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Creative Wedding Photography

Lesson 14 of 33

Shoot: Getting Ready - Portraits with the Veil

Susan Stripling

Creative Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

14. Shoot: Getting Ready - Portraits with the Veil

Lesson Info

Shoot: Getting Ready - Portraits with the Veil

So what we're going to do is we do two more things before we move on, we're going to put the veil on the bride and then we're going to shoot some portrait's of the bride. So what I would like for the picture of putting the bride's veil on let's get the flower girl in the junior bridesmaid our bride and our makeup artist now usually the makeup artist or the hair person is the one who has to put the veil in because they know howto like exactly where it's going to get here into the hairstyle that they've done, but usually I'll have her put it part of the way in and then have her moms think it the rest of the way in high ladies, can I borrow you are gorgeous flower girl and junior bridesmaid you're going to come right over here and you're going to talk to you I'm gonna pretend she's your cousin you're gonna talk to your cousin so you guys are going to school even further back like really close to that thing? You look this way and you're gonna come right back into the spot you were in and d...

oing anybody that can put a veil in ahead with a veil the veils air in here so we can either if if our makeup artist had to go home come borrow her mom anybody at all I'll do it myself I know how to do it the biggest thing that people do that I don't understand they try to put the veil in that way right that way because it needs to curve towards the head so I've learned a lot of weird things like how to put on boot nears you know how to help people put on comer buns how to put a veil in because you never know when somebody's not gonna be there and you're gonna have to be like no, you're doing it wrong do it this way the one skill I don't have is how to tie a bow tie that I'm going to get there so all you're going to dio like let's just put it turn your lovely head that I should put it like right there, all right? And you ladies you're just gonna hang out with her as you do, so I'm gonna come over here and because it is kind of ah big scene going on and I also don't want to step all the way off camera with this and we have a small room just for fun let's see what linda as I wish to use, I'm going to use my twenty four to seventy because it is extraordinarily versatile I'm gonna show you a couple of different ways you consume etc so can you scoot a little closer to these girls that I've now put in your family and you ladies just turned directly towards her like face or straight on and just talk to her you tell her your names tell him tell her how old you are although usually you know that before a wedding day right and go ahead and pop the veil in her head and you can find each other extraordinarily funny there we go the flower girl engineer bride's maid are the same age as my daughter, so I'm trying very hard to not just abscond with them and make them my own so as you can see from this beautiful little scene right here and in the following picture again it's about the lighting if you look at how it falls on everyone's faces as we go through the scene beautiful room of light on the bride's face it travels kind of down the front of her body and down her arms it's on this lovely twelve year old girl here in the corner but then her younger sister this is really your sister, right? Yeah, they're like, yes, you can see that there's light on her face, but you can't see the rim of it because it is against the white background on I'm gonna keep sort of the laboring that point through the day because I think it's pretty important, but I'm going to shoot something like that now while this scene is going on obviously I'm shooting constantly and not stopping to talk to imaginary cameras while I'm shooting an actual wedding which should be really creepy I'm going to go back to my eighty five and as I've mentioned before but for those of you who are first joining I do shoot with two cameras I don't change lenses a lot but because I'm shooting tethered I only have one camera today so let's say I want to photograph these beautiful girls is there watching her get her veil put on should go ahead with the veil on and you guys just watch her you don't even have to look at me you can look right at her they're so cute so again without changing the settings at all I simply come over behind her shoulder and photographed these girls however now the light has become really prominent on this lovely little girl's face and my settings were no longer really applicability so I'm actually going to come in here with my exposure compensation and you could just keep looking at her and I'm going to roll it down to two stops under exposed you can look at her there you go look right up at her good girl the playback monitors over here and she's like so you can see you can actually come over and you can shoot with the light coming from a different direction it doesn't always have to be you're on this side and the light is that way now, obviously, the picture would be much more impactful if go ahead, look out the window. I know not quite that far. Come back a little bit, come back a little bit and you just turn your head right out the window. You're so good, she's argued. You can see when she turned her face to the light. Obviously the light quality is a little bit better, it's what I'm looking for, but it's still lovely and dramatic in the image beforehand so I can actually work this scene as I've shown you in multiple different ways, you can come over here as I did in those four shots and shoot into the scene, then I can come over here and I can shoot this way. I could even come over here and shoot over her shoulder. She what that would look like? Just keep looking at her, you and your sister just stare right at her. Pull my tether over here don't look at me. There you go, turn your face just a little towards the window. They're going to look up at her cute, you're still cute, so you can see when you come in, you can go over her shoulder this way. Or you can come in and go over her shoulder this way you still got beautiful light coming from the window and