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Finances Q&A

Lesson 30 from: Creative Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

30. Finances Q&A

Lesson Info

Finances Q&A

And so denise and you, ex photography have a similar question, what do your travel rates and how do you factor and travel expenses for destination wedding? Ok, that's fantastic. I used to do a lot of destination weddings, and it wasn't because I wanted to it was because I was based in florida and everything was a destination, and I used to fly a lot to different places to shoot weddings, and it was it was something that I had to do instead of something that I wanted to do, so I had to build those into my collections. Now I don't want to, because if we're looking at a weekend in september when I can shoot two, maybe three weddings, if I stay at home, I don't want to go somewhere else, you know, it is not going to be financially a smart decision for me to go somewhere else, and you know what? I don't care if your wedding is in mexico and I don't care where it is. Actually, I hope it's not in mexico because I can't legally work there. Um, neither can you, by the way, unless you have the p...

roper paperwork, but that is neither here nor there, but if your wedding is in france, right? It doesn't matter, you know, when I want to go to france on vacation I don't wanna go to france for work because what I'm going to see a france while I'm at work is france going by in the car as I go to your wedding in france going by in the cars? I come home from your wedding and then I'm gonna go home as fast as I can, so for destination weddings, my rates for collection three begin at eight thousand dollars for the exact same thing the collections are the same the prices are adjusted accordingly for destination weddings where I have to get on a plane, you have to reimburse me for myself and my assistant tow fly two to three nights in a hotel room and a rental car transportation to the airport, it's expensive and it's not in with nowadays, with everybody giving away destination weddings, they're not going to book me. I also won't even entertain a destination wedding unless it's november, december, january, february sometimes march in april during the major months here, it's still at that price, not even a smart decision for me to take a destination wedding, and I break my rule every once in a while. I'm going back to wisconsin next june, and I'm giving up a whole weekend, but it's to work for a family that I love, you know and it's one of those things where they got some more unmarried daughters you know, it's I mean, come on and they're all beautiful and sweet and they're great people and sometimes you break your own rules for a good reason, but if you email me and I in your wedding sounds really great, you're even willing to hire me and take me away on labor day weekend I'm not gonna do that that's like the super bowl of wedding weekend, I could do to maybe three and then I could sleep in my own bed, you know that would be pretty all right for a travel wedding. My rates are for new york, new jersey, philadelphia, long island that's about it if it's longer than three or four hours in the car, we're probably going to take the train because traffic is a nightmare, but if it's a longer drive but it doesn't involve getting on a plane, then each of my collections is five hundred dollars more expensive and they have to reimburse me for two to three nights in a hotel room, and if we're going to take the train, they have to reimburse me for the train. You know, my time is so precious with so many weddings, you know, these are some of the things that I'm not willing to budge on which our travel fees you know, those are things that you are definitely going to pay me travel fees no matter what and do you like to book all the travel yourself and then have them reimburse you my god, do not let them book to travel for you and it's not because they're gonna, you know, pinch pennies or make dumb decisions there, they're going to do what they think is good, but it might not be what you want. So I say that I make all of my travel arrangements also because they don't know where I'm coming from. Maybe I'm in seattle and I have to go shoot a wedding somewhere else, so maybe I need a weird routed ticket or I'm gonna fly from philly. I'm gonna fly from dc or I want to kind of maybe bump it up and, like, upgrade myself to first class if it's a reasonable thing, you know all of those things, considering I'm going to book my own travel and they're going to reimburse me. I'm gonna tell him listen, I'm not gonna put myself up in a five diamond hotel unless your wedding is at that five diamond hotel and there's nothing else like remotely near you, you then I need to be where you are, but I'm not gonna let them that's just asking for a number one to travel disaster and number two very awkward encounters with your clients. And a question from sean how do you handle draws versus paychecks? And do you rent space in your home to your business? I don't rent space in my home to my business. I talk to my accountant about this long and hard I put I have a like about sixteen hundred square feet, which is huge for an apartment in brooklyn, and one of the bedrooms is dedicated for my business. However, because of the way I do business because of the amount of collection threes that I sell, I don't pay a ton in sales tax, I don't collect a ton in sales tax, pardon me, so I know I'm a little bit of a red flag, we took a look at the pros and cons of a tax deduction of the space in my home, and we realize that for what it would actually save me, the