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Creative Wedding Photography

Lesson 7 of 33

Unusual Angles and Framing

Susan Stripling

Creative Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

7. Unusual Angles and Framing

Lesson Info

Unusual Angles and Framing

Without further ado, we're gonna talk about my absolute favorite part of it, which is composition leading up to also moments because we can talk about beer all day and we can talk about equipment and what linds you using what settings you set your things on but none of that means anything if you can't compose a picture that tells a story so I've broken down the way I tried to tell stories into different things that I look for when I'm shooting a picture and I'm going to go section by section we'll have lots of time I know we sort of had to really blow through the lighting part before lunch we'll have a lot of time to talk about compositional theory um as we move along here so the first thing I want to cover is unusual angles now I don't believe in looking for something unusual or looking for something different or being weird just for the sake of being weird. I'm not tryingto like shoot the strangest angle through thirty two reflections in six mirrors upside down so that I can impress ...

photographers but my clients look at it and go um I even like in this picture I'm trying to make beautiful things for actual real life people who have actually retained my services and it's wonderful that the photography community likes what I d'oh but my first goal is to please my clients as should all of our goals b to please our clients, but I do want to tell the story in a way that's different from other people because if I do have a higher price tag on the work that I do, I need able to justify the higher price tag and one of the ways that I do that is trying to tell a story in ways that other people don't tell stories and that involved looking at the scene a little bit differently than everybody else might. So for example, when you have something as simple as the flower girl about to come down the aisle and standing behind her is her father who is poised to grab her if she liked bolts for the doors and that's the church lady who's hissing at her with her little pointy angry church lady finger about now you have to do this now I could have stood up and just shot the scene and it would have been a good picture but what I wanted to do, the story that I want to tell was this tiny little thing with the flower crown and our little turned in foot being like, you know, got the secret service behind her and the little pointy finger there I had to get down on her level to scale it down small like she is, so I chose to crouch down on the ground sometimes the scene unfolding in front of you is beautiful, but it would help to look at it from a different angle and like I said sometimes it's just getting down on the ground sometimes it's looking up into the scene this is the who I'm going to get the place wrong standard hotel roosevelt hotel gramercy park hotel one of those places in new york where they get really angry at you if you shoot in the hotel even if you're getting married there the bridegroom and wanted to go upstairs and take a picture in the lounge and the thing they really liked about the lounge were all of the lights that were hanging down from the ceiling well, if I just stood full on and shot into the room you to the rest of the room and the other people but the main focus of it was this ceiling that they love so much so sometimes it's not necessarily getting down in shooting straight sometimes it's getting down and looking up it's a simple is trying to see it from a different viewpoint. This right here looks like a really nice picture of a bride and groom in front of a house in the country somewhere but it's not it's the driving club in atlanta, georgia in the middle of the city what's behind them that house is the portico that their valet parking cars underneath, off here, over to the right, what you can't see is the driving club over there on the left, once you get past that tree is a busy highway behind me is a swimming pool full of kids. It is not exactly a peaceful country location, but I saw the top of the kind of building there. I saw the element that I could pull in on the side with that sort of tree bush thing, but it wouldn't work if I shot straight into it because you would see the gentleman parking the cars, you would see the people walking up and down on the sidewalk, so I got down and I shot up, eliminating the clutter at the bottom of the frame and focusing on my client's quick note about posing for something like this. However, if you are going to be down and shooting up, I don't like shooting up people's noses. Nothing makes me cry more than seeing a shot up image where you're looking directly up people's noses. So what? I will tell my clients to dio because they're leaning back into each other. I'll say, guys, this is going to feel just a little bit weird, but can you just kind of been towards me at the waist? Just a little bringing them from being you're down and you're looking up on them like this now you're looking up at them on this the same way you would if you were standing up on their level she tell him guys, I know it's gonna feel weird but just been forward just a little and it doesn't look so obvious that I'm shooting up on them. So look around don't just look where your eye takes you go up, go down, go side to side and see if the angle that you find can help tell the story a little better sometimes your unusual angle is into something or through something case in point here wonderful wedding, great people the groom gets up on stage with his groomsmen to sing with the band it's pretty awesome, but there's only so many pictures you can take of them on stage singing with the band so I had sat down behind the bride and groom's table and I was like, okay, I'm just gonna wait for the next