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Ceremony Q&A

Lesson 17 from: Creative Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

17. Ceremony Q&A

Lesson Info

Ceremony Q&A

How do you handle, like, guess taking pictures and especially when people in a group shot a large group shot are always kind of looking off to the side and being distracted? Yeah, that's really awesome. I love it when that happens really great. And that was sarcasm in case I wasn't laying it on anywhere near heavily enough, it happens right? Like, I'm never going to be able to make guests stop taking pictures, and while I understand that the unplugged wedding is like a thing now if I'm not enough of a professional to deal with what's happening around me, you know, maybe I've got bigger problems than whether or not somebody's brought an ipad to a wedding, so I'm never going to tell my clients, please don't tell people to stop taking pictures, however, if I'm shooting the formals and you've got that one uncle with the pretty good dslr that insists on taking every picture, I don't care that he's doing it. I care that my clients aren't looking at me because they don't know whether to look ...

at me or look at him, and a lot of times when we start shooting, they don't know whether to look at me or to look at my assistant with the light because they don't understand what she's doing. So she'll say, oh no look at susan I'll say no everybody look at me you don't have to look at her she's totally not interesting and then everybody laughs and anything that I can do to sort of lighten up the group I will but if the guy with the camera won't stop taking the pictures I don't want to tell him this is really passive aggressive like this is the southerner and me coming right out I don't want to tell him to stop because then he's going to remember me as the photographer jerk that made him stop and all he wanted to do was take pictures of his family what I'm going to do is I'm going to say you know what? Um you know what? Your uncle really wants to get a picture of you guys, so hold on just a second, all right, everybody look at her uncle, okay, you got it. Okay, good. And then I'll come in and be like, everybody look at me that works for about two groupings and then the bride will eventually be like god uncle john just sit down like she's got it it's cool the uncle loves me because I'm letting him get the shots he wants and somebody is going to shut that down like that and if not, I'll ask him, you know, if nobody steps in I'll say hey, you know, I know you're getting your shots and I know this is really important you and I don't want to stop you do you mind actually standing right behind me because that way when I have them looking at me they're also going to be looking straight towards your camera so you'll be able to get it and I'll be able to get it at the same time great now if I have got like ana swart mint of people behind me all taking pictures I'll say guys you can take pictures but if you don't mind let me get mine first and then you can shoot whatever you need and also you know you could take pictures during the reception to you can you know, get your family groupings later and if these pictures are really important to you guys they're going to get a hold of their digital files you khun use them for prints I could make prints for you let me just give you my card and you go enjoy yourself please but my favorite is the passive aggressive one because then I don't have to stop him then the bride's mom is like god will you just cut it out already and then I'm like, well, do you mind and he's like yeah, I gas so yeah, that was awesome shredding the runner here yes sir please do you ever take your take family portrait before the ceremony sometime and do you have a preference? And then if the photo, if the shoot is in the evening, do you suggest that maybe they do those in the afternoon? If I'm in the church, it doesn't matter whether it's after north outdoors I don't even mind doing them at night it's okay, okay it's fine like it's the exact same principles of shooting I don't care for outside generally it's just harder to wrangle the groups outside more often than not if it's night time they're gonna want to stay inside and I would actually rather do them after the ceremony because, as I mentioned yesterday, if we're trying to do the portrait's before the ceremony, if anything runs behind in the timeline, I'm the one that's going to lose out on the time that I need I'd rather do them immediately after the ceremony, I know that everybody is gonna be right there, I can get them done and we can get out of here if the ceremony's at three thirty and we're doing the family formals it too, and that I had too much to drink last night and he's running a little bit late and her grandmother took a little bit too long and she's running a little bit behind in the groom's parents had the wrong address for that church and then they're late my pictures are going to suffer so I would rather do them after when I know that everybody is right there yes ma'am so if you weren't shooting these outdoors yes you're which we will in the next time you want okay yes please uh any special thoughts on if the door is open letting light streaming in their backlit yeah what about large professionals where you've got party