but I do like I like the art of the hand written letter, so I do it, and if you don't do it the week after the wedding, it doesn't mean anything. Get it out there immediately reach out during the editing process and tell them that you, how excited you are for them to see their image is and actually mean it three in the morning. I've been working on your images for six weeks I hate you, I hate your wedding, I think the dress is ugly, but whatever you're gonna get your images soon. That's pretty bad client care. You want to send that email? You want to say hey, guys, I just wanted to reach out and say hi. I hope you had a great time on your honeymoon. You know where you guys back yet? When are you gonna get back? I just wanted to let you know we're still working on your images. I'm really, really excited for you to see them. They're definitely going to be up within six weeks, post wedding, but I just wanted you to know once again that it was an honor to work with you. I can't wait for you to see it to see everything. They're awesome. Just reach out and let him know you're still out there. Don't let them forget about you and even if you're not done, even if it's going to be five weeks, six days in twenty three hours before they see their pictures because your screeching it down to the wire let them know that you're still working on them. Let them know that you scare so just reaching out and staying in touch. When the gallery does go online, I email the clients to let them know that it's up on I also email them when I know that they're home together, because I want them to sit down and I want them to look at their images together. You know hey, guys, air out. Your gallery is going to be done tomorrow. What time do you guys get home from work tomorrow? Oh, my gosh. We're gonna both both be home around eight. Awesome. I will make sure that I get it to you when I know that you guys were together. I know you want to look at them together. So what, like eight. Thirty? I'll send it on over. They did that tricked us with our wedding photographs. I was literally a rabid dog climbing the walls to see that gallery. We're together, send it together, send it, and we looked at them together. I listen, I get it. I get what our clients are going through because I just went through it myself. I was a crazy person wanting to see those images, and I know that it takes time to do them. I know that it takes time for quality if you think the wait for the pictures was bad. The wait for the video just about killed me because it took even longer. And now, I mean, I have sympathy for the clients. They're just excited. They just want to see, so I sent them there gallery when I know that they're going to be together when I know that they can sit down together and they can really take a look at them so why don't I have a viewing or a showing or something in person because a lot of photographers will have a get together when they get with their clients when they show them the images post wedding they sit down they run a slide show they have you know, a meat and cheese and champagne experience and it's like a gallery showing well, there are a lot of reasons quiet don't do that and you know this this is also covered in the album day of things I have to balance what I could make it a viewing with the cost of studio space because my home is not set up for client viewings and I don't want to set my home up for client viewings I don't live in an office I live in a home so then I do that and then I have less time with my kids and then what are you doing about that not all of my clients live in the same place so if I'm gonna have a viewing for all of my clients it's it's only going to really work for people who live here that's not really applicability for people who live somewhere else and they get married it here which is like fifty percent of my clients and I don't want half of my clients to have one experience in half of my clients to have another experience and studio space is ridiculous in new york, it is so stupid, crazy, expensive that I would have to make so much money on these viewings to make it even remotely worthwhile. So for this and all of those reasons above it's not something that I want to do for me the two most pressing one's money doesn't the money is not the biggest concern for me, it's, the less time with my kids and the fact that not all of my clients are here. What about my client that lives in ohio who came to manhattan to get married, then went back to ohio? What we do for them? I don't want them to have a different experience than the manhattan based clients had, and I can't do weekends, and I know a lot of people will do viewings and showings on friday nights are on sundays, but I have weddings and if I don't have weddings, those were the days I spend with my family, so I'm just not available to do these things on that and I we're gonna talk in the bent, balancing your business and your life phase of things. I don't want to stretch myself that then not at all, so no, I don't do viewings quick question plate and clearly you're not feeling like it like it's affecting your your your profit margin no it's not affecting my profit margin could I be making more money? Yes, I could, but whenever I have to look at that, I have to think I could be making more money but at what cost? And there does reach a certain point that I could double my profits, but if it doubles my misery it's not worth it thank you. And the other thing you have to consider is that you have to give the experience that your business warrants right don't give a boutique experience if you're not a boutique, I see photographers online who are like yes, I charge fifteen hundred dollars for a wedding and then when the client comes to view the wedding, I have a bottle of champagne I have a lot of food set out for them. I have a three hour viewing session for them. I give them all of these things you're giving them an experience that's not in in line with what you uh huh, and if you have to rely on them to spend money at a viewing session to make the viewing session worthwhile. That's also a sticky thing. So you have to make sure that in always in all ways that you're taking care of your client's both before the wedding during the wedding and after the wedding, it needs to be in line with the type of business that you're running