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Creative Wedding Photography

Lesson 27 of 33

Workflow with Sidecar Post

Susan Stripling

Creative Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

27. Workflow with Sidecar Post

Lesson Info

Workflow with Sidecar Post

And actually going to talk about my post wedding workflow and to make this completely and totally relevant for you I'd like to bring out my friends jen and john they are sidecar post, so if we can say hi hi brings in terrorist here some chairs, you come have a seat with me, we're going to sit and talk, I feel like we need not now. We need coffee and a guest star because this is very this's very like all of a sudden we're on the view it's phenomenal, but the reason they're here is I couldn't really talk about my post wedding workflow and sort of how I revolutionised it without talking to the people who revolutionized it for me, the people who took my phone calls at two o'clock in the morning when I was crying like hysterically because I had to edit seven weddings like in the next three days. So what happened to me, wedding wise? I know that I mention that I used to live in florida and I used issue, you know, twenty three, two, twenty eight or thirty weddings a year, which is totally man...

ageable when you're doing it yourself. If you're efficient, if you're doing things you know, with maximum efficiency, you could, you know, handle a pretty decent workload on your own, but when you hit fifty weddings a year for the first year, you've got it like, seriously for the first year you're like, I am making money, I am doing good, I'm staying up till four in the morning, but who cares? I'm looking fifty weddings and then the next year you're like, oh my god and your your face is melting off and it's three in the morning and you want to cry because you're so tired and you have to get up with your kids and the worst it's well in the zone and then off the cliff eyes kind of how that went and that the issue was is that nothing was suffering with my business and nothing was suffering with my work. The entire rest of my life was suffering and that's no good and it's not healthy either, like it's just really terrible, so I thought, you know what? You know before the quality of the work really starts to suffer before I start kind of having a blaze through these weddings and I'm not able to give them the attention they deserved. Maybe I should think about post production, right? Like maybe I should think about outsourcing my raw files, so I did with what, like everybody else does, I got on the internet and said, who do you use for post production? And I got a list of it was about, like, six of the same cos their names kept coming up over and over and over again, and I was like, okay, I got a little bit of time, so I'm medicine like my test shots off to these people, and I'm going to see if they can match my style because they all tell you they will match your style they all promised that you will get customized attention and oh, yes, we will match your style and we promise we can do this wedding the wedding you all are all, like, no and it's it's true. So I started off with the first company and I pulled the same test shots and they were about a dozen of them and I sent them off to every single company and there were, like, four of them that just nailed the test shots like they totally got it, so I'm like, okay, I'm gonna send this one wedding toe all four of these people and I'm gonna see who does it best and the results that I got that you couldn't even call them professional, they were all over the place. And you know what they say? You can have it good, you get a good, cheap and fast, you can have two of the pick to apparently I was picking none on all of these except cheap, and they weren't even that cheap, and then the one company that did a pretty okay job on the first wedding totally botched the second wedding, and you could tell that it was edited by someone completely different. I'm not saying they're not houses out there that will give you personalized attention like that, but I couldn't find it, so I was sort of staring down the barrel of needing to hire an employee, which was going to really suck because I live by myself. I don't have a studio, I don't want a studio e didn't want an employee in my house and then in new york, the legality of having your employees work in your house, and it was just too much, and also, I don't have an entire year of full time work for an employee. I can give you eleven wedding's in june, but I only have, like two in january. So what do you do? You just wanna come by my house and, like, stare at me like I don't know what to dio so around about this time. Tell me what was happening with you guys. First of all, jen is a wedding photographer, um she owns ego media photography, she's out of washington, d c she's, ridiculously talented in her own right, and john doesn't take pictures the but at the same time that I was sort of having this, you know, emotional personal meltdown which was like two years ago I think it was maybe even more than that I think you were facing it was getting kind of bad mid eleven because you guys is my first wedding in like later jen and I are friends and we kind of go a way back and it would you know, three o'clock in the morning she's up working I'm um working I'm sad and crying or desperate and she's like I think we might have a solution for you. So how how did you guys get you know what made you guys start doing post production for other people? Why why would you want to do that? Anything interesting is it was more a realization that we were doing the work for jen's it became evident that it was scaleable that there was some ability to actually do more of it because we were getting more and more efficient at it we're getting better at it. I think more importantly we were consistent at it and then we were able to start defining how we did the work because that's the difficult part of the style question is well, how do you actually write down what a style is? You know instead of matching a style, how do you become the style you know, how do you become the extension? That's, exactly true and that's, what a lot of