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Creative Wedding Photography

Lesson 12 of 33

Shoot: Getting Ready - Hair and Makeup

Susan Stripling

Creative Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

12. Shoot: Getting Ready - Hair and Makeup

Lesson Info

Shoot: Getting Ready - Hair and Makeup

So what we're going to be doing this morning is photographing the getting ready on a wedding day, and we've set up a set teo look pretty much like everyday hotel room. If you joined us yesterday, this is where we shot all of the detail pictures, and this is where we're going to work for the first part of our day. We basically set it up like you would see it on a regular wedding day. We have a bride over here getting her makeup done if it were an actual wedding day would be a probably about ninety minutes behind, but we're not we're shockingly on time, which is fantastic, and we have kind of all of the stuff that we had yesterday scattered about the room as we move through this part of the getting ready, I'm not going to re shoot the details, which is what I would normally do at the very beginning of a wedding day because we did them yesterday, so I'm just gonna talk you through kind of how I would handle the time before the bride actually gets dressed and then how we get her dressed an...

d then get her ready to go to either the first look if that's what she's doing or to the ceremony? I had a few people actually ask me last night on facebook to explain a little bit about kind of how I start the day and what I wear to a wedding and I know I mentioned yesterday that I don't care what you wear to a wedding I like clothes, I think it's really fun, but on a wedding day I'm just dressing to get through the day as easily as possible. So what I'm wearing right now is pretty much what I would wear to a wedding day if it's the summer it's a tank top and a skirt or soft like flowing pants. If it's the winter it's probably exactly what you're seeing right now or a big sweater with leggings and boots, I don't do anything too terribly fancy I don't wear heels, I try to keep it nice and simple, you know nothing nothing too fussy. I always wear all black. My assistant wears all black. There is no fancy reason for that whatsoever other than when we get really filthy, which we inevitably dio the black shows that less and when I get dressed in the morning without paying any attention whatsoever, I can always generally match um so yeah, this is pretty much how I would show up on a wedding and I mentioned yesterday that the first thing that I do when I come in it is I find a place to put my bags my cameras are already set up and before I even start shooting I put down all of my gear and I go say hello to the bride give her a hug say hi to her mom see how everybody's doing kind of check in on the schedule see afore sort of running on time which we never ever r and that's fine and then I get started like I did yesterday I always start with the details first I work through whatever they've laid out for me which is usually rings shoes the dresses usually somewhere that I can hang it up on dh not every photographer has to kind of start the day with details but because I really love shooting details I've sort of set the bar high for myself with making those types of images of my client have come to expect them so I'll show up on the day and they already have things ready for me as far as how much time I get for getting ready it's usually somewhere between about an hour and three hours depending on the clients when they ask how much time I need to be there shooting them getting ready I always tell them two hours I tell them two hours because I know that they're never going to give that to me but if I asked for two hours and give me an hour and a half then it's great but if I have about an hour I'll spend maybe ten minutes voting rights photographing their details another chunk of time photographing the end of hair and makeup and then the last twenty minutes or so is actually getting the bride in the dress and getting ready to go of course you cannot predict on every single wedding day what's going to happen things will run late sometimes things actually run early which I have no idea what to do with it if you're going to be doing a first look before the ceremony, a lot of times things will run late and it will eat into your portrait time which makes us all panic um but yeah, this is basically what it looks like when I start getting ready so when I come into the room we've got hair and make up going on over here and if I have any say so in where the bride is positioned for hair and makeup I'll speak up so I've put her in a kind of optimal position for me but most of the time when I show up she's going to be sitting in that corner she's going to be sitting in that corner or even worse she's sitting in the bathroom which is terrible, terrible and there's not much you can do with that but I always approached the makeup artist if she's not in may be the best spot for hair and makeup and I say, hey, listen, do you mind? Would it be possible at all if we bring you over next to this beautiful, beautiful window? I see that you're working in the bathroom. I know it's, flores and it's probably a little hard for you to see. Maybe it'll make things a little easier for you if we put her over by the window. Would that