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Q&A Days 1-4

Lesson 16 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

16. Q&A Days 1-4

Next Lesson: Pricing Calculator


Class Trailer

Day 1




Evolution of Susan's Style


Branding and Identity


Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned


Day 2


Introduction to Gear & Equipment


Lenses Part 1


Lenses Part 2




Day 3


Seeing the Scene


Seeing the Scene Q&A


Rhythm and Repetition


Leading Lines and Rule of Thirds


Rule of Odds and Double Exposures


Day 4


Intro to Business


Day 5


Financing Your Business


Day 6


Q&A Days 1-4


Day 7


Pricing Calculator


Day 8


Package Pricing


Day 9




Day 10


Vendor Relationships & Referrals


Day 11


Marketing w Social Media


Day 12


Booking the Client


Day 13


The Pricing Conversation


Day 14


Turn A Call Into a Meeting


Day 15


In Person Meeting


Day 16


Wedding Planning


Day 17


Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down


Day 18


Engagement Session Details


Day 19


Engagement Session On Location


Day 20


Wedding Details & Tips


Day 21


Detail Photos Reviewed


Day 22


Bridal Preparation


Day 23


Bridal Preparation Photo Review


Day 24


Bridal Prep - What If Scenarios


Day 25


Q&A Days 5-11


Day 26


First Look Demo


Day 27


First Look Examples


Day 28


Portraits of the Bride


Day 29


Portraits of the Bride and Groom


Family Portraits Demo


Family Formal Examples


Wedding Ceremony Demo


Day 30


Wedding Ceremony Examples


Different Traditions and Faiths


Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Demo


Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Examples


Wedding Introductions


First Dance


Wedding Toasts


Parent Dances


Wedding Party


Reception Events


Nighttime Portraits


Nighttime Portraits with Found Light


Post Wedding Session Demo


Post Wedding Session Critique


Wedding Day Difficulties


Post Workflow - Backing Up Folder Structure


Post Workflow - Culling Shots


Post Workflow - Outsourcing


Q&A Days 12-23


Post Workflow - Gear


Post Workflow - Lightroom Editing


Managing Your Studio


Post Wedding Marketing


Client Care


Pricing for Add-Ons


The Album Process


Balancing Your Business with Life


Post Wedding Problems


Parent Complaints


Unhappy Customers


Working with an Assistant


Assistant Q&A


Lighting with an Assistant


Q&A Days 24-30


Lesson Info

Q&A Days 1-4

Today is kind of the recap of sorts for those of you who are joining us for the very first time you'll get to see what the entire thirty days have consisted off and for those of you who've been with me the entire time it's kind of ah course review of sorts we're going to go day by day talk about everything that was covered I have a bunch of questions that were asked um sort of over the thirty days while I was at home and I have built in a lot of those questions into the presentation today but what's really going to drive today is going to be you guys here and you guys at home this is the last day I'm here this is it there is no thirty one days of wedding photography on this is all I know so my my goal today is to really leave you guys and the viewers at home with no more questions hopefully so today is very much going to be driven by you telling me what you need clarification on maybe what I didn't explain well enough for you are in a way that didn't resonate with you maybe you want to...

