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30 Days of Wedding Photography

Lesson 24 of 76

Turn A Call Into a Meeting

Susan Stripling

30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

24. Turn A Call Into a Meeting


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

Turn A Call Into a Meeting

So how do you take a call and turn it into a meeting? First of all, I don't necessarily want to turn every single phone call into a meeting that's not my goal. I have plenty of clients who simply book me through email or over the phone, they don't need to come in and actually sit down in person, and I know the old school way of selling wedding photography was the second you get the inquiry, you need to turn it into a meeting, you need to get them in the studio, you need to sit them down and sell them in person, not every single client that I talked to needs to turn into a sit down meeting. Now, some of them do and maybe to you meeting simply means phone call or maybe to you meeting means skype session or maybe it means actually meeting in person. So what do you do? You know, once you've kind of got that contact, once you've reached out to them for the first time, how do you take that and turn it into an actual meeting? Okay, we've talked about this talk about their venue in their day a...

sked them what their day is going to be like asked them to tell you their plans tell a little bit about your style describe a little bit about how you're at and we talked about this when you talk to a client for the very, very, very first time, simply reiterating this when you want to turn it into a meeting again, it's the same principle you want, teo, talk to them, you want to get them to open up to you about their plans. You want to get a chance to tell them a little bit about your style slide and some accolades into the conversation a little bit, not too much don't go crazy, they don't want to sit on the phone and listen to you brag, but it does help if you have a few talking points toe linda little credibility towe, where you are in your industry, share your price list either over the phone or by sending it in an e mail I share links to galleries. I will actually send two clients. Here is my proofing page you know susan stripling, gods and folio dot com all of the featured galleries are open for viewing, and here are a few that I think would be especially interesting to you based on where your wedding is. If they're getting married at a hotel in center city philadelphia, I'm not going to send them links to barn weddings in the country I'm going to send them either a link to a wedding that is at their exact venue something that's very similar to them if they have expressed kind of a concern about maybe their wedding is in the winter and they're worried about the lighting off, send them a link to some winter weddings. So the full featured galleries that are open for viewing and then above and beyond that, anything else that they might want to see or that might be helpful, that sort of would show that you could shoot a wedding that was similar to theirs. I will send that as well, and then at the very end of all of these things that we've talked about before, I will request to meet with them. If I feel like having a meeting in person are having a skype meeting will really kind of help my chances of sealing the deal, I'm going to actually ask for it. It's been really great talking to you. Thank you so much for spending. The time to talk in your day sounds fantastic. I would be really honored to work with you. I would love to shoot your wedding. I would love to set up a time to meet in person. Would would that be something you might be interested in? You have to tell someone you want to shoot their wedding like I know that might sound like business one o one, but a lot of people are so caught up in the inquiry process of telling the perspective client all about you that you forget that they're hiring you to do a job and I think that it it goes a long way if you say listen, I would love to shoot your wedding it would be an honor to shoot your wedding the clients want to feel that you actually want to work with them and I do it's not disingenuous if I've spent an hour on the phone with somebody and the last thing in the world I want to do is shoot their wedding I don't close with I would love to shoot your wedding sometimes I would even close with listen after this after this phone call I really on I understand what you're going for with your day I understand what you're going for with your photography I don't necessarily think that we might be the best match for each other you know, I I I would love to talk to you more but care of some other photographers that might better suit your needs if I'm on the phone for forty five minutes with someone who keeps talking about the vintage feel that they want in their photographs I am not their person if I get a very strong sense that they like my work that they can't see themselves in my work and what they wanted something different if they keep talking about fields and mason jars and light airy fluffy photographs that's that's not what I do and so I will refer them to somebody who doesn't much better job at that than I possibly ever could for them because it's not my style so I have no problems referring them elsewhere if we had a conversation and I'm not, you know, itching to shoot the wedding if I if I feel we might be a mismatch or if they've been raising some red flags, I'll simply wish him well and tell them to call or email me if they have any other questions but if the conversation has gone well and they seem like great people that I would like to work with, I will say I would love to shoot your wedding I'd love to meet you in person or talk further if you have any other questions, let me know what works out for you just simply expressing that you want that client's job can often be a pretty major thing and again follow up in five days even if I'm trying to get a meeting and it doesn't necessarily turn into a meeting, I'm still going to follow up with them and even if I meet with them in person, I'm still going to follow up with them five days later and then when I do finish up an email to a client, I always sign off with a signature it's my basic everyday written signature that I have in my mail program of my mac where it just tells my name it links to my facebook patient links my website I don't have a list of accolades in my signature I don't have a fancy you know font or or graphic or anything like that I try to keep it very nice and very simple it just says susan there's a line it says find us on facebook come check out our blawg very simple and then the links are embedded I don't want to go all like middle school crazy html fancy signature I just want it nice and easy very non distracting one