stacking up on each other too fast and that is actually a huge problem if the door's open behind them before they come down the I'll I'll generally shoot a silhouette of them when the doors open and then I will wait to shoot the picture of them until they've cleared the doors and come most of the way down the aisle that way they're out of that darkness or that brightness back there and they've come into kind of something more manageable when they're coming in in a stacked up thing that's one of the only times that I'll actually stand up I'll get up and I'll move about two feet off I'll and I'll just try to get waist up shots of every person that comes down but that's that's a nightmare I mean you're right like that's really hard when they stack up but I can't shoot straight into it I have to come off to the side and just try to pick them off is they come down but usually from like here up because I can't get a full length because, you know, the angle just doesn't work other questions about this together feeling good, and I know there's been some questions about but how would we do this if it were outside after the lunch break? Our bride and groom were going to go outside for their portrait, and I'll probably snagged the bridal party as well to take a few pictures of them outside with the bride and groom, and then we'll move on from there so you'll get to see what would I do with my flash, where we actually outside for this part of the day? Yes, sorry, one more. Uh, I'm assuming that if you have an extra large group because some cultures have large as they do, absolutely you would switch teo short life, I would have to say, and it would make me kind of sad, but I wouldn't think he very much for actually bringing that up it's actually a very important point, like let's say that we've got twenty five, people in this grouping, and we've got some people standing up on the steps and some people standing on the ground and some people sitting down and there's no way I can shoot that with the seventy two, two hundred I'll come to the end of the aisle here and I'll turn and I'll shoot it this way with my twenty four to seventy and my assistant who's been out here. Well, then come and stand directly behind me with the flash, like, right up over my head like that, the reason being that when the group is so large, if we don't have a light balancing it out on the other side when that light hits this side, it's going to hit this side, but not that side, so I would rather just a nice generic right up over my head as high as they can shot, then half well lit in half, not well lit, but that is the one time that I will change my linens and actually come up closer if I have to. Questions from the internet or house internet feeling they're gray, they've got lots of questions for you, theo let's see so vp bowers wants to know would you ever set up a remote camera? If you're not in a good position to know, should ceremony too complicated? I mean again, I know photographers that do I know a lot of videographers that d'oh, but I have never been in a scenario where the remote camera would have benefited me enough to go through the hassle of setting it up in managing it sure, okay? And we have a question from heidi to marco what do you do if you don't have an assistant to hold the flash there's the polite answer and then there is the more realistic answer the blight answer is if you don't have an assistant to hold the fat flashed by a really cheap light stand you know you can do what I've got on the mon apart here you could take this entire thing that I've got screwed on here and screwed onto the top of a light stand that's fine the more realistic answer is getting assistant why are you going at this on your own like this is so complicated you know when so many moving pieces is that sometimes like during a reception one time one of my flashes sailed on the other flash was on the other camera and my third flash was in my photo my photo booth on our fourth flash was in the spare bag in the car so I had to keep going and she had to run out to the car and get it if I had been by myself that would've been a disaster and also I mean god forbid knock on wood what if I fell down and broke my ankle in the middle of a wedding? At least she can pick up the camera and keep going while I'm frantically calling for backup but assistance are generally pretty easy to find um you don't have to pay them an extraordinary amount of money. I started off my assistant at a lower pay rate than she's getting now and raised it incrementally based on kind of how invaluable she was to me if she's watching this she doesn't actually need to know that I would literally give her whatever she wanted to never leave me actually teo going now I have to give you a raise fantastic that's fantastic but I pay her base rate for an eight hour day and then she gets paid above and beyond if the day is longer or if we have to travel or quite honestly if the day is absolutely awful incredibly difficult I'll give her hazard pay on top of it so I mean if you have an assistant and you love them and you treat them very, very, very well hopefully they'll never leave you and my assistant I also think it really bears mentioning she's not a photographer she doesn't want to be a wedding photographer she doesn't want to open her own studio, which is perfect