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Creative Wedding Photography

Lesson 20 of 33

Outdoor Shoot: Shooting into the Sun

Susan Stripling

Creative Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

20. Outdoor Shoot: Shooting into the Sun

Lesson Info

Outdoor Shoot: Shooting into the Sun

So a lot of times when I'm walking around and I'm looking at the light, when you come back over here to talk to you, I will actually hold the camera. I will hold my hand up in front of my face, right? Because I want to be able to see how the light is falling through my fingers, and instead of having my client's move over and over and over again to different locations, I'm just gonna kind of walk over here and, like, see where the light is good sometimes I'll have my assistant go stand in the location I'm thinking about, but usually I've got about a handful of pretty good ideas where I am if I'm thinking like, maybe I want to go down the street or maybe I want to go around the corner, I'm not gonna make my clients come with me, I'm gonna say, hey, guys, listen, it looks like, really fantastic down the street hanging out here for two seconds, I'm gonna check it out, and I'll be right back that's a lot easier than moving the whole thing down the street and then moving the whole thing back...

up the street. So what I'm gonna do over here, I'm actually gonna shoot directly into the sun, so can I borrow you again and what you're going to dio you're gonna come stand right here and please close your eyes for this you're gonna close your eyes and lift your face up intothe I don't want to send this poor young girl home with like burnout retinas so I'm not gonna make her stare directly into the sun and I'm gonna come this way and to take a look at the scene because I'm not shooting directly into the sun I don't need my assistant with the reflector to help me here I'm gonna wade through my wire's good oh good yeah just like that now I know that the sun is hitting her face really hard so I'm going to start out just shooting it with no exposure compensation whatsoever just close your eyes you can even keep your eyes closed and lift your face up even more good so I want to show you what this looks like with no exposure compensation whatsoever which is it's kind of a blown out mess right now again just keep your eyes closed and lift it right up into the sun and I'm actually gonna experiment with something here bring this over your face and see if see if that's gonna work so get kind of hold it out with that one hand the way you were before kind of in gently like a soft soft whenever you ask a client toehold there veil they're always gonna hold it like their hands a claw whether they were a ballet dancer, whether they, you know, are a professional model, I don't know what it is. The urge is to always just claude, so sometimes I'll even just crab their hand and jake it and say, soften up and they're good, so we'll take a look at what this looks like. Lift your face up nice and high into the sun I'm going under expos by a stop good you're leaning your face towards me like this. Make sure it's nice and straight up good right up into the sun even higher. Good just keep your eyes closed. That's gorgeous and again uh f four there we g oh isn't that lovely? I s o one hundred this is what underexposed by one stop looks like, which means that I took my exposure compensation and rolled it down to stop. If you are a manual shooter, be emmanuel shooter, I'm totally fine with that you'll just have to adjust your settings accordingly and again kind of face way up into the sun. Good close your eyes I'm gonna under expose it by another half stop and see what we've got here we'll take a look when it comes up on the screen lovely, you can actually get out of the sun now I feel very badly for you so again, I know that some of you at home on the internet are probably looking at it going but but you have a dark shadow being cast over by the side of her nose but but it all fades into blackness but but guys it's one o'clock outside seriously, I'm doing what I can at one o'clock outside to make it work at three o'clock outside this is going to be softer and easier at seven o'clock tonight she'd be able to look into the sun without going blind. I can't stop looking at the light in y'all's hair over there it's beautiful! She didn't care for me but if you take a look at this we're in a church courtyard. It is one o'clock outside this poor girl has lifted her face all the way up into the sun. If I really wanted her eyes open, I would have done what I did before, which is to say okay, now listen, I'm gonna give you till the count of three, pop them open and then pop them closed again really quick but the reason why I had her lift her chin all the way up into the sun is because I wanted the sun to directly hit right on top of her face if you are spot metering, you're going to meet her for the part that you want perfectly exposed and don't be afraid when you look at your history, graham later and you realize that it's, you know, it's a a sharp, jagged thing instead of a gentle bell curve because we're working with very bright whites and very, very, very dark darks once I've exposed for her face, the dark background goes even darker, and the more that I look at this, the follow up picture that I would like to take of something like this can actually get you back up again and bring you back over here to do the same thing with, like, the veil over and again, I'm only going to touch my client if I could tell that my client is receptive to being touched. I don't want them to feel like I'm you know, really hanzee or I'm making them uncomfortable and actually go ahead and curl your hand so that goes under the veil and bring it, yeah, exactly. And you know what? I'm actually gonna change this one little bit, and when I first got started shooting weddings, I always thought, you know, if I do something like this, you know, maybe I'm gonna make the client uncomfortable if I say I'll do something no, no, I don't like that let's do something else and I'm just like, you know, that doesn't work we'll try something else just hold this one instead we just kind of hold it you know, like it's blowing around and you're trying to kind of keep it out of your face sort of turn it kind of like that perfect on honestly sometimes you know when people are nervous getting their picture taken just a little like softness warms them up but again on ly if they're comfortable just bring that arm right out in front of you are mainly just gonna shoot your arm, curl it under again good. So the follow up to the picture that I took before that involved her face and was really beautiful I'm gonna come in and actually just shoot her hand because I'm always looking for something a little bit different to sort of round out the take of images for the clients see how lovely that isn't so pretty this makes me so happy you can clear out of the sun and can you giving you a break? It doesn't all have to be pictures of faces what about their hands holding