be too much trouble? And about half of the time they say, oh, yeah, that would actually work out great are they say, you know what? No, we're already set up here, we can't really move, and if you can't really move and you're stuck in the bathroom, well, that's what aiken shoot? Do the best you can, but if I do have a say so I will have her come out and put her in a better location if I can't put her in a better location, I will always ask, hey, listen, when you're done with absolutely everything before she goes to get ready when you do the final touch up when you kind of do that extra poof of hair spray when you smooth her hair down that last little bit when you redo her lips, do you mind if we just grab the things that you need for that part of the day? And do it over here by the window or doing over here by the door or wherever the light is really beautiful and most of the time that's okay, if it is true truly like cataclysmic lee epically bad where she's getting ready and they're really kind of weird about touching up in a different location, I'll just ask them to do her lips in a different spot. I'm going to shoot what's happening, of course, but to get some extra kind of like really pretty money shots, I want to at least try to be able to manipulate the light as best I can. So to show you what we've got going on here, we're in the exact same room that we were in yesterday when you start off in most getting ready rooms, I've already sort of optimized itfor as it needs to be, but most of the time you show up and the curtains are open and it looks pretty much like this, you have a hotel room, quite shears in the windows and most of the time, ninety percent of the time, the curtains are pretty dark work. Most hotels give you dark curtains so that you can block out the light when you sleep, the only time this generally doesn't work out is I know a lot of you shoot beach weddings. And you do getting ready and a lot of like beach houses, they like the gazi like completely unhelpful fight curtains it still works it's just not as dramatic, right? Because as we were talking about yesterday when you're trying to make your lighting show up really strongly in your photograph it's much easier to see it when you juxtapose it against a dark background, then against a light background for obvious reasons you still have beautiful light on the face of your clients if your walls are white and your curtains are white, but you won't see that dramatic rim because you'll lose it against the background. So what I've got going on over here, our beautiful bride who is marrying a gentleman that she met for the first time today? You know we're very excited for her, you know, at as we do as it happens. Luckily, our makeup artist is not only on time but incredibly cooperative, so she let me put her over here by the window and I'm going to shoot this so that you can see it, but you can already see it with your naked eye. I've actually sat her right against these dark curtains so that you can see the rim of light on her face as it comes in through the window the first thing I've done before even putting her here is I've closed the shears the only thing that closing this year's really does is it sort of diffuses the light a little bit as it comes in through the window, and it blocks out kind of that the lines in the rest of the windowpanes just a little bit. Um, otherwise I'm huge stickler for lines going through people's heads, and if she's sitting here and the window sill is going straight into her face, it kind of bugs me a little bit, so I'll close this year's also, you can see what the light is doing in here, but I want it focused even mohr on this section of the room. So I've got this window open all the way over here, and I've turned off the rest of the lights in the room, and I mentioned yesterday that when you turn off all of the lights in the room, you're going to do it for one reason and one reason only on lee do it if the ambient light you're going to get coming through the window is going to be your main light source, and I've had photographers kind of read this bit of advice and then email me and say, well, I went to this getting ready room and there were any windows in the room, and then I turned off the lights and I didn't really know what to dio and I think, well, if there are no windows in the room, where you going to turn off the lights? You don't have a light source toe light your clients. The reason why I'm turning off the overhead lights is because number one I don't want multiple color casts going on in the image. I don't want to freak out sidecar post, which is my post production team, will be here on sunday. I don't want to completely spazz them out when they get my getting ready images and there's fluorescent lights up above there is the table light in the corner and then there is a light coming in through the window and they have to figure out how to balance all of those things together. So first of all, I do it for that reason second of all, the only light source that I want is the life it's coming in through the windows so I turn off the overhead lights and if you do try doing something like this and you turn off the overhead lights no, that right away the mother of the bride is going to come in and turn them right back on because she's gonna think it was an accident and then you're