thing to be very, very, very conscious off when you're emailing today's bride or speaking to today's bride on the phone or talking to today's bride in a meeting and today's bride I also mean bride and groom and I mean you know any friends or bridesmaids that they might bring along with them marketing to the millennials is a little bit different than it ever has been marketing to anybody if you are really looking for some really tremendous information on understanding how maloney als shop understanding how millennials get their information how they process their information, their values and the things that are important to them there is a woman out there namely and stevens she runs a blogger called think splendid and she has tremendous writings and resource is on working with millennials, this's think splendid she's pretty much a genius when it comes to this on one of the things that I've learned by reading her readings and kind of following her teachings is that millennials do their research that by the time they've really reached out to you for information, we're very shortly there after they've done their research on you, they have unstudied by what people know when they talk to me on the phone, they have googled me, they found my facebook page, they found my instagram, they found my twitter, they know where I speak, they know, you know, they don't just look at the top three hits on google, they really spin the time toe look you up. So while it is wonderful to, you know, provide a lot of this information to people and you should understanding that today's bride, for the most part, is also doing a great deal of research on their own is a very valuable thing to know and knowing how your client's air thinking, knowing how they're researching, knowing how they're getting the information that they're getting about you, it really helps you as you're planning your attack against this type of client, so to say so talking about some of the things that we've talked about, I mentioned sharing featured galleries with prospective clients. Now I've had really kind and very well meaning photographers who have e mailed or called me to say hey, listen we went to the proofing page of your website and did you know that like the top like ten galleries you could just go in without a pass code well, yeah I totally know that I did that on purpose if you go into most all of my wedding galleries they are locked with a pass code because I want to respect my client's privacy I don't want total and complete strangers getting in there in trolling around and looking at all of their pictures everyone that is a featured gallery I've asked if it's okay if I share their images with prospective clients that's not the same thing it's just sending a random gallery here there for someone to look at having it be a featured gallery means that it's wide open and anybody can go look at it at any time you can go look at it all you want. You are welcome to come visit if you would like this allows me to send my perspective clients over here and have them surf through anything that they want. I have been very careful in choosing the galleries that go in my featured weddings because each of them represents something very different. I want to show for example what a fifteen hour indian and christian wedding looks like what I can do for you if you're having two separate ceremonies to separate portrait intestines in one day and I'm going to be with you all day, I want you to see that I want you to see ellie and alex's wedding, which was in wisconsin in the middle of somewhere in middle of somewhere, and we shot their portrait on the side of the road, and I was still able to make incredible, beautiful things. If I come to you and I shoot in your home and I shoot under the tent that you put up in your back yard, I can make you incredible art. Maureen and george, where it got dark earlier in the day, I wanted people to show you that I can shoot in the winter and that I could do a beautiful job for you. Jessica and paula classic beautiful traditional wedding at the plaza in new york with with some very elegant portraiture. Mindy and jonathan ate one of the best weddings, one of the warmest weddings, and it poured all day long on them, and it was an honor to be there with them. And I want to show you that if it rains on your wedding day, I will treat it with great respect to make beautiful images for you. So each one of these weddings in my featured galleries and collections illustrates a different type of wedding, so that if you go through when you look at the whole body of work, you can see that I can produce beautiful work for you in any scenario whatsoever. So I direct clients over here so that they can take a look and they can wander around. And for me, this is one of my selling points it's, not just fifteen good images on the block it's, not just fifty good images on facebook or one hundred good images in an album. It is hundreds and hundreds of beautifully well crafted, technically proficient images under any scenario, so I really do push when I'm trying to book a client to get them to come in and take a look at full galleries, and I try to tell them that that is something that I feel like I do better than many of the photographers that they will be looking at, and you have to not be afraid to tell a potential client being the email or phone or looking them dead in the eyes and telling them, I believe that I am worth the investment. I believe that I will do a better job for you than anybody else that you're looking at, but I want you to do your research, and I want you to be sure but owning it and saying yes, you might have somebody who will do it cheaper yes, you might have somebody who will give you more product, arm or images or more shooters but they will not be able to do for you what I can do for you and you have to believe in your heart that what you will do will be better and that is not arrogance that is not that isn't you tooting your own horn for no reason? But if you can't look a client in the eye and say I am the best at what I do, why are you even out there? Do you know what I mean? Like you really need to impress upon them that you're going to do a job for them that nobody else can do that you are unique and that your work is worth what they're about to consider paying for it now when you come into a gallery and when you do look around you come in, you automatically land on the thumbnails page you can click on any of them you can scroll through the pages you can click on a picture, you can click through it that way but it really lets people come in it lets them see the whole body of work it lets them see what you can do in any any situation whatsoever and it just really reinforces everything that you've said so far

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.