for me because the last thing I want is to work for somebody for a period of time and then have them go out on their own doing exactly what I do yes sir, you have ah howto find somebody like that I found my assistant on twitter just by asking but if you don't I kind of have the ability to do that like local people groups like any kind of meat up get together things even like chamber of commerce small business get togethers and my husband finds his assistance on craigslist a lot I mean you have to vet them really carefully and you know obviously sometimes you work with somebody and it doesn't work out but it's a good place to start looking yeah right way have ah question from photo love cat to susan lim family formal groups for example what if the bride gives you forty plus groups she wants you to shoot how do you handle that? They could give me as many groups as they want and I don't mind but we just have to have the time for it and I'll tell them listen you gave me forty groupings this is going to take about so tell me about ninety minutes if not a little bit longer to get it done if we can work ninety minutes into the schedule to as many groupings as you want I'm totally fine with that but if we're going to be doing all of these during caught tell our can we look at consolidating them because as it is there's just no way that we can get all of these images that right usually during the amount of time that we have during cocktail hour I can get my basic list in about five or six additional requests and still have a good ten to fifteen minutes with the bridegroom great, we have another question from vp bowers, would you ever set up a remote camera if not allowed to be in a good position to photograph the ceremony? Oh, I think we have that one and no, I would never again it's not gonna happen. I've thought about it and I've seen videographers do and they do a beautiful job with, like the time lapse. But when I'm thinking of doing something a little outside of the norm, I have to think of with the benefits of what the camera's going to get outweigh the frustration in the hassle of putting it together and then managing it and then worrying about it it would just stress me out needless ling yes, internet feeling a feeling punchy, everybody good? Yeah, I mean there's just so much coming in. Well, that's good. Yeah, that people are actually talking it's great, really good things. Yes, they're all good things. They're just lots of questions about lots of about the flashes, about grain and s so there was one question let's see, robert, why shoot with such a high eso when using flash um or what kind of a glib answer, but because I can I mean, my camera at sixteen hundred looks phenomenal, I don't I don't need to be and I know it's kind of an old photography ruled to be it like so two hundred or so four hundred, but if I could go to sixteen hundred and have the light be nice and natural and lovely, why wouldn't I? The final image is going to be beautiful, sure, but again, if this doesn't work for you if you would rather light it a different way or if you think that what I'm saying is completely boneheaded, you don't have to do it if you've got a way that works for you, please do it on I know that there are lots of questions again about the settings and what would you do if this and what we you do if that and that's part of why I wrote that portrait's think book before all of this was because I know that when I'm a learner, I need to see it and then I need to read it. So I detailed every single one of these sections over and over and over again with this is the brand of camera this is the brand of lynn's, these air, the settings that I use. So if this sort of went by in a massive blur, I highly recommend putting the think book with, of course download and going out them together, and then you'll get both ways of looking at it and you can rewind me over and over and over again. And you do have a think book that is specifically about ceremony. I have a thing because specifically about portrait. Portrait, family, formals in an outdoors, bridal portrait's in an outdoors, double exposures and silhouettes.

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Susan Stripling Presentation Slides

Ratings and Reviews


Outstanding, one of the best courses on Creative Live. Wow! The delivery is sharp, on point, and focused. I've learned tons. There are so many gems I've watched this video many times and have now purchased more videos from Susan Stripling. Outstanding presenter. My photography has already improved greatly by implementing some of the techniques shown.

a Creativelive Student

The content of the course was perfectly taught at a "real" level. Susan's work clearly, speaks for itself, but her willingness to be so generous with her knowledge is fantastic. She has become an instant favorite of mine and her style is truly special and unique. The course was reasonably priced and I am beyond thrilled that I have taken the time to learn from one of the best in the industry. INCREDIBLE course in every way!!


I Loved this course. I would definitely take another course by Susan Stripling. Her images are beautiful. She has the posing, timing, lighting, mood, etc. all down perfectly and makes amazing, beautiful pictures. She is an excellent communicator as a teacher too.

Student Work