and if anything is sort of odd I mean it would be like going to neiman marcus to try something on and having them give you like a beer in a can and a slim jim oh that's a weird experience but also going to target and getting a bottle of dom and expensive imported cheese that's also weird that would be like actually creepier so you have to make sure that whatever experience post wedding you're giving your clients is in line with the type of business you run and is in line with the rest of the experience that you've been giving them so I also stay in touch post delivery even if they have no other delivery bols when we're done with the album when we're done with everything else I'll get in touch on their anniversary shoot kyu runs a calendar so that when I log in I can see who's got an anniversary coming and after so many years there's almost an anniversary every single day so they just get an automatic email on their anniversary just a nice light simple I'm not sending a gift I'm not sending a card you know hey guys I just noticed that today was your anniversary I was just thinking about ugh I hope all is well I can't believe that it's been so long since the wedding I hope life in you know life and married life treating you guys wonderfully and I still continue to wish you all the best finito and then reconnect with past clients if they were for a new client to you I don't have a referral program you don't get twenty five dollars if you send me a wedding, you don't get a free canvas or anything like that, but you do get an awful nice thank you card and sometimes a gift if you're that client that's referred me a billion clients, I might send you flowers or macaroons or barnes and noble gift card or a bottle of wine whatever I know that you are a desire is or when your anniversary rolls around, I might send you something that's why I do have a a line item in my budget that does say gifts so that at my discretion, whether it's a vendor or a past client I can gift them something if they've referred someone to me a few extra minutes for questions, any questions from anyone? Have I been abundantly clear? Yes, sir, we've delivered your online gallery in six weeks you've sent them to thankyou card they wrote a really good referral for me and then they sent me another client, so I sent them a couple of prints for christmas and written christmas cards and then, like, I'm like gearing up to january's my vacation months, right or week or whatever and then I get une mail back from them and they're like that's great thanks for the prints but by the way how's your album coming and it's like they haven't sent me selections for their albums it's like or the client that you shoot there's writing on saturday and they're like tuesday morning they're like how's our online gallery coming I mean like how do you and and it's in your contract that it said six weeks but how do you like tame them without getting frustrated? I get frustrated but I don't show it to them. My personal favorite is the email monday morning our wedding was so much fun on saturday it was so great to work with you do you have a teaser that you could show us yet I'd like to not even in my heart even at a shower after your wedding let and you're asking me for the previews guys, I totally understand I know your sight I'm psyched teo, I've got you in the workflow I swear we're working on it I will have something soon for you to see. Now go enjoy your honeymoon your pictures will be here when you get back, get away from me, you crazy kids seriously get away from me right like or it's been two years and I can't believe that we don't have an album yet and my knee jerk reaction is idiots who haven't seen near selections yet right, so I get back, you know, you know what I was actually thinking about thea thea today you guys don't have your album yet. I'm really excited for you to get it. However, I still am waiting for that first step from you, which is your selections. Let me know if you need me to send over you know how you need to submit your selections to me and I am ready whenever you are are you back in your court? Go? You can say anything as long as you say it politely or, you know, with all due respect beforehand or if you drop in the phrase all y'all are, honey, no, I'm just kidding, but as long as you say it politely and you're like, yeah, I want you to have her album too, but guys, I can't get started until you get me your selections, and if you feel like that's not going to translate over email, you can always pick up the phone and be like, hey, I got your email and yeah, I'm totally psyched to get this to you, too. However, I can't designed you an album until I know what you want in the album and then most of them are like, oh my god, we didn't even pick our pictures and then we'll get those two yeah, just volley it on back but do it with a smile. Susan you're having ever had a client that once you do make the selects for an album of course cool sure yeah, great, yeah great. Whatever makes you happy excellent. Within reason the customer is not always right but they are always the customer. Anything else? Yes that's what order? You show the photos a couple weeks afterwards you do the initial upload of the top twenty five? No, I don't do a preview gallery. I just do something on my block. Sorry. Yeah, whether it's like fifteen to twenty five pictures and that's not in the contract. That is not a delivery ble that is I do it on my time. Well, our wedding was four weeks ago and you haven't logged it yet. I go I'm really sorry I'm actually trying to get your gallery out to you in a really timely manner. Please sit tight, I promise you it's coming so first goes the gallery in facebook or the block and facebook then goes the full online gallery. The full online gallery is six weeks I try to get everything else I tryto like log and facebook within like two or three weeks, but honestly during the busy season when everything goes in the queue sometimes it takes a little bit longer and as soon as you do that initial upload to your blogger facebook, you follow that with an e mail to them saying, hey, I just uploaded, they look okay, yeah, so we're good. We are marketed our little faces off. All right, so I guess we'll head home today and come back tomorrow for more. Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Class Description

