Susan Stripling: Master Wedding Details


SkillSet: Wedding Essentials


Lesson Info

Susan Stripling: Master Wedding Details

Hi, I'm susan stripling and this is thirty days of wedding photography. If this is your first time here, welcome and if you've been with us so far, welcome back. What we have accomplished so far in the beginnings of our thirty days is we've talked about the gear that you bring to a wedding day. We've talked about how to establish your vision and your creativity. We have talked about how to set up your business both legally and financially in a smart way that will hopefully prevent any problems that you might have in the future. We have talked about how to get yourself out there with marketing and branding how to get clients to find you how to book those clients, and then once you've booked a client how to plan before their wedding all the way through the engagement session, and now here we are at the actual wedding day, you're going to be following blair and jeremy, who are to actual paying wedding clients of mine who graciously allowed us to spend the day with them. So this is the ver...

y first section of their wedding day. There will be many, many more to come, so we're going to start off by talking about the details of the day. So the first thing that I always kind of advise photographers to do when they're looking at photographing the details of a wedding day is to find out if the details are actually important to you. If there's something that you actually want to be photographing on the wedding day, I know a lot of photographers who photographing the details isn't necessarily something that's important to them or aesthetically pleasing to them. For me, photographing the details is something that I I really, really enjoy to do really enjoy doing and something that my clients have come to expect from me, especially the photographs of the rings and the shoes. Now, the other thing that you have to figure out before you even get started with this is are they important to your client? Now? I know that they're important to my clients because as I said before, I do a lot of macro photography of the rings and the d details on my clients have started to ask for it. When I show up on the wedding day, a lot of times, they'll actually have all of the details laid out for me, and we'll say, I can't wait to see what ring shot that you do for me, oh. The answer that I have to that is me too because I don't go in with any sort of pre set plan or idea as to what that I'm what I'm going to do to photograph these details for them the reason why I say that you need to find out if they're important to the clients is because some clients really don't care they don't understand what the point of having a picture of their ring is because they have their ring and they're going to wear it every day for the rest of their life or why would you take a picture of the shoes they're just shoes you should be documenting people so if working more artistic ring shots and detail shots into your repertoire is something that you really I want to work on it's also important to gauge your client and see if those pictures in the end or even going to be important to them because at the end of the day I really do like taking mieze artistic and interesting shots of the details of the day but it's more important to me that I please my clients and if it's something that my clients weren't interested in, it might not necessarily be something that I wanted to focus on quite a strongly we've talked the other day in talking about branding and marketing and getting your name out to clients about what I like to call the pinteresque defect and nowhere is the pinterest effect more prevalent than in the details of the day. If you look at wedding blog's, if you look at anything that really features real weddings, be it a blawg for a magazine or any other type of publication, bridal fairs anywhere that you see wedding imagery displayed, ah lot of times it's, very heavy on the details, and a marriage is not made in those details. There is much, much, much more that goes into your wedding that goes into your day that goes into the establishing of the family that we're creating with your new spouse than whether you do or do not have mason jars at your event. And while I do love photographing the details, it's not about that, for me, that is simply something that I put into my repertoire of wedding photography to enhance the galleries, to make them more interesting to make them more diverse to make them may be a little bit more artistic, but I don't want you to think that in shooting the details of the day, you need to be focused on that, and only that in ignoring everything else that's going on around you. The problem that I see with intrest is because interest is so. Focused on the details because it is a tool that you can use to gather together all of your inspiration for your wedding day. Ah lot of what I'm seeing people pin are detailed photograph, and then they come to you with those detailed photographs, and then they ask you to recreate them. So like I said the other day when we were talking about marketing that if a client comes to me and asks me to recreate something that I've seen on pinterest, my response is very simple. Would you rather me duplicate something that another photographer did for another client? Or would you rather make me make something for you that is brand new that other people will be pinning on pinteresque later? Now my goal here isn't to get my images on pinteresque that's not what I mean by that it's simply too express to the client that you don't need to follow what somebody else has done, that you should do what's true and meaningful to you in all respects, but also in the approach to the details of the day. Now a marriage is not in the details, but they're they're pretty and they are important to me and there are reasons why they're important to me, I've been a photographer's I've mentioned many times for about thirteen years. And I got married last year myself, and because I am that special type of horrible client, I decided that photographing the details of my own day with something that I wanted to do myself now I didn't go crazy, I didn't take my camera to the reception and shoot the set up. My husband did that, but I actually set up my own details in the hotel room that I got ready and in photographs that myself in the days leading up to the wedding, and when