people are trying to do with their postproduction houses is like, make the postproduction match what they're seeing on your website and what you guys were doing was coming at it from a very different yeah, it was mine that it was it was really from a technical standpoint. How do you say? Like, you take a typical photo from susan? What are the elements that make that photo? A susan stripling phone so way had to figure those things out and really document. It was because we were doing that for jen's own work. She was very, very adamant that her work be consistent. It had to look the same. It had to look good. It had to look from wedding to wedding exactly how she wanted to look so and I was never big on trendy effects. I know that that's something that some studios do, and they do it successfully and it appeals to people. But what I really wanted, what is work that was clean? That was consistent so that when I showed perspective clients my gallery's when they got their gallery, they didn't say like what happened? You know, I thought that it was going to look a certain way, and now it doesn't feel that all my client galleries looked really consistent, and that was a huge goal for me because I wanted to make sure that everyone's expectations were always met when I deliver their images. So this whole thing really did come out of the fact that I am an active wedding photographer. I do shoot, and I wanted teo find away tio have that really high quality kind of work because you want to put your best work out there because it's it's, what helps you compete? It's, what makes you feel proud about the work that you're doing? But at the same time, I didn't feel that it wass, um, sort of attainable for me to take every image into photo shop. I mean, that just seemed like something I mean, I thought about that, and I just wanted to sort of kill myself a little bit, so I mean, also, you see these photographers who I've got twenty excellent images on my block, and then you look at the rest of the gallery and it's like football, it doesn't have that attention to detail and what we were talking yesterday, that the image needs to be good out of the camera. The level of polish that I was able to achieve on my images when I was putting them into the final gallery form was really hard for me to sustain that top notch level over fifty something weddings a year and I'm not making up these numbers I know that like lying about your business is like a thing these days, but if you actually doubt how many weddings have been reading fifty three going eisen folio gallery and look at every single year you concern see what I'm shooting I'm not making any of this up like I would never make up a nearer nervous breakdown about fifty weddings a year if I weren't actually shooting them and she has the checks that's the change I mean a while this money she's not paying me for wedding she's not shooting I mean she's generous, but she's not, you know, so when what was actually hilarious is that I'm trying to figure out a way to get help with mine. You know, with my editing, they're actually so efficient with their editing that they have extra time well, that's how it started, I mean, it started you showed a lot of weddings a year to certainly hear shooting like ten you're really busy also, yeah, I you know, it really started, I think, because we started sort of giving you little tips you know there were some things that were going way well you know it would save you some time you really want is your best friend calling and saying did you mean for there to be a halo around that guy you burned is like yeah through but it did sort of start with um kind of like some pointers you know we would be talking about something usually on chad late at night and I would say well, you know the way that we do it is this on dh sort of give you like a little tidbit yeah why didn't I think about that's a great idea because I'm not john's coming from a very different background of all of this then jen which is why they're a great team he's not a wedding photographer he's coming from a very different graphic background so when you put his skills and her skills together it's kind of perfect man she's a stickler for consistency and I'm a big stickler for organization I hate folders and files scattered all over the place with random names and hate not being able to find things or know where we're at or what's next door what to do so john is the guy that would come over to your house with a box of like power chords and this little twisty things you're on hell like come to your house and you'll go upstairs and you'll come back and be like, wow but now and then and so we built this you know, this infrastructure, if you will behind doing this processing and that's not really in the system, you know, just the same way that when you most people when they put their memory cards back into the memory card case when they're full, you flip him over so that you know that there's photos you guys probably all do that and it's a it's a little system and it's just a little tiny thing, but we sort of took the idea of the system and we applied it to post process you just like that little thing like it's? Not a little thing it's a big thing like that's like we take all of those things cumulatively through the whole workflow and we define every single one of those things and then, like we set rules for ourselves and we follow him, we have to follow. I've never met two people who spend so much time figuring out how to save time like it's it's fantastic, but the reason why? First of all, they were, you know, the ideal people for me to start sending my work, too, as I know that when my stuff goes to them, they're going to jen what's going on john and we spent a long time like collaborating on when you want your image to be warm what do you mean by war like it's? Not just war, war, and he would use terms that he's like, well, what color temperature and I was like by that color temperature, just like you don't even know your own style, so they had to break down my work into something that would actually be something they could use in every single scenario. So it was there was a learning curve to it. So whether you have an employee