thing to happen and, you know, maybe text my husband looking I watch, you know, see what's going on in the room, and then I realized that the water glass on the bride and groom's table the water was very still all of the ice had melted and I could see through it and it flipped the reflection you got to take time and look for these things when you're sitting on the edge of the dance floor and the toaster going on for days when you're shooting the dancing and it seems like it's never ending take the time to walk around the room and see if you approach it from a slightly unusual vantage point. Will it help tell your story? Not will it be weird for the sake of being weird, but can you actually make something? They're like this same thing you see it every other wedding groomsmen doing toast together, ofcourse I stood up and shot into them doing the toasts and lit it up all nice and it looked really good, but then I looked up on the ceiling and realize that there was a huge ah light picture on the ceiling that was kind of an interesting graphical element, so I lay down on the ground made a silhouette out of their hands it's not the first picture of them doing the toast it's not just this picture it's both pictures together that move the story along something like this the home that the bride was getting ready in was fascinating and her parents had a lot of like taxidermy on the walls and like a big stuffed bear and all these skulls and it was great, so to put it in context of where I was at, I chose to put the shoes on the skull it's something a little more unusual than I would normally do a little bit of ah weird thing, but it then becomes an environmental portrait of the shoes and also speaking of unusual angles. When I shot this two years ago, a lot of people thought this was a composite, but it wasn't there is nothing on my website anywhere that is a composite ever if I can't do it in the camera, I'm not going to do it at all, and that includes multiple exposures, which will also talk about but what's going on here on the right is that the bride was getting ready in a location in new york that is a photo studio she's getting married in the building kind of a big, beautiful white loft space, and she opted to get ready in one of the photo studios. And how often do you get that handed to you where the bride gets ready on a pure white psych wall with absolutely no break in the ground? It was incredible. Well, her dress was hanging on a pole like a kind of a column in the middle of the room, and this flower girl was about five feet behind it doing a little dance now an angle that I don't normally like is a wide angle vertical, I don't like how it stretches and distorts bodies. But in this scenario, it's an angle that I can see the dress I can see the little flower girl but it's sort of warp your perspective a little bit and if I hadn't been looking for it, I would have just been like, oh, if our real dancing and shot it so keep looking when you walk into a room and you survey the scene surveyed again and then when you shoot for awhile, survey it again and you'll keep seeing different ways to approach the exact same scene like that. Sometimes the angle for the picture that you're looking to take isn't even in the room that you're in. Sometimes you want to go outside and shoot in or go outside and shoot up sometimes it's leaning around something look beyond the actual obvious to try to find something different. Sometimes my unusual angle is a multiple exposure I do my multiple exposures all in camera cannons, have settings in icons, have settings where you can actually go in and choose multiple exposure and how many exposures you want to layer on top of each other. What this is here is on go into much career detail in the portrait's think book about precisely how this was shot the long and the short of it is the first frame is a silhouette of the bride and groom against the sky the second frame is a shot of the trees very kind of unusual way of looking at things, but the reason why it works is the first exposure gives you all of the darks of the couple, and the rest is blown out when you layer the second one over it in camera, you see the texture of the trees on ly in the part where the silhouette is. Everything else is very indeterminate, so I really like playing with multiple exposures in the camera. It's another way to see kind of ah little bit differently without faking it in post later, I don't like faking in post later why would I do that? Don't do that unless you're really good at it and then, you know, go to town framing again kind of ah add onto finding unusual angles I'm always looking for where I can put my subject in the frame that makes the clients I go directly to the subject. For example, it's, one of my favorite images is, um that I made right after moving to new york ended up winning the grand prize at the dpp, which was kind of mind bogglingly humbling, but what was going on here? I was shooting the bride's father, giving a toast, using my off camera light, lighting him up really well, doing the thing I usually dio, and he was kind of talking for a long time and kept on talking and I started to feel really conspicuous standing on the side of the dance floor, not shooting anything because I got what I needed and literally nothing was happening. So I'm like, well, he's, almost done kind of moshe do this to my assistant when we can kind of crouch down, just crash on the side of the dance floor. I was checking to see how many, how many exposures I had left on my flash card and you know, how's, the battery level going and then I look up into the tent and all this is is it is a tent with led stars on the ceiling and white paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling with lights in them. But the way the room was lit, it had that beautiful, like reddish sort of magenta look to it and I sat down and I realized that when I put her father against one of those balls of