Parent Dances


30 Days of Wedding Photography


Lesson Info

Parent Dances

So let's talk about parent dances and we're not going to spend a tremendous amount of time talking about parent dances because when it comes right down to it, parent dances aren't all that different from first dances you got two people they're holding on to each other they're swaying to the music not that different, however let's talk about it anyhow, because it's a very important component of the day I know you're about to roll your eyes back in your head because here we are recycling this equipment slide yet again defore with the seventy two, two hundred and off camera flash d three s with twenty four to seventy and on camera flash and my assistant with the flash on the monitor pod in case you haven't yet enough seen what that assistant looks like and what that flash on that mon a pod looks like just take a look at this picture over camera, right? You'll see sander standing there looking incredibly excited to be here. She and I both have to be careful about arresting facial expressio...

ns because we contend toe look way too serious or displeased when really we're really just thinking hard but down on the floor you can see blair and her dad dancing right and those lights there and you can see me pop right down there on the stairs taking a little break actually not taking a break my probably my behind isn't even touching this the stairs at all come about jump up and keep on moving this is the part of the day that we talked about yesterday where we talked about how at the very beginning of the first dance, the first thing that I'm going to do is try to get a photograph of the bride and the groom dancing with the with the flash a little bit more direct on them a parent dance is no different I'm going to attempt to take a nice clean picture of the bride and her father or the groom and his mother dancing before I move on and I try anything different so you can see here how I have sandra positions you soon see how I brought myself right over and I sat right down next to her and this is how I started parent dance so we've talked about this let's talk about this one more time we're making our triangle well I'm starting to the side my flash is staying constant and I usually have my back to the band now starting to the side that's a little debatable every once in a while like I said, I'm going to start so that I could get that nice safe shot, but once we really start using that off camera flash, which is what I'm talking about here then I'm moving to the side. So talking about this just in the same way that we talked about first dances, here we go. I know this is going to be a shock to you that my settings are pretty darn similar it's the similar concept between the introductions to the first dances to the toasts to the parent dance shutter speed low enough to let in the ambient light, but fast enough to what freeze the motion with the flash ah, focal length of the linds, as long as I can possibly get in the scenario that I'm in f stop varying from two, eight two f four, depending on how much or how little of the scene I want crisply in focus and my s oh, doing what? It's working with my shutter speed to both freeze the action and bring in the ambient light like this and like this, you've been very, very, very clearly here see that this is one of those instances where I've moved over on standing directly next to my assistant. I'm using her flash off camera at eight power to illuminate there and her father this is that the very beginning of their dance. I've got my nice, clean, crisp exposure, and then I could move on to something like this. Which is exactly what we talked about yesterday and we were talking about first dances where I have my assistant over on the other side of the dance floor and I asked her to telescope down the mono pod get down and aim the flash directly at the sides of the people who are dancing the people that are dancing are blocking my assistant so you see neither her nor the burst of the flash but the burst of the flash is putting that beautiful room of light around their heads settings or staying consistent. I like to go with a nice horizontal I like to go with a nice vertical sometimes the room is busy sometimes there's a lot going on sometimes when I go with the big horizontal shot, it brings in a lot of really distracting elements into the room but a nice vertical and ice tight angled vertical really let's myself get in there and again you have to be careful with your flash here because you can see it start to peek in on the corner here and you can see it oh look what I've done here. I include these examples partly as an example of a mistake I've made partly a sandra wandering a little too far off partly maybe being a little too caught up in the moment not maybe seeing that she's wandered off for that I've wandered off or that I've appointed my linens way too close to the light however the image on the left was a bit of an accident I hadn't realized how close the bride and her father had danced towards the flash I wasn't really paying attention I was paying attention to the emotion during the dance the image on the right was deliberate I didn't have ah really super great angle in this way and they were moving really fast I was trying to work with the band to my back and I was trying to work shooting into the band and I allowed that light to come into my limbs on purpose for deliberate flair sometimes this happens because you mess up but if you know the rules sometimes you can break the rules on purpose to create an effect that you want in that given scenario so again ah parent dance the way I'm approaching it is not all that different from the way that I approached the first dance between the bride and groom the lighting principles are staying exactly the same it doesn't matter if you're in a tent or you're in a ballroom or you're outside or you're in a catering hall you khun b anywhere and the same principles of lighting continue over and over again and if you're looking down at the bottom if you're following along with the ex if data you'll see that my settings are also staying very consistent from scenario to scenario and scene to scene so we have covered an awful lot today we've talked about toasts, we made a wonderful analogy with a water glass and some flowers and a lot of pointing to show that when we are photographing the toast, my assistant and I are doing our absolute best to make a triangle where she's on one side of the dance floor I'm on this side of the dance floor in an ideal world, the bride and groom are here and the person giving the toaster here and all she's doing is turning her flash and all I'm doing is turning my camera. We've talked about the flak that the flash being on manual and my camera being on manual means that the output of the flash is consistent it means that my exposure is consistent every single time whether I'm next to the person giving the toaster over the bride and groom shoulder are over in the back all the way by the exit door we've talked about action and reaction we've talked about sensitivity to the scene and then we have moved on to talk about parent dances. We've talked about how apparent dance is virtually identical in approach to a first dance and then we recap the flash, the positioning and all of the settings needed to make these things beautiful beautiful images for your clients thank you so so much for being with us today if you're new in business maybe this will revolutionize a little bit of how you think about flash, maybe for some of you that we're considering off camera flash. This demystifies it a little bit and makes you see that. It definitely is something that you can learn and something that you can master if you put the time into it. And if this is something that you're doing already, maybe you picked up something along the way to enhance your process. Either way, you come about it. Thank you so much for sitting here with us. And if you come back tomorrow, we're going to go to a party, so we'll see you then.