or whether you do it yourself or whether you outsource, there is a curve to getting that consistency every single time. And we were in probably took us maybe two weddings, yeah, and then we were on it, and now we've been doing this for two years. I don't even look at the weddings when they come back anymore. I know what I'm sending them, I know what I'm goingto get back is going to be solid, maybe I'll skim through it like after I download it, and I'm making sure that all the files are there. It's fine, you know point you're even waiting sometimes to block until you get them back. It's true, sometimes if I know this may be a tricky scenario, or if I if I've got the extra time, will get the block post up nice and fast. So that you know, maybe if there is a weird sunset or kind of an odd color casts and I want them to see the direction that I want to go with it they'll look and see if I have blocked the wedding before they even start editing it again don't tell me what I've done wrong e I see what you're going for here yeah and she'll do it the right way but john the guy that when you do those color tests where you have like the three strips and you have to put the colors in order to see how well you see color nails it every single time so whether you're going to do this yourself or whether you're going to outsource this or whether you're going to hire someone in house what I like about them is not on lee I mean I send my stuff out to them but they also do consulting with photographers to make them faster and then they also give me a feedback loop which sort of helps me improve my work like when I got the d for right and you gonna hunt with me and you're like this whole wedding is all of a sudden half a stop under exposed you might want to check your lcd screen and you know, make sure and I was like, oh my gosh like I had it way too dark I didn't even know you know, I was paying attention to it, but I wasn't I was, you know, making some mistakes that I wouldn't normally make or they'll tell me listen like you're getting kind of sloppy with your processional flash work, you might want to look at that next time so whether you're doing it yourself or you have an employee doing that or you do decide to outsource to someone like them that back and forth of what's going on you know really helps not only me stay efficient, but elbaz my work get better forget the macro lens yeah seasons infamous for her dirty macro lens cleaner I don't know what's going on, but sometimes at two in the morning she'll like send me a screen cap it's full of little dots of where she's clooney I want to be like what I'm doing for you it's very true it's true, but I just wanted to bring them on to sort of explain the part that they have in my work flow and how incredibly, you know, indispensable they are to me if you guys left me tomorrow, you've left me with enough tools that I could, you know, stumble through don't do you don't live ever? Maybe if we go to shiro again, I'll consider it's once in a while I bribed them with sushi and trips to seattle to you liking me enough to keep me as a client? But I wanted to bring them on just you know, so you could hear from them a little bit and also they're gonna talk about things tomorrow that I don't even understand like that I just the level of efficiency is extraordinary it's gonna be fun it's funny that it's interesting, sexy, sexy don't raise the bar a little bit to the wrong place for tomorrow I'm gonna have to rethink my outfit I but I also wanted to have them here, you know? And I'm gonna be here tomorrow a little bit but it's it's you know they're thing I can't teach what they're teaching but to get some questions from you guys or some questions business wise from the people that are watching for them as it pertains to what I'm talking about today so you guys look just terrified anybody have anything they don't want to say for tomorrow? Well, I'd love to know if you have advice for people who are starting the process of working with the post production company, whether it's your company or someone else you have recommendations of what kind of information they should share is there a process you generally go through with the photographers you're on boarding what's the best advice you have a starting the process of getting to know your style? Absolutely when it comes tio if we're doing consulting, so if you're consulting with somebody to try to figure out how to make your work flow better, the first thing that we're going to do is a needs assessment because the needs of a single shooter, smaller studio are going to be very different than the needs of ah, multi shooter studio that might have a person in house who does their editing. So those two things are very different, so I think the first thing that you would want to work on is making sure that they understand you're busy a model, you know, are you a single shooter? Ar you multiple shooters? Are you trying to expand and have associates? Or you're going to be kind of a mom and pop, and you want to keep it that way. So I think understanding your organization is really important that if you're actually outsourcing, I would say it's really crucial. Teo, make sure that those first few weddings in particular, you really want to make sure that they're getting you, that their understanding what you're going for and that they're able to provide that to you consistently, because consistency is very important, I know that different companies that do this have different models, and I'm certainly not going to criticize the different ways that they run their businesses, but I think that if you possibly can work with the same one or two people each time is only going to be to your benefit as a photographer because you absolutely are going to be able to maintain that consistency. They're going to know what it is that you're looking for when it's the same person because they're gonna work on your wedding's all season long, you know, it's also going to give you, you know, I think the second most important thing, and I'll let john get a word in here sometimes is trying to get some kind of feedback. I mean, like susan was talking about with the feedback lewdness, susan and I have been friends