gonna flip them back off again and then she's gonna turn them back on and say, but don't you want more light to which I say no, I've got all the light that I need coming in from the window. It's great, thank you very much. And they don't understand non photographers think that more light is better. They think that all the lights in the room, all of the table lights in the room or what you want, but I don't want that I want one source of beautiful directional light. So actually, after I've turned off these lights, missy, can you turn the light off behind your head? That lamp were you turn the lamp off, which also kills see automatically, the white balance in the room is about ten times better, and we don't have that distracting light coming from over there. I would never put a flash in the corner or a video light in the corner, so why would I leave that light on over there? I don't need it if it's over there, and I realize that they're going to be wearing lamp hats when I photograph anybody like if the lamp is in the background, I'll actually just point at it, and my assistant knows to take it off the table, so we tend to do a lot of moving things when I got married myself earlier this year and I checked into my hotel room that I was getting ready in for the wedding the very first thing that one of my best friends and I did was we took all of the lamps in the room and put them in the closet then we rearrange the furniture, so usually I don't get the rearrange my clients furniture, but I can usually dispense of their distracting light fixtures, so we've gotten rid of the distracting overhead lights we've gotten rid of the distracting light in the corner, and now I'm actually gonna close the other curtains in the room and if you'll watch the light in the room even just on video when I start closing things down when I remove this as a light source now this part of the room gets darker and your eye goes straight to this, the lightest purer coming in from just this one source it's not deluded with what was going on here, so even just to show you again and you know what? I'm going to just shoot it and show you what it would look like I'm gonna leave this open, you know what? Can you turn that light back on again? Usually the makeup artist will not turn the light on and off for me, I'll say, can you turn the light off and she'll be like I'm busy but she's really nice, so we're good to go so I'm just going to show you, and I'm not gonna talk you through what my settings are because it's just a shot to show you what the lighting is going to look like. I'm going to come right over here and take a picture of this scene with that window open and that lamp on just to show you what it looks like, and we're shooting tethered today, which means you're going to get to see everything that I shoot like, so it'll take a couple of extra seconds, but I think it's wonderful that you'll get to be able to see all of the shots that I'm taking as I'm taking them. So as you can see, this looks fine, however let's kill that light again and let's close this down over here in an ideal world, I would close all of the windows we have one window open on the far corner of the room so that I don't make the entire room a dark pit for you guys, but I would shut everything down except for this, but we're still fine just like this. And let me show you the difference between the two of these scenes. If you can recall the image before on the back of our beautiful bride's head, here you have light coming in and lighting up the back of her head. There's absolutely nothing wrong with out it was a lovely image, but when I'm thinking about the final impact of a final image, I want your eye to go directly to that beautiful line of light right on her face. And when this window was open over here, we had a light source coming in and lighting up the back of her hair, which I didn't want look at the back of her head in both of them. You can see the dramatic difference when I closed that window down, which I really love it's not a major difference between the two images, but it's different enough that I think that it makes an impact again, speaking about the light in this image before I go on and start talking about the settings of this image. But if you look at the light, even just looking at it with your naked eye on both of these women over here it's the exact same light source hitting both the bride and the makeup artist. The makeup artist is against the white shears, so you can't see that beautiful room of light around her face because she's against a white background, the bride here is intentionally against these dark curtains, so that when you have the room of light across her face, it's very, very, very prominent because the background is so dark. Now what I'm going to do as far as shooting and I'll show you a couple of different things that I would dio first things first we were talking yesterday about getting the safe shots first so before I start doing anything ridiculously insanely creative, I'm going to document the moment first as I mentioned yesterday, but for those of you who are joining us for the first time today I have two cameras working on me at all points in time during a wedding day now for the purposes of creative live, I am shooting tethered so I'm only using one camera I didn't want to freak them out by asking them the