Interview with Susan Stripling
Everybody welcome susan's airplane susan how are you doing generally good I miss you guys out in seattle but wedding season is getting started here so it's gonna be a big year also yeah we miss you too it's been fantastic tell us a little bit about your creative composition course from for a week sure the creative composition course basically takes one wedding from start to finish from the getting ready all the way through the ceremony family formals bridegroom together and reception and just shows you how you can stay fresh and state the unique and maybe see something a little bit different every song single time you go out to a wedding so instead of just showing kind of the best of the best of all of my images I just took one wedding and we go from beginning to end with it that is so awesome because we do we frequently see the highlights we see like one image from this one in one image from that one but understanding the wedding as a whole package is a really different way to see it ...
and I really enjoyed your your course so I'm excited for people to be able to see it but something that I wanted to spend a little bit of time talking about because it just happened a little bit ago and was a huge event was our thirty days of wedding photography with susan stripling how was that experience for you long no, it was I mean, it was amazing it did two things really it let me teach every single thing that I have always wanted to teach day by day and piece by piece and really it's spend a lot of time with every segment, and it also personally forced me to go back to the very beginning of my career and all the work I've done and all the business and marketing decisions that I've made and re evaluate all the changes that I have made decisions that I've made along the way and it just really helped, you know, it helped a lot of other photographers, but it also helped myself free solidify what I'm doing now and how I want to continue moving forward. So it is what do we could figure out? It was something like forty seven hours worth of what a photography education and, you know, there there's not a whole lot of other educational opportunities out there that will give you the same thing. So I I like to think that it's pretty unique. Yeah, it is because again, we we frequently see, like a chunk here or a chunk there, and this was seeing that whole package which is so valuable to people because it is something that is hard to find it's not out there in many places that I know of where you khun actually follow along with a professional working wedding photographer from the start to the finish so what's like your favorite memory of that course what was the what was a moment that stands out for you? Honestly, for me actually the moment that most stood out for me was pulling out my pricing calculator and not only having to take that calculator and lay it out and teach everyone from all the components and all of the things that go into pricing for profitability. But it again it made me refocus on all of my numbers, which I try to do really regularly, but at the start of the wedding season it was especially helpful seeing how much money I needed to bring in this year, seeing that I was still priced for profitability, knowing that two thousand fourteen I was going to be a good year and then it also let me make some budgetary decisions on here that I wanted to buy and investments that I wanted to make for the year. So I feel like doing all of that was a big moment for me because it helped me make some decisions that maybe I wouldn't have this year if I hadn't looked at my numbers as hard as I did and continue to that's so funny because our co founder craig swanson is always saying that he thinks the best creative live events are the ones where the instructor takes his much away from it as the audience does and it sounds like this actually gave you a chance to really reevaluate your own work as you like what am I going to teach this? Well, am I doing that and am I doing it right and that's really cool being able to actually see have that effect as well? I love that that's nice I think it's also very helpful for us his photographic instructors to not stand here and pretend that we have the answers to everything all the time and that we make right decisions all the time is very honest with the decisions that I've made that haven't been great or maybe not, you know, it's financially productive is I wanted them to be and, you know, learning from my own words is you know, I think that that's a very helpful thing for people to know that even the instructors that are getting up there and teaching you are still continuing to take their own fight to take their own advice and just try to better themselves in all arenas. Yeah, because if you're not constantly evaluating as things change, then you're using information that's old and you're following something ah situation that's may not necessarily apply and that's I think a concept that is is universal not just in the in the business side not just in the pricing but in your craft in your creative composition are you still doing something that was stylistically appropriate ten years ago but is not what people are expecting now I mean it's it's that that question of constant self analysis that will really drive you to a successful business so I absolutely agree with you love that ok so let's talk a little bit about what you've got going on right now what is new and big in the world of susan strip lengths well, I spent a lot of time during thirty days talking about mistakes that I've made and sort of things that I said I would never ever do again and one of the and I hate to use the word mistake because I think that we learned from everything that we've done but I said that one of the moves that I made that wasn't a very good one was when I opened a studio back in and those two thousand six but it wasn't a good move for me at the time and that I really never saw myself opening guys you two go again I'm actually opening a studio um no I had a really wonderful opportunity to share a studio space with a really good friend of mine so it's enabling need to not make the mistakes that I made before the financial overhead is split between two people instead of one and I know very clearly in concrete lee what I want to shoot in the space so I'm not just going into it saying, well she you know whatever people hire me to shoot I have a strong business plan this time I have an idea of where this is going and never say never you know, I can sit here all day long and say I've never ever ever going to do this but when an opportunity presents itself to serve my clients in a new way I ran the numbers I looked at all of the specs and decided to just jump and go for it so we get into our states officially in may and a wedding season is started and just looking some clients and keeping keeping happy that's really what this year is about that's fantastic I love that congratulations on the new space I love that again you're talking taking your own advice of constantly reevaluating and figuring out profitability like does it make sense numerically for mito be in the studio space yes or no trying it out I love it ok, so a couple questions we've been asking everyone that we have on so I love to hear your thoughts on this first of all we what are some of the questions you teach a lot? What are some of the questions that you hear a lot from other wedding photographers? A lot of wedding photographers actually want to go back to the basics and talk about what's in your bag everybody's really interested in the gear that you're going to a wedding, that the things that you're using to make the images that you are? I just bought any night twenty four s, which is my newest tool, which is super exciting, it's, kind of the best camera I've ever owned start enjoying that also it's like, practical, it's, beautiful, and a lot of times that the other questions I get asked most often is, where do I get inspiration? And you get inspiration earlier from tv, from these from my husband, whose extraordinary photographer fashion magazines just being out in the world is inspiring to me. So those were those were definitely the two that I get asked the most, I love it, and then one other question that I'm sure you get asked a lot. Also, what is something that you wish you had known when you first started out your wedding business? Yeah, two things actually, first and foremost, that this isn't a hobby, that this is a business, and going into it and thinking, I'll just take some really pretty pictures at weddings, and people will give me money for it and that's a great idea, and that's, why we all get into it, but I wish I'd stay started it more as a business from the beginning and less as more like a creative hobby I think a lot of people miss out on the business aspects until they've been in business for a couple of years you have to go back and kind of scramble um the other thing that I wish I'd done is not cared so much about what other photographers were doing or what they thought about what I was doing but to put my head down and keep on going it's really important to stay on top of what the trends are just so you know what everyone's doing around you but staring at other photographers working and comparing yourself to what they're doing and oh my gosh, maybe I'm not as good as they are I don't know if it'll make you crazy so I just don't do it I love that I mean that's something that I think we all struggle with as artists is that is that question of self worth and is my work worth charging for and that I love the idea of actually treating your business as a business? I mean that's that's key it's funny when people ask me what my recommendation of like which courses should I watch on creative live ninety percent of time we check out the business courses check out of course is that talk about how to run your photography business as a suspect as a successful business like it's you have to master the craft no question but that will only allow you to take good pictures. It won't allow you to me, make photography your life absolutely, and I mean creative life has so many classes not even in the photography realm, but just about business and about marketing and about social media, and it doesn't have to say how to run your wedding photography business for it to be a good business class. It's. I wish I'd take in many more business classes that had nothing to do with photography before I ever got started. I kind of had to learn in the field, and if there's anything that I could do or teachers say or advise, that makes it easier for somebody else, hopefully I can help. Yeah, well, I think that you have helped quite a lot, both with your photo week courses and with your thirty days and your other courses. So thank you again for joining us for taking time out of your day to say, hi, we miss you as well. So it was good to chat with you briefly. Absolutely. All right, thanks again, susan.