Wedding Ceremony Demo


30 Days of Wedding Photography


Lesson Info

Wedding Ceremony Demo

And today we get to one of my favorite parts of the day, which is this ceremony. Now we are still here with blair and jeremy, two of my favorite clients from last year who graciously allowed us to document their day for you, which is an extraordinary thing. And if I haven't thanked them enough, I really do thank you from the bottom of my heart for letting us share your day with the whole internet. So thank you again. But let's, talk about ceremonies. There are a million different ways that ceremonies go down. Locations, settings, lighting conditions. White balance is so many different things to consider. But before we actually start talking about ceremonies before we actually see blair and jeremy get married let's talk about the gear that I bring to a ceremony. It will not surprise you any of you who have been watching with us so far that I have my d for with a seventy two, two hundred millimeter. It is not a secret that this is my favorite camera and lens combo. Even if a ceremony is ...

dark, even if the lighting conditions are less than ideal, this is always going to be one of the lenses that is on my camera for in the entire ceremony, my d three s. Also has its twenty four to seventy on it it is a wonderful, versatile lens sharp quick it's an excellent work horse. One of the go to linz is in my bag and it's a lens that not only will I use to photograph the ceremony but my assistant who helps me out with the documentation of the ceremony will use that as well. Ah lot of times we sort of have a two pronged approach to photographing a ceremony which you will see and we will show you where I photograph the processional my assistant sandra stays in the back with the bride and her dad or whoever is walk her down the aisle in those last couple of moments before she comes towards her husband for the first time I work the front and the sides of the room in the middle of the aisle and she photographs the wide angle shots from the back of the room. Now I've talked to about my assistant and how she is an assistant she's not a second shooter she is capable of taking photographs but her job is not to be a second shooter it is to help me out. Helping me out however on any given day can mean several different things she's very capable as a photographer and this is one of the times throughout the day that I do give her a camera and ask her to back me up now I don't do that because I can't cover the ceremony by myself. I can cover the ceremony by myself just fine. The ceremony is a sacred thing, it's the moment where they become man and wife. I remember my own wedding ceremony like it was yesterday. It is one of the defining moments of my entire life and I have no idea what my photographers were doing or where my videographer was at any point in time because they were quiet because they were unobtrusive and because they were respectful of what was going on. And for that I think them today and every day of my life for what they gave us on that day. If I were to shoot close up pictures on the sides in the middle, in the front and running all over the place, if I also had to do the wide angle shots from the back of the room, I would be visible. I would be moving around a lot and even if I do have full freedom, even if the church or the synagogue or the venue has told me that I could do whatever I want and go wherever I want, I want to keep up a high level of respect for the sanctity of what's happening in front of me, so I have my defore. I have my seventy two, two hundred have my d three s I have my twenty four to seventy what do I do if it's super dark and I'm not talking about processional? I'm not talking about recessional I'm talking about during the ceremony itself. What do I do if it is just so dark that I can't shoot at two point eight? Or I'm really struggling with that seventy two, two hundred in those rare super low light situations I'll take my d for and I'll use my eighty five one four instead of my seventy two, two hundred, and I'll take my d three s and I'll use my thirty five one four instead of my twenty four to seventy that will allow me to work much better in the low light that I'm handling the difference in a dark ceremony between shooting at two point eight and shooting at one point four is massive, so if I absolutely have to do that, I absolutely will do that. So what you're about to see here is blair in jeremy's actual ceremony. We've had to cut some of the audio in certain places because as much as we love copy written music, we can't play it for you, so we're not going tio, but you're going to get to see exactly where I position myself during the ceremony exactly how I handle the ceremony. Exactly what I do when I'm trying to make something creative and how to make some pretty decent pictures in a ceremony that clocked in at about eight and a half minutes. So enjoy the video and we'll see you on the other side. So here we are at blair and jeremy ceremony, and the first thing that you're going to notice is this is just me talking to you on top of the ceremony video. The reason for this is in the background there, playing copy, written music the entire time and much as I would like to share with you the same music that I know that you hear every single ceremony you go to legally, we cannot do this. So if you're looking for me in this frame what's happening right now, the groom has already been pre set up a thief front of this space, and I'm crouched down there photographing the details of what's going on in the room since I know that the ceremony is forthcoming, I've already made my place at the front of the ill if you're looking at me next to that woman in the front standing up and the groom, you can see my tiny head crouch down there on the ground, the reason why I'm pre planted there is because I want to be ready. For the processional, whenever it begins, I don't want to find myself caught unawares where I have to run down the island, get into the place, and I'm also using this opportunity during the day to photograph the details and the happenings around me. The people in the crowd been see photographing the guests as they're interacting, taking the timeto wait, assess the scene a little bit, see if the lighting's changing in any way, documenting the guests interacting hall, we're waiting for that actual moment when the ceremony begins. This is the crucial second where I don't realize that they're closing the door on me, thus eliminating any natural light that might possibly be seeping into the room during this portion of the day. I'm you can see my look of