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Reception Q&A

Lesson 25 from: Creative Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

25. Reception Q&A

Lesson Info

Reception Q&A

If you had an angle, the flash forward, it seems a little bit counterintuitive to me to angle back, although I do understand what happened, but if you had angle that forward, if I had angled it forward, there would have just been more phil on the side of the subject's face is close to us, okay, could you have angle that forward and turn the flash down? Or what was your setting on? The flashes? Flashes the sixteenth of a second that's, right? If I dangled it forward, maybe I would have moved it to like a thirty second of a second, but I'm not looking for heavy phil, and again, I'm telling you what I'm doing in this room. If you take this and you try this in a bigger room or in a bigger setting, these exact settings will not be applicable, because the room will be different. So, again, I you know, we could go into a different room, I could show you everyone's still going to be in exactly the same spot. Your settings are going to change based on the ambient light in the room, based on the...

side of the size of the room, based on the proximity of your assistant to the subject and my distance to the subject, because I'm also using my own camera flash, so but again, these just give you the principles of where I want to put things and then you can work on your settings to get it to where you want it. Do you ever do a carton? Almost never just never really did anything that excited me all that much. When do you feel like enough dancing pictures is enough? Because you know there's about ten minutes. I mean, really let's be honest, like about ten, twenty minutes, maybe three songs I'm good. And then you just kind of walk around looking for that. I still keep on going there. Usually my clients have me leave about an hour before the reception's over, which gives me, like an hour of party. So usually for a four hour reception, we have introductions first dance toast, parent dances, which I like exactly the way as I lighted as I lighted goodness as I lit the bridegroom together. So intros first dance parents danced toast there usually frontloaded pretty fast. Then they eat for a really long time and then they get up and they dance for a while. Then they cut the cake and then they dance for a really long time and the way it usually shakes out for me if I'm not there the entire time I leave within thirty minutes at the cake cutting and I always check with my clients before I leave like guys you know is there anything else that I can do for you before I head out? Do you want me to stay? Do you need overtime? Like what can I do for you? We go from there yesterday any more points when you use more than one flash? No, not even like okay uh no, almost never because it's just myself and my assistant I would need to add either a second assistant or a light on the stand and I know a lot of people who do that they do it beautifully, but I've never really seen the benefit to all of the additional effort. Yes ma'am, can you walk me through the motion blur thought process you went through real quick because in my head you put flash and usually that means it freezes them absolutely so and you had said that you would lower your s o and raise your shutter speed yet so just I got lost just a little bit sure. So if we're shooting dancing and we realize that there's a lot of ghosting or motion blur in the image and they're over here and they're kind of doing their thing what's happening is that you're you're setting they're getting a little too close to the ambien in the room and your your flash isn't freezing your subject, so I want to bring my I s o down or my shutter speed up or both so that the flashman do its job it's it's kind of ah counter intuitive way of thinking to solve the problem like solve the problem, but the flash isn't doing its job of freezing what I'm shooting, so I need to increase my shutter speed so my shutters going faster, allowing the flash to freeze a little bit better it's the same sort of principle when I'm dealing with those booboo party bus lights raising my shutter speed so that everyone isn't a blurry mess. Of course it means you lose some of the ambient light in the room. You could tell the difference between this image of them dancing in the image prior there was more ambient light in the image prior, but there was also motion blur so it's, you know, one or the other other questions from our friends on the couch dallas have you dealt with fog yet? Yeah, randomly, okay, and I also money not no it's actually kind of cool, I don't mind it it's just a little harder. Tio makes it a little harder to focus sometimes, and when the fog gets in front of their face, it just looks like your sensor is dirty, so I really I'm not a huge fan, but I'll take fog over a party bus any day, any day. Just when they do those laser lights right in people's faces I just want to get one is shining right in the djs face and be like, how do you like that? Because we don't let the guest don't like it they're like kind of dancing like this and it gives me a headache and it's you know, someone's gonna have a seizure and it's just really terrible so I just wish they wouldn't do that. I also wish deejay tog refers we just give it up already like, just stop, please. So yes, questions from our friends on lines I know we're wrapping it up for the day when you do a little sad and however I'm tired and badly needed shower that's probably a good thing to the end let's see, we do. We have some great questions from the internet there good. Boring him out anything I can help. Okay. Um, so it's lisa wants to know. She says that most of the wedding reception she's done the guests all dance in groups. So she's, just a picture of backs. Any suggestion get in the group getting the group. I will hop right on in there like letter and sometimes you have to elbow your way into the group and sometimes they won't let you end, but instead of trying to raise up and shoot like over and down into it which never looks all that good all kind of put in some elbows and he'll excuse me excuse me and when they realized oh it's the photographer usually they let you in yeah excellent wade right on in there on dh coco mccown wants to know how do you focus in low light? You have problems with that or devaney? Honestly, I don't have a ton of problems with that, which is, as I mentioned earlier, part of why I chose to switch over to nikon because the low light focusing was so tremendous and because the lenses that I'm using are really, really good at that sometimes if I'm truly truly struggling and I'm working with a just off camera flash, I'll actually put my flash on my camera turned the power all the way down to almost nothing this bounce it all the way behind me and use the focus assist game sure to