I was looking at it, I thought, you know, this is just a really fun thing that I could do myself. I I shoot a lot of details, my client's love a lot of details, you know? I should really shoot the details of myself, but something really interesting happened when I looked at these images later, I was actually really blown away by how important they were to me that when I looked at the picture on the left here, which is my wedding dress, that I didn't just see a picture of my dress, I saw my friends and I going and trying on these dresses together. I saw the first salon that I went to, where they kind of left me alone and didn't really help me I saw my mom flying up from atlanta. To see the dress with me at a trunk show and being there when I bought it, I saw the fact that I was able to pay for this beautiful wedding dress myself, which is something that really meant a lot to me so it wasn't just a picture of address it was a picture that inspired all of these memories that went into picking the dress and getting me too that day and when I look at the picture of my rings on the right it's not just a pretty picture of my rings, which it is it's my husband and I looking at the ring together in the jewelry store and it's my husband proposing to me in the park so when you're looking at details maybe you not don't be so quick to just brush them off as oh, this is just a picture of the ring when you think about the emotional moments that you photograph through the day and your clients looking back on those photographs of those moments and remembering what it was like to be at that instant when your mother hug you or your father kissed you or your sister cried during the ceremony ah photograph of a detail a photograph of a thing can also elicit a memory that maybe you don't even know about you know I look at this and I remember my daughters and I looking on etsy for kind of an antique vessel for us to carry the rings down the aisle, and I look back on it after the wedding, and I remember passing that exact vessel around so that all of our family and all of our friends could hold our rings and bless them. And I remember sitting around on the internet with my friends debating whether or not I should buy these really ridiculously expensive shoes that just said love on the toes that were surely going to be miserably uncomfortable, but I wanted them anyhow, and then I'm taken back to the actual wedding day itself where I put them on the mirror and I took the photograph, and I remember what it felt like to be there. So, yes, there is a lot of negative connotations to shooting the details on the wedding day because blog's and pinteresque do make it seem like those details make up the day, but they don't make up the day, but they do mean something so that's. Another thing to consider when you're photographing these details that maybe these pictures don't mean anything to you, but maybe they're going to mean something really tremendous to the clients that you haven't considered. So when do I shoot the details of the day? Usually when I show up in a client's room because, like I said several times, I've sort of set a precedent of doing these images when they go to the galleries that I show them before they even book me. They see that usually every single wedding day starts off with either a handful or a large chunk of detail shots. A lot of times I'll show up in the bride's home or in the place that she's getting ready, and she'll have everything pulled together for me, the rings, the shoes, the invitations are gardere anything like that, and I will start the day by photographing those. This gives me several different advantages. First of all, it's a little hard to walk into a room and start shooting cold, you're not warmed up. The people aren't comfortable with you being there, and if I could start by photographing the details, then they're getting used to me being in the room there, getting used to me moving around in their space. And so by the time I start photographing the people, it's not like I just walked in the front door and started shooting people and they don't know me and that they're kind of uncomfortable, I sort of dipped my toes into the water of the pool before jumping all the way in, so to speak. It also let's get these out of the way at the beginning of the day, so I don't have to interrupt any of the moments are happening later to photograph these, and it also helps me warm up a little bit creatively as well, at fifty, some odd weddings every single year. Sometimes it's a little hard to get going at the start of the day, and starting off with something like details allows me to sort of flex my creative muscle lt's before I get started, photographing things that actually move and talk like people. So most of the time I'm going to shoot these at the very, very beginning of the day, unless if the bride only has her engagement ring, if she doesn't have the groom's band and her wedding band, I'll go back and I'll take those rings from them during the reception sometime later in the night, usually during dinner service, when not a lot is happening on all photograph them, then I don't want it to be a big deal. I don't want them to have to, like, go to the groom's room and get his ring back or anything like that all photographed her engagement ring, and then I'll take care of those later in the day, and I will go up to them during a reception, and I'll say hey, can I borrow your rings for just a minute and nine times out of ten? They have absolutely no problem and I've also prepped them with that earlier in the day oh, you only have your engagement ring here but that's great do you mind if later on in the day I grab your wedding bands as well and photograph them so they know that it's coming on top of that? How do you find the time to photograph the details now you're about to see a video of me photographing the details for blair in jeremy at the start of their actual wedding day and it goes on for quite a while now. I don't normally have that kind of time on a wedding day to really concentrate on the details, but I do make sure that when I'm talking to the clients when we're talking about the timeline when we're talking about the structure of the day, I try to make sure that I'm going to be spending enough time with the bride in her room to photograph these details. If she's got me starting thirty minutes before they see each other for the first time, I'm not going to have time