other two but you'll get the picture of what's exactly going on this is my defore I love it I had a few people ask me online last night to cover why I switched from cannon two nikon there's no major enormous reason why the d three came out I got a chance to test it it intuitively felt just right in my hands and once I started working with the system it was simply and it's like choosing mac versus pc one just works better for you and the nikon system felt better in my hands I like the way the files look, I see beautiful work coming from canon shooters I'm not saying you have to be one way or the other it's just the way I chose to go on I'm very, very happy with it when I start off a wedding day my d three s which I'm not holding always has my twenty four to seventy millimeter on it it's my verse most versatile lends it will be on that camera all day long I will use it for a variety of different things I generally start my defore out with my hundred five millimeter macro on it to shoot the detail pictures and then I will switch over to my eighty five one point four for the majority of the getting ready even small new york hotel rooms are generally big enough for me to use an eighty five if not, I'll use my thirty five one four but this is definitely my first choice eighty five you also have to remember when you're shooting at one point four or one point eight that you need to put your focal point directly on the thing that you want in focus you cannot focus and recompose at one point eight or one point four or you'll lose the focus of your image so what I've got going on here as she continually updates her lips over and over and over I also shoot on auto eso there are a couple of reasons for this first of all I'm an aperture priority shooter unless a flash is being used in the images and then I'm immanuel shooter in aperture priority, I like to use auto eso because it's something that I don't have to think about it's, not because I don't know how to change my eyes, so I don't know what I s o to be using because my camera smart enough to figure it out for me, and I like it being able to think for me in different increments within eighty five millimeter during a getting ready with people kind of moving around a little bit what I do, as I tell my camera that listen, the lowest you can go is the lowest eso setting possible. The highest I want you to go is s o ten thousand, and I mentioned yesterday that I have no problems with twelve eight, but if I under expose an image accidentally and we have to bring it back up, it's much harder to do with such a high I s so you kind of get a very grainy final result, but I am perfect with ten thousand I think it looks great. So I say once I get over one hundred sixtieth of a second for my shooting, I want you to bump me up to the next level so it will keep doing that until you reach your cap until we reach ten thousand, and then it has to just start working with whatever shutter speed you can use so even though I'll tell this listen at one hundred sixty eighth of a second go up once I hit ten thousand there's nowhere else to go so if it's if it's an idiot of a second it ten thousand that's what I have to shoot with if you don't like auto so don't use it if your camera doesn't have it don't use it, you don't need it everything that I'm telling you today and tomorrow and yesterday are just what I do and what I use but there are a million different ways to approach this and however you choose to approach it, you're probably fine. So for something like this, I'm probably going to start in about one eight the reason being as I'm just shooting her faith, I don't have multiple people in the frame that I'm trying to keep in focus, I'm going to focus directly on her, so I usually also I'm not attached to a wire and explaining this to brides as I'm shooting them so they're working on her lips and I'm going to come in here lets you know what just for sake of argument let's use one point four I am at you'll be able to see my settings, but when I look in my camera I am at one hundred sixteenth of a second at one point four s o five hundred, however on aperture priority, I know that my camera is going to be freaked out by the bright window and the dark background and it's going to try to equalize them. I have to be smarter than my camera. If you're a manual shooter, you change your settings accordingly but is an aperture priority shooter. I look at this scene and I know that I need toe under expose it, roll my compensation dial down by about a stop to get everything to look exactly how I want it, teo so she's at about thirty layers of lipstick now, so we should probably start shooting it, so I'm putting my focal point directly on her eye, which sometimes takes a few seconds and fire a few seconds to get the tethered image up. So I look at this image and it's the light is doing exactly what I wanted to do, however that's actually a little bit over exposed it's a little too bright, the highlights on her face and the highlights on kind of the v of her shirt or a little more blown than I would like. So I'm actually going to get a little bit closer to crop out the highlights on the shirt and I'm going to roll my exposure compensation, dial down even more let's try like a stop and a half and see what we've got there. Wait for the tethered image to come up and we'll see if