tell me your story see if I can help you with it but we will have time on every single one of these thirty day sections in this keynote to stop and take questions so without further ado talk about day one there's really? Not a whole lot to say about day one. There's really? Not much to recap, but to start with day too. You know, it's kind of weird because there are thirty days. Day one was basically just the day I said hello. We talked about where my branding went from. The very beginning of my business to now we looked at my work from the very beginning of my business. Until now, we talked about the people that were influential on my career and on kind of the look of my work, the way I use lighting, my my mane sort of inspirational influences in the photography world. And then we talked briefly about what was going to happen with all of the thirty days, and it seems like it was just yesterday, even though it wasn't so day two that's when we really got into kind of the meat of the information we started with gear and equipped, and I started with gear and equipment because to me that's, that's the fundamentals you know, before you see a single bride before you book a single wedding before you shoot anything for money for anyone, I think that it is incredibly important that you understand every piece of gear in your bag, what it does, what it produces for you and why you make these decisions and I talked on and on about not buying here that you don't need don't overstretch yourself financially to get stuff that you may or may not need, not on ly in your early days of being in business, but now I mean, I don't buy stuff unless I really think that it's going to help me make images that I couldn't make before or if a piece of my gear is just so old and outdated that it needs replacing, which nowadays doesn't happen that often I'm still shooting a d three I've had that things and two thousand seven and it's still fine, but we talked about things such as one hundred five millimeter macro, and we're going to revisit a lot of these things is we talk through the thirty days because the macro is not just something I talked about on gear and equipment day you saw me sit in a bathtub and shoot details with it, so we're going to revisit that also, but we talked about the macro what I use it for, which is ring shots, small detail shots we talked about kind of the fundamentals of working with a macro, which are that you need to be careful of the magnification with the macro that if you're shooting one hundred five millimeters at two point eight. And you're wondering why your entire ring is out of focus it's because of the nature of that type of linz that I start my ring shots at f nine eleven f sixteen so on and so forth after talking about the mackerel, we moved over to talk about the thirty five millimeter lenses though one point for the two point oh, now I would like to kind of recap these lenses a bit I was talking before about how the thirty five tuo was elin's that I really loved and the thirty five one four was a limbs that was a little bit of a mistake that I purchased that I didn't really use that often, sandra, who is here today? Out in the audience? He didn't see her before, but she slipped in um kind of unannounced, I felt that she is such an important part of what I do that she needed to be here all day long today in case we needed to throw some questions tow her so if you hear me referencing her, I'm not talking about some mythical person that isn't here she's actually sitting right there, so if you have questions for her, bring him on in but we pulled out that thirty five one point for the last wedding that we shot I said, you know what? I kind of need to give this thing a fair shake you know, maybe I maybe I haven't really explored its full potential and I ended up really I did use it almost all day long I really enjoyed it, so maybe it was something that I thought was a mistake, and now it isn't. So if you wanted to buy my thirty five one for I might not be ready tto let go of it, yet we talked about the eighty five one four and what I use it for, how I will shoot the eighty five one four for details, for portrait, for details, not only at the beginning of the day, but also during the reception, and we talked about using the eighty five one for at one four versus at two eight, and if you have an eighty five one four, when will you shoot it at one four? There are a lot of photographers will say things like, oh, the fifty millimeter one point two is my favorite lens. I'll shoot all day long at one point to, well, why? Why are you doing that? Why are you shooting portrait of a bride and groom at one point four one point two and wondering why they're not all in focus? You need to be choosing the tools to make the images that you want and everything in each lens in each camera body in each decision that you're making it's a different it's almost like a different paintbrush when you're painting you know it all goes together to make your final image we talked about the twenty forty up wait no yep we talked about the twenty four to seventy and how much I love it and what I use it for, which is, you know, in short basically everything all use it for details all use it for photo journalistic moments during getting ready we use it for the ceremony we use it for the reception we use it for cocktail hour it's kind of our go to can do almost anything linds that's why it's on one of our camera body all day long goes on it at the start of the day stays on it until either the end of the day or my arms get tired at the reception and I switch it out for something lighter it's not too wide, it's not too long, but it is just a good general all purpose. Linds, if you need something to just pick up and run with, you pretty much always run with it. And then we talked, you know at great length about my beloved seventy two, two hundred and the fact that I use it for almost everything also I shoot reception details with it I shoot portrait of the bride and groom with it I almost always shoot it all the way out at two hundred and it is one of the lenses that is almost always on one of my cameras all day long by the time we leave for either the first look or the ceremony that seventy two, two hundred has gone on my other camera and it doesn't come off for the rest of the day, it stays there and I showed you a lot of examples of how just changing your angle of view with a long lens can make a scene like this looked like a scene like that. We talked about flash what flashes I have, what I use them for, that I use them for everything from portrait to introductions to first dances, parent dances, toasts and a little bit of everything in between family formals, things of the bride and groom together that are more formal in nature. We also talked about video light that I used the ice light and why do I use it? I'll use it for portrait, I'll use it for small details in the reception room and some of the questions that were asked during this kind of day to which was really is really day one of throwing a ton of information at your faces and hoping that it stopped I include this question will the d six ten work with limited focal points for shallow depth of field lenses ninety percent of the questions that I did get talked about gear that I don't use asked me about specific canon cameras asked me about sony lenses asked me about nikon cameras that I have never touched or used are held asked me how to use radio poppers or pocket wizards or listen, I shoot nikon, I've told you every single thing that I use that doesn't mean I know how to use these other things. So if you asked a specific question about a specific piece of gear that I haven't talked about using myself, I can't tell you how to use it. I have no idea anything about the d six ten I've never touched one held one shot, one no clue, and a lot of these questions could have also been answered by reading your manual, and I've noticed that there's kind of ah phenomenon, and I'm not trying to chide anyone or make them feel embarrassed for asking any question like this, you know, we were all new once we all ask questions somewhere, but these questions writing into someone on creative live and asking them, how do I use my gear? How do I turn on a radio popper? That's? Why there's a manual included that's? Why I read the manual cover to cover for every single piece of gear that I buy? I just bought the d for us and it's pretty much just like a d for which was pretty much just like a d three us, which was pretty much just like a d three. Do I need to read the manual? No, probably not, because all my other cameras pretty much work the same way, but I'm reading it anyhow because I want to find out what's different. And when I bought my foe ticks, radio transmitters and receivers, I read the whole manual, even the parts I didn't think I needed. So if you have questions about will this work this way, I had one guy write in and say, tell me, show me the steps of how to set this setting on your camera, to which I respectfully send back to you read your manual, you need to learn how to use your equipment, and you need to learn how to use it yourself. And I again, I'm not trying to disrespect you or shame you or tell you that any of your questions are stupid because they're not because it does take courage to write out anonymously on the internet and say, help me with something. But if your answer can be solved by reading your manual, are doing a quick google search, learning how it was that lets the saying, you know, teach a man to fish someone help me here give a man a fish and you feed him for a didn't teach him to fish and you can fish forever I mangled it entirely but if you can learn how to and teach yourself how to use some of this gear read your manuals put it on your camera and try you'll start learning the fundamentals in a way that me just telling you how to put it on your camera and turn it on that's not going to help you so I have no idea to answer that question all right when you start getting ready at one location then the ceremony is somewhere else and the receptionist somewhere else do you haul your gear to every location for safety or do you ever leave anything in your car? How do you solve the list this logistic nightmare of keeping your safe that's actually an incredibly good question usually we take our gear everywhere we go there will only be a few instances in which we don't like let's say we're out of in you and then we're going to go just to the ceremony and then we're going to come right back we've done the first look we've done portrait's of the bridegroom we've done family formals literally all we're going to do is hop on the trolley, go shoot a ceremony and come right back in that instance we're goingto leave most of our gear behind, but we're on ly going to leave it behind if we can lock it in room right? Like if the bride's got a room in the hotel and we're just going home or coming back, we'll get a room key and will leave our big bag in the room and just take what we need with us. One of my big fines over the past thirty days the most exciting thing that I saw all of w p p I it's called the undefined bag I think it's u n d f I nd it's called the one they have a waist bag and they have a shoulder bag you can also where the waste back as a shoulder bag I freaked out I bought like three of them about one for me then I got another one for me and I showed it to sandra and sandra said you'd buy me one and so I bought her one so I was like undefined biggest, you know, customer advocate but it's really great it's a really wonderful kind of bag to just throw over your body stuff in a couple of lenses and run so now she and I each have one it's really light it's got a really stretchy strap I'm crazy in love with it, it has a leather cover and we all know how I feel about things that have leather on them and it's black, which works even better for me, but well, do something like that. If we're going somewhere and we're coming back, we'll take what we need in a shoulder bag will leave the rest behind in a locked room and go out and back now if we're going to go out and back, but we have to shoot formals or we're going to do something else, so we're going to go to multiple locations, we just bring it all with us, it's not that much it's one big rolling bag, but we never leave it anywhere if we're going to leave the premises and then come back, we never leave it anywhere that isn't in a locked space. How can you be far away from here? These are all of your questions, right? How can you be far away from your subject and still