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Creative Wedding Photography

Lesson 23 of 33

Shoot: Reception - Toasts

Susan Stripling

Creative Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

23. Shoot: Reception - Toasts

Lesson Info

Shoot: Reception - Toasts

For those of you who are just joining us into recap, for those of you who have kind of been with us all day, my off camera flash setup is really, really, really simple. We have a slight wind it all the way up here and now I can't get it off. There we go. I have a basic everyday mono pod on top of the monarch pod just screwed right on into it is my foe. Ticks is called a faux ticks strat o to multi receiver receiver as in not transmitter. So I just screw it right on here and by I I mean my assistant. There we go nice and tight. It has a flash foot right on top so you can actually just put your flash right on in there. It's a nice and light, not terrifically expensive and then I have the nikon s t nine battery pack, which is fantastic. Not only does it give me a little bit more battery life, it also allows me to shoot faster with much less recycle time. So what? I'm going to dio I'm gonna go ahead and set my flash gonna send it to sixteenth power, but what I'm going to set my flash on fo...

r things like toasts and first dances and parent dances and introductions really depends on the room. This room is it's a little light I mean to be honest it's a little bright in here which is a little bit brighter than I would normally see on a wedding day but it's still not so bright that I'm going without a flash just because I can doesn't mean I should I can shoot these people with the eighty five one four at one for but I'm not going to because there's absolutely no quality to the light whatsoever if I'm going to shoot with absolutely no flash I have tto have light that I would be happy with and I wouldn't be happy with this so without further ado I've explained what I've done here with setting my flash I took my camera which I've been using with the seventy two, two hundred on it on my defore I took it off of auto esso and I took it off of my eyes a sensitivity settings because I don't want it to be choosing my I s o for me when I'm shooting in manual my camera's turned over to manual and I'm gonna go check those settings on that can I borrow michelle kind of are you know like this for me so what? I'm gonna have you d'oh because I'm just gonna have you when I when I start toe light you're going come stand right here and I'll tell you what to do you're actually hang out over there, okay so with my camera, I'm gonna take a donut taken I meter reading by just looking around the room and getting a sense of what I should be on. I'm gonna go ahead and put my eyes so unlike eight hundred, why? Why not? We're gonna get a shot. I'm gonna go on an eightieth of a second at f four and see what happens now. What michelle is going to dio is everything turned on. It is no good. I'm always in a fire test shot just to make sure we haven't accidentally bumped a channel setting are moved anything around? I'm going to make sure it's all good and then what she's going to do when she comes center which don't have to do to shut when she comes center she's going to keep her eyes on me when I shoot the bride and groom she's gonna angle the flash slightly towards the bride and groom when I shoot the person giving the toast she's gonna angle slightly towards the person giving the toast so what's gonna happen? Gonna give a toast? Sure, you guys go way back until, like, nine am. You're good, your longtime friends. So you guys going to stay here and actually just come, nick, if you don't mind coming in standing right? So when we're talking about toasts the last thing in the world that I want him to dio when he gives a toast to these people is to come stand next to them why because if he comes over and he stands next to them he's going to look at them this way so that I've got to try to light him and then they're going to look at him this way and then I've got to try to light them and what am I going to do it by going through a flash straight on them well it's goingto get stuck in this bed sheet going on back here I don't know what to do so what I'm going to do at the very beginning of the reception is I'm going to talk to the d j or I'm going to talk to the band leader and I'm going to say hey honey toast do we have tonight oh we've got one just one and I'm gonna say great like at what point in time in the evening are we going to do the toasts because usually when the clients give me a timeline the timeline doesn't cover the reception usually says reception six thirty to ten thirty and it doesn't break it down but the deejay or the band leader always has the reception timeline and I'm gonna find out that he's going to get up and he's going to give his toast after we've eaten salads so great so everybody ate their salad then he gets up to give his toast and I'm going to have asked the deejay or the band leader if he can give the toast from either out in the room or on the dance floor. We're in kind of a small space here, but if we were in a kind of more regular reception room there would be more space between their head table and the rest of these tables so if he were standing right there he would probably be right on the dance floor but you know what just for sake of argument we're gonna put him right there anyhow so if you can step off the wall just a bit okay michelle, you come right out there, let me actually I don't want this like a you know, tractor beam of light so all literally all you do you're going to put it straight up like so and you're just going in and we're going to see if the kind of these drop downs in the ceiling cause some problems but hopefully they won't all right. So you're just going to stand there and think of embarrassing things that he did when you know when he was a when he was in college or high school or whenever you met him he's your younger brother so you've known him your whole life, huh? That's fantastic eh? So we're going to take a look at what I just shot and dang, if that doesn't look pretty, all right? I mean, yeah, okay, we've cut a little crew standing in the background, but hikaru, are you guys doing? But you know what? This wouldn't entirely be all that dissimilar from what you would see if you had a videographer at the wedding, because chances are if you have a videographer, they kind of multiply like a gremlin when you put water on them, and by the time you get to reception there's usually like three or four of them, you know? I'm telling the truth like I hear you guys laughing, but usually the one mild mannered videographer that you start out with the beginning of the day has turned into a team when you get to the reception and sometimes if you're extra lucky, they are actually rolling around on tripods, which is really awesome ah lot of the time you're on the same side and it's going to be great, they're not going to be a problem. Sometimes I have no choice but to include them in the photographs and that's really all