light, the exposure difference was so great that I was able to make a really sharp silhouette of him speaking, your eye goes straight to him like this. A lot of people have e mailed me, asking how I composited this image I did not composite this image, your eye goes right to the bride and groom. Which is what I want what is happening here? The way I have framed my subjects, I'm standing at the window and I'm looking out over the city of new york behind me in the reception room the reception is going on people are dancing there mingling I can see the skyline really clearly because all of the lights are very dim in the room behind me very dark reception not a lot of kind of ambient light in the room however, they opened the door to go down the hallway to leave the venue and it's bright white in the hallway the second they open in the door I see it reflected behind me, so I went over and while my assistant went over after I asked her to go over, I think the clients thought I was not because my assistant went over and said, hey guys, do you mind just kind of hanging out in the store for a few minutes? Just give each other a couple of kisses, susan really like to get a picture of that it's really it's a really great spot, but then they look at me and I'm not even looking at them I'm looking out at the skyline so they're like hye ok, we're ready, I'm like nope, you're good it's good keep doing your thing and that's that's the shot you know, it's, my husband uses a quote that I don't even know where he got it from that just take a look at what you're looking at, I think from jamie's l and he mentions that a lot in in the boot camps that he teaches and it's just a quote that continually resonates. It kind of goes around in my mind ever since I heard him say it is that sometimes you're shot is a little beyond the obvious sometimes it's not what's laid out right in front of you. Sometimes you have to go looking for it. Sometimes you have a very busy scene, but you want your eye to go straight to your client and straight to the moment that's happening. So I'll find something natural in the room that I can shoot through, right? Like, if I'm looking at something and I kind of hold my hands up like this to see just what I want, can I find something in the room that heavily vignettes me straight to my subjects, like straight to their face? What's going on here is it's, a very, very, very long russian orthodox ceremony where everyone is standing for an hour, awesome um, I was able to move freely in the church space, they expect you. Tow walk around and it was all just one big flat room it wasn't up on an altar, so I was able to walk around the candle lauber that the bride was standing in front of and what you see here are all of the dots of the candlelight and I'm shooting through the candelabra using it very deliberately so the or I go straight to her again as I mentioned before when I was looking out on the city of new york and the couple appeared in the doorway behind me this is exactly the same thing only now I'm looking in at them so the bowery hotel in new york I'm out on the balcony and we've closed the door and when I shoot through the door I get my clients in the room and I get the reflection of new york behind me. This doesn't work if if don't just go shoot this because you don't go outside and say, well, susan, talk told me to shoot through a door if it's not a picture, don't shoot it, go look for it and if it doesn't work, go look for something else don't be weird just to be weird if being weird doesn't help you tell the story, please don't do it but what I wanted to show here was I wanted to show the bride and groom together in the city that they loved so much with them are again just basic framing, basically simply pushing your eye to the subject, for example, here shooting the cake by shooting through the other tables. So when I shoot through the other tables and I put it in the break of the flower arrangements and the candles, you're I go straight to it. But all of the other elements in the photograph helps support it. Sometimes I'll even frame my subjects using linds flair. Why not? If you can, anything that directs the viewer's eye right up to the face of my subject is something that I want to consider sometimes it's as easy as the bride wants a picture of her shoes and there's just nowhere to do it. So what I did was I hung it on the pull the curtain pole, um, and shot through her sorry, that was hanging in the window to just go straight to the shoes, sometimes it's a matter of literally framing them in a window. I had no room to put her anywhere else, so I put her right in the window, exposed for her face let the background blowout and your eye goes straight to her, partly because of the light and partly because of where I've placed her in the frame, but sometimes you don't have to be so literal. Sometimes it can be shooting through a veil at the rings nice and easy, as long as if you're going to shoot through something or shoot into something. What you're shooting through or shooting into has to support the story you're telling if you're shooting through, you know, my coffee cup and this here to get naomi's face. Well, why are you? Why are you doing that? Like, does it? Are you doing it to natural, even yet to her? Okay, well, then darken it down and that's great, but you're doing it just cause it's a little weird. Well, don't do that. That doesn't tell me a story. So how many times you shooting weddings? And you've got the makeup artist there and she's in all the pictures doesn't know. The bride met her for the first time on the day of and yet she's in every single photograph that you're taking well, sometimes I don't want the picture of the bride getting her makeup done too b about both of the people in the frame sometimes I wanted to be just about the bride, so I want to frame in right on her face and this is something that will do tomorrow, but what I can d'oh let's take