effectively use video like I'm not real sure what's being asked here I could be as far away from my subject as I want it doesn't matter where I am in relation to the subject it's, where my assistant is with the video light in relation to the subject. Now she could be three feet away from them and I could be three feet away from them or thirty feet away from them it doesn't matter because the light's going to be constant but if what they're asking me is can my assistant be far away from the subject with a video light and still have it be effective? Well you can't I mean the ice light is a wonderful light there there are tons of video lights out there yes don't ask me about the x y z video light I don't know I used the ice light I've heard probably that it's cool whatever it is I used the ice light but sandra can't stand fifteen feet away from somebody in complete darkness and light them with an ice light that's not its purpose so if if what they're asking is can my assistant with the light before away from the subject she can't that's when we would switch over to flash that's when we would switch over to flash at one hundred twenty eight power so it will throw further it will still create the same effect but the ice light is I mean it's not meant to be something that you stand fifty feet away from and shine the light of the sun at people how many ice lights do I own in a shot and use I only own one just one would be kind of cool to have another you could kind of screw them together now they have these barn doors for them that are super sweet and you can buy like an ice pack and it's got it it's it's just cool it's really cool and anything that I'm talking about here the cameras the accessories the what not nobody pays me to say nice things about their stuff I say nice things about their stuff because I buy it and I own it when I got my d for s and I posted on instagram and I was like well who before as here it is somebody wrote me and was like yeah well it's really nice when nikon sins you a camera and I was like yeah nikon sent me a camera because I bought it just like everybody else my husband is an ambassador for nikon and he buys all his own gear nobody gives us stuff that's just weird although if anyone wants to send me a d for us I'll take it because I'm psyched about it I got it just like everybody else does I bought it from at aroma I'm in nps member so then I filled out the nps priority purchase form and then they sent it to add a rama at aroma took my large amounts of money and then sent it to me that's how I buy gear how do you know when to buy new gear? After spending five grand for body and two grand for three lenses in two thousand nine I hoped that it would last me for a decade um I totally wrong you're not totally wrong not at all like I said, I've got linds is in my bag when I switched to an icon in oh seven, I'm still shooting a lot of those same lenses. I don't replace my gear two principles unless it's kind of like replacing a car if it's so broken that it's going to cost more to fix it than it's worth. Then it's time to look for a new one or if something amazing and new comes out that will let me shoot images that I wasn't shooting before, you know, the camera and the lens is that you bought o nine those air newer than some of the gear that I'm shooting. Still, right now, you don't need new stuff don't fall into the trap of meeting new stuff and it's really easy when you go to something like w p p I and you walk around in the trade show and you're like, I want all the things you don't need all the things, not at all if you have a very limited budget just starting out what lenses are a must have for a wedding. This is an excellent, excellent question, you know, I keep quoting chase jarvis on this one, the best camera is the one that you have with you. In a sense the best lenses of the ones that you have with you if all you can afford when you're starting out is that kit linds that comes with your camera I would rather you learn how to use that kit linz to the best of its advantages then spend twenty five hundred dollars on a seventy two, two hundred that you can't afford if I were starting out again and I had a limited budget I would start with the twenty four to seventy I'd start there good all purpose lens then I would get the eighty five one four serves a very different purpose then I would get the seventy two, two hundred then I would buy a macro I'd probably be pretty good I mean we could chew the whole wedding with those lenses if we had to my husband and I are least favorite question is if you were on a desert island and could only have one lynn's what would it be? I'm like I don't know there is no one lens there is no my favorite linz there is no I could shoot a whole wedding with this one lens because then the whole wedding would look the same because it would be from the same focal point so if you're starting out go easy on yourself you don't have to own the latest and greatest and brightest and newest that's not going to make you a better photographer why don't you use the photo oden's which do offer full control of the remote from the camera trigger so the way sandra and I do things with our off camera flash I have the transmitter on my camera she has the receiver on her light stand now if we want to make a change to the power of the flash she has to bring the light stand down manually type in the change and put the light stand back up but if I were to make changes with the odin I would have to take my camera down from my face make the changes on the oden and put it back up to my face and if it ain't broke don't fix it we don't have any problems with the system that we have right now I can look at her and go like that she's got it down, touches a few buttons and puts it back up it takes maybe four seconds tops I wouldn't make things maybe a little faster maybe would I have something like an odin if I was working with a new assistant or if I was working with multiple different assistance or if I had multiple different flashes set up throughout the room absolutely I would but you know it doesn't really but I don't need it would be cool to have shore do I want to buy it just to have it and I really rather buy shoes you stated that there was a marked improvement in your photography when you switched gears, cannon that bad or did your images improve because you were improving as a photographer or both? Okay, I got so many questions of oh my god, does cannon suck that bad? Is that why you switched? I didn't switch because kanan sock it has nothing like, uh, I'm not up here saying nikon is the best thing in the entire world in cannon is like terrible or inferior anything. I shot a cannon for years. It was the first camera I ever had. It was wonderful, but at the time that the d three came out, it was light years ahead of anything that I could find a comparable in the canon system. And also the second I put the d three in my hand and started working with it. It was intuitive, it's like saying, why did you switch from driving a toyota to driving and ultima? I don't know, maybe you got in the ultimate it just felt a little better. Or maybe you switch from pc to mac because you found the operating system more intuitive. There's nothing wrong with cannon it's a wonderful system, they're great people, they make great products the d three just resonated with me. And I was at a point in my gear bag where it was time to either upgrade the lenses that I had or move somewhere else I needed to upgrade my camera bodies. They were getting older, I had the eighty five one eight, but I really wanted the one too, so I knew I was about to put a lot of money into my cannon system, and I decided to put that money into my nikon system. Did my images improved because I was improving its a photographer? Absolute only I like to think that I'm always improving as a photographer, but putting a tool in my hand felt more intuitive. That was more user friendly to me, just my personal preference did help me. Of course, that help me. Can you ask about f elimination lamp these air literally direct copy and pastes from what people sent me, so I didn't try to change their language? Do I use it? It's helpful in low light, but I find it messes up a plan to candid shot because of the light distraction. First of all, I don't plan candid shots there, they just happen and I document them. I used the illumination lamp all the time, and I've never had anybody be distracted. Buy it or or look at me and be like, what is this red light of which you shine in my face? I use it and I think it's helpful but I have never found that it messed up anything for me I gotta ask this question multiple times I got it emailed to me got it emailed to me again I got to ask me on facebook he said he submitted it in the form he really wanted this question answered and I'm going to answer it one general doubt I'm having you've told me that most of the time you shoot the pictures an aperture mode while doing that how can one control the shutter speed and s o I'm not able to figure out how it could be performed you can control the esso with whatever mood you're in it doesn't matter if your manual or shutter speed er aperture priority or whatever it is you khun changer I s so at any point in time you can also set your camera on auto so if that's what you want to do at any point in time but I've explained repeatedly that you cannot control but with your shutter speed and your aperture when you're in apertura priority that's what aperture priority does you tell it? I want the camera to shoot at two point eight and based on your s o it figures out what your shutter speed needs to be if you need full control of both your aperture and your shutter speed, you need to shoot in manual do you use auto focus mostly, except for macro shots, even in churches or dark light situations? Emmanuel at the d three and when it's dark and has a hard time finding folks points there's no camera that you're going to buy out there that's going to magically be able to find focus point when you're shooting in the dark like it's, just hard. The cameras that we use are great, they're fantastic, but you get a really low light first dance situation and they're all going toe struggle a little bit it's a difficult situation to put the gear and no matter how high tech and I do use auto focus mostly from akra shots, I'll give it a good fighting chance, but usually it gets distracted by all the glitters we'll switch it over to manual, but for things like a first dance churches that are dark, I'm going to try to focus on contrast points such as where the groom's white shirt touches his skin or where the black tux touches the white shirt, or a lot of times where the bride's hair touches her ear, I'm looking for contrast points to focus on making sure that with whatever apa try matt aiken focus and recompose from that contrast point without losing the focus that I'm looking for so yes I do use auto focus mostly okay this one's long but it's good you say the issue an aperture priority and you set your defore on auto eso so that when your shutter speed goes below one hundred sixty eighth of a second your eyes so will automatically increase yes that's true usually take this question in parts yes it's a one hundred sixtieth of a second when I'm shooting the macro or the twenty four to seventy or the eighty five when I switch over to the seventy two two hundred of the four hundredth of a second because it's a different focal length of the lens my questions are do I have this correct yes you d'oh exactly how do you set this up please pick up your deformed show me step by step how to know I'm not and I'm not trying to be rude I'm not going to pick up my camera and show you how to do this it's in your manual look it up you use this setting all the time when working an aperture priority yes I do if not when do I use it aperture prayer got it right I've used this set up a zai understand it but I find the s o to increase in situations where I would rather the shutter speed increase did I do it wrong am I using this in the wrong sir situations you did not do it wrong, but if what you're looking for is that your shutter speed increases instead of your s o in those situations, auto eso is probably not for you. You would probably want to set your eyes so manually, and then you would be able to do the things that you're looking for. And listen, I talk about auto I s o because I use it and I love it if it doesn't work for you, if you don't, you know, if you find that you have problems and it don't do it just because I told you to do it cause it works