I can do so you can see exactly what's going on here, you can see the brightness in the room the room isn't exactly dark, however. The light coming from here is hitting the side of this gentleman's face, creating that rim of light that I've shown you all day long that I love so very, very much once I'm exposing for his face with the settings that you can see right there by the time I've lit his face and exposed for that properly, when we shoot into this staircase, which looked just like the rest of the room, it becomes much darker because I have let him and my background has darkened down now, as I was mentioning before, when I was shooting them outside and I took a second to take that image of her with the veil over her head, and then I took another second, take another image of her with hand out, go ahead and hold your toast, your you know, it was the quickest toast ever in the history of man. Sometimes I get a chance to step in and do something like this. It is exactly the same thing that I'm shooting. The light is coming kind of from the same direction that it would if I had the sun out there and all he's done is lift his hand in the air, so a lot of times, you know, when they're getting ready to, like, lift their glass off, I'll try to get in there and get something like that. You guys are seeing exactly what's going on, you can see where the light is coming from and where she's standing now, if she has to be a little further away or the dance floor is really big or there's a big difference between where he is and where they are and she has to throw a faraway either side, maybe we'll go to a quarter power may be, we'll be it an eighth power, but that's something that you'll need to kind of figure out on your own as you start to put together your mental settings of ok when the room is this big in this dark, I kind of want to go in this direction and like I said before, if you don't know where to start, start somewhere, just turn the light on and see what happens, but please, I beg you, if you start trying to work with this technique at a wedding, don't take it to a wedding and try to figure it out try to figure it out at home before your ever, ever, ever going to go to a wedding because you don't want to experiment on your client's dime. Now I've shot him in that direction when she sees that I'm turning this way to shoot them all she's going to do is turn her flash so she's not listening to the speech. She's not looking at what's going on she's got her eyes on me to see which way I'm turning and she's not moving at all I can move wherever I want because she's there in the lightest constant if I'm here the lights going to be the same, I go all the way over there out the door, the light's gonna be the same if I go across the street, the light's going to be the same because it's coming from the same spot at manual power, you want to hop back out there and then turn the light to them and you just look at him like you're fascinated with what he's telling you they look super fascinated, so I'm gonna focus in on her turn towards them and get a reaction shot of what's going on, I didn't change my settings at all I just simply turned towards the bride and groom and shot into them and got a reaction, thanks it helps that they're absolutely adorable people. Thank you. So what I would do in a situation like that let's say that it's, his best friend? So I'm going to photograph the groom's reaction and then I'm gonna photograph the bride's reaction and then maybe all back off a little bit and I'll photograph both of them together are maybe I decide that f four isn't really working for me in this situation maybe I want to go to five six so that they're both a little more and focus and I'll adjust the rest of my settings accordingly but this will work no matter where I am and as you can see, I'm in a very small, very limited space to have a seat thank you very much as faras toasts how do we feel about toasts? Does anybody have any questions? Studio audience how do you feel about toasts? You apparently feel really fine about toasts all right? This is like the b list table that got sit lights out like the farthest away from the bridegroom that even get a table I've been in venues where it's a completely white tent oh god the words okay, I just need ideas because it's kind of a nightmare the flash just kind of bounces everywhere and you know, now that I'm like, oh yeah, dark background you uh but sometimes you don't have a dark background and sometimes you're lucky in the tent like cuts off like a little bit, but sometimes it goes all the way down and in that instance I'm going to shoot it pretty much exactly like this knowing that my results are still going to be clean, they're not gonna just not gonna be quite as dramatic because they don't have the same type of background to put them against and as you'll notice, when I photographed the bride's face, I was very careful of how I composed it to put her against the dark woods as best I could it's a little over exposed for me I'd actually like to see it a little bit brought down, so if I were going to shoot it and I trumped it and realized that's a little bright, I would bring it a little bit more down I could also increase the power of my flash and really have the flash overpower everything else so that the dark the background became even darker but sometimes that's really changing the look of the room and I don't want to do that. Ah, we have a question for ryan sands since you're using an off camera flash with your assistant what happens when you suddenly want to shoot parent reactions to the toes and your assistant is nowhere near them while holding the flash like if you I mean she's never not all that near them, sometimes we do a flip flop, okay, so usually what we've got is a room where this, you know they're here there's some tables over here and there some tables over there so she'll be over here and there's tables here in tables there so she's facing this way and then she's facing this way but I can also ask you to turn this way sure or turn this way. Usually the parents have been sat close enough to the table that where she is, the light will hit them. And if he's given a toast, obviously, the next host will be hers. So in between, the toes will flip flop. Great. So if she's over here, I just do like this and then we crisscross. Great. Yeah, so that that way get reactions from the other side of the room. Yeah, we had another question related. You ever have the flash on the stand? Anywhere? Like a tripod, always with yours stints always with my assistant. I feel like the second I put it on a stand it's just begging to be knocked over. And if it's on the stand and I want to move in, I'm on the other side of the room. I have to go pick it up and move it. If it's in my assistant's hands and it's on the other side of the room, I just have to I do like that. And she moves it herself. Right? Great. It always makes me feel better when the equipment that I'm working with is actually in the hands of a human.

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.