to do it and it's my job to manage those expectations and let her know that I need at least an hour to an hour and a half in the bride's room before she actually gets ready to be able to accurately document these details if that's something she wants and then to really document her in her final stages of getting ready and getting into the dress so I find the time because I asked for the time and like I said you will see this video which kind of does go on for longer than I normally do get to photograph the details but I can also really crunch that time down if all I have is five minutes I can make it work in five minutes I might not be able to play or tinker or move things around as much as I'd like but I definitely can knock out the details incredibly quickly if it's important to the client and I don't have that much time so it definitely can be done which leads to the next very obvious question what here do I use now? Most of the time I'm going to be photographing the details with my nikon d for the reason being that when I'm shooting at the aperture that I like to shoot at for these ring details ah lot of times I really have to push the so because I do mostly shoot these natural light because it can get a little dim in these hotel rooms a lot of times my s o will be going up to sixty four hundred or eight thousand or ten thousand and I'm at eleven f sixteen sometimes even twenty two so I need a camera that can really handle that low light can perform really well at a high s o and that I can trust to accurately represent the color, and I get that best out of my d for I'm not saying that you have to switch to night khan, I'm not saying you have to use a d for you can do this with any camera that you have. This is simply the tool that I choose to bring to the game, the lens that I photographed all of my details with. We've talked about this if you've been with us so far, but if you haven't, I'm glad to recap it for you. My lens of choice for my detailed photographs is one hundred five millimeter nikon macro. Now there are some photographers out there who will say, oh, I shoot my ring shots with the twenty four to seventy or I shoot him with the eighty five one two at one, too. But first of all, you're not going to be able to get his clothes and get that macro effect with those lenses. And if you're shooting at two, eight, one, eight and one two, as I've mentioned already, there's no way that you're going to have that entire ring. In focus, there simply isn't even if it's not a macro lens, you just don't have the ability at those apertures tohave the entire kind of facet of the ring and focus I choose one hundred five millimeter because I like the compress one of the longer, linds, I used to shoot with the sixty millimeter there's absolutely nothing wrong with that lends its a wonderful lens, but I got a chance to try the hundred five and because I do love compression, as I've mentioned many, many times, I love the compressed look in the images that I do. Why would my macro images be any different? So I use one hundred five it gives me that really great compression. Sometimes, if I get a little crazy, I'll put a tele converter on it and turn it into a two hundred plus millimeter lens, but that's only if I'm feeling kind of nuts about it. For the most part, I don't need any sort of tell a converter one hundred five works just fine, and I am shooting these as we will talk about at nine eleven f sixteen so the gear that I do use for these images is, as I said, the nikon d for and one hundred five millimeter macro do I use natural light, yes, d'oh. Now, that's not I don't want to have the misconception that I used natural light because they don't know how to use the video light or because I don't know how to use a flash, but most of the time when I'm shooting these images, I'm in the bride's getting ready room, I have access to some windows, all I need is a window, and I'm able to do that without supplementing any light at all. I'm happy with the quality of light that I'm getting from the windows for these shots, so I don't need to supplement it with anything else that said, if I'm taking the rings back during the reception or if I'm photographing them in one of those terrible, getting ready rooms that have no windows whatsoever, I will bring out my eye. Flight that's my light of choice for a detail shot if I do need to supplement with light and I'll let you know in the images that you'll be seeing soon. Which ones have supplemental light and which ones don't? The reason why I like the ice light is for all of the reasons that I've mentioned up until today, it very strongly mimics daylight it's a very soft light source, you can adjust the intensity. Up and down, and it gives me just the simple, beautiful quality of light to emulate the windows that I usually used for the detail shots. So, yes, I do use natural light, but if I do need to supplement with additional light, I will go for my eye flight all the time. So what you're about to see is a video of the very beginning of blair and jeremy's wedding day. This is from the second that she texts neto, let me know what room number she's in you'll see me walking into the room for the very first time you'll see how my assistant and I gather the details together and decide what we are and what we are not going to shoot, and then you'll see my entire thought process and me and action as we photographed these details, I'll see you on the other side. Okay, so she did actually text me back last night, she's in room five. Oh three, no five o two so we know where she's going. We do this so that we don't have to stand in line at the front desk. The front desk doesn't have to call up to the room, so on and so forth, but one more thing let's, check the weather one more time, let's, figure out where we are, so okay since last night it actually got like a thousand times better it looks like it's not really going to start raining until about six o'clock which is going to really not be good for their six o'clock ceremony but this means that there's literally no rain at all so if she wants to brave washington square park yea but I'm really gonna kind of suggest against it because there's no light there anyhow right now and it's just going to be wet and growth exactly it's gonna be nasty and so I'm going to suggest head house square I think it's going to work really well this is you know still really sucks but it's much better than it was yesterday