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30 Days of Wedding Photography

Lesson 52 of 76

Reception Events

Susan Stripling

30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

52. Reception Events


Class Trailer

Day 1

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

Day 2

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

Day 3

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

Day 4

14 Intro to Business 24:51

Day 5

15 Financing Your Business 30:49

Day 6

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

Day 7

17 Pricing Calculator 32:48

Day 8

18 Package Pricing 20:57

Day 9

19 Marketing 23:07

Day 10

20 Vendor Relationships & Referrals 15:03

Day 11

21 Marketing w Social Media 52:06

Day 12

22 Booking the Client 1:00:42

Day 13

23 The Pricing Conversation 08:15

Day 14

24 Turn A Call Into a Meeting 12:24

Day 15

25 In Person Meeting 21:58

Day 16

26 Wedding Planning 28:41

Day 17

27 Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down 19:17

Day 18

28 Engagement Session Details 36:48

Day 19

29 Engagement Session On Location 35:48

Day 20

30 Wedding Details & Tips 25:49

Day 21

31 Detail Photos Reviewed 36:07

Day 22

32 Bridal Preparation 1:02:57

Day 23

33 Bridal Preparation Photo Review 33:14

Day 24

34 Bridal Prep - What If Scenarios 09:18

Day 25

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

Day 26

36 First Look Demo 32:08

Day 27

37 First Look Examples 19:42

Day 28

38 Portraits of the Bride 37:45

Day 29

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

Day 30

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

Lesson Info

Reception Events

No about specific traditions. This is an incredibly important thing. Are you at a jewish wedding? Are you at a greek wedding where they're going to throw plates on the ground? Are they going to do a money dance? Are they going to dio traditional greek dancing? Is it a jewish wedding where this is the last child married in the family and they're going to do the crowning of the parents? These are important things to know being a religious tradition or a cultural tradition or just simply a family tradition. Hey, at every event that we get to our family, where's, these goofy baseball hats and we take a picture great at every wedding, my sorority sisters and I sit down and we do a song around the person that got married great that's actually a section of my questionnaire that says, is there anything that is going on at the reception that it would be helpful for the photographer to know about that's? Usually when they start telling us these things, we will be doing the hora we will be doing ...