red flag that it would raise wouldn't really be worth it, so I don't actually don't I could on technically, I'm not writing myself a paycheck, I call it a paycheck, but I'm not pulling my taxes out and paying my taxes every single time that I am paying myself. It is technically a draw out of my business, but I'm viewing it as my paycheck as my payroll, I'm marketing quickbooks as payroll, and it goes in the draws as we're doing accounting later it's a very, very, very good question. When I was an escort when I was working in florida, we used a company called paychecks that would pay cheques is fantastic. So once a week I would automatically put in my salary the hours my employees had worked and they generated the paycheck, pulled the taxes, filed the forums and then direct deposited our money. It doesn't make any sense to do it whatsoever when I'm in llc with one employee me and when I pay my assistant, she is casual labour. She's ten, ninety nine at the end of the year. She's, not an employee. Great, we've had a little bit of change direction. We've had quite a few questions about your photo booths, how you price them, how you set them up, what it includes, how you sell them any information you want. Of course, again, if we're speaking totally candidly, I love hate my photo booth. Um, I love it because it's it's wonderful it's a little it's easy, it's light it's portable the company that makes it isn't around anymore. They were kind of a short term endeavour. That is the sort of thing that you can make yourself, you know, it's, basically a backdrop on metal bars. A metal bar that connects it to a box with my camera in it and I have my d seven hundred innit? Thirty five millimeter lens on it flash bouncing into an umbrella it's controlled by pushing a button it doesn't print at all because then it would require an employee you set it up, you turn it on, they push a button, I go home, I download I upload that's it it's easy um it's becoming a major hassle and mostly it's because of venues mishandling where they go because I have to set it up myself. And if I know where it's going to be, we just get there early. We set it up when it's ready to go we turn it on and we walk away. But then if they have to move it, I'm the one that has to move it or then what happens when a client tells me to put it in a location that is not a good location for and I told them that it's not a good location for it, they put it there anyway and no one uses it. So when it works it works phenomenally. But if I'm being completely honest here it is one of the things that we struggle with, its one thing that I'm always considering striking from the price list because the marketing from it is phenomenal you do the pictures, you put them up on your facebook page, the clients see them they start tagging themselves like mad and then they're friends start seeing them and they've got your watermark on it and it's like super great really fantastic but then you have to balance it with my assistant and I constantly worrying isn't gonna break worrying are they going? And after a few snack foods with people putting them in in convenient locations and people not really using them it's become a little bit of a headache so you know it's a good thing maybe I raise the price on it a little bit and have somebody who just comes in baby sit sit during the reception but it is one of those things were constantly kind of despite all of the wonderful aspects of it I'm always toying with pulling it off the price list and we've a couple questions regarding why clients since you're giving them the high rez files, why would a client upgrade to the middle package for an album when they could do the album themselves? And the same thing is why would they hey forty dollars for an eight by ten reprint what additional value do you provide that gets them in order that well, first of all they can't order the album that I'm making for them themselves madeira does not sail does not sail what was that wow hayes you're wondering I'm from georgia no madura doesn't sell to the public you can't make an album it's going to look like what I'm going to make for you you know if you see the value in the twenty five hundred dollars leather bound hand designed hand retouched album great if you don't want to make it yourself okay you know I'm not going to try to force you into an album but the album is they are handmade you know that it's look out a leather cover on it I am going to do the layout for you you don't have to do it yourself you may say you want to but you don't um I will guarantee your album if something happens to it we will fix it for you and I do retouch additionally the images that go in the album they'll get a little extra layer of love if we're going to remove that exit sign from that professional picture that we took yesterday that's not happening in the proof stage that's happening in the album stage okay or if they don't have an album they have a slew of digital work they want done to their images then it's a per hour retouching fee why should they spend forty dollars with me to get an eight by ten I don't know why should they and um what I could guarantee them with their eight by ten is that I will retouch it I will be touch it as much as they want it it's going to go through a professional re toucher so on their side do they either way try to learn how to retouch their print themselves and then print it themselves do they want to send it to like retouch up which is just screw it up anyhow and then upload it themselves? I can guarantee that it's going to be on paper that's not going to fade I can guarantee that it's going tio