there we go now the difference between these two images is that in the first image I let some of the window peep through and in the second image I simply put the client directly against the dark background if you're looking at the meter in your camera it's going to tell you something very different in the first image where the light is coming through and in the second image where you only have your dark background but what I was speaking about yesterday, which is that you have to know your gear inside and out I don't even think before I roll my exposure compensation dial down by a stop and a half because of that dark background I've been doing this so long that my meter is my light meters in my head, so I just it actually in trying to explain all of this to you, it's actually a little difficult because I'm having to think of what I'm thinking about which I don't even think about anymore so on exactly the same settings that's really pretty can you actually keep your hand on her face like that and then hang on ah, if I could focus, that would actually be awesome okay, there we go can you spray her again? Same settings nothing's changed I just switched over to a horizontal and there you go. I shot this deliberately to show you if you look to the left side of the image, you can see the light on her face. But if you look at the back of her head against the white background, the light isn't anywhere near as dramatic. Now, if I'm really bothered by this, if I really want to shoot this again and have it be like ultra mega dramatic, I'm gonna borrow I'm gonna grab my assistant, who today is naomi, and I'm just gonna, you know, have our hold the curtain maybe like that from, like over here, and I have an assistant who works with me at every single wedding ninety percent of the time, it's the same girl we've been working together for almost five years. We're about to have our five year anniversary, which we're going to celebrate in some way that does not involve a wedding, but she knows what I need now without me even having to say anything, so I literally could have looked at her and just gone, and she would have known that means pull the carton. If you take a look at the image that I just shot with that white background peeping through, and we shoot it again, not only does she have tons of lips now, she has a lot of hair go ahead and spray her again we'll see if we got the spray or not, but look at the difference between the first image and then this image with the black that ground I'm not saying that you have to pull curtains and make your background dark all of the time I'm just saying that when you're working with a very specific light light this you want to make sure that you're mindful of what your background is doing you also need to be mindful about your background because it will affect how you do your settings for that image and if you are going to trust something like aperture priority, you need to know when to override what your camera is thinking so let's say that she's facing the other way so if coming, pick her up in mover and put her on the other side and let's pull this curtain just a little bit I mean let's be let's be very clear, like this scenario is very similar to an actual wedding, but I don't ever get to ask them to move around all this much um just so you just keep hanging out there. I could do this I could step in and I could always ask people to move I could always ask them to go in the better light and I could rearrange every single configuration of how we do the day, however what I spoke about yesterday and a large portion of how I feel as a wedding photographer is that it's not about me I will step in I will adjust when I can because it's my responsibility to deliver the best pictures possible but if she's doing her makeup wherever she's doing her make up and I can't change anything about it or I can tell she's nervous and she doesn't want to move around a lot I'm not gonna ask her to move around a lot I'm just going to work with what I have so let's say she's sitting over there and you're again giving her a million new lips we push that the curtain over in just a little bit like closed until I open there we go you can also come at this scene from a completely different angle the light is still going to be exactly the same I'm just shooting instead of shooting directly into the light when we talk about what I did wrong here I'm shooting with the light coming from the side but I'm coming from directly in front of her so instead of coming that way I'm coming this way. Now if you look at what I did wrong in the picture, I shot this letting my camera tell me what the settings needed to be because the camera didn't understand it's trying to give you your lovely little bell curve history ram but if I look at all of my history rams, they're completely insane. I can't trust the history rams on the images that I'm shooting because I'm shooting with very dark shadows and very bright light, so I know that when I'm looking at a scene like this, I'm gonna under expose it or roll my exposure compensation dial down by a solid stop and a half you turn your face into the window just a little bit there we go and shoot it like that. Lovely we're going to see if that made a difference in the final photograph, which it did so when I was first starting out and I was first working with my