obviously although the you know temptation is there to photograph these girls over and over and over again because they're gorgeous and precious obviously I want pictures of her and her mother as well so what I would do in that scenario is I would have understood that that this was going to be coming on before this even happened if it were possible to move the end table on the lamp I would have moved them out of the way if not I would literally come over here and the girls that they find it if I stood right behind them and I would crunch in right behind them and um photograph over their shoulder towards her and her mother thankyou ladies take a break again beautiful job can you actually actually put the veil on her head so we can go on from there so this is basically how it getting ready as I mentioned before would work we've got hair and make up we've got getting the bride in her dress we've got the veil and I'm going to do the same type of lighting for putting her shoes on putting her jewelry on I would probably have her stand right there and have her mother come over here and help her put her jewels on but in the interest of time not going to do those it's gonna look exactly like these. We're going to move on and take a portrait of her. So what? We're going to dio, as I mentioned yesterday, we were talking about window light bridal portrait with eighty five one point four at one point for someone to set up for that, maybe take a question or two, and then show you what those would look like if you had a window and you could control the dark. Yes, for example, but there was no sheer and you had strong light coming in. Would you avoid the window? I wouldn't avoid the window, but I would back her a little bit more into the room, right? Like maybe I would put her on this side of the bed or if it's actually really, really, really bad, maybe I'd avoid the window a bit more often than not, I would just back her out of the path of the light because for me, with what I'm doing here is I'm getting her is close to the light is possible without shoving her in it, and what I would do is pull her like let's, say there's a huge burst of light that comes through and stops right here, I would put her right here exactly, you know? You get it? Yes, ma'am, wait. Quick question from eighties photography and a few other people call you direct this much during a real wedding day. Okay, if you could just reiterate sometimes I mean, I'm directing this because I'm setting up models in an actual shoot, but for the most part, like, if I come over here and I'm shooting over her mom's shoulder and a flower girl isn't looking in the right direction or she's looking at our hands are she's, you know, looking all over the place, I might save you look about just a second and she'll look up at her and there I go or an honestly, like a lot of the direction that I'm doing right now is these people don't know each other right? Like that. They just met for the first time today. So when her bridesmaid comes in she's not gonna automatically just grab her hand and they're going to start crying. But if this is her best friend that she's had since she was two years old, they're gonna be going automatically hold onto each other. And our mom is automatically going to come in and, like, touch her on the back and start, you know, loving on her. So I'm giving them a little direction so that it's a little more genuine, but for the most part, the clients are going to bring that if they don't bring that if they just kind of stand there looking really awkward and uncomfortable as they do and as it happens, I'll step in and I'll try to just generically loose, loosen them up like guys it's really cool, like, I know you're really stressed out and, you know, I'm right here taking pictures, which I totally know makes you uncomfortable but just chill like just talk amongst yourselves like, tell her a joke like, tell me a story, just just try to breathe, and then they usually they're like, okay, okay, thank god cause they think that they're gonna be, like, posing and pictures. And when you realize that you could just kind of enjoy the moment, then it relaxes people up a lot. You feeling good? Okay, so all I'm going to do from here to make it even more like I would normally dio oh, my gosh, guys, we might get sun today. Look at that in the vacant lot next door it's so beautiful. So what I'm gonna ask you to dio if this were a regular wedding day we talked through this briefly yesterday I'm going to throw everybody out of the room which I just did but I would do it in a much more polite way because I'm going to ask her to sit on the floor to take a portrait of her and if her mom is in the room and I asked her to sit on the floor of the moms gonna go oh my gosh you can't do that you're gonna get your dress dirty but if I say hey do you mind sitting on the floor nobody else's in the room she's going to say are you sure you want that's cool so all you're gonna dio you face this window right and you're gonna sit kind of like a cheerleader which is just like that and your legs could go either way whatever you're comfortable with and ask her to sit down if she's got a big like flu fi poofy ball gown will help her down and if it's really like a stiff like silk satin and we know that it's going to wrinkle I'll actually pull the dress out and let her sit on the under skirt and somebody fling me that chair right there I don't really want to climb on the suitcases that is destined to fail and I would never be that cavalier with the stuff in the room I'm not gonna throw her bouquet on the bed. It's gonna be really painful if I can't actually stand on this so okay, they try to pull the tether over so doesn't show up in the picture whoa that's awesome. Okay, so what? I'm going to dio first things first is I'm going teo tweaker pose just a little bit so you can tell that she sat down exactly how I want her to sat sit down and usually to make them feel more comfortable I'm gonna sit right down with, um so she's sitting down like so so bring your arm in closer to your side and then put it forward and then lean on it yeah, and then take that arm and just bring it over exactly what I'm trying to do is I'm gonna be standing up here if she's sitting straight up it's gonna look like she's leaning back so I want her to