Success as a wedding photographer requires more than just raw talent and the desire to be a professional photographer. To survive in this highly competitive industry, you need strong business skills and a deep understanding of your craft. In this documentary wedding photography experience, Susan Stripling will teach you how to launch and sustain a successful wedding photography business.

During 30 days of step-by-step instruction, Susan will show you how to:

  • Develop your business — everything from honing your creative vision to marketing tactics to studio management
  • Fundamental shooting techniques for every possible wedding scenario by inviting you along to an engagement session and wedding day and with real-life clients — not models! 
  • Post production workflow
  • Marketing and sales
  • Album design
During the start-to-finish documentary coverage of the wedding day, Susan will teach you how she handles each part of the experience, from photographic technique to client care, all with zero re-takes or re-shoots. Susan will wrap up the 30 days with detailed instruction on post-production workflow, post-wedding marketing, album design, post-wedding sales, and much, much more.

By the end of this course, you will have accompanied Susan through every step of a wedding and will have the skills, mindset, and tools needed to make a living — and a name for yourself — as a wedding photographer.


Misty Angel

oh Susan, you are AWESOME!! I am not a wedding photographer (despite dipping my toe in this intimidating pool for one of my dearest friends), I shoot all forms of portraits and love sports too! Your '30-Days' has been the single most influential and educational moments since I started my venture into photography in 2009! THANK YOU! Your honesty, directness, bluntness, humor and vulnerability makes these 30-Days the most worthwhile time spent away from actual shooting; while simultaneously is the most inspirational motivator to push you out there to practice these ideas/techniques! #SShostestwiththemostest You raise the bar in this industry, not just with wedding photographers, but with all genres of photography! I wanted this course to learn about shooting and thought, great... I'll get a little bit of the business side too... OMG! I got it ALL! I'm dying! What an awesome investment in myself, my business and in YOU! PLEASE keep doing what you are doing! I love your new Dynamic Range, I feel that it is a wonderful extension of the work you do with Creative Live! I watch you EVERY DAY, every morning... I know that I continue absorbing your wisdom through repetition! I don't want to be you, I want to rise to your level! So thank you for the inspiration, motivation and aspiration! Keep on being REAL, its what we love about you! We embrace your Chanel meets Alexander McQueen-ness! :) Thank you for stepping into this educational space and providing us with your lessons learned so we can avoid the negative-time investment making mistakes... we are drinking your virtual lemonade!! HA! Like the others, whatever wisdom you offer in this medium, I will be jumping at the opportunity to learn from you! THANK YOU!


All the positive reviews say it all. When Susan took on the challenge of teaching this course it must of looked like attempting to climb Mount Everest...and she accomplished just that. Susan is a detailed, well-organized photographer and this clearly comes out in her teaching. Using repetition, clear instructions, a logical and well laid out presentation, she answers most any question you might have when it comes to wedding photography. I felt like I was having a private consultation when watching the course. She is real, honest, tactful, funny, and a gift to the photography community. Finally, her photography is professional and inspiring. Thank you Susan for the tremendous amount of work that you put into making this an outstanding Creative Live course for us all.


Wow. What a super, comprehensive, entertaining, informative course. Well done. I've taking a lot of photography classes and this one is definitely top of the list. Susan Stripling was very well prepared (and great job by the CreativeLive Team too). Terrific course. Susan shared so much. Thank you! P.S. Love the CL boot camp courses.