for you, you are right now how you're setting it up, you are right and how you're doing it? It just might not be right for the situation that you're talking about that I'm not picking up the camera and showing you how to do it. I've noticed your shutter speed is less than the focal length from any images example and eighty eighth of a second it two hundred when using flash. How is it that your images are not blurry? I've never shot like this at a wedding I usually shoot with the d a hundred of the shutter speed it almost double the focal length. And even with flash many times I get image blur when people are walking or during dancing I try my best to stay still with proper technique. How is it that your images are sharp? I've never had the problem of which you describe I just haven't I would have to see your images I would have to see your full exit data to see exactly what's going on if I'm working with my seventy two, two hundred two hundred and I'm at an idiot of a second and I'm using flash, the reason why I'm not getting motion blur in my images is because the flash is freezing my subjects even a floor shutter speed than I would normally use with that limbs if you're trying this and it's not working, maybe your flash isn't strong enough maybe your flash isn't it's too close to the ambient light to freeze your subject so if osmond, I'm sorry if I butchered your name is watching today email me and cindy and image where you're having this problem and I will try to troubleshoot it for you what's your trick to holding the two hundred millimeter lens it's so heavy dana from texas he just do it does it heavy? Yes do I particularly? Is somebody teo mind the do you work out? I mean it's funny we're just talking the other day I actually just it's a cave to hiring a personal trainer a couple of days a week because given the choice between working out in laying in bed, I'm goingto lay in bed like and yes, I know everyone out there saying but you said if you really want to do something, you'll find the time for it I don't really want to do it like let's be real I don't really want to exercise I don't wanna run I don't want to spin it don't want to swim I don't want to put on sweat pants and go outside I wouldn't sweat pants and get in my bed and read a book that's what I want to dio no don't write in and tell me about your endorphin high from working out I get it it's great fantastic quit so I did hire somebody to help me because we shot our first couple of weddings of the year I talked to you guys a little bit we're talking about terrible, unforeseen things that happen when I fell down the stairs and shredded my hand open on a screw. I couldn't really do anything for a while and I took that as a sign from the cosmos that working out is bad for you and I just couldn't do it and come on I rationalized it in my head, but when I started shooting weddings this year I was weak because I hadn't done anything physical in a long time and I didn't like how I felt when I woke up the next morning so it was time to grow up and put on my big girl sweat pants and go to the gym how do you hold it? Get stronger it's all there is to it but there is no exercise that's going to make you feel good after an entire day of holding the stuff that we hold and on a wedding day I wear kind of a parameter tracker there's about I mean I wear it every day I didn't work today someone wear fancy bracelet instead I also wore it yesterday thinking that all this walking around was exercise it's not sadly, but what it tells me is how many steps I had taken a day it's kind of like a fitbit flex its a little bit like a jawbone but it's lighter it's called the misfit shine and I got into the apple store and it is sweet it doesn't seem to your computer it's thanks to your phone which for me is a whole lot easier and what it told me is that a wedding is not a workout I take less steps on a wedding day than I do on a regular everyday day at home that sad and I'm taking less steps while holding really heavy things to my face all day what exercising can possibly prepare you for that so I hold a seven it suit two hundred millimeter lens because I work out but I also feel pretty bad the next day that's true do you ever have you ever shot with third party lenses? No, I have not ever and I never planned to have I used a dual black rapid strapped during the wedding no I have not I'm shooting my first destination wedding and I'm a little anxious how do I keep my gear safe when travelling it's a good two part question I have used multiple different things to try to carry my around my gear around to various degrees of success and hilarious effect sandra has watched me attempt to strap myself into those suspender looking things which just bad it looked like I was going to a wild west I don't know and I see people wear them who looked totally cool it's really great it's like bond a sheik I put on like a moron I can't handle the cameras I'm getting tangled in myself I tried hooking them to my hips I just hit things with um like I just whack them into I should not be allowed to wear my gear because it's just not going to end well so there are great things that you can use if you want to carry your gear on your body I don't do it I'd rather just hold it in my hand I'll throw it on my shoulder at last resort, but I just rather have it just in my hand. I don't use a hand strap how do I get keep my gear safe when travelling when we travel and because I was talking about yesterday, I always travel with sandra now we take our gear out of our big think tank bag and we split it between two bags. My husband has a tamarack rolling backpack and I have a little airport bag from think tank of it slides under both of them will fit under the airline seat in front of you. We split the gear evenly between the two banks so that we don't have to check anything. How do I keep it safe when we're traveling when we don't really leave the room that much? You know, a destination wedding is not a vacation at what vacation do you want to be chained to tens of thousands of gear and be afraid to leave it? Now? We'll lock things in the safe like, well, kind of shove as many things in the safe as we possibly can kind of the big ticket items will put the camera bodies, the seventy two, two hundred, the flash cards in the safe, you know? We just keep it on our eyes that all times have good insurance in case something happens to you and if you do, if you can legally leave the country toe work, make sure that your gear insurance covers taking it across country lines. What sea of cards you recommend sandisk one hundred percent sandisk all the way cans down on a knock this so would hear never had one fail never had a problem with one their customer service is tremendous I love sandisk, I heart them they're awesome susan, you're isolate do you use the tungsten gel? It'll warm it or just leave it as you purchased it. I leave as I purchased it tungsten jealous cool! I don't need it. Would you use that light on amman a pod for a second light instead of the second flash was spread are absolutely not. I cannot use a nice light to light family formals of first dance, parent dances or toasts it's not meant for that. Okay, I'd like to know when you shoot an aperture priority. You mentioned how you will put the camera in auto esso and that it knows that when you hit a shutter of one one hundred sixteenth of a second, we've talked about how that's lynn's conditional it will bump the so so that you don't fall below the shutter speed did I hear that wrong? No, you heard that right my question is, is that a custom setting on your camera or just something that you're defore automatically will do? Went on aperture, priority and auto. So it's it's a custom setting, you have to go into the menu and find your auto eso settings and tell the camera what you wanted to dio the lowest I s so I'm willing to go to. Is this the highest, eh? So I'm willing to go to. Is this at what? Shutter speed dough? I want to jump to the next eso so sandra knows when she takes that deform and she puts the seventy two, two hundred on it. She knows that she has to go into on the I s o sensitivity settings and change it from one hundred sixty eighth of a second toe a four hundredth of a second, so it will automatically do it for you. But you have to set those parameters first. So let's go to questions about gear and equipment. I know that this is kind of a big one. I know that a lot of people have a lot of questions about what I use, why I use it, how I use it, any of you guys out there, you're all nodding at me and so bright eyed and happy this morning, do you guys have any of your questions? David, can you explain your thought process on buying the d for s? I would be thrilled to first of all, I've got about a gazillion actuacion zalmay d three it's older it's I bought it no seven I've had it from the very beginning. It was my work horse won. It was the one that got shot the most. For whatever reason, it had way more actual ations on it than the other one. I looked at the d for us and I looked at the d three and then the d three us in the d four and I looked at the capabilities of each camera and I need the mighty three it's kind of getting a little old, getting a lot of actual ations on it had had it repaired a little because I beat these cameras up. I shoot a lot of weddings with a lot of shutter clicks, so if something were to happen to my gear set up and I have to step back, the d three is a backup I'd like to have the d three s is a back up it's a little closer to what the d for khun d'oh it's a little closer to what the d for s khun dio and then I also looked at what the d for us can do on I looked the at the esso performance and it's pretty insane I can't really see to it I haven't taken it to a wedding yet I'm waiting for adobe to release the ability and light room to be able to process my images there hopefully it's I mean it should be coming any day now adobe I'm looking at you um but it can handle low light better theis oh performance is supposed to be better it's put to be cleaner and it's supposed to be faster to find focus so where I would really like to improve my images is in my low light work at receptions when the quality of light at the reception is really good but there's not a lot of quantity of light when the light is very pale or dim, I would like the capabilities to be able to shoot with no flash because the light is good but then have the files look better and I do believe that that is worth the investment if it can help make those parts of my day better that's it partly because I cave too it's awesome, but that was only like one percent ninety nine percent was because I haven't bought a camera body in two years and I haven't budgeted in and it looks like it could do something for me that my other camera body scan but not by too I don't need teo I just need one secure questions anybody you also happy? Yes question have you ever shot a reception that might have really intricate like videos on the walls and a lot of different lights like moving video all the time and how in very dark how would yu with limited, you know, resource is how would you like that? Or are you trying to include the images so like you're you're trying to shoot on the dance floor and also be able to see what's on the screen in the background that's going to really hard, like, really hard? I would still struggle with that like, I don't know unless you were to light your subjects in a way where the exposure of the subjects became very close to the exposure on the video screens, which is gonna be really hard to do because then you're gonna have boom subjects boom video screen dark, everything else that's a hard one that's about all I can think is throw a lot more light on it and but then you're gonna have to deal with the consequences of doing a lot more light on and that sounds awful really pretty cropping, so I'm glad I don't have to shoot that, but yeah, that's no good so you're so let's listen today is largely driven by the people on the internet who've been watching the entire time who have constant questions about what's going on let's hit me with his money your questions as we can't this is the big one we will we will and if you have not joined us that you guys definitely dio chat live with class participants buttoned right below the skin that you're watching join us let us know where you're joining us from and just shattering us shattered us bombarda way your curiosity I don't know what we're doing is going aiming for anyway overwhelm us with your curiosity and we'll pass along your questions