camera and I would look at it, I would say, okay, well, it's telling me what these settings are, obviously this is what I need to set it on, but when I'm working with the dramatic bright and darkness of the light that I like, I need to be smarter than my camera. If what that means for you, a few years into your businesses that you need to bring a light meter, I'm papa light meter on the location that you're trying to take an exposure on, by all means do it, the more that you do it, and the more that you experience it, the more you'll not have to think about it. At all anymore and it will become second nature, which is what I'm trying to sort of ingrained in you over this day of shooting is that you need to understand your scenarios inside and out so that you just show up and your mind is free to simply be creative. So before we keep going, any questions about anything, anything so far just extending on what you were just talking about, do you generally when you do use your camera meter, is it a matrix center or spot metering and sort of do you have an opinion about what's the most useful? I don't have an opinion about what's most useful and I've tried them all and they all have their pros and cons and what I would recommend to any photographer who's not sure about how they want to meet her for their images is try them all for me it's been so long since I've actually trusted a camera meter or even I mean I could even change my metering system and it wouldn't pain is the way I'm shooting because I'm thinking for myself if you're not sure which one is going to work better for you get a model takes some time on your own and go through the different metering systems and see what your camera is telling you see what the results are giving you see which one you feel more comfortable with and then use that that's really a simple is that and when we're working with light like this for me and for what a lot of the students that I teach seems to be very important is that they're always afraid to make their images underexposed, they think that if you're an aperture priority shooter, even if you're a manual shooter, when you're under exposing what your camera tells you that it should be, or what your light meter tells you that it should be if you're looking at the whole scene that you're going to make the image dark, that's not what I'm trying to do, I'm trying to make my light source a perfectly exposed, and usually that means that the rest of my image falls away into darkness, so if you look at her beautiful face in this photograph, her face is perfectly exposed, the shadows on the side of her face become darker, and then the make up artist becomes incredibly dark because she's, further away from the light that's hitting the bride stace. So hopefully that will be a little bit helpful for you when you're thinking about meeting, and I understand that something like meeting is it's a little hard to wrap your brain around, especially if you're a new, newer photographer and can be extraordinarily. Frustrating, but I promise you it's like riding a bike, the more you do it, and the more you practice and the more times you go out and you shoot them or confident you'll start feeling about your ability to not even have to think about what your camera is doing. Okay? So I had a lot of questions yesterday, and also I generally get asked a lot of questions about shooting through things like the little weird elements that I'll put in the edges of the frame, too sort of knock things out or make kind of a blurry, indistinct element. And so, while she gets maybe like a fortieth layer of lipstick, which I'm starting to feel really bad about, um, I'm going to show you some of those things that I might do in a scenario like that. So we have our champagne stained mirror from yesterday, I got a little crazy with it. Um, I'm just going to see if I can put together something that might help push your eye a little bit to the subject or also, more often than not, no offense to you at all. The makeup artist has never met the bride before until the wedding day she's, not her best friend she's, not somebody she knows, so if I'm trying to focus on the bride and I've got a makeup artist in the picture the picture is about to make up artist and the bride but what if I wanted to just be about the bride? How can I block out the makeup artist without just doing a crash zoom into the bride's face I'll put something into the images of sort of it kind of a gaussian blur if you will in camera so take a look at what I've got like floating around in here um maybe have like water or a beverage that they're drinking if I could borrow yeah hit me already bottle of water take a look around here and as I was saying yesterday I haven't thought of any of these things that I'm doing before I'm shooting today because I didn't want to come in here with any preconceived notions of what I was doing so that you guys would be like, well, you planned all this out I'm showing you exactly what I would be thinking on a wedding day except much slower room with many more explanation than talking directly to a camera so kind of get some of this stuff out of the way they so thoughtfully provided me with a very messy room is very kind of them um we have suitcases we have silk flowers apparently you have six wedding rings which we had from yesterday so I'm gonna