not huh run when you lick your finger and run your hand over it that the colors are goingto look correct that I could do some additional artwork to it and also so that you don't have to do it yourself and the problem is if the clients don't see value in the things that you're selling them or the things that you offer them there's absolutely no reason why they should buy it from you so that's part of your job is selling the value of the products that you're selling them and selling the investment and if you don't believe in it and you can't explain to them why an album is worth twenty five hundred dollars they shouldn't buy it from you you're all looking at me with with a mixture of like sadness and a little bit of hate michelle okay promise your s o two parter on your digital collection one does it include the special love you gave for the bloggin facebook it does and tio how large can they printed too? So if they wanted like a sixteen by twenty four cannabis could they print it from the set they give him? Yeah, okay, I don't resident I don't bring down the resolution of the images that I give them I know some people will be like you get them at four by six eyes and I want to say if you give him no it four by six size they're going to try to print that sixteen by twenty anyhow, you know what I mean if you give you give them proofs but not files and you think they're not scanning their proof you're delusional they're scanning their proofs I mean, they are I would, you know, and it's it's not anything additional to me to give them the high high high rez. And I will have clients will make a dumb decision and like take them to the duane reade and print them and then the really angry that they're like magenta and covered in dots. But unless they're going to take my recommendations on going to em picks and having them printed there, I can't guarantee the quality and I told them I can't guarantee the quality of anything that you're going to do with those files unless you do them through may be in an album or a print or your face is on a frickin blanket I can't you know I mean I can't tell you that they're going to be able to do for you what I know that my vendors khun do for you so sure maybe you'll have great success finding that off name leather bound album on the internet but it might fall apart next year and you can't get mad at me for that you know, I had a book that will last forever for you and it wasn't in your budget to buy it carolina is interested in knowing how often you look for new products to put into your collections you know I don't really that often actually I'm not looking to put gimmicky things and like for a long time there was this whole you know and then you have your ipad collection where you get your images on an ipad and I'm like dude, I'm going to give you an ipad because next year there'll be a better ipad and then next year they'll be the I better than the ipad you know what I mean that's that's what I think is always going on and on and I'm not a huge fan of gimmicks or like new little quirky products if I were a portrait photographer and when I was a portrait photographer and I know that some of you are portrait photographers I was always looking for the latest and greatest no, he's, always looking for who is the new album, you know, not the album company who's, the new framing company that will do these quirky new things, or who's doing new jewelry because I was trying to stay on top of it with repeat clients, always trying to give them something new and interesting. That's a different business model, I'm trying to give you beautiful photographs, beautiful prince and beautiful albums. If there's something else you want, I can source it for you, but I don't want to constantly be changing up my offering of products or always trying to improve upon the vendors that I'm working with. I have good relationships with all of the vendors that I worked with for a reason, like they know me at madeira, they know they get all of my books, they know that I can call them in a blind panic and say, oh, god, a mother of the bride just checked in on her album, and I thought I'd ordered it, and I'd never ordered it and it's been three months, and I don't know how they got checked off in my work flow, but guys, is there any way that I can have it in, like, two weeks? I'll even pay our rush, and I'm not just some new person, they they don't know I'm I'm a repeat business customer and we have a relationship and I can ask them for a favor and they can ask me for a favor so I don't want to constantly be dumping my vendors for finding new things and I'm not ever going to be one of those photographers who goes toe like trade shows and it's like so tell me what you can do for me to get me away from the album company that I'm working with or the lab that I'm working with I mean loyalty counts for something as well so that he said, you know, I ended up with madeira because they could provide a better quality than some of the other album companies that I was working with and there's nothing wrong if you're working with a company and they're not giving you what you need from them or what you used to get from them replacing them with something better but I just don't want to be hopscotching through different vendors to constantly be trying to find new things. Um we do have a question about how let's see from amy from amy how do you communicate tactfully with your clients to let them know that product quality will be better with your vendors? You straight up tell them tell them I tell them hands down when they'll say listen it's almost twenty five hundred dollars that seems incredibly