to season eso season I personally um on my second shutter replacement this year oh we're not this here excuse me in the life span of my four year old camera so have a similar question to this person they said where are they e b takes photos says you save easier for camera since oh seven when will you worry about the shutter count or have you already replaced the shutter I have not replaced the shutter it's been really holding on I think I may be replaced one nikon shutter ever since switching over in oh seven I'm not going to worry about it until I start seeing problems with it and I haven't yet but by now the d three has been relegated to back up camera in my bag it's not it's not getting that many actuacion is a year because it only gets pulled out if I have problems with my main camera bodies so it's you know if I put five thousand actuacion tze on it in two thousand thirteen that would be a lot ok? So it's not getting it's not getting the sort of road use that the rest of my cameras are getting okay and speaking of backups being idea ass when you're at the ceremony at the front of the ill do you have two cameras on your person in case one fails in that moment don't know I only have one I only have one but listen I've never had a camera fail well I had one time that was awful we will not speak of the great camera feel your incident of two thousand six I don't know what happened I had three cameras fail on me in a wedding at a wedding three one two three boom boom boom one right after the other I don't know what happened I was shooting in miami there was a lightning storm I had my gear in your offense nobody really knows what we don't know if that had anything to do with it or if some higher power just super hated me that day but my camera went down I grab my back up, that camera went down, I grab my back up, that camera went down, I had no cameras yeah, that was awesome it was during the cocktail hour that my third camera went down so what I did after throwing up internally you know really quickly I when looked around and I found the guest who had the best camera I explained my situation I say can I borrow your camera for about an hour I'll give you all of the images that I shoot on it can I borrow it for just an hour while I wait for my backup to arrive I got on the internet I started asking around who's in miami who's not working tonight can I pay you to borrow your camera? This is what's happened to me peter greg an amazing photographer in miami came out loaned me his camera I gave the guest her camera back finished today and then I died like there was there would not have been enough wine in room service to have made that evening. Okay but you know I handled it with coolness but that was the only time anything's ever it wandering around being terrified about camera failure the chance that your cameras really gonna fail on you is it? I mean it's a small chance and if something did happen while I'm at the front of the isle I just turn around go to the back of church and grab the other camera from sandra she pulls the backup out gets it ready to go and we keep on moving nice and easy cool yes hey so we have a question from darkroom junkie who says what made you choose the flashes that you use I'm struggling with choosing which flashes to buy for weddings as I only have flashes for portrait could be that they have studio strobes that's what I'm thinking and they want to know why you chose be particular because I'm a nikon shooter and icon makes good flashes and I think I've got tons of them from the eight hundred I've gotten old twenty four floating around somewhere that I don't actually recollect buying that was weird okay hundreds I've got nine tens just I picked them up a cz things happen to them the flashes are a little more delicate we do tend to drop them because and by we I mean sandra no I'm just kidding I drop them all the time too I mean it's it's a little it's a lighter thing we kind of bust him up all the time so I've sort of collected them throughout the years these things have been in for repair I've gotten other ones you don't have to buy the s p nine ten if you're an icon shooter you don't have to go straight up to the top take one generation back go look for some sb eight hundreds those things are fantastic and you can buy them used if you're looking for used camera gear k h dot com I think they're out of atlanta they're my favorite go to place to look for used things yes, and um our cabello dot com asked what is the biggest photography related mistake you've made and what did you learn from it? I mean, I'm goingto put that on gear because that's what we're talking about now the biggest mistake I've made gear wise, it's really a question, you know, I haven't made too many big huge mistakes or missteps gear wise because when I buy gear, I really, really, really think it out buying the d for s after having thought about it for a month for me is a snap decision like I'm old over a d for for a year before I bought it, so I really put thought into the things that I'm buying. Sandra, can you think of any big gear mistakes we've made other than the great day of two thousand thirteen that we left all the camera batteries at home, which was a pretty and by we I mean me was pretty upset, not me. I think of anything in the almost six years you've been with me that I've done, but I bought something I thought, oh god that's stupid no, like you said, you've really mold over everything that you've bought, the only thing that you regret it for a while, but now you're going back and tackling it's a thirty five you know what I regret that I remember I regret that period of time that we thought we wanted to smaller rolling bags instead of one big that was terrible don't ever do that no, that was awful don't do that. I thought I'd been using this think tank logistics manager, which I I joked that you could fit a body inside at my nine year old actually fits in it it is that massive and we thought, wow, this thing's so heavy let's split it up between two smaller think tank bags and we'll each have a bad to roll that was awful because we're both drying and bags and bags all over the place, so we eventually went back to the big huge mein bag and a little shoulder but that's just how we started losing gear to yes year would just justice that we just couldn't remember where things were going and it was just too much. Yeah, but no big huge gear mistakes not nothing that I can think of um photo says you had said that twenty four seventy is on your camera ninety percent of the time as well as the seventy two, two hundred and you even mentioned using the thirty five one for a lot how many cameras do you use? Do you use all three cameras and kind of go back and forth during the ceremony or during the during the day? I should say no and when I talked about having the twenty four to seventy on my camera all day long that is true it's on there all day the on ly time that one comes off is at the reception if it's if I'm there for four hours I've been shooting four hours of dancing I'm shooting more towards the twenty four to thirty five side of things anyhow the lindsay's big and heavy I'd like to get my arms arrest I'll switch that up and change it to either the thirty five or the twenty eight the twenty eight of the dance floor is really packed and I'm forced up close to the people that thirty five would be my preference but on a big crowded dance floor oftentimes that thirty five is a little too long when you're shoved right up against the people that you're shooting the seventy two two hundred is not on the other camera all day long it goes on only leave for the first look only leave for the ceremony and it stays for the rest to the day and the getting ready portion that camera switches between the macro and the eighty five before finally landing on the seventy two two hundred and every once in a while throughout the day I might think oh I'm gonna trade this lens on for a few minutes but it's just for a shot or two and then it always comes right back off yes um a handful of people are curious about memory cards so have a have you ever had a memory card fail on you and you have mentioned I think when you were importing one time it didn't read or yeah in the old days when I used other card brands which will not be named but they've got an l I had trouble with them and I had several cards I'd put them in and you'd hear that it was you never should've micro drive yet world right? Ok, so I remember when the one gig micro drive for three hundred forty nine dollars right and you could literally hear it dying air all the way down I had a couple cards maybe eight nine years ago at that brand that begins with an l fail on me and I just used recovery software and they came back I've never had a sandisk I have a problem I and the whole internet is probably like but I've had a sanders cava problem there's nothing that's foolproof you know for every night con that I say I've never replaced the shutter somebody's probably replaced a shutter but I have never had problems with sandusky at all. There was a cautionary tale in there somewhere, but I can't remember what it was can you read the question one more time just um just they just asked have you ever had a memory card crash on you no. Okay, not really. And someone else asked brennan brendan did I'm sorry. So sorry, everyone, if it did, that's why I've got backup card slots in all of the cameras that I use that's why I don't use that cool new nikon d f at weddings, it's one card slot and yes, I know we used to shoot film and you used to only have one and global global law, but if I could have a backup card slot in my camera that is backing up for me, I'm totally going to do it. Sorry, back to you marks marks one it still says I read somewhere formatting your card is better than erasing it due to corruption reasons. Do you have you heard about this new, but I've never raced the card I always and I never form out of card until I'm going to shoot it, so I don't download and inform out the cards or download and then erased the cards. I download it and put it right back in my camera bag and we don't erase anything until literally seconds before we start shooting the next wedding, just in case I've never heard anything about that, but I've also never erased cards I've always just formatted cool, thank you, yeah, and how do you know when to replace your card? So do you have an expiration date don't on dh I'm sure that they're there statistical data on the internet somewhere that tells you how long all replace it if it starts acting buggy if it seems like it's getting slower, sluggish or if I did have a problem um I had a thirty two good card once that I would it would take a couple tries of putting it into the reader for it to finally catch and it wasn't just worth it so I just kind of shelved it okay, I think we have exhausted all of the gear questions alright here no more no more no more your but you have a question you can still ask it I just won't answer it no I'm just getting you can still ask and really really quick while I have your attention we have vision and creativity which is a really fun subject to talk about, so join us again in the chat rooms and be asking about season and how she's kind of formed her vision. Yes, yes please so after day too, which was gear and equipment we went today three which was vision and creativity which was one of my favorite of all of the thirty days and we talked about things like learning how to see a scene, how do you walk into a space and how do you assess what photograph you're going to take and how it's going to look and I showed a lot of examples and that's actually this day and showing these examples and the response to these examples was why I wrote the case study book we were talking yesterday about how during the thirty days I felt that I just had too much time on my hands, so I wrote you a new book, it's on my web site enjoy, but it's things like this it's case studies where you can see this is what the scene looked like. This is where I put my clients, but using the right lens and the right viewpoint, this thies too. First of all, they don't look like each other, they looked like they were shot in different locations, but they also bear almost no resemblance to that set up shot before so it's not about oh, I can't shoot this picture on this sidewalk because there's a scaffolding and then there's this and then there's a that think about how you're going to see the scene and there might be a great shot in a location that you never saw. You know, we talk about one of my favorite