lean towards me and if she doesn't lean towards me, I'll say, listen, you've got to lead with this part of your chest and it's gonna feel like you're going like this, but think of like being the prow of a ship and like a rise towards me and then it always makes them laugh if they're wearing veils, I'll bring it around their shoulders obviously this girl is lovely and slender and beautiful and doesn't need any like slimming techniques but if you have someone who might be a little heavier or even perfectly beautiful in normal but uncomfortable about their arms or just worried that they're going to look fat like all brides do on their wedding day, I'll pull the veil over their shoulders because it acts kind of has a you see where I'm going with this, it sort of blocks off their arms and sometimes it just makes them feel a little bit less exposed so as you can see ahead or bring her arm and I had her lean in kind of draper arm over here, if they're very uncomfortable with the drape of the arm, I'll have them like, play with their hair or play with their veil if they obviously need something to do with their hands, but then I have to get up above her so that I can shoot down on her and I understand that she needs absolutely no slimming techniques whatsoever, but this is a flattering post for everybody, no matter their size and I could tell immediately when I climbed up here that I just stood up in my own light somebody come back and re adjust usually my very well meaning assistant will come stand next to me right in the light she never gonna talk to me again after I, uh, tell all of her secrets on creative live there, here we go I will not use my strap all right, there we go. Usually if I'm getting up high like this I am gonna loot my strap around me because I don't want the camera to fall in the bride's face before her actual ceremony, but I'm not doing that. I'm gonna throw it straight in my mike now you have to determine whether your client is comfortable looking at you're not ninety percent of the time. The answer is not so I'll tell them to look anywhere but at me and then occasionally flick their eyes up to me that will make them more comfortable, they'll be able to look around and they just look up at me and then look around but for the sake of time, I'm just gonna have her looking right up at me bring your chin up just a little and leaned towards me a little bit yeah, she gets it so now I'm shooting at one point four, so I'm putting my focal point directly on top of the closest eye to the camera let's see what we've got you could get married every day and I would be there um, nice and easy as you can tell, the light is coming in and it's hitting her face I've exposed for her face she's sitting on just your average everyday carpet, but once I've exposed properly for her face the rest of the carpet goes black if I just put it on no exposure compensation at all just dead on in the middle it would look like so which makes me very sad to have you show this to you, but it's going to show that you can't necessarily trust what your camera says because that's, what your camera's going to say we're going to find you in this a little bit more? I can tell just by looking at this that I need to adjust my exposure compensation or maybe you don't know you shoot that and then you realize, oh god that's not right and then you fix it and you just move on, so look back up at me again and you're gonna push your shoulders yeah, what they always do in a lean forward everybody is this tendency is to roll your shoulders and because you don't want to feel like you're doing like this, but I say you gotta roll your shoulders back just a bit and then the kind of hunch to her shoulder's completely goes away. So again, I bring my exposure compensation down about a stop spot right on her. I know recompose cause if I recompose at one point four she's out of focus and fire and then we take a look and we see if we got our exposure correct and I'm guessing that we did all it is is a window on a dark floor sometimes if the floor is very unsightly and her dress is big I'll spread the dress out behind her a little bit and let the background you know be white but I'll shoot some you know vertical then I'll shoot some horizontal look up in your roll your shoulders back in and leaned towards me and straight up exactly so then I'll go horizontal and I'll put my focal point again right on her eye and fire I haven't changed my settings at all she's still in the same spot she's still in the same light there you go nice and easy so you can adjust things you can have her look up at you you can have her you bring the veil all the way over really like strive towards me and look down with your eyes yeah yeah bring your face back towards me if you look at me like that and then down with your eyes yes, because a lot of times she's put a lot of time and effort into her makeup on I really want you to be able to see I want her to be able to see how beautiful her eyes looked, so I'll come in here and like I was saying yesterday I've been doing a variation of this shot since two thousand three I just never used to be very good at it. It was the wrong lens. I used to shoot it with a fifty. Now I look at this and I realise I've tilted her face down a little bit too much. Her nose is going into her lips. So have you do exactly what you were doing again? Kind of down with your eyes and if you if my face is your hand to you like that, your face is not you know what I meant? I'll tell a client just look at my hand and then follow it with your face and that way it's a lot easier for them to tell what I mean. I could just say lift your chin, but if I just do like this little trick I picked up from god knows who so now she didn't lift her face up again just a little bit more. Oh, perfect that's perfect. So if you've never attended a print competition at something like w p p I before I highly recommend that you do, I am an intense perfectionist on I want all of my image is to be a cz perfect as I possibly can, so something as simple as her nose going into her lips, which is kind of ah composition no, no would be something that I'm very conscious of. Generally going to print competition judging it's free it will let you see a panel of experts take a picture that you think is absolutely gorgeous and