expensive you know, why is this better than the blur book that I'm going to print on the internet? I'm going to say, well, you know, blurb does a really good job. First of all, I'm not going to dis what they want to do that's kind of rude, so blurred does a really good job, you know, I've actually printed a couple of like, little things for my kids here and there from them when, you know, when the quality didn't need to be that good um, e when I just needed something light and fast and easy, you know, it was like for a school project or something like that, but what I can give you the reason why you're going to spend this amount of money on this premiere thing is because I can guarantee the quality of it, I can guarantee the longevity of it, I can guarantee the longevity of the printing and the prince that you're going to get. I can guarantee the quality of the retouching that will happen to these images. I can guarantee the quality of the care that will be given to it with the layout and to be perfectly honest, also with you, I'm not just making this album just to give it to you, I also need to make a profit on it if I'm going to sell it to you. So yes, it is a little bit more expensive because I need to make some money on it too and clients were like no no we understand even if it's out of their budget it's making an album for them is not a charity if you buy a burger blood you buy a book from blurb love is taking a cut of what you're paying you know they're making money on that too why shouldn't I be making money when I saw something and that's a very odd thing in the thing that I noticed that a lot of photographers have problems with and if I'm being perfectly honest a lot of female photographers have problems with being honest with their clients that they're in this to make money because I'm giving you a beautiful product but I'm also going to make a profit on that product and I refuse to be apologetic about that you know you know that vendors you buy from or going to mark up what they do because I am a one person female business that doesn't mean that I should be doing it any differently yes ma'am, thank you now going to your image is being downloaded now do your clients react favourably tonight that they don't how do you respond to that? Because I think that's one thing that I'm kind of here they do react favourably to it and the reason being is that they get them right away when they get the going to get the e mail that the images are online they could go on directly start downloading them and I also sell it to them in a way that he's very positive you the images are online it is also my online backup for the images as well they will stay up there now I know that if I sent you a dvd you'd have to put that dvd on your computer then you'd have to download it then you'd have to burn your mama dvd and your mama dvd and you know so on and so forth this way just share the link with your family there you go on clients are like, oh my gosh that's so easy and I say listen, though once you do download and this is in the email that I sent them when everything is online when you do download everything you know please back them up and then please stay current with whatever technology for backups is current I don't want you to, you know, be busting on eight track ten years from now and you can't get to your digital files because it's an archaic way of backing them up you know you need teo, you know, do it yourself and some clients will still be like, you know, but I just really want to but I just really want oh I really want to touch something. I have a usb drive, it's branded with my logo on it, a little pretty box and everything and if if that's really a big thing for them, when it comes right down to it, okay, I'll put him on and I'll send him over to that's fine it's not that big of a deal, you're going to just lose it anyhow, what about up sales for albums like, do you over design and okay, do I know? You know what? I have a lot of photographers that will do that bill over design, and then they'll be like, no, you know, if you don't want what's in here, just let me know what to take out, and I have never been very comfortable with doing that, and I know several people who do it in a way that I'd buy it right, and I'm like the most I see that stuff coming from a mile away, and I'd still be like, I'm taking it all, and then I'd be like, what did I just do? But I just I I simply can't design and sell that way. What I tell people when it comes to their album design is listen, you have sixty five images in your book don't feel like you have to keep it at sixty five if you're calling down and you're trying to figure out how many you want in your book and you end up with ninety or you wind up with one hundred or you end up with one hundred twenty five, just go gently on it let me know what your final number is I'll give you some options for upgrading your book. Okay, maybe it's I want to put fifty extra images in the book. Okay, well, your options are I can charge you x for that or you could do that and then you can also make the book physically bigger for why? So maybe you want your nine by twelve book with sixty five images to go up to ninety images? We can do that for five hundred dollars or you wanted to go up ninety images, but you then wanted to go up to a ten by fifteen sighs well, that's twelve fifty so I'll give them options so instead of them trying to look at a price list and being like, okay, I need to pick twenty five more and then point five more I'd rather than come back to me with a number I can give them an estimate and then they can either say, ok, that sounds