things when I'm actually making photographs, which is rhythm and repetition, reflections, things like this. When I confined a reflective surface, when I can find some way to repeat the pattern of what's going on in the image, I love doing that on, I've also talked repeatedly and I talk about it all the time don't be weird just for the sake of being weird. If you're shooting images just so you khun be clever, look how many layers I put on top of themselves and how many things that I shot through. My husband calls them the where's waldo picture, which is where you have to look really hard and then oh yeah, down in the bottom about a millimeter big is the bride and groom I'll shoot like that if it helps me tell the story, but being weird for the sake of being weird is just I mean, it's, just weird, so I don't kind of go down that route, but if I'm going to look for rhythm, if I'm going to look for repetition, it's going to be to reinforce the story that I'm telling it's going to be to drive home the point of the photograph or to add visual interest or to help push my eye to the subject, I don't do anything compositionally by accident, we talk about lines of direction, also known as leading lines. Which is again one of my favorite things I love this image right here because the lines of direction go left to right they go up to debt up and down and they also come in kind of in a funnel at the top, so I'm always looking for something whether it's a leading line or a leading curve not only to bring your eye into the image. My goal is to bring your I n find your subject and then leads you right back out again. So again there are there just no accidents center of interest talking about finding some way to push your eye straight to the subject by using the other existing things in the frame, finding a way to vignette it this darkness around cochise face here that's not me going into a light room and grabbing an exposure brush and scrubbing it down three stops that's me finding a chandelier that I could go to the other side and shoot through and what it does in my opinion anyhow, is it takes your eye and it pushes you right to her face while also giving the frame visual interest. We've talked about rule of thirds and what's really funny is creative live does these wonderful things where they'll take snippets of our classes and they put them on youtube little bits of information for people to see little teasers for the class and there was a section I can't even remember which part it was but I was talking about rule of thirds and somebody the youtube comments are phenomenal my favorite was the business day when someone called me a filthy republican which I I didn't know whether to say thank you are be offended by they told me I did rule of thirds all wrong and I was like, hey, whatever you think but rule of thirds is putting my image, putting my subject in one of the thirds of the frame but also if you're going to put your subject in one third of the frame the other two thirds have to serve to enhance the photograph is well they have to either bring you into the frame established what's going on or help you tell your story so in this instance there is no accident that taylor and her husband are right over in that area where the water is coming directly down on them so the water leads you straight into their faces and the light on her face. We talked about the rule of odds which I think is a very interesting phenomenon which is when you have even things in the frame two four six your eyes even lise split up amongst all of the things that you're looking at but rule of odds when there's three five seven your eye goes to the odd man out so in this frame here they're very easily three points of interest so that your I go straight to the gentleman there I was devastated in print competition because this one got a mean I've got an eighty or in eighty one which is fine but I had hopes that it would go higher so I am personally crust but I will get over it it's okay and telling a stronger story when I'm composing an image when all of the things are coming together to put the image together the lighting the lynn selection the gear the composition the things that I choose to include in the frame all of those things are meant to help me tell a better story of the final frame and I showed several different examples ellie's wedding in wisconsin last year or two years ago I had a great picture of her dress hanging in the window and it was it was a wonderful picture as it was it was fine it was well composed it was well exposed it looked really good and then I turned around and I realized that there was a mirror sitting on the piano and if I looked into the mirror I could see her dress behind me but I could also see her family portrait behind the mirror so anybody who looks at this they're always so that's cool but when ellie looks at this I brought her family into this photograph of her dress and this is one of my favorites I love it and it's just helping me tell a better story of what it was like to be at megan in jason's wedding to feel what it was like on that day part of my goal is to create beautiful photographs for my client's yes but it's also so that when perspective clients are looking at my website they can look at the images and say I feel what it felt like to be there for family members who might not have been able to be at megan in jason's wedding and they look at their photographs later they will feel what it was like to be there that's very important to me and we talked about double exposures and multiple exposures and I don't do these things in photo shop I don't take two pictures and layer one on top of the other and try to make it look cool I actually do double exposures in camera there is a multiple exposure setting in the cameras that I use it will let you choose how many exposures were goingto layer on top of each other too three four you simply shoot one you shoot another and you have your final frame I was able to enter this at w p p I straight out of camera competition at the sixteen by twenty print comp because this is straight out of camera I composed this and did this in the camera not in photo shop later on the way I achieved my multiple exposures I had a few questions about this ah lot of times the first frame will be a silhouette of the couple and the second frame will be something texturally interesting and then we talked about moments that all of these great compositions and interesting lynn selections and so on and what not and so forth mean nothing if your clients don't let you into a moment and I really don't believe in the whole why wait for the moment make the moment philosophy of photography because I believe that if I wait for it, the moment will come and if a moment doesn't come, it was never meant to be in the first place when I have clients were very stoic who are maybe less emotional who are maybe less expressive I'm not going to go in there and try to manufacture moments for these people because it's not genuine I would rather have them be themselves in their wedding photographs can be something that I made them be. So when you're looking at the moments that I'm trying to document everything that I know about photography is going into making them. But then as my husband says, often we are on leah's good as our client so I could have put marsha and her girlfriends in this window I was taking a portrait of her and then one of her bridesmaids came into sort of fix her train a little bit and that was like you know what you all are just standing behind me anyhow why don't you guys come be in the frame so they came in and they were just kind of hanging out with her and they were looking at her ring and they were laughing and I didn't tell them oh look at each other and laugh because that's I mean that's not really a moment this just happened in the right lighting right linds selection right exposure right everything and then you have to wait for them to give you something like so questions about moments do I approach my creativity and photography differently with the nineteen to twenty two year old client versus the more mature bride no no shame all the same I don't care how old you are that was my main right in question from the old internet about pretty picture making what can I help you guys with great what can I help the internet with you all looked at me like I got this so d photo says yes I can do double exposures on my camera and I can also do overlays on my camera but aren't are they not the same thing overlays and double exposures I guess I mean when I go into my camera and I do what I have a setting called multiple exposures okay and that's what I d'oh got it I mean, if there's I don't see why it would be anything different I don't know what an overlay setting would be I'm gonna go with maybe that's a good general it's cancer for that um w s s susan have you ever given clients photos that might not be technically perfect exempt for example slightly out of focus or lighting but still have great emotional content or do you tend to give only photos that have both components? There's no way to say I mean honestly there's no way to answer without sounding arrogant I don't have that happen often and I'm not standing up here to say that I'm better than you are that I'm doing something that you're doing wrong I've just been doing this for longer, so I have less I don't have out of focus images, it just doesn't happen because it it I've trained myself to not know that said if I'm shooting something in the lighting isn't perfect but the emotion is amazing I will deliver it. But if it's just out of focus if it's just kind of a mess but it has great emotional content, I'm probably not going to because it has too many overworking flaws, fiddle grafter asked do you have a favorite time of the day to shoot? For example your engagement shots that give you more creative photographs there is a time of day that will give me more creative photographs. That's, that's! I could be creative no matter what time of day it is or indoors or outdoors or whatever. I would guess if I have to say my favorite time to be outside is probably about ninety minutes to an hour before sunset. But there's no there's no, I can't be creative unless it's this time of day that's one of the things that I use is kind of my selling points to prospective clients is that I can make great images for you whenever it iss will it be harder at noon then it's six thirty in the summer yes but I can do it for you in a way that a lot of photographers camp yes um kiss the agrippina well what's artist creatively inspire you what training our uh education best developed your eye to take such amazing pictures soas faras training and education go I mean I nobody can teach you how to see right like you can take classes in technique you can take classes in kind of expanding your vision but nobody can give you the eye that you were born with and I think that that's kind of what I came into photography with was with a really good natural eye for seeing things even when I wasn't technically is proficient even when I had you know, issues with exposure and issues with gear and was making very poor linds selections. I still had the eye, the very first thing to really inspire me. I bought bambi cantrell's book the art of wedding photo journalism and to me that opened up my ida photography in a way that I had never seen photography. It wass it was art, it wasn't just and now we put the camera down and now you smile and we take the picture and then we move on. It was actual beautiful art. Bandy has been very influential all to my entire career. She's, an extraordinary person and a fantastic artist, the very first workshop that I ever went to. I took dennis reggie's workshop at his studio in atlanta, and it started teaching me how teo deal with customers, how to understand what the different customer wants, how to give them a wonderful customer experience and learning that about dealing with people in dealing with customers and taking care of them. There's no one who does it better than dennis I mean, he is he's a legend for a reason and learning how to improve my customer service also actually help me improve my photography because it kind of drug it along. I took zac's one light workshop he's actually taught for creative lives, so if you search through the catalogues he's he is a incredible teacher he can show you how to do amazing things with just one light my husband cliff mountain er I mean change my world in all ways he taught me how to use light he taught me how to use a flash at a reception he