decimated down to the ground, which is honestly helped make me a much better shooter so there's a million things we can do with this weekend put the veil over her head we can come down and shoot more on her level if you really want to get kind of crazy or if you have time you could take the exact same setup like if you keep looking up at the window you know let's say we've got something dark that we can put in the background of the background is really lovely and it's not like students let me kind of ru again for just a second issue just one more thing I'm just holding this up toe block out these four people that are sitting behind me just hanging out there usually if it's the bed or the wall or a dresser, I'm okay shooting into it. I'm just using this to block the fine people sitting over there in the exact same lighting scenario. Just bring your chin down just a little bit I'm gonna put the veil over your head and then just take your hand and hold it kind out like this turn yeah, just so the bill doesn't smash your face, okay because I don't want the veil to hit her face and make all of these lines across her face bring your hand in a little closer to your face even closer yeah, I just looked down close your eyes yeah exact same settings let's see if it works take a second it's the exact same lighting setup it's just coming at it from a completely different angle and now in something like this, if we don't have a big suitcase toe hold up in the background, I'll have my assistant holders are sweater or all even just have her stand there. If she's wearing a skirt, I'll have her do like this it's another bonus to wearing all black so you can see that the light is coming from exactly the same spot I'm just shooting into a different angle of it you come up, you can come out and you can come up your hand, you got it good and you're done thank you very much. We have about two minutes we thank our bride, he was lovely and just did a phenomenal job posing so you can see these are what the images looked like when they come out of camera and you'll get to see them edit it up in their raw format on sunday, but not by me any other questions in the last couple of minutes that we have you're either nodding at me because I made no sense or because I made a lot of sense yes please okay so going back to meeting I know that you meter in your head yes, but you know if we're just starting on your using your camera you're meeting off of where the light is hitting on the face yes ah lot of times it's off of the cheeks like I think in my head if I had a light meter what part of her face when I put it on and I would probably put it right here but if she's standing over here by the window right and she's like this and you're shooting into it I want to meet her right here because if I meet her for her cheek and I exposed for her cheek it's going to be really, really bright I want it all to come down so that this is perfectly exposed so I'd meet her right here other questions and there's no shame in it thinking that you've metered correctly taking a picture and realizing you're off just readjusting to it again it's fine, I have no problems with people chipping as long as you're not missing moments because you're doing it how does the internet feel great? We've got lots of great question good I'm glad the home pete would like to know with this scenario b the same approach if you're footing graphing an african american bride or some darker solemn tones absolutely a treasure is still exposure I've photographed clients of all ethnicities and all all skin tones and it's exactly the same thing great yeah, I mean a couple questions from male photographers feeling a little uncomfortable that it's to cleavage based getting being above like they only they might make the bride feel uncomfortable aunt I can absolutely understand that, but I actually picked up the shooting down on the bride technique from becker in california and his client's adore him I mean he's got a wonderful personality and my own husband cliff mountain or when he goes to weddings he does a very similar shot as well and I believe that from il photographers it's all about how you present yourself if you come in and you're like banging your chest and you're like I'm male photographer, you know you're going to make them uncomfortable, but if you're very calm and you're just very chill and you're not going to make them uncomfortable unless you do something to make them uncomfortable and if you get up on your chair and your you know your shooting them and it's about moving the face it's not about like so let's move your cleavage to the right you know what I mean? Like I understand that male photographers have problems shooting things like boudoir and I totally understand and for getting ready like I'm usually allowed in the room when the bride's getting pulled up. But if there's a male videographer, he usually steps out and we get him and my husband, when he shoots, he usually steps out of the room and just ask the bride's maid, you know, can you come grab me when she's decent? But as long as you sort of, like, almost emasculated yourself a little bit, like just soft, sell your manliness, I think your kind will be totally comfortable with you. Be fine. When one of my photographers for my wedding was a guy and he was so sweet and kind to be around, I totally comfortable, but I think it's a valid concern. I can totally see where they're coming from with it, so it goes back to don't be a jerk exactly. Well, actually, it's don't be a something else but it's a word that I can't say on here, so we're gonna go in during teo, you have to keep a sense of humor about this, you know, it's a stressful day. It's. Like running a marathon with a million emotional moments that you could miss at any point in time. So even when the day is crazy, we just try to stay cool and light and enjoy ourselves and keep our clients as calm as possible. And if you're calm all day long, and you're visibly stressed out for two minutes, that will inevitably be the two minutes of your clients look atyou, right? So you just want them to think you're so cool and call him all day, and you're like, I was dying inside, like, all day, but they don't need to know. We don't need to see you sweat.

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.