for a long time, so I can be pretty brutally honest with her, and some people are a little bit more sensitive about their work than others, but at the end of the day, I would like to think that most of us in this industry really do want to get better. We want to improve our work, we want to up our game, it's probably why you're watching us, andi, I think that getting that kind of feedback from the person who's handling your post production work is really invaluable because I can look at a wedding from someone and I can give them so much feedback immediately when they want it or not. Right on and usually most of the people that we work with for consulting or, you know, the couple of client that we have they want I don't want to get absolutely no and sometimes you're just in a bad situation and it was a one off, but a lot of times you khun see trends in the work that can be improved and sometimes it's things that the photographer might not even see themselves are you know, things that you think that you're doing right, but if they could be adjusted in some way just helps enhance the image. So I think the point about, you know, can you help me actually get better? Not only can you just take this and do this for me? Can you tell me if I do you even know if I'm making the same mistakes over and over again? You know, what do you know there there have there has to be more out of the relationship other than just and I send you my raw files and you send them back will that having that, um those fresh eyes on your work in a way that yeah, just for someone who this is what you do, you know, you have your experts at this and be able to look at your own work from a different perspective and it's really hard for all of us but not only an expert in postproduction, but also a wedding photographer as well. She gets it it's not just oh were, you know, graphics, guys, and we think we're going to edit for wedding people, right? She knows you know the limitations of what you can do it a wedding and and generally how they flow and when she's usually when she's giving me feedback on things that's when I'm getting sloppy about things and when I'm not paying attention about things or when she can tell after looking at my work for two years and I'm trying to cut a corner and it's it's not gonna be it's not a corner when you want to cut so it's they they definitely make me better and also elevate my work in post to a level that I can't elevate it to within a reasonable amount of thank you exactly it would take me a very long time to be able to do what they do, and I don't want to well, the other thing to do as well as faras recommendation eyes build a style guide that's one of the things that we do it we stress is very important is is really defined, you know, for each type of image at each point in time during a wedding, what do you want it to look like? And it has to match the way you shoot because I think a lot of people will get into the trap of shooting a certain way and then trying to edit toe look a different way and then competing against you know themselves really um you're not going to get the contrast he look that a lot of people find appealing about season's work by shooting bright flat, even light I don't care how much you added it's never going to look that way yeah, but build the style guide to find those things you know, if you're when you shoot family formals, you shoot him certain way what do you want them to actually look like? What are the rules? Um and we've that's part of what we've done with susan is over the years as we've defined exactly what should happen for each type of image as we look at it, we haven't operating manual we really do, you know it's ridiculous it's got a lot of detail so it's but it's again don't act like you read the whole thing you didn't read the whole thing, I don't need to read the whole thing you read it for me, but it's one of those things that please don't keep an eye on your studio and as you're building your business don't get to the point that I got to before I started outsourcing you need to be able to see it coming and it needs to be something that you put in place before zero hour before you're out like terror alert red, you know, maybe like violet, like terror alert, like beige, like that that's when you start looking into it because it is their base. Yes, on myself. Thanks, violet. Um, but no it's, I don't make the decisions when I'm pushed to make decisions. I make better decisions when I've had a second to think them through. So if I'm making a snap decision of yes, just find take all of my raw processing it's probably not going to be the right one. It needs to be something that you've built into your business, like you wouldn't just hire an associate to go shoot a wedding for you and hand the camera and say, go do it, why would you do that with your post production? Yeah, question for both of you, jen, I know that you're the idea behind tomorrow's workshop is to encourage photographers to be managing their businesses themselves instead of actually outsourcing. And susan, you have gotten to the point that you've outsourced, and you said that we need to plan for that day before it comes, what are your thoughts on where that line is? When does the photographer know when they when they'd outsource well, it's kind of like working out right? Like if you're a runner and you run, you can kind of feel when you're getting towards the end of it and you need to stop before you hurt yourself to me it's that way with business am I starting to spend a little more time on it then I'd like to, um I started my starting to get that weird like spidey sense feeling that maybe this is taking a little bit too much effort and doing things that I wouldn't normally do like if I don't normally work at night all of a sudden my working at night um I kind of going to the computer on a sunday when I wouldn't normally when my kids come home do I say, well, you got big when I realize it's been a month since my husband and I have gone on a date together, you know things like that when when you can feel hey, I'm kind of stressed, but you still see that you have seventeen more weddings to shoot like in two months when your numbers start