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30 Days of Wedding Photography

Lesson 42 of 76

Wedding Ceremony Demo

Susan Stripling

30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

42. Wedding Ceremony Demo


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

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.


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.