something like this, full or empty? My favorite is a champagne glass. I've used a bottle of tequila, I've used a piece of saran wrap I've used the plastic that was on top of the thing that the groom's ties came in. I've used the cellophane that went over somebody's dress, I've got the camera in my hand, usually propped on my shoulder because I'm not going to use this with my eye kind of crammed on it, and I'm holding something in front of the lens as close or as far away as I need to get the indistinct blur here I'm shooting through an empty water glass, everyone looks very confused. You want to stop and take any questions at all? So far, we feeling good. Are you feeling good? Has the internet feeling? You're not feeling good? Keep on going, alright going so I'll use something like that to block out a distracting element in the photograph and to frame the client's face in the way that I want it sometimes it's as easy as just draping the veil over the head board and pulling it into the frame so that, first of all, you've got a leading line that takes you right down to the client, and second of all, it pulls you it blocks that side and frames right into the client's face sometimes it doesn't have to be dark. Everything that I do doesn't have to be dark with dark curtains and black backgrounds. I wanted to go straight to this beautiful, beautiful little girl who is getting her the sweet little lip gloss done and her hair done, but was very distracting. It was a very small hotel room in qs there were a lot of people running around all over the place, so what I've done here is the reflection on the bottom is the top of the dresser, you know, a lot of hotel dressers will have that layer of glass on top of it, so I took my lens hood off because I wasn't able to get his low as I wanted and arrested the lin's right on top of that glass, so that's what's going on in the bottom half of the picture on the left half of the picture is a champagne glass with champagne in it, and I'm shooting the eighty five one for at one for mei lin's is probably about six inches away from the champagne glass off to the left. It gives me a beautiful abstract look, and it takes your eye straight to the little girl it's graphically interesting, and it helps push your eye to the subject that's what I'm looking for, what I'm trying to do, an interesting sort of framing element in the image. Or something like this? How many times were you trying to shoot a first answer? A parent ants and the on ly angle that really works well is shooting right into the deejay? Speakers are right up into the band that is so sad you can see a little bit the speaker's kick in a little bit at the left side of the frame, but there's a huge speaker and a d j and if you will notice it is a deejay ta gra fir he has a freakin camera from behind the deejay thing and I didn't want him in my frame I didn't want those distracting elements I wanted my eye to go right to teresa's face, so I went behind the bridegroom sweetheart table crouch down thes sparkly elements that you guys thought that you thought that was champagne that's their champagne glasses seventy two, two hundred was all the way at two hundred and I was probably about a foot away from the champagne glasses when I shot it. You will notice if you start if you start trying to introduce elements like this into your photographs, which if you hate it, don't do it, but if you like it and you want to start introducing those elements, you have to learn your how close you want to be too that element you're going toe include, and that also depends what linds you're using there is no mathematical rule I can't say when you're at eighty five one for you need to be four inches away from your element in the side of the frame you have to find your comfort zone on that yourself, but you know, practice with it if you're shooting your seventy two, two hundred and it's two prominent into obvious is a champagne glass back off or get closer, maybe that maybe the problem is you're not close enough, so just play around with those things until they enhance your photograph instead of distract from your photograph his number of questions about that exactly from the internet, I would be glad to about lens choice and also aperture when shooting through things through objects. Do you have any additional tips on that? Has everyone saw me frantically drinking it's fantastic? Um, yes and no, because they go hand in hand together if I'm shooting my eighty five and I'm shooting through something a lot of times I've chosen the eighty five so I can shoot it at one four, but if I'm shooting my seventy two, two hundred and I'm shooting the dancing, I'm probably a three point five or four and that will affect the closeness that you can get to the elements that are in the photograph, so for the most part when I'm shooting the seventy two two on two you know where I'm going with this? The seventy two, two hundred I either need to be very far away from the element that's in the side of the frame or very close to it it's kind of hard when you're about like a foot away and you're shooting you can be like oh that's clearly like a champagne glass and if I could tell exactly what it is that it's not serving its purpose the purpose is to distract from the rest of the frame the purposes when photographers you have to understand the photographer looks that image they think what did she do over there? How did she do that when a bride looks at the image, her eyes go straight tio the two of them and thinks what a great picture of us and what I've effectively done is block out the distracting elements so again like with seventy two, two hundred with dancing usually at about three, five or four is close to two hundred as possible eighty five one four almost always at one four for this sort of thing. Those are my to kind of go to the lenses for stuff like that, but this is something that you can really easily play with it home put a