put this mirror on the bed I don't need a mirror. I love mirrors. Some people asked me if I bring props to weddings like what? I bring something like this with me to a wedding, and while I have thought about traveling with a mirror in my car haven't quite gone that far, I only want to work with kind of what's available to me, so take a look and see if I can kind of do anything with the elements that I have here, which I think I can put the mirror on the bed, which I might not actually end up using. I know more lips, I'm really sorry, huh? So I haven't changed my settings from the last frame we're going to see if that works, and I'm gonna just take this bottle of water and I'm gonna hold it in front of my lens and use it to obscure the part of the image that the makeup artist isn't no offense, I feel like I'm being really rude. You've been very nice to us from getting it nice and close to my lens and fire where you take a look at the scene, the screen, it might look great, it might look actually awesome, so as you can see all it does and again, it's a little bit of a gimmick, it's a little bit of a trick. But to me, it's an interesting graphical element you've got to make up artist in the image, but the image is no longer about her as well as the bride it's about the bride and all that is is a bottle of water held so close to my linds that it could practically touch it. Now you want to experiment depending on the lens that you're using and that stop that you're working with. If you want to introduce an element like that into the image, how close do you want it to your lens or how far away do you want it? I can't give you any mathematical terms is how close or how far away it should be it's something that you just want to experiment with yourself and see how comfortable you are with it. We could also do something like gonna grab the veil and can I borrow you again? Do you mind grabbing them? And yesterday if you were watching the detail shooting portion of the day we made like a little veil tent for me to work in, which is really fun, onda geun these air, they're they're kind of gimmicky things, but to me there they're helping push your focus straight to the bride, and they're also to make the image is kind of. More artistic if you will a little more creative it's something that clients are responding teo so I don't want you to think that I'm telling you that when you show up to a wedding, you need to start finding all these props to put in your image it's just another way to tell the story and it's how I choose to tell the story so we'll make a tent and I'm gonna hide under it and just to show that yes, sometimes I do shoot with another lens I'm gonna pull out my twenty four if I can find it and usually I don't do this usually I would frantically turn to sandra my assistant and say, can I get twenty four to seventy? And she would roll her eyes at me like if you knew you needed it why didn't you have it out already? Okay, she's really helpful like that? All right, I know about the lens hood. Yes, I just put a lens hood on no it's not because I'm trying todo protect my linds from the er from the bright shining sun pouring through here I always put my linds hoods on because I'm a notorious klutz and when I bang my lenses on things I this helps me protect them, so we're just gonna kind of make a little tent out of the veil just for fun and again, I'm not changing my settings in the least bit. Can you just look directly like that? Went, thank you very much. Ooh, I like that that's beautiful, all right and let's see, once the tethered image comes up very lovely, ah, little bit darker. Maybe then I would have liked, but it helps kind of forced your eye right over to the bride because you're not distracted by the makeup artist and again, it's just kind of a little interesting graphical element that you can use to put in your photographs. So now that she's had a whole lot of makeup put on her, we're going to go ahead and show how I would get her dressed, so we're gonna let you take a little bit of a break. If you want to go grab your stunning high and wedding galan and toss it on just come back in a couple minutes. So once she's got her makeup on, once her hair is done and we move into the getting ready portion of the day, it's kind of a sensitive part of the day to handle, I don't want the client to feel really uncomfortable if she's changing clothes and I'm standing in the middle of the room while she's getting completely naked, some clients don't pair. They'll just change and it doesn't matter and they were just in a hurry to get dressed and they don't care whose end there some clients are very, very, very uncomfortable with somebody watching them get ready any portion of it so usually what I'll tell the client is listen, you can put your dress on wherever you want all I want you to do is you get it over your head or step into it however you go about getting ready and I want you to just pull it up over your chest until your nice and decent and hold it there and then come on in here and we'll finish the rest of the getting ready, the reason being they don't feel anywhere near as awkward if the dress is kind of already on and up, but then I can put them in the position that I want to continue the zipping up of the back of the dress, the fussing with the train, the putting on of the shoes, the putting