hands? What about you know, maybe their hands on their bodies that show off their rings? What about their hands? Maybe like gently holding together in the middle not making a heart just gently you know that one the one that's kind of making the rounds on pinteresque no, but something like this if you see on a chance to shoot a detail or an additional element when you're doing a portrait like this by all means take it give it a shot so I want to try something a little bit different whether it's gonna work or not I'm not really sure let me actually it might work before what I was doing something like this before I grab my clients and make them do it can I borrow you again? I don't need the thing I just need you can you just come stand right here again? We've got to talk about how you dressed for weddings like just face that way okay, I like it. So what we're gonna do? We're gonna get you and we're going to get our groom back can have a seat and I'm gonna change my lens I'm gonna talk to you very briefly about multiple exposures it looks like when you're shooting tether there's a little bit of a problem with shooting one image and then juxtaposing it on top of another image but I'm gonna show you what I would do. I'm going to shoot the silhouette and then I'll explain kind of the concept behind finishing it out right in your camera, whether your cannon or nikon when I talk about this in the portrait thank book there's a setting for multiple exposure and what my setting does was is it will allow you to turn on multiple exposure whether you wanted to be one shot whether you want a siri's of multiple exposures being are we going to do this just one time? Are you going to do a couple of a couple of these before getting it just right and then you can tell you can tell how many images you wantto layer one on top of the other I almost always just go for two I want to first image and then I want a second image and I want to combine them can you do this in photo shop? Yeah, you absolutely can but I find it a photographic challenge to try to do it actually in the camera so what? I'm going to dio have the bridegroom come over here I'm actually gonna work with this for second actually when I do they face each other right here like right where I'm at one nose to nose right there I'm gonna get out of your way and I'm gonna come over here and I'm gonna show you what I'm looking for you get you gotta get close together you just got married and look at each other now if I'm going to try to make a silhouette I want to show you why putting it in this scenario is not goingto work, so just look directly at each other so I set it up the same way I would normally shoot a silhouette I'm even gonna under expose a little bit good get up nice and close together can you do to your face is just a hair closer together? Thank you very much and we're going to take a look at this and this doesn't work and I know it's going to work and I said enough to show you it wasn't going to work can somebody tell me why this is not going to ever work as a silhouette? There's too much light on their faces even though I've got them against the background that I want I've got the sun coming from this way and it's hitting them so we're going to turn it on you that you can actually take a break sorry, no offense your very nice you're going to come put your back to the sun and just look right this way grab this and pull back hang on, you're feeling on your feet but I'm not gonna here we go this is about to get really pretty on my end of things, so same settings good hang on uh, I'm not getting up until I know I got it and I don't got it and the reason is I want to show you why not is because her head is against the dark sky instead of that beautiful white cloud going through the sky so I'm going to readjust myself keep looking down good because he's just a set up for a double exposure way there we go you can take a break thank you very much so the reason why the image before did not work and this image works see this is why I don't try to dress well on a wedding this is usually the twentieth time I've been like face down on the ground to shoot something the reason why the first one did not work is because the sun was coming in and it was hitting them in the face. By the time I had darkened down to the point where the sun was no longer a problem the background would have been too dark as well so I put her over here the sun's coming from over here the first thing that I did that was wrong on the second picture was I put her head against a background that didn't work by the time I stopped down and I was under exposed by does it show you it doesn't show you I was under by a solid three stops on that which meant that I took my exposure compensation down three stops and by the time I got to that the sky is really really blue the sky came down three stops a cz well so her face muddied into the sky but in this image I put her face against that beautiful white cloud in the sky and now I have an exposure difference between my foreground on my background that lets me make a really, really, really impactful silhouette if we're going to do a double exposure, this is the way I start them. Usually I'll shoot an image like this. The next thing I'm going to do is look for an image that I can lay on top of it in camera and if I could do that while I was shooting tethered I would but you can't but what I would be looking for is literally any of these trees out here at all the kind of pokey things over there the tops of the trees here, the tops of the trees there because number one there graphically interesting and number two they have a really dramatic pattern of light on them, so when you take the second image and in camera it overlays on top of the first image, the part that is a silhouette will be filled with the texture of the second image and it's really, really wonderfully dramatic. This image by itself as a silhouette works on its own, but if you are going to try a double exposure, this is always my first shot not the texture but this one so that the second shot has a chance to fill in that silhouette

Class Description

Join award-winning wedding photographer Susan Stripling for a 3-day journey through the world of artistic, compelling, and financially successful creative wedding photography.

Throughout this course, you’ll explore lighting, posing, capturing detail, and much more. Susan will simplify the potentially daunting process of selecting the right equipment for every wedding’s needs. You’ll learn about transforming poorly-lit or visually uninteresting wedding settings into picturesque images.

Susan will also guide you through the workflow she uses, and explain the composition principles that result in dynamic images. You’ll explore concrete, on-the-fly troubleshooting strategies for unexpected wedding events.

By the end of this course, you’ll have the tools you need to think on your feet while photographing every phase of a wedding, with jaw-dropping results.



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.