going up for me it's it's a very fine line between when I wanted when I have to have it and the other thing that you have to consider is is it a good financial decision for me to start outsourcing if I have twenty weddings a year and I feel so stressed out that I can't handle that workload, and I'm charging two thousand dollars a wedding. Do I really want to outsource those? Well, it doesn't seem like a very smart financial decision may be my problem isn't, and a lot of photographers are like, I'm so busy, I just need to outsource. Well, maybe you don't need to outsource maybe you just need to clean house and tighten up how you do things and you don't need to outsource, but for me, fifty weddings a year children, husband, no other employees I sat down and we actually ran an analysis of okay, if you take this many weddings a year from me based on what you're gonna charge me per wedding this is how much money I'm gonna give you every single year and after I cried and she danced, we sat down and figured out how much time it would save me. So how much time am I spending? Editing a wedding so let's say I spend eight hours editing a wedding and literally I just made that number up now eight hours times fifty weddings that's fifty work days that I get back in my life now in fifty work days, can I make back the amount of money that I am paying her? For me yeah I can maybe I could take a couple of extra weddings and offset the cost may be I can spend that time up selling my clients to make their albums bigger maybe I've been spend that time working with venues to get to know them better taking wedding planners out to lunch you know, doing all of those marketing things that will enable me to maybe charge a little bit more maybe getting to fnd that I want to get into maybe maybe I take that time to go to a workshop and improve my work so that I can charge a little bit more so that they can charge me a little bit more that's neither here nor there uh but will you for me it's can I make more money in the time that I will get back that I'm spending on them and when I ran the numbers the answer was absolutely yes fifty work days when we figure out that was like a month and a half to two months of my life ten weeks back like that's insane so it was a no brainer I think also you can look at it in phases you know, I think the first step is to optimize everything that you're doing and be as efficient with your workflow as you can because if you are shooting twenty five weddings a year but you just feel like you have no time they're probably things that can happen that could make that not the case I think that there are definitely improvements that could be made in that situation once you kind of optimize everything that you're doing and you feel like your workflow is efficient if your volume is building up and I mean susan has an unusual amount of volume but you know, for most people I would say once you're getting up into you know nearing forty you're probably in a position where even a really optimized workflow could still be overwhelming yeah and that doesn't mean that you have to send out every winning that you get you know you could send out ten and that might be enough to buy you back the time that you need to do business development see your family you do other things that you know sometimes I look like a last minute wedding and I'll have to get in touch with them and say hey guys I've got one coming up in six weeks that wasn't on the calendar can we put it in and sometimes they're like yeah and sometimes we're like no we have no room for and I have to edit it myself and that's that's tough I no longer really optimized to do the volume like that so it takes me a lot of time and everybody's life is also situational you know if you've got twenty five weddings a year but your husband is gone five days a week and works in another state or you've got five kids or you homeschool your kids or there are all of these different other things, maybe that's you may be outsourcing is viable for you, but what they were saying is go through all of these things first, make sure you're as efficient as you possibly can be, and we're going to teach you how to do that tomorrow for sure. It's true absent strain, but once you've done all of the things that they've taught you, if you still can't stay on top of it and it's a financially smart decision for you, maybe it's time to look for someone you know, not outsource to a house next time hire post, you know, a post production person to work part time for you or to work full time for you and maybe it's time to look into a studio manager, but you, you know, look within yourself first, but she had a good point. Is that, too not just simply blindly outsource just as a knee jerk reaction just to get the workload off of your plate completely because it doesn't work that way results and double the workload and that workout you have tto do it yourself again last minute because even the process of outsourcing if you do that there's still a significant amount of work on your part at the beginning of that to make sure that it's on the right track and that's that's what we've done with with everyone we've worked with yeah they're definitely is a time investment there whether it was consulting and getting your work flow up and running properly or whether it's outsourcing because you don't want to just drop in on someone's lap because no matter how good the person is we're not mind readers we have to get some feedback going on it's true any other questions for my friends here before we let them go prepare for tomorrow yes sir yeah this I'm not sure if this is slightly off topic or not but since you two deal out with dealing with identifying the style of a person as one of you could talk about the thought of going towards a style versus the fear of limiting your market and you know how you kind of bridge that gap you understand I'm gonna kind of hit that a little bit later today but I mean I think you're what you're asking is you do you feel like they're certain styles that would be exclusionary? Is that kind of we're going without um I'm kind of a big proponent of of being happy I guess so I never want a photographer to try to make their