on of the jewelry, the putting on of the veil then I can control that portion of the day a little bit better if a client is incredibly adamant that she wants to get dressed without me being in the room at all, I'm not going to be in the room when she gets ready it is not worth me making my client incredibly uncomfortable to get the shots that I want. So yes, but I love pictures of her getting into the dress and everyone helping her out. Yes, but I want her toe like the experience of working with me on I want her to like me more. So while I might push her and get access to the situation and get some beautiful images, no matter how beautiful the images are, what she's always going to remember is that I was really pushy tow her, so I'll push very, very gently and very politely, and if I sense any resistance that I'm gonna back way off. So during this portion of the day also when she's about to get in her dress if the room were super messy, which it almost always is like if these suitcases over here were on the bed and one of the brides maid tatter bag on the bed and there was still stuff cluttered all over here, my assistants are going to take two seconds and we're gonna clear that off. We don't need to clear the whole room. I just don't want a lot of distracting elements in the space when we're actually photographing her, getting ready, um, the other thing is, is that we've generally already figured out where we want. Her to put her dress on that's one of the first things that I think about when I walk into the room as I quickly do an eyeball of the space that I'm in and I figure out okay she's going to get ready over there and sometimes when I'm shooting the details, if I don't need her to help me kind of clean up my scenarios, my assistant will go ahead and move a lamp or move a table or move anything that we need to sort of make the space a little more ready for getting ready images. Um, the other thing is, if the bride is getting ready in a sweet that's really crowded or if she's getting her hair and makeup done in a location it's extraordinarily crowded sometimes I'll ask if there's somewhere else that she could actually get dressed, so if we're in a hotel and she's in her suite and she's getting hair and makeup done and she's got like ten brides maids and the whole place is an incredible mess, I'll say, hey, you know, is your mom staying at the hotel too? Like are your parents here are like this one of your bridesmaids have another room, and that way, when it's time for her to get ready, all we would do is grab her veil in her dress in her shoes, no jewelry and move this party down the hall to a completely clean room it doesn't have anything else in it if not no big deal but it's definitely something that I could ask about instead of trying to make that happen in an incredibly crowded room I know you mentioned a little bit yesterday, but in terms of shooting the men and the groom's similar scenarios in terms of lighting the way you absolutely absolutely if I'm going to be ableto have time to go over to the groom's mons like the groom's room and all of his groomsmen together now generally like let's be clear when you go over the groom's men's room they're sitting around in their boxers they're watching a sporting event they usually have whiskey and the food in their room is about a thousand times better than the food in the bride's room like right? The bride has like little finger sandwiches and like little perry a's and the grooms have like hot wings and chicken like always so they're having a really good time it takes him like five minutes to get ready they take a shower, they put their clothes on the kind of do something with their hair and they're good to go, so if I'm going to go into the room where the groom and the groomsmen are getting ready and shoot some of their getting ready usually it takes all of ten minutes and I mentioned yesterday that I don't work with a second shooter so if the bride and groom are not getting ready in the same hotel are the same venue so that I can bought back and forth um we have to look at the schedule and figure out when I can photograph the men first of all is photographing them and even important to the client and second of all, if it is important, how can we work it into the schedule? Do I start with the men and then go over to the women or do I start with the women and then go over to them in and then come back to the women or do I start with the women and then I don't really shoot the guys getting ready, but I need them at the church and shoot them hanging out in the sacristy beforehand? It all really depends on the timeline of the day and if I am going to shoot guys getting ready, it's the same lighting set up, you know, if the groom is going to put his coat on and mess with cufflinks and stuff like that, I'll still see if he'll come over by the window and do that and usually guys are a little more kind of weirded out by prep pictures they're like why would you want to take pictures of me like putting on my shoes and a lot of times, we'll have brides and grooms. Buy each other gifts and take. They want to kind of exchange gifts before the ceremony. So all go with the bride's maid, who takes the gift to the groom. And then I'll come with the groomsman, who takes the gift to the bride.

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.