the hora and all of the family members will go up in the chairs will be singing happy birthday to my aunt at the reception we will be doing this, we will be doing that all of those things are very, very, very important for me to know the hora the hora I have never been injured in my entire life at a wedding the way I get injured during ahora it is loud it is fast it is violent no one pays any attention to you your feet will get destroyed do not wear open toed shoes you're going to get smacked in the face and it's awesome horrors are awesome putting ahora at the beginning of a jewish wedding reception fires everybody up to dance for the entire rest of the night how do I handle ahora I get right on out there in it with everybody else do I stand on a chair? Do I get kind of scared and get up on the bandstand and shoot down? No way I do not get right out there with everybody else does it mean that I get smacked around? It does but it means that I had to be conscious I'm constantly ducking under the arms of people is they're going around in circles but I've got to get out there if I don't get out there, I can't have access to the scene like this and I can't have access to a scene like that and I can't be out there on the dance floor when the bride in her dad go around and around in circles and I won't be right out there for the moment that the groom and his mom start dancing around and around in circles now when we're covering something like ahora or any sort of cultural or religious specific dance, I'm not covering that in any way different than I'm covering the other dancing the only thing that I usually don't do differently during ah horror it is I don't use my other off camera flash I don't have sandra attempting toe light it from a distance because it's so unpredictable it's so uncontrollable everyone is moving so incredibly fast nine times out of ten I'm going with flash on camera and I'm waiting right on out there and I tell sandra to duck and cover and I'm not kidding usually it's right after the first dance you hear those strains of the horror get started and I look at her and I say run because all I want her to do is get that seventy two, two hundred and get that on camera are off camera flash, get him off the dance floor and keep him safe and I'm about to go into battle so you can see by the settings that I'm following literally the exact same principles of everything that I've talked to you about so far shutter speed f stop focal length and s o is still constant now that said, sometimes you do get super duper lucky you haven't awesome horror that goes on for incredibly long amount of time a lot of people go up in the chairs so on and so forth ad nauseum and you get a chance to do something like bringing your off camera flash the only thing lighting this right here is the light coming from sanders off camera flash I even had time to run up in a balcony and shoot down but this isn't exactly something to include I don't want to get your hopes up because most horrors look exactly like this where you're out on the dance floor and people are running around you and everything is crazy and the chairs are going in different directions and people are falling off the chairs and the one thing that I've noticed is if they bring out a chair and it doesn't have arms you need to stand back because someone's going down it's pretty dangerous out there so I'm just attempting to get well exposed well composed well lit images with my single on camera flash I'm trying to not get killed and then I'm trying to focus on the the emotion of the moment because the emotions really do run high during horace so now that we've been trampled, we've been not down we've learned our lesson about wearing open toed shoes too and jewish wedding now let's talk about cake cutting and the other events that happen during a wedding reception so here we are blair and jeremy's wedding we're taking a look at the cake that they are about to cut and for a lot of times during the cake cutting, we're going to be using a two light set up, which is what we're doing here the only difference between this and what I do normally is I normally shoot the cake cutting with my seventy two, two hundred and get back as far as I can in this instance, the platform with the cake was up quite a bit higher from the rest of the dance floor I didn't have a whole lot of room had to default over my twenty four to seventy which will you'll see was used here forty two millimeters I'm at I s o two thousand a sixtieth of a second and you know why an f four and you know why too? I've got my flash on camera as we have mentioned before just filling in the side of blair's face just a little bit and sandra with are off camera flash at eight power is standing off camera left flash aimed directly at blair's face action and reaction it's a very simple set up it's very effective. It is not in any way different than anything that I've talked about with dancing, parent dancing toasts and the other aspects of the day now sometimes this happens ines I know we're not supposed to like the cake smash I know we're supposed to think that it's, tacky and pedestrian and cheesy maybe I'm a thirteen year old boy at heart. I still think it's absolutely hilarious, especially when you don't see it coming. Eightieth of a second f for seventy millimeters s o eight hundred flash coming from off camera, you can see that it's coming from off camera left because you can see jessica's hand on her husband's face, and you can see how it's casting a shadows you can see exactly where the light is coming from. And again, you have to be very careful with your shutter speed if you see them going in for the smash so that it's fast enough to freeze the motion it's also low enough that I'm picking up the ambient amber light from the lighting behind them. Ninety millimeters, I'm getting a little bit more of a chance to use my seventy two, two hundred here, and I'm getting a chance to move a little bit further back. Sanders job when she's lighting this with the off camera flashes, she has to make sure that the off camera flash is hitting the clients faces and not just the cake, the instruction that I used to give her when she wasn't exactly sure where to stand, and now she knows exactly where to stand because we've done this so many times together was go off over on the left, a mitt, their faces. Aim at their faces I don't mean that she flaps up flash down in ames it straight at their faces the flash is like this, but she makes sure that it is turned so that it's aiming at the client's faces she keeps her eyes on me she doesn't keep her eye on the client that's not going to tell her anything. She looks at me and if I do like this she knows that means that the light is hitting the cake too hard and if the light hits the cake first it's going to cast an enormous cake shaped shadow onto the clients, so her goal is to go slightly behind the cake and get the light to come in in between the cake and the clients so that it hits them on the face at this point. Nine two time out of ten I'm not using any flash on my camera I'm using my defore with the seventy two, two hundred I'm on ly using off camera flash to light the scene. This is no different than the first dance. This is no different from the parent dances and this is shockingly similar to how we light the toasts like so you can see how the light bypasses the cake comes straight through and fills in amy space perfectly you can see here how it hits olivia in the face exact same principles over and over, you can take a look at the exit data at the bottom, take a look at how the light is hitting and falling and with everything that we've talked about so far, you know where the light's coming from. You know why my settings are what they are. You know why I've chosen the linds that I'm using? And I'm working at the focal length that I'm at, none of this should come as any surprise because we're taking those principles from introductions we're taking those principles from the first dances were taking those principles from the parent dances and the toasts, and we're using them right over again. The only difference is we have a cake in the picture, and sometimes it gets messy tossing a bouquet. I've been seeing the garter toss in the bouquet, toss less than you less as the years go by it's a tradition that not as many people are doing anymore, but it's something that I still like it's a really nice opportunity to get action and reaction if I'm going to shoot something like this, a lot of times I'm forced to use my twenty forty, seventy just because of space constraints, but if I can get back, I can use my just my seventy two, two hundred I absolutely I'm going to a sixtieth of a second and you know why? F three point two so that I'm focusing mainly in on crystal here on I s o a thousand so that the esso and shutter speed or going hand in hand with freezing the movement and allowing some ambient light in this is being lit with on lee off camera flash. I'm not working with any flash on the camera whatsoever. Take a look at crystal, follow her body all the way down onto the floor and look at how the shadows falling behind her. You can clearly tell that while I'm facing her directly, my assistant is to my left just a little bit, so the light is coming in from a dimension if we're back to our water glass here and our flour here and we're looking at the diagram here if krystal is right here and she's getting ready to throw her bouquet behind her, I'm facing her straight on. Sandra is probably about three feet away from me. Coming at a slight angle, the light is still mostly filling in her entire face, but it's not the same as on camera flash it's, not even the same is getting the flash on a bracket or up over your head it's still coming from an angle off to the side, it just gives the image a little more dimension, same principles if we're doing a garter toss it's the exact same thing the light is not coming from a new direction I am not using any sort of new settings or tricks or anything it's the same exact principal you can see where the light is coming from it's coming from the others you know you see this lady over here the videographer over here with the plaid pants kind of off the camera right my assistant standing probably about three feet to the left of her her left our right you can see where the light's coming from because you can see the direction of the shadows on the ground whether you're shooting at thirty five millimeters are two hundred millimeters you're using the light in the same way you're using the exact same principles of where the light is coming from, where you are in proximity to your clients the same focal length principle's the same setting principles that we've talked about the entire time so if you look at the things that we've covered today it has been multi fold we've talked about how to photograph dancing. We've talked about how to photograph dan nothing both with and without an additional light to supplement your on camera flash. We've talked about how you cut a cake we've talked about how you throw a gardener and a bouquet and we've talked about what to do when the deejay goes absolutely nuts and lights the place up with a laser light fiesta we've even covered things, such as. How do you eat? What do you eat and when do you eat, and how do you know how to pace yourself during a wedding reception? So we've covered quite a bit today. We still aren't done. We still have more to come. We aren't even halfway through with everything that I have to teach you. Thank you so much for being with us so far. Thank you for taking the hour out of your day to spend with me, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Class Description

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

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

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

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


Misty Angel

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


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


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