great are they could say, you know what? We're gonna trim a little bit more and then we'll come back to you and for me, I find that they're just very comfortable with me when I do that, maybe I could make more out of them if I pushed him a little harder with a design that they couldn't say no to, but I feel like the mentality of the clients that I'm working within the area that I'm in, they don't respond very favorably to something like that. So is the designing tougher, if let's say they picked the sixty five themselves and there might be holes in the way the story's laid out? How does that work? The polite response to the real response in syria when fleeing my problem? Okay, I'm sorry, it's not up to me to tell you what to put in your book, I've done elms and her like one getting ready picture one ceremony picture, fifty family formals and ten pictures from the reception and that's it. And if that's what you want, I'll make that for you. I have no problems with that that's fine, but when something like that usually happens, the client will come back to me and we'll be like, listen, we've picked our sixty five this in no way tells a story, I don't know what to do like we're really stuck, what do you recommend me dio then I'll recommend something that's in the package that they've chosen like well, listen, you guys have got a lot of family formals in them why don't we consolidate down the family formals put in some war images that tell the story and then you can still stay your sixty five or hey guys, are you kind of amenable toe like, you know, a five hundred dollars upgrade it will give you twenty five more images in the book and it'll let us tell a little bit more of a story either way you go I'm giving you good advice whichever one you take or if you say you know what, we just want it this way I'll design it that way when it comes right down to it it's not what I want their book to look like it's what they want their boat toe look like if they want me to put a picture of their face over a faded out picture of their bouquet whatever you want that's fine, I don't mind it's fine you're the client naomi on this has this has nothing to do with pricing but it has been this related and I know you work with sandra your assistant. Yes now from the start did you have like a contract that you had her sign or because I worked with an assistant now and I actually did have her sign a contract, so I'm thinking of going back and I mean to tell you the honest truth know at the time I did not have her sign a contract I hope she's not watching this um no I didn't have her sign a contract and it was because I was slightly ignorant right and going back I probably should have had her sign some sort of contract but I don't know what it would have been or what it would have been for my trying to do a non compete am I trying to say if you promise to show up to a wedding you're going to show up to a wedding am I trying to bind her to work for me for a period of time? She's worked for hire like I pay her every time she works for me and if she doesn't work for me I don't have to have her back and work for you no, I couldn't let her go at any point in time she's not my employee um so no, I don't have her balance any type of work contract if I had a second shooter that would be a different story but I can if it's happened before she's called me up on a friday night, had a family emergency a legit family emergency and couldn't come to a wedding on a saturday I found someone else who could help me it's not like I couldn't come to the wedding and they had to sabino at the end of the day I can do ninety percent of what she's doing I could put the light together, I can put it in somebody's hands I could probably do it with a light stand if I had to I would have a coronary if I had to on dh to me she is indispensable like I love her like a sister she is my family but if she ever couldn't work for me anymore, I could replace her I don't want to, but I could, but I can't I can't imagine why I would need to bind my assistant to a contract. What about, like when I think about it every now and then what if not gone would you know she gets hurt during my time? I don't know if like I was just thinking if that's something I need to put on a contract but that's not and not something I can't tell you that something I would recommend you talk to your lawyer about honestly and I've given thought to that like, what happens if she gets hurt on the job who is responsible for that? And these are things that until I started shooting a lot of weddings until I started having an assistant that worked with me full time like like not by full time I mean, with at all of my weddings that I started thinking about um who pays if she gets hurt? You know, she covered under my business insurance when we go out on jobs together but that doesn't cover medical very well, you know, stuff like that. So if that's something that's a concern of yours which it is a very valid concern hit up a lawyer and I asked them honestly and I I am fine saying I don't know and season a quick follow up on that what if your assistant gets sick or if you get sick the day of the shoot the day of a wedding, what my assistant gets sick and she legit can't come? I am this is where I am extraordinary for literally my words are gone extraordinarily fortunate to be where I am in the industry that I could get on the internet and scream in all capitals help me and someone somewhere would know someone who could come and help me and I am thankful for that, like literally every single day I would have to be dead to not go to a wedding like I would have to be crawling