style appeal to everyone if that's not what's making them happy you know, I think that it's okay to say I really enjoy shooting a certain way and yeah, it is going to turn off a few people but I have to tell you I mean, we've all had that one wedding that came to us and maybe we were thinking at the time that we shouldn't have taken it but the money home looking at me oh sounded good I'm looking at myself believe me, the money was nice and so we said ok and then ray before on then right before the wedding the client started sending us some things maybe some pictures or some requests that really made us feel like wow, you know, are you sure that I'm the right photographer for the sweating because this isn't really what I dio and I'm gonna point at least in my business where I want to try to filter those people out and I understand that when you're getting started, you want to kind of like you want to pull a lot of people in because you don't always know what you're looking for at that point, you don't necessarily even know who you are as a photographer when you start um so I guess I don't worry too much about scaring people off because ah lot of times the people that I would be filtering out would be people that I would have a very unhappy day at their wedding? Because, you know, they would want to look at the camera every minute or they would want me to shoot everything in f eleven. And that would make me sad, which happens way and it's, not my special. And then we actually need toe I need to say more things about other things and you get to go look at the images that I shot yesterday. So have fun with that. You take a few more think we're ready to rock some more slides, let's rock some more slides. Thank you. Bye. All right. See you later. Bye. Who enjoy your pictures? Enjoy guide tomorrow. All right, thank you. So to cover a couple of more things before we move on on, as in terms of efficiency of your workflow when I do shoot a wedding and I do come back after the wedding, I download my own cards. Nobody else downloads my cards. I do it myself. The reason is, if something is shrewd up, if there's a problem if there's an issue with one of the cards, I want to handle it myself. So I download my cards. I have a file naming structure in which I've put the files into which I could tell you about it, but they're going to show you how to do it tomorrow my way of doing it is the way that they do it. But there is a hierarchy of files and a very specific process of how the images go from place to place to place. The only thing that I do on my end, after I download, I back up in two different places, so every all of the raw files are on my main computer. And on two additional hard drives, I pulled all of my files in two photo mechanic and I thought by capture time that way, everything from both of my camera's lines up perfectly together because we have sent our dates and times on our cameras. I can call a wedding of forty five hundred images like a good twelve to thirteen hour day in an hour, one hour, and I try to do it is close to the wedding date as possible. The further away I get from the wedding date, I kind of lose the emotional connection to the images that I've made. And also I want to get through this wedding and get this wedding off to post production before I shoot my next wedding. Because I want to know if there were any problems at all. Is my twenty four to seventy all of a sudden not focusing very well is the card that I used for my d three s is it suddenly acting kind of odd I need to troubleshoot everything that I'm gonna trouble shoot before the next wedding shoot so I go through the way I call is exactly the same way jen cole's which will show you tomorrow I'm starring my keepers not choosing the ones to delete so again I don't mean to short sell this part of it but the point of having jen and john tomorrow here for work flow is so that they can actually show you how to do an efficient workflow I'm just showing you my part of it so after I download after I back up I segment out the ones that I'm going to blogging myself I take the rest of them that are going to go to sidecar and I put them on a product called a file transporter which is basically a hard drive that wires into my network that they have access to a little bit like dropbox but faster I don't have to upload and then they download I just put them on the hard drive and when they're ready for it it's wired in through my network they just download my files on their end so I'm not constantly sending thumb drives to them via you know fedex saves me money and it's much more efficient the next thing that I do after all of that when I have the images that I have blogged myself, then they go over to facebook and then they go over to my blawg I tried very hard to block every single wedding that I shoot and I definitely blawg there I definitely facebook almost every single wedding that I shoot it's the same images on one and the other um and I do that myself, I don't have anybody that does that for me and those images for the most part, you know, jen did mention sometimes if my workflow has gotten, you know, incredibly hectic, I will wait to block until I get there files back and then maybe I'll pick some that I want to polish up even more and then I'll do my blogging, but for the most part I'm doing the blogging first because I wanted to be is close to the wedding as possible after I facebooked after I blogged after I've sent everything off to them the way I get my files back from them is they go ahead and they upload it to my zen folio account and sinfully was what I used to host all of my online galleries uh I use in folio for a couple of reasons one I think it is incredibly reasonably priced for their top plan, which is unlimited data uploads so I can upload like I said, I used this in folio app on my phone to back up my iphone pictures you know I have personal pictures of my kids, I stored my own wedding pictures on there as a backup, but every single client gallery goes up there and it is also kind of might in the cloud high resolution back up to the images it's also how I deliver my digital files, my client's instead of sending a zip drive or a dvd or something like that, they