taught me howto buy a longer linds I mean, I would not be the person that I am or the photographer that I am in any way you no way at all without him and he teaches these incredible boot camps out of his studio in philly and if you're looking for in person instruction I mean they're there's just flat out nothing better than that in the entire industry um w p p ay going and not only learning from so many different people but learning from the print competition and watching the judging of the print competition and just the community is also very inspiring and I feel that when you're inspired it pushes you to be better and then my photographer friends jennifer cody besides running sidecar post is a wonderful photographer marcus bell super ice kelly brown they shoot in ways that I don't shoot and yet they still inspire me there is no one better with little children and kelly brown she is she is an artist in a way that I will never be an artist she's extraordinary soo is a wonderful artist in an extraordinary human being laura jade I'm looking at other types of photographers that don't do what I do that inspire me joey l he's he came and talked about him he's so good it makes me furious and he's like a baby it's ridiculous looking outside of my own industry to people that inspire me has has been major job you think I mean amazing man in an amazing artist aaron and been chrisman um daniel of davina and daniel our he's one of the people that shot my wedding and they haven't I unlike anyone that I have ever seen ever in my entire life it is it blows me away what I it's leagues better than how I see and they're gentle good, wonderful people so davina and daniel, if you don't know who they are, go to the website right now and just prepare to want to sell your camera they're that good? Um yeah, I mean, those were the people that sort of brought me along and just continuing to be more involved in the community and meeting other photographers and going to conventions and watching creative lives all of that keeps me going. Thank you. Yes you you ever have a a moment that's two private or intimidate you just kind of want one of us walk away or let them have the moment don't necessarily be no yes, so a lot of your water images have this look, I mean, do you have your own style words? It's? Definitely loki and your water images all look like champagne's or falling from this guys and and your detail shots or all diamonds and glittery. So is that is the water shots in particular that champagne coloring that's something that jen's doing for you in post some of it? Yeah, some of it is just simply when we light it, like if I'm putting a ring in champagne, either the light from the window where the light from the video light, if we're doing it at a reception, it kind of helps bring out that color a little bit, but some of it is enhancing the coloring post a bit like the couple with the waterfall that you showed with the rule of thirds when you just showed a few slides ago. Some of that was the light I was in florida, it was sunset. It was one of those ridiculous disney sunsets where everything is like on fire, but did we pump it up? Of course we did, yeah, I'm never one to try to make it look different than what it was. I'm just going to try to enhance what was there, so there was an intense warmth there, we just pushed it a little further for sure. Back to the internet back feeling creative internet really good so what is something that you do every year to improve and be ahead of the competition? I don't look at the competition I have no idea what other photographers were doing every once in a while I'll kind of floated right? I look at what my friends were doing because they're my friends and I want to see what they're doing but I don't do I have a great pulse on where photography is going right now not really I just hope that the mason jar crap is over with but other than that I don't I don't know where we're going next and I don't really care and I think that's what kind of keeps me above and beyond the competition is because I'm not trying to set a trend or follow a trend I'm just trying to make beautiful photographs and every year I'm just trying to be better to seymour to see quicker and to be better than my husband, which is impossible and I'm not I'm not joking he and I pushed each other relentlessly how do you think it feels to go shoot an image that you think is like the greatest image you've ever shot and be like baby look at this look at this and he walks by and he goes yes cool and keeps on going and I'm like come on be reminds me to be humble and that we're working for our clients and to get out there and keep going and I see what he does and it pushes me to be better and he sees what I do and it pushes him as well so I'm not in any way advocating that you marry a photographer but being married to one I mean we we just push each other year after year after year and also that terrible fear of if I don't stay amazing as a shooter everyone else is going to take all my weddings awesome uh do you ever get creative blocks and if so how do you get out of them so even similar to feeling that pressure do I ever get creative blocks yes d'oh d'oh you get sick of your own work too it's true you don't I don't I mean it's listen what your clients are hiring you for his consistency and being able to do for them what you've done for other clients and the precedent that you've set with your work but I get so tired of looking at my own stuff and I getting blocked up and I feel like I try too hard and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and the way I get out of it is I just get out of photography entirely I go to the movies I read a book take my kids on vacation I go take a nap like I just continuing to push myself harder with photography when I'm stuck with photography just kind of spins the wheels even harder. I step out of it entirely and just clear my head and go do something else we're going, we're good to roll thiss may or may not have happened to you, but if you have a creative block and maybe your couple has these expectations because I've seen your work and they're kind of expecting to get those standout images from their wedding day, but then you deliver it and it doesn't meet their expectations. How would you address that? Well, it's not that I'm not giving them what they're expecting for me, even when I'm creatively blocked, I'm still providing, ah, high level of imagery to my clients. The trouble is when clients see, like my competition images and they're like, we want you to shoot one of those at our wedding and it doesn't happen, I say, you know, it t the images that are and I have a good response for it, the images that I enter into competition are chosen because they're going to fit in a very bizarre criteria that this competition is looking for, and sometimes that happens and sometimes that doesn't, but that doesn't mean that I don't have fifteen images that the wedding, the images that I blocked them like these are amazing in these aarp folio images for me and these air wonderful, but when you come to the end of the year and you have to narrow down the beautiful images, all go in a pot and then you go in picking with a criteria, I'm like it's. Not that I didn't love y'all's images it's not that I didn't make amazing things from your day it's just wire the use the you know, four of the images that I entered in competition because they fit competition criteria to a t and most of the time, people are like, oh, no, I totally understand, but I never phoned it in or I never get back for the wedding and I'm like, wow, that looks nothing like the rest of my work because I'm creatively blocked for me, creatively blocked just means that I'm not pushing to the next level. I'm still very high at the level that I'm out right now I'm just always looking what's next for me, what can I do to push my own work up even higher? I don't know, I'll just keep keeping on until I find it very excited about that so day for was about starting your business and we covered things like what type of business I am right like when you go into business. What are you set up as ru and llc or you a sole proprietor? Are you an s corp? Why? What does that mean to you? What does that mean, tax wise? We talked about who helps me run my business the lawyer, the accountant, the financial adviser. Kind of the team of people that I go to when I have questions that I can't answer myself, I'm not an accountant. Why in the world would I do my own taxes? That would in super badly. How do I finance my new business with alone or without alone? We talk about the fact that I did take out a loan, but I took out alone with a contingency plan in case it didn't go well. And we talk about managing your money. How do you manage your money? What bank accounts are you using? Are you using business accounts? Are you using credit cards? How are you? Sort of managing the flow that comes in and goes out throughout the year. And we talked about finding your first clients when you're a brand new, you know, photography baby in your business, how do you get that first paying client through the door and about this? A lot of people had questions. For example, how do you start a business on little money for gear, website insurance, et cetera? It's really hard to do it's really hard to dio I was very, very, very fortunate that at the time I was married to a man who had a good job ah, no, I'm not sitting here saying my husband bankrolled my business because he didn't was I able to take a few more financial risks in my early days because I knew that the bills were paid off course, but if I were in that situation now and I were trying to start my business and it was just me, do you know who the person who would have the other good paying job would be? It would be me because I would go out and get a day job and I would start my business on the side, so if you're starting your business with little money, don't overextend yourself don't take out a loan that you don't know how to pay back don't I will come to your house and whack you if you put it on a credit card and just hope that job's appears so that you can pay it off, don't do that don't be dumb I would rather see you take three or four extra years to start your business but started with a clean financial slate because you bought your gear when you had the money to do it because you bought your website when you had the money to do it if you don't have money for insurance, you shouldn't be starting a business. You should not be going out and working for paying clients if you're not covered by insurance. If you're looking for a website got a new company for you? I've worked with infinite for a very long time. They've made all of my websites, but with a custom website it comes custom. Customer service comes custom prices. I paid a lot of money for my website. There is actually a new company out there. It's club called good gallery and it's run by my dear friend rob career from california. Rob greer has been designing websites since before I knew the internet existed. And what he has created with good gallery is a low entry price to an extraordinarily robust service. You can change the look of your website, the colors, the fonts, the backgrounds that arrows the way your gallery is laid out. It is extraordinarily seo friendly it's got hidden watermarks. It is everything that I wish that I had found when I was getting started in business. It's not templates. You're not going in just buying templates like you would from a template farm, it gives you a custom ization that is not available. With anybody else and the customer service is extraordinary, the entry price is reasonable and what it could do for you if you're starting out in business and you're looking for a web site, these are the people to talk to, and they're knew the reason why I didn't mention them before at the beginning of the thirty days is because rob launched at w p p I so let's all band together and try to crash good gallery dot com today. That was really fun. I was talking about rachel yesterday the law dog l a w t o g we made her sight go down for a while, so let's go with good gallery there you're welcome, rob, how much should we expect to pay for it? A financial adviser if we're starting out now? That's going to defer? I don't know, I don't know what you would pay for your financial advisor the way I pay for mine is he takes a percentage every single year based on the amount of money I have in my accounts and it's very reasonable, so I'm not just paying him a flat fee every month or every quarter and