focus but more than that more often than not that I'll try to focus on a contrast point, which is usually like where the groom's tie touches his white shirt or where his white shirt touches his neck or where their hairline or their eyes any sort of contrast point that I can get to great great I know you'll probably touch on this a little bit tomorrow during the business and contract portion sure regarding meals but um sutarto wants to know during what part of the wedding do you eat? I eat when they eat you okay? I do. And I do not have a meal in my contract at all. I think an apology's to you, if you do, I think it's tacky, I can't think of any corporate job where you would work eight to ten hours and they would buy your food, you know I mean it's lovely when they do, but more often than not it's really it's either not something that I want to eat or something so heavy that the thought if I don't want to eat a steak at ten o'clock at night like it, the thought just makes me kind of nauseous. So we bring peanut butter and jelly is we bring laura bars kind bars, twizzlers, lots of twizzlers. But did you know that twizzlers or vegan so that they write off everything? Only right there, right? It's helping, but no, we bring enough of our own food s so that we can take care of ourselves and also even if the clients have provided a mule for us, I don't want to be known as the vendor who's constantly going to the maitre d going, we're gonna get head, we're gonna get said, it said I would rather them come to us and be like your meal's ready and I can say wow thank you guys very much and if I go over and it's not something that I want to eat I just kind of discreetly eat my own thing yeah great great um we have a question about what do you do with um members of the family that are really important to photograph but aren't comfortable I know this could be applicable to any part of the wedding not just at the reception absolutely luckily the way that I do cover the day for the most part really affords my ability to document these people without feeling like they're being intruded upon the longer linz kind of the off camera flash let's meet back off people like that are great to get reaction shots of during toasts their great to kind of keep an eye out for them when they're on the dance floor if they're on the dance floor and if they're not on the dance floor and they know that they're important to the bride and groom I will take that off camera flash and I will take my long lens and with this same principle is shooting toasts maybe all like sneak a creeper shot of them you know talking to their granddaughter or just having a moment alone I'll try to find them somehow grain yeah excellent okay one more here please jessica star photo says I often feel obligated to keep shooting all the time as if they would think I'm not doing my job what do you do if you've already captured the big moments to wait until a good moment to shoot? Do you stand off to the side? I don't shoot anything that's not worth shooting just to be working, so if they've got me there for four hours of reception, I find out it's three hours of dancing in there thirty people on the dance floor they will burn out on me really really, really quickly they're not gonna like me very much after a while so all come in and I'll spend twenty minutes kind of working the dance floor and then I'll leave it okay, maybe I'll go back out on the cocktail hour and shoot a detail that I missed or I'll borrow the rings from the bridegroom and make a portrait of him or I'll go outside and shoot the venue at night or I'll do a long exposure of the dance floor and then I'll go back on the dance floor and sometimes honestly we'll take a ten minute break, but if we're going to take a break, we're gonna leave the room because I don't want them to see me texting in the corner or sitting or looking bored or just standing by the side of the dance floor on dh maybe once or twice although I will deny it if anybody ever really asks, I may or may not have taken a teeny tiny nap with my camera up to my face. Listen, they don't know that your eyes so you know it's, sometimes they just they just want to feel like they're getting their money's worth out of you. And I know that I've been document the day without being on all the time, and sometimes you do have those clients who just ride you mercilessly and they don't let you sit down, but we'll take bathroom breaks or my assistant will leave for a few minutes and all just kind of shoot a little bit are all just at least hold my camera and walk around the room, so I'm looking for something, but we definitely don't be afraid to take a break. You've worked a long day, you need to sit down for a few minutes. It might be harder to get back up when you're done, but I mean, you need to be easy on yourself just a bit. Yeah, great. Last minute question from the internet that was a follow up from that, which is how do you map behind the camera? Mom, you never said anything, but it looks an awful lot like this. I love my island, I shoot anyhow they don't need to know my other highest close to uh it's just it's in clients don't understand that you don't have to be on all the time to be fully respecting and fully documenting their day when I am taking breaks I'm not trying to get out of it or be disrespectful, I'm also trying I'm actually trying to be more respectful and not be up in people's faces all night long, so it's something that it's kind of taken me thirteen years to sort of find a rhythm of how much I need to be on it and how much I need to be off of it and if it's something you're unsure about just kind of keep plugging at it and you'll start to kind of find your happy place after a while. Um, one more question here I know this is a really big topic for a lot of photographers is your photo booth manned by a photographer when you have that you mentioned it a little bit? No, I'll talk about it tomorrow when I talk about my packages of my offerings, but it is a self man photo booth, okay? And another thing that's also sort of a controversial thing about not controversial it's like a scandal about receptions is same day slide shows no, never ever, ever never not even if you'll pay for it I back to the whole thing that your day is not about me. Can you not please enjoy your day without having to relive it while it's happening? And just wait to see the pictures like it's it's. I don't like it and photographers who are like, well, it's, a great opportunity to advertise yourself while you're at work, you know, be maybe, you know, a little respectful of your client's day and not advertise yourself at their reception. So people who do it and do it well, by all means. But I feel very, very strongly against it, okay?

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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.

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