teddy bear on a chair, pour a bottle of champagne into a glass probably pictures of the little blurrier as you work your way through the glass but it's I mean it's something very easy to work on at home by yourself and if you start shooting this and you're like it's gimmicky and it's dumb don't do it I don't do it a lot or else kind of sticky yes ma'am I'm wondering about that element whether or not it has to catch light or how little it is yes and no okay sometimes I wanted to catch light like sometimes I wanted to sparkle but you saw the one where the girl was getting her makeup done and it just sort of blurred her out sometimes I just wanted to kind of gazi in blur away my background and then it doesn't matter then it could just be kind of ah textural element ah lot of times I like the sparkled but sometimes the light hits it right sometimes it doesn't I've tried to do this before and it just doesn't work and if it doesn't work I just move on and try something else. Any other internet questions about that understand this kind of a weird way to approach something? Yeah, we have a question about shooting in crowded rooms from tiffany and she asked, how do you deal with guests get in the way of your shot when you're shooting with a long lens and they always get in the way of my shot I just move around him move a lot if I'm weaving in and out around the tables and people stand up in front of me, I just step around them or I'll put my hand on their back really lightly and say, I'm so sorry, do you mind? Can I have, like, two seconds? And then they're usually like, oh my gosh, I'm so sorry I didn't even understand, but sometimes they look at you and they're like, I'm taking a picture to my school find something else, no big deal, you know, not a huge advocate of guests, you know, brides and grooms telling people to not bring their cameras, they're just going to hurt their guests feelings if they told him to not bring their cameras and I am not a professional if I can't work around that let's see how many people I can irritate today, but no, I mean, if I if I'm in a place and her grandmother stands up and want to take a picture, do grandma take the picture, please? Like you could tell that would mean a lot to her to do it, so I'll just move around not miles yet I know not anybody down yet, not yet no, um, if you're unable, teo, remove a distracting element from photos are do ever remove them in post or do you try to do everything in camera? I tried it in ninety five percent in camera but say for example this picture right here this is what it will look like when it goes to the bride and groom in in there kind of online gallery stage of things if she chose this for the album I would probably either try to clone out what was going on over there I would just crop it in a little bit but for me this is perfectly lovely to deliver grand again I don't do a whole lot of cropping in post unless on unless I've just egregiously screwed something up or I tend to shoot a whole my family formal that like a four percent tilt and I don't know why so we'll level them back up whoops so again some very very basic things about framing your images sometimes I am going to shoot the offense if I can not unless it's graphically interesting the light still has to be there the moment still has to be there all of the things that I've talked about so far still have toe work if I see a fence and I want to shoot through it but I can't shoot it in a way that I would shoot it if the fence weren't there I'm not gonna do it this is through the loveliest people ever and they got married in a really wonderful venue in new jersey and every time I go there there's a water wall and what it is is it's it's outside it's, the portico under which they park the cars, there's one column and there's another column and then a wall of water that you can see through that falls in between those columns. But every time I shot there before, the light was never right to make an image, and when they were arriving at the reception, the water was if the light was in exactly the right spot, it was hitting the water, giving me that beautiful kind of graphic element going on, and I shot through the water. Now shooting through the water was really hard, I did have to shoot a lot of it because it's moving so fast, I wasn't really able to tell when is a big dot going to be on their face and when isn't on? I also had to manually focus, but I thought that it made a really interesting portrait at their venue that they, you know, somebody else might not have made. So hopefully the next time somebody's getting married at the marion and they're out looking for a wedding photographer, they'll find my sight. They'll see a picture on my site that they've never seen from any other photographer at that location, and they'll think, oh, I want that course, then you have to recreate the shot that you know what I mean you know, sometimes we were talking about framing like I said before it's literal your eye goes right to your subject when you silhouette them in the middle of a window like so but sometimes the view that you're looking for is not inside looking out but outside looking in it's my beautiful friend carlin I photographed her wedding with a friend of mine last year and she was getting ready right in front of that window. It was beautiful that day was beautiful and I thought you know what? I bet if I go outside I could get a really good picture of the dress through the cabin windows and then I realized that the light was such so that I could also see karlan through the cabin windows and now I've tried to do this a couple times since go on outside and I've looked in and then like no lights not there so I don't do it sometimes you make a great shot, you'll try to make it again a couple weeks later and the elements aren't there move on and find something else sometimes like I said it's outside looking in hurricane irene at pleasantville chateau in new jersey