he's just kind of whatever I'm going to do, whatever he doesn't make money until I make money. That's how I pay him but everybody that you're going to talk to is going to be different so I can't give you ah ballpark of what you should expect to pay a financial adviser because I I can't speak to where you live or the people that you're talking to can you briefly tell us what the pros and cons are of a single number llc versus a multi member llc? Nope I sure can't because I was never going to be a multi member llc because it's just me my husband and I run our own businesses he is not a part of my company I am not a part of his company were not on each other's legal documents for the companies we own our own businesses I was never going to be a multi member llc so twice how do you know if you have to get a permit and if you do where do you get it and what is the price range? I don't know these air really really really difficult questions I have no idea if you have to get a permit I don't know where you live I don't know your city or your state codes and requirements I don't know where you should get it where you live and I have no clue whatsoever where it's going to cost not no idea the way I found out about permits, licenses, fees all of that I asked my accountant and he knew I started working with him when I moved from florida to new york he's the one who helped me set up as a business in new york and he told me every single thing that I needed to do to make that happen I didn't know myself I'm not going to trust dr google on this one, so I went teo a professional to be able to tell me what to do when you decided to get your loan for your equipment and see where it would take you in six months. What kind of photography training or knowledge did you already possess little toe? Absolutely none so day five pricing we're not going to get to that yet because I know that there are a lot of business questions will start taking them and will take more when we come back from our break but let's get started with david, who put his hand up first oh my god david just opened a notebook so we might be here for days and writing it all down along the way my god go david, if you any of you who have bought the case studies book thie case studies book is grammatically correct with commas all in the right things to david clump inner if you find a typo it's his ball because he didn't catch it all right hit me david, what you got why s o I was talking to now me joker who's a mutual friend of ours she's trying to talk me out of using credit cards she accepts only checks and she says that it works totally fine for yes and she saves thousands of dollars a year doing man understood give me an argument for using credit cards it's easy and that's worth a couple hundred dollars awaiting for me it is yes okay because when I decided that I was going to take credit cards and I was going to take them for any and all payments I simply adjusted my prices like five hundred dollars across the board to accommodate it and I found that it gets people in the door a lot quicker I try to take checks as much as I possibly can for my final payment just because it's such a large amount of money I tell people listen I prefer you can use a credit card for the retainer you can use a truck for the retainer you can pay me cash for the retainer that does not affect you'll get a discount or anything like that for paying me cash but if you don't mind for my final payment cheque is best but taking a credit card for my retainer means that people consign that contract at any point in time and they don't have to wait for the check in the mail and I have had no more of those oh, my gosh, I don't know, we totally sent it. We totally sent it. It should be there any day, and then weeks go by and you never get it. And you realize they were just stalling you it's because someone consign my chute q contract at two o'clock in the morning if they want teo and put it on there and max and sometimes that actually sue's people over oh, my gosh, we were hoping to use our amex for everything and get the points for our honeymoon. Okay, fine with me, and I understand it, like my husband almost never takes checks, martin, I'm sorry never takes credit cards for payments and it's just whatever you feel comfortable with, I like the ease of people being like, oh, I can do it right now on the internet, but I do try to get checks for the final payment just so that I don't have to pay the credit card processing fees on that, because that kind of thing that makes sense and that's, what you're doing to my retainer is only a thousand dollars, so I'd rather take the credit card fee hit on that one just to get them to sign it into a clock in the morning, get anything else, d'oh, no, I'm not taking your way from the notebook explain to me how you deal with receipts I know that you mentioned before the use ever known I started just one toe a bookkeeper for the first time last month and handed her a pile of receipts and then was thinking oh my gosh there's gotta be an easier way to do this and I'm curious what you do about summer in paper summer electronic key paper receipts permanently no, I don't I checked with my accountant first make sure that that was okay receipts of all kinds all goingto evernote it is a paper receipt like let's say I took sandra out to dinner last night while we're here we're here for a business trip it's a business expense um anything that I pay for with my amex I don't save a receipt for I talked to my accountant about this because the annex statements that you can get at the end of the year are so detailed that that will hold up in an audit even if you don't have a receipt so I don't even worry about those and I've been using my amex for everything business wise just because the points are sweet and I pay it off at the end of every month that said, if I do get a paper receipt for something that I paid cash with or use my business debit card or something like that I'll actually open the evernote app on my phone and just take a picture of it and when that imports it becomes a searchable document so if you have a receipt from being h and you take a picture of it and it goes into every note you khun search defore and it will find that paper receipt you can also scan them in like if you just want to use a scanner at home, you can also import them into ever note and when you use ever know it, it will give you your evernote email address mine's like susan two four nine eight three thousand beaky like it's just a big mess but I put it in my contacts as ever. Note so when I buy something from being a j are at a rama or an icon or I want my most recent ad in new york weddings magazine, I got a email receipt for that I just click forward type and ever note and hit send so then it just emails those receipts directly into my evernote so I have no more paper receipts at all. Do you have a book keeper that's separate from your accountant that then takes that. So who who's dealing with all these receipts at the end of the month you are you're an arum into quickbooks. Okay, well, actually I don't add the receipts into quickbooks. I used cookbooks for the mac I used cookbooks online, which is sweet and what I do is I actually link it to my bank accounts, my credit cards, so all I do is download my transactions, so at the end of every single month, I'll go in and I'll download my amex statement, and I'll download my transactions from my debit card and I'll go in and I will manually enter every single one into my checking account, like into the register, you could literally just click accept it will put it into the register, and I do that so that I have eyes on my finances, I need to see what I'm spending. I need to see what my trends are. I need to see where I'm overspending so in the hour that it takes me to do that every single month, I am totally on top of all of my finances myself. My accountant helps me figure out what I need to pay every single quarter in quarterly taxes, and he also does mine and my husband's taxes at the end of the year, which are hilarious and make us cry. That's awful thanks don't get married, I'm just getting I want got anything else? No, no, I'm good for this, only to have their ears more days, yes, you patiently waiting for you? I'm in the boat of, you know, taking three to four years to build my business you know working a full time job you're adding here as I can bye yes that's been my method so it it feels like a tremendous amount of work to get where you want to be and so I wanted to ask you how do you go about protecting your business in with copyright because I've noticed there's a lot of photo stealing going on whether they're they're within the industry or used elsewhere do you take time tio keep tabs on your images and where they end up and protecting your work or sort of sometimes I mean I could make patrolling the internet for my images be a full time job there is photo steelers it's a great website they're super vigilant people write in all the time and I'm very fortunate that people actually do email me and say hey I saw your pictures on this place I've got darn good the takedown notice so if I find some weird link farm or other site that has my images within five minutes I filled out a takedown notice and sent it to their web host I goto who is I figure out who the web host is I go over to the web host I lodge an official complaint now walk away if you steal my frequently asked questions and put it word for word on your website and tomorrow you find that your website has gone yeah I got you I did you're welcome I have google alert set up listen, I'm not trying to be a butt about this, but it took me a really long time to write that and people taking things that aren't there own just to circumnavigate having to write it themselves you deserve to learn a little lesson on that one so I'll find you yes, sir. Speaking of a couple of weeks till a week ago, two weeks ago you posted about a site that was right. Whatever the outcome of that whole thinking down they came down both sides down their site is done not just your images but their sight like gone sad story, huh? Perfect, I mean, I I whistle blew all over facebook about it. Somebody found their these stupid sites now that are doing like free downloads for wallpaper and they hide behind. Oh, but we're just kind of like a pinterest thing like we send people to your site but they're taking your images and using themis free downloads. And the day that I found a picture of my daughter on a website that also had a lot of hard core pornography, I lost my mind and I posted the link everywhere that I possibly could I posted the link the link to complain to their web host the link to email the person directly that owned the site the link to their facebook page and the link to how to file a dmca takedown notice. And I said, go look for your images. If your images are on their these air, the way to get it taken down the internet lost its mind and the sights came down that was not a good day. So on the hardcore pornography note, I guess let's break for a heart. But what was really bad about it was I posted a link to the site and I tried to take the, you know, I listed the side out, and then I wrote the word dot and then calm and people were like, why are you sending us to tease filthy sites now it's like, oh, god, nobody actually read what I wrote. They just clicked like that was a really entertaining couple of hours on the internet. So if you're going to post a link to something, I mean, it couldn't be one of us, I mean, but if it had been one of you, you contact a site like photo steelers. I understand, but with your following with what not I mean, it was obvious. Like to see that transgression happened. It was like because it was like a day and it's done, right? It was, come on. Internet army lets get this taken down. But if you don't have a following, if you've got five, fans on facebook and three people that follow you on twitter, goto. A higher power goto photo steelers dot com, and they'll put it out to their thousands and thousands and thousands of followers, and then those of us who follow them that have tons of followers, will. You know, the community can be weird and back biting and strange, but we also have way have everybody's backs, so there will be someone who will help you. And also, if you're a member of p p a. If someone has stolen from u, take it. U p a.

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Ratings and Reviews

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.

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