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.


1Introduction 2Evolution of Susan's Style 3Branding and Identity 4Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned 1Introduction to Gear & Equipment 2Lenses Part 1 3Lenses Part 2 4Lighting 1Seeing the Scene 2Seeing the Scene Q&A 3Rhythm and Repetition 4Leading Lines and Rule of Thirds 5Rule of Odds and Double Exposures 1Intro to Business 1Financing Your Business 1Q&A Days 1-4 1Pricing Calculator 1Package Pricing 1Marketing 1Vendor Relationships & Referrals 1Marketing w Social Media 1Booking the Client 1The Pricing Conversation 1Turn A Call Into a Meeting 1In Person Meeting 1Wedding Planning 1Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down 1Engagement Session Details 1Engagement Session On Location 1Wedding Details & Tips 1Detail Photos Reviewed 1Bridal Preparation 1Bridal Preparation Photo Review 1Bridal Prep - What If Scenarios 1Q&A Days 5-11 1First Look Demo 1First Look Examples 1Portraits of the Bride 1Portraits of the Bride and Groom 2Family Portraits Demo 3Family Formal Examples 4Wedding Ceremony Demo 1Wedding Ceremony Examples 2Different Traditions and Faiths 3Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Demo 4Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Examples 5Wedding Introductions 6First Dance 7Wedding Toasts 8Parent Dances 9Wedding Party 10Reception Events 11Nighttime Portraits 12Nighttime Portraits with Found Light 13Post Wedding Session Demo 14Post Wedding Session Critique 15Wedding Day Difficulties 16Post Workflow - Backing Up Folder Structure 17Post Workflow - Culling Shots 18Post Workflow - Outsourcing 19Q&A Days 12-23 20Post Workflow - Gear 21Post Workflow - Lightroom Editing 22Managing Your Studio 23Post Wedding Marketing 24Client Care 25Pricing for Add-Ons 26The Album Process 27Balancing Your Business with Life 28Post Wedding Problems 29Parent Complaints 30Unhappy Customers 31Working with an Assistant 32Assistant Q&A 33Lighting with an Assistant 34Q&A Days 24-30



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.

Tammy Hoherz

I am actually a HS science teacher, but also have a small wedding photography business. I bought this class because I looked at her work. I won't buy a class on CL unless the instructor has beautiful work. Of course that doesn't mean a person is a good instructor. Well IMO, Susan is a very good instructor. She doesn't get off on too many tangents and sticks pretty much to the point. As a student, that is key. I also have Roberto Valenzuela's course, and his approach is different. Both of these photographers are great. But Susan's approach to business and shooting and work flow is a nice contrast. I appreciate her information about outsourcing work. This was very helpful to me. Kudos to Susan and her teaching abilities.