get the link to zen folio and they can download all of the images directly out of the gallery it's also incredibly convenient when you're sharing images with vendors to share the album with them, and then the vendors can download the high resolution files that they need for their purposes. So it's very, very multi purpose. As with all things like this, it takes time to set up. That could be a little frustrating, but once you've got it set up and once you're ready to go, it is very, very, very user friendly and of all of the different online gallery and cart options that I've worked with, this is the one that clients responded most favourably to that they found easiest to use when it comes time to make an album if there is an album in their package, sometimes there is sometimes there isn't we'll talk about the specifics of all of the packages that I offer in all of the offerings that air in them when we talk about pricing and marketing but if it is time to make an album for the clients once I receive their selections I build the album and funding album builder number one because it's awesome number two because it is fast as lightning it is so fast you can tell it exactly what to do or you can let it do it all for you you can actually auto do the layouts if you want teo my layouts are usually a combination of things that I choose and things that I let the templates do for me but it is very versatile it is very easy to go in and make changes which album changes are the bane of my existence for me it's a very frustrating thing that I could never actually make efficient and I always feel like I really struggle with sitting down and actually getting them done but this album software makes it a lot easier for me and part of what makes it even easier for me is because I use album exposure to prove my albums proof layout on album exposure looks exactly like this they get to see les out at a time they click an arrow and it literally turns the page for them and then there's a comment box under it that if they want to make changes they can see you know, I want you to change this picture to this picture. I want this to look like this, and when they submit their comments, I get an email from them with all of their comments in it and the corresponding spread so that I know what to go in there and change, which helps make things even easier. The albums that I use our madeira most of the albums that I do or flush notebooks, madeira books, dot com they are absolutely amazing. Their customer service is beyond it's really phenomenal. Anything that I also love is it? The product was actually developed bio working wedding photographer who knows what wedding photographers are looking for, so I highly recommend you check them out. They're pretty sweet. They've got great deals on sample albums, which is fan tastic on my client's love hm, back up right here, madeira I love them, they're nice pretty. I've left about ten minutes at the end to sort of cover the things that I've been talking about, and I understand that talking about work flow, the actual physical work flow of things is a little light in information that is because when I got to the workflow section of putting this together, I realized I could talk about it for an entire day. So that's, what we're gonna do is talk about it for an entire day tomorrow with sidecar, so I'm really well, they're gonna talk about it. I'm going to still be really confused by some of the things they're talking about, but how are you? How do you guys feel about this work flow section of all of the tips and tools and softwares and programs and things and companies that I used to keep myself sort of ticking along? Michelle, I want to know what you used to communicate with the clients, which images they want to use for the album. That is a brilliant question. Actually, I told the clients, if they can do one of a couple of things, they can either choose all of the images they wanted, the book, they can choose half of them and have me fill in. The rest are they can choose none of them and tell me to just do what I would do. Part of why I choose to use in folio is when the clients do when they are ready to choose their images for the album. I tell them to go into theirs and folio gallery, choose the ones they want for the book and add them to their favorites that way, when they're done and they click on their favorites, they can see all of their selections laid out. Together and they can make any changes they want, like if they realized, oh my gosh, we've got like twelve images of me getting ready, but only one of the ceremony. They can realise that there's kind of ah, a non balance going on there once they do that when you go into your favorites, it says there's like a option to email your favorites to someone and they eat all the favorites to me, the reason why I like that number one doing things by numbered points, but because they get to see all of their images before they send them over. To me, there is less of what used to happen, which was so we thought we picked more of this. Can we add these and pull these and in second, because the last thing in the world that I used to like doing which is really annoying is getting a list of the numbers having to go pull each one now fungi, fungi, software, which was talking about the album builder. They actually have a free thing called image finder, where you could open up image finder and you, khun paste a list of like a column of numbers in it and tell it what folder to go look for those numbers in and it will pull those files and put them in another folder for you so if they give you like o one o two one o three nine you paste that and then you say ok, I want that to go out of naomi chokers wedding images copy it into naomi chokers album images and it will find them it will say are these the files you're looking for a little coffee them into that folder so if you've still got people e mailing you the list, you don't have to spend ten minutes hunting and pecking to find the files. What happens for me is when I get the e mail from zen folio saying that they have submitted their favorites, I can actually go view the favorites and just click down with all so it downloads all of the