on my bloody stumps dragging my you know what I mean? Like it's not like I wake up in the morning and I'm like I'm sick I can't go to work it's just not an option I have shot with a kidney stone I have shot with shingles which ah wow so bad you know I'm shot with the flu I have been incredibly sick at weddings before I've done some of my best work while taking cold meds and having strep throat you know what I mean it but it's one of those things where I'm like listen, I've gotta go do eight hours and I've just got to do it so you know jesus and my immune system get me through like you just kind of go do it and with enough advil and just not thinking about it you khun you can power through most my biggest fear this is plastic that is stake would you don't want my biggest fear is getting the stomach flu you can't control that we're gonna do projectile vomit in the middle of a wedding that scares the ever loving me but again this is where having a husband who's a photographer is a good thing and having my best friend's be photographers there good things um I would just call on everybody that I could to help but it would take an awful lot for me to not show up on a wedding day because when it comes right down to it, all we have is our reputation and all it would take his susan stripling doesn't show upto weddings it's over like it's game over like everything's over my teaching career, everything benito and I in thirteen years I've never missed a wedding ever but you know what also respectfully when it comes right down to it if my children were seriously ill for your wedding like I'm sorry like there's there are things that on this and it's my grandmother's funeral for a wedding but if my kids are sick well someone's gotta cover it for me and you're just gonna have to live with it but it would mean not have strep you have strep c a sunday you know what I mean they would have to be grievously ill and god forbid none of us ever have to find out what that's like but my family comes first it does within reason obviously you know my husband's birthday we're gonna book weddings you know my daughter has a serious illness somebody else can cover your wedding respectfully and if if you can't understand that as a client well karma's gonna get you in the end isn't it yes uh maybe you're gonna address is in the last section but why don't you use the second shooter because I don't need one okay that I need one there's nothing that they're gonna do for me that I can't do by myself other than shoot the guys getting ready okay you mentioned the other day something about the paying them or the tax issues okay like I legit don't want teo like it all I think it when clients ask we can talk about this in and marketing kind of how you're selling yourselves the things that clients want from you if they ask why I don't need a second shooter I direct them back to those featured galleries on my site I say please take a look at these these were all shot by me please let me know what you're not seeing in these galleries that you think a second shooter would be able to bring to the day and if they have legitimate concerns is it an orthodox wedding an orthodox jewish wedding where the men and the women are kept separate well yeah I'm going to need a second shooter that's that's a logistical nightmare in and of itself but are they just kind of asking for a second shooter because the internet told them that they probably should maybe it's just a matter of educating them it's great I've got another question here let's see from nervous wreck somewhat related uh does your work they begin and end with your travel period or do you start the time from when you actually get there? I start from the second I walked in the door and start shooting okay however if there is travel involved in the day that part it's eighty seven or eight continuous hours right so if I start with you and it's an hour between your house and the church I'm still on the clock that's not my time but I don't factor it in from like, if it's an hour for me to where you're getting ready, I don't start when I leave my house I start when I walk in the door, I stop when I leave the reception in the clock is running the entire time it's, continuous hours, great and in terms of what you think you spend on a single wedding the day of all the pre all the post, do you have an estimate of how many hours you probably find one? But yeah, I can absolutely tell you that, yeah, for the average client, I'm spending anywhere from like four to fifteen hours before the wedding on them, meeting them holding their hand, getting them to book, um, answering their emails, doing their time line all of that, and when I've estimated how much time I'm spending, I'm always estimating on the high side, like when I'm looking at the prices for these albums on this sheet here, a nine by twelve album with sixty five images, I've priced that out. What if they come back to me and they say, I want one pic teacher page for sixty five pages and I want a picture on the cover and I want in boston on the cover that's what I've priced that book in my head at the most expensive it could possibly be so then after the wedding, we're looking at about an hour to an hour and a half to download and back up everything about an hour to call everything an hour to blawg because that is my fun time. I just like to take my time on that and because I can and then maybe another hour to get everything out of in folio back it all up get back in touch with the client so on and so forth in a couple of questions on the files that you deliver to your client so marry in from romania, says the files you gave