absolute despair, all that happens, and then the next thing we know, we have a processional happening, and this is exactly what I'm seeing is the clients are walking down the aisle, working with my twenty four to seventy, because thie I'll is so incredibly short as the bride's maids air processing towards me, waiting until they go right under that light in the middle of the space to actually click my shutter see under the light there she goes and that's where the picture is right as she walks into that lit space of the ill, so even though it doesn't have a whole lot going on natural light wise in the space we're doing the best we can the bride's mom getting ready to come down the aisle again. I'm still down at the end of the aisle and you will notice that I am crouching down, not standing up because they don't want teo obstruct anybody's view of the actual ceremony that camera you see at the front of the aisle that's, not me, I'm down on the ground waiting for the flower girl to come down towards me as she runs down. I'm waiting for her. The person with that camera that you can see is actually a guest that's, not me, I'm trying to be more obtrusive, staying down nice and low so that I'm not getting in front of anybody. My options are either to stand up in front of the groom or stand up in front of the mother of the bride, and this isn't really something that I want to do, so I'm watching the action unfold around me and waiting for that second, when the music changes and the bride starts to come down the aisle, what you don't see here is two seconds later, that little girl sat down in my lap and stayed there for a solid thirty seconds, which was incredibly sweet. So we have the groom he's still waiting for the bride to come down the aisle and we're documenting not only his reaction but the reaction of the men with him and then we have the entrance of the bride and again I'm still down in the aisle and waiting for her to come everyone else has stood up but I'm not standing up myself I'm staying down and out of the way blocking nobody's view from what's going on around us it's more important to me that I stay unobtrusive then get up and get in the way I take a quick run down to the end of the aisle get ready and I'm waiting for the bride's dad to hand her off that moment when he kisses her on the cheek and gives her over to the groom once the bride has passed me in the aisle, I duck and run so that I can get down and out of the way while everyone is still standing up again staying on obtrusive so by the time they sit down I'm standing in the back of the space you can see they've come in from outside their grooms bride's dad is covered in rain on I'm back they're switching from my twenty four to seventy two my seventy two two hundred so I can start working that two cameras set up and we've got the hand off and I got it and then we're simply waiting for the ceremony to get going, and you can see in the shots and stills that air coming up, I'm working around the scene as best I can in this instance I was actually able to go down and around on this side you can see I'm mashed up against the wall, but if the chairs go all the way up to the wall that's not an option, so sometimes all you can do is work the very end of the aisle, which isn't ideal, but luckily the guests were very kind they let me get right in there, they let me come up right next to them, which gave me a vantage point from the ceremony that I wasn't certain if I was going to be ableto have so I'm working with horizontal tze and I'm working with verticals I'm trying to tell the story and is many different ways as I possibly can with a scene that is is admittedly very limited once things really get going when they start exchanging vows when they start exchanging rings, I do my best to make it back to the end of the aisle so that I'm ready for anything major that's about to happen I also know that I'm limited in the space so that if I'm off to either side, I'm really not going to be able to accurately document what's going on in front of me when the vowels and the ring exchange really gets going. I also wanted to make sure that a guest didn't move and I didn't get pinned into the wall so that I got stuck, so you can see that even though I'm working with a slightly limited space, I am working with the seventy two, two hundred millimeter going all the way between seventy and two hundred, and then I start trying to find something better. I go down to the very end of the aisle, I pull out my twenty four to seventy, and at the very end of the aisle can see her, I'm asking sander to pull those candles, and I'm basically mouth thing to her. This is it the very end of the aisle next to where the deejay has set up for the music, and I'm taking those last few seconds that I have and trying to see the scene in a different way. Making a last minute impromptu decision to start shooting through these candles and using them is a framing device to get your eye directly to the bride and groom. But as you can see, I just run back to the end of the aisle, I can hear that the ceremony is coming to an end, I'm waiting for the kiss to happen when you hear that. Moment when they're about to pronounce his man and wife, I do my absolute best of busted all the way back into the aisles so that I'm ready for the kiss the second that it happens doing the absolute best I can to capture the kiss. Luckily, they were sweet and lovely, and they went ahead and kissed for a nice few lovely seconds. But every once in a terrible while, the kisses super fast and you miss it, you're doing the best you khun d'oh! And again, I've been down in the aisle now I'm up in the aisle, they're going to start walking towards me and all I'm doing is waiting for them to move. My assistant is also there with the twenty four to seventy waiting for me in case I need to change cameras back and forth, use a different lens. Asi have switched over, waiting for them to come and also holding it for an extra second to get those bridesmaids and groomsmen as they process back out. It gives me another opportunity to document them during the recessional theywant down solo. They didn't walk together, so this gives me a chance to show you everything that went down.

Class Description

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

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

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

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


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



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

Tammy Hoherz

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