album images for me so that they're already right there in a folder so I don't have to go hunting and gathering for them again really efficient yes sir, I don't know if you're looking at me but I did think I did look at you about you wouldn't have a copy of all the higher as j pegs at this point would youth because you said that sidecar has him and the upload in busan folio I have um yes actually very good point that's that's a little extra step I do download them out of zen folio although all of all of those because I need copies on my folder you know, in my computer, once I get the higher as follows back from them on zen, I download them to my computer, back them up on my two hard drives and then delete the raw files from my computer. I keep the raw files on my hard drives because why not? Storage is so cheap now I don't see any need to throw them away and you never know and I'm like a digital order you never know when you're gonna want I mean, come on, you never know when you're gonna, you know, need to go find something I never have, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't one day, so yeah, when they do put the things upon sinfully I d go down and download them and back them up. Cast follow question prince. I saw you had prices on the left. There is n folio. Is that how a client's order prints through? You okay. Do you sell many? No, no. And again, we'll talk about this in like pricing and profitability. But I reached a point where I realized that my print sales were really falling off because of, you know, including the digital file's in my packages. So I figured out what a good average print sale was and simply increased my pipe my packages by that amount to compensate I don't I don't sell a lot of prints, and a lot of wedding photographers were very successful in selling prints. It usually involves sale sessions and they don't do sale sessions to my clients, so if I invested the time in the sale sessions, I know that I would make more money on prince, but I can't conceive of doing fifty sale sessions a year, and I know that some of you out there are probably already shaking your heads and saying, she's, doing everything all wrong, but I'm still in business. I've been doing this for thirteen years, and every year I make a little bit more money than I did the year before, saying something right somewhere, and we always get this question about s org asked you communicate with their clients about facebooking and blogging in the photos your photos and communicate how like that restrictions on it? Or is it? Yeah, on there, like, once they get the pictures from me, what can they do with them back? I do not know, okay, I don't and related to that in terms of your contract, do you ask their permission? If they're comfortable with you blocking their wedding photos or facebooking them, how does that work? It's in the contract basically in the fine, you know, my contract is three pages long and is it a little excessive? Possibly, but one of the things that covers is can I use your images in something like this? Like, when I'm here creative, live, you know, it says I can use your image is for competitions and professional display it says that I can use your image is for advertising, which involves facebook or blogging every once in a while have a client who asked me to not, and the real what I usually do after that is you don't want me to facebook or blawg you, why not? And sometimes it's, you know, we're very private people, and we don't want our names attached to our wedding pictures, and I'll say, well, can I block you if I don't use your names? Like if I use your initials, you know, like k plus c wedding, you know it would that be okay with you? Could I belong you? If I just don't do close ups of your face? Would you be okay with that? But if they want a total non disclosure where nothing goes anywhere, I have to decide if that's something that I'm willing to give them or if that's something that I want to charge them for and that really depends if you're getting married on a friday in january and you don't want me to block you, I'm more willing to do that then if you're getting married at the plaza and you have a bigger budget than anybody I've ever seen in your wedding is on labor day it's the kind of sweet spot that you have to find where you're comfortable with and when you use images for social media to use watermarks always yes, absolutely I do, and the number of people mentioned how awesome your facebook pictures look, is there something that you do special formats for fayed? You know, I've been asked that a bunch of different times like white, you why does your color looks so good on facebook? Guys? I don't know like I'm not doing anything fancy the very last step before there are a lot of different kind of blawg actions that you could used to fund. He has a really great, like blawg thing that you can use to prep your images, but because I do a weird thing with my verticals where I put two vertical side by side, if you really want to see susan stripling, glogg dot com, I don't do like a horizontal than a vertical and a horizontal, they're all horizontal sze. But when I have verticals all stacked two verticals next to each other in one horizontal, and I get to really find something that I like the results off when it did that, uh, most of them are just not capable of doing that. So I wrote my own actions to do it for me and the last step before I put the logo on it. And it's ready to go is I used kevin cambodia's, magic sharpe action and it just crisps everything up just a little bit it's just a very, very, very basic kind of ah, sharpening thing. But what it does that I like very much is it sharpens based on the size of the image. So, like, we're gonna crop somethingto a four by six for a client, you don't want to sharpen it before you crop it. You wanna sharpen after you crop it, and it will sharp based on image size. So even when you're down, blogging at like, a thousand pixels wide it's it's a very delicate sharp, and it just gives him that extra kind of zing for the blogging for facebook and it's the exact same lo rez files that go on my block that go on facebook.

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.