your clients or the j peg a raw and at what resolution and then end, markovich says, are the images the post process one's air from camera, so if you just clarify that okay, they are the post processed ones. First of all, I think they were like eight questions, or at least if I hit them all, they are the post process ones, they are the exact same. I'm not sizing the resolution down in any way they're not the raw files, they're the j peg files, you can't have your raw files ever, there are no out takes, there are no more, there is nothing that I haven't uploaded that you can't see, no, you can't see the out takes and no, you can't have your raw files and if a client pushes for out takes I tell them anything not selected for editing is not archived and therefore there simply are no outtakes I think I might have answered tea even a high yeah how many images are you giving them back between about six hundred eight hundred and I'm shooting about on an average day twenty, five hundred to thirty five hundred I've gone up the forty five hundred I've gone up to seven usually that's because there's a weekend of coverage when I was saying that I pulled a forty five hundred image wedding in an hour that was rehearsal dinner and wedding day right and how do you choose to order the images when you deliver them and how do you name your images katie james photo wonderful thing usually I just deliver them in chronological order unless there's some hopscotching going around like if I start with the bride then I go to the groom and I go back to the bride then I go back to the groom I'm gonna put all the groom ones together and all the bright ones together and after I shot her details in the room and I shot a couple other details that she handed me throughout the getting ready process I'm going to take all those details together all the reception stuff like the details go with the very beginning so I put them in kind of a bit of a chronological order and they get named like let's say it was my own wedding and they're going to talk about file structure tomorrow which also talks about file name but for the most part went I named them it's like oh oh one underscore or oh four one seven one three which is the wedding date underscore mountain client's name eyes the bride's name so technically it would been stripling yeah so number underscore date underscore brides first name if I've tried engagement session after stripling would be underscore engagement which would then go with stripling underscore wedding so there would be no confusion if those do folders accidentally got dumped together yeah, but you don't include your business name stripling meaning you're the bride's last name? No, I was just using my own name is an example ok? Yes ma'am, I don't know if this is a question for tomorrow but what about those knows your non keepers? How long do you keep those fire? Okay, and what do you tell your client? So I tell them they don't exist. Okay? Unless your client watching this and then they don't exist, I know I don't want to open that can of worms there are anymore and no, they're not competition where the images that I haven't selected to give you for some reason like I'm not trying to hit a number when I'm editing I'm editing down to the ones that I think are the best and you can't see the rest they just you just can't and if I haven't delivered them to you it's because I shot six in this sequence and they're all exactly the same or because I tried something and it didn't work and I tried something else at work I'm gonna give you the one that worked and a picture of my foot while I'm standing there or if I'm testing the light we're taking pictures of each other you know? They just they're true out takes and they don't need to see that so as far as they know they don't exist at all I just keep them because I'm a digital order I told you yes michelle so sometimes you deliver black and white image and they're like, well, we want the color version of the way all want things we can't have you know, for the most part the digital image of the black and white images not available in color that is one thing that every once in a while I'll bend on if they're being a colossal pest about it but for the most part no and a lot of people if you just say, oh no black and whites are only available in black and white which I say in my f a q which I say in my client thank you which I have in my contract that files delivered our as they're delivered, they should know this by now, but if they get really, really, really pushing on it, let me go take a look and see if we still have the files before they've been edited and then ogle, pull it and redo it for them. What about wrinkles and extra edit, that's, wrinkles and extra credit? If they have truly bad skin, I'm going to do a light pass in portraiture. I don't make jen and john do that when I get this in folio gallery back and I downloaded all run portraiture on it, if I need to and then I'll just re upload them all. But for the most part, truly bad acne, deep wrinkles, things like that it will be edited if they're putting an album if they don't have an album it's seventy five dollars an hour for custom retouching and I tell them we can do about two images in an hour and if they if they want to pay for more, they can pay for more that's fine, like I'm totally fine doing more digital retouching for them. I do have a digital resource, a digital retouching, as she is, um a woman that sort of freelances it, and she'll do my digital retouching for me

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Gear List.pdf
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