excellent beautiful venue pouring down rain one of my last shots of the night I went outside in the pouring rain with my twenty four to seventy and shot through the window, which was hilarious I would lean forward wipe the window all step back and shoot wiped the window off and the guests are looking at me like I am insane, but to me, this shows what it's like being on the outside looking in, and they can see that it's warm and beautiful and cozy inside and pouring rain outside and again sometimes it's inside looking out, I'm in a little old barn and they're walking off through the field together. So all of these things were just going to show that all of your elements have to be there is before the gear the light, you know, everything is to be in focus. You need to choose all of your settings appropriately, but then this is where your eye really gets to come in. You have to have the moment you have to have something happening. Ah, beautiful graphical element of just somebody standing there again. Everything needs to pull together and you need moments before we move on any questions about anything that we've done, anything we've talked about compositionally so far. Yes, man and a little bit of a different question, please, are you saying everything you do? You do it straining camera in terms of composition, which is yeah, I typically do, um and then when it comes time, which is a little bit different poor tricks, as opposed to weddings when it when it comes time to do print sales and that kind of thing. Ah lot of times you know, the ratios are just not there when you're taking this gorgeous image and now you have to crop it and it changes, how do you like approach that when your example like china panic example like something like this, you know, something like that? If they want an eight by ten kind of mush, is it down a little bit? And when I've deliberately left, like left, all that negative space over there like that, if we crop it to a square, it doesn't feel quite the same, but for, you know, action shots like this thing's moving these graphical kind of element and I'm trying to use if a client tried to put it in an album, I try to keep it it's full frame it's possible if they order a print and they're going to crop it really badly, I'll try to take them up to the next print like I know you wanted eight by ten, but could we do in eight by twelve are you won eleven by fourteen, but could we do attend by fifteen? Let me show you an example of what they'll look like cropped, but if they want them cropped crop away if you will by the print you can crop it however you want yes ma'am so how does your directing work when you're not like within earshot like when you're far away like something like this right I'll tell him like hey guys I'm gonna go in there and I'm gonna shout out to my assistant who's standing at the door and she's going to shout out to you and all I want you to do from right here it's just walk away and then I'll come get you when I need you and they just take a walk off together and a lot of times it's when I'm shooting with a long lens I can't really yell out to my clients will put my assistant midway between my clients and myself and all call out to her and she'll call out to them how are we feeling internet we're great we're good yeah we have a little bit of a related question of course uh pf conrey how much direction are you giving guests for shots uh like the groom's toasting from below or the little girl dancing behind the dress or even you know something like almost done really almost none at all you know if the groomsmen are toasting and I don't get it on the first shot or I accidentally back focus and focus on the ceiling you know hey guys do that one more time for the little girl dancing behind the dress no direction because if I give her direction than what she's doing isn't really right so if I can get away without ever giving anyone any direction I will because then it's more authentic but if what they're doing is either walking them out of the frame or they're turning away I'll step in and I'll help them out but for the most part now I kind of let them let them do their thing yeah good, good good yes ma'am is that true for bridal purchase too because you've got a lot of these where she's got her hands around this face and you know direction on okay kiss but don't smush a lot of the directions air just given some love you know pay megan grab jason's face and give him some love to see what happens you know and if they're very very, very uncomfortable I'll give them a massive laundry list of things to do that they can't possibly remember like okay, so carlin and matt what I want you guys to do is I want you to walk down to the reeds and then stop and like turned towards each other give each other a kiss and then kind of hold out at arm's length and then come in and give each other a kiss and then spin around so you're on the other side and walk back and what's gonna happen is they're gonna walk out there and they're gonna kiss and they're gonna look at each other, and I feel like, I don't know what to do now. And then they're gonna laugh. And then there's going to be a moment. That's, riel, that's. What I'm looking for, I don't care if they remember what I told them to do it. I don't want them to do what I told them to do, except walk out there and be themselves. So what kind of giving more than they can handle? And then let a moment develop that way, and a lot of times, especially when shooting with a long lens. As soon as they realize that you're not up in their face, that you're giving them room to breathe, they're much more apt to be themselves and kind of loosen up around you.

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.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Gear List.pdf

Susan Stripling Presentation Slides

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



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.