so hello hi have you looked at the weather at this morning it's looking better like last night it was like seventy percent chance of rain all day long but hold on it said that we're down to a zero percent chance of rain in an hour and then it's not supposed to rain again it'll fix way god this is great in here I've never been in this one the lights even better than the last one I was in I wanted according to be more like yes yes you are right how's everything going good you guys look nice already I can't believe your mom made that oh my god if I made something like that have you ever seen the light interest fail are you kidding? Way we're gonna photograph those that's gonna happen and that that's gonna happen? We're just piling everything on your right. Nothing rings and is your engagement ring in there? Also? Okay? Because I knew that blair loved the detail photography that I did, I made sure that we plan the schedule so that I had enough time to photograph the details that were important to her when photographing details. The first thing I'm looking for is a nice, bright light source in this instance, the brightest light source that I could find happened to be in the bathtub of the bathroom usually at least let the macro try to focus for a while before you give up. Oh yeah, when I'm shooting something like rings or jewelry and I want the entire item to be in focus, I can't shoot that at f two point eight are just one little bit of the ring will be in focus. Understanding your depth of field when it comes to working with a macro lens is key since depth of field is combined of aperture, focal length and distance of subject to the lens. Macro photography is especially hard because the magnification zehr so large with this type of lens I almost always start my ring shots at f eleven and sometimes all the way up to f sixteen or even f twenty two no way oh I didn't have enough compression on the other one for it to really show off the ring always sort of hold my breath and then like triple fire my math rose just because I'm really paranoid I'm gonna go toe like f twenty two for this some of the numbers are in the shadow spotting some of the numbers are in the bright spot and the reason why I shot like eight hundred of those just now is because I'm holding my breath is the shutter speed so low because of the fact that it is not grow and your planet focus is a little boom and make sure yeah yeah give the rings back we always came back thanks very nervous these are grandmother's so clearly they're important a lot of times I'll shoot it straight and then I'll try to make something a little more looks kind of like a coiled snake on water cool they're having a good time in there and a lot of times now is when will also try to find the guys and shoot them but he's not getting ready here I tried using the same setup when photographing blair's shoes but it wasn't working quite right literally trying to hard okay wait luckily we have the luxury of time here which is really nice although I eventually got a shot I was happy with we ended up moving the shoe's toe another bathroom location to try for something different yeah but all of this stuff is important to her, so I kind of want to give it its proper respect if I want to focus on just a portion of the detail all sometimes shoot my macro at three point five or even at four knowing what depth of field does with a macro lens is crucial to using it correctly, so welcome back, I hope you enjoy the video. I hope you got a bit of a kick out of me sitting in a bathtub to shoot the details that is not normal. I do not normally end up climbing in someone bathtub to photograph their details, but when I went looking for the natural light source, there were several different options. One of them had been in the actual room that she was getting ready, and you saw the windows as I I went in and talked to her about the details that I was going to be photographing. The problem with that room was that there were a lot of people in that space. The biggest window was being taken up by the makeup artist, and I didn't want to ask her to move and there wasn't enough room to really work around her are the other windows on the other side, we're really close to the bed, and there just wasn't there wasn't a great space that I could be there. I chose the bathroom because nobody was using it, they weren't doing any hair and makeup in there, and because there was that massive window right next to the tub, they would let me get close to my light source and work with an s so that wasn't completely crazy on would allow me to use the settings that I wanted. Now, naturally, as we've talked about before the video that took a long time, I mean, it did it did take a long time part of it was because I knew that we were going to be filming the details of the day, and I made sure that I had ample time for that, but that is not a misrepresentation of what a day is normally like for me. Ah lot of times I will get ten to fifteen minutes to photograph those details because they're important to the clients because that is something that they've asked me to do for them and because I've talked to them about their timeline and the timing of the day beforehand, and ensure that I'm goingto have enough time to do it. My ideal amount of time for a bride getting ready, as I've mentioned before is ninety minutes that gives me about fifteen minutes. To document the details, and then he gives me an hour and fifteen minutes to document the end of the bride getting ready her getting into her dress, some fortress of her and to get out the door. So I don't want you to have the misperception that we made this extra long video just so that I could use it as a teaching tool, but I don't normally have that amount of time. Yes, I do actually normally have that amount of time on a wedding day sometimes it's faster. Sometimes I have more time, but no matter how much time I'm given to photograph those details, I will make it work. The other question that a couple of people who have seen this video already have asked, why does my shutter sound weird? If you listen to me actually photographing these details, you'll hear that this shutter sounded kind of slow, maybe a little bit draghi that's because I was operating on quiet mode and my d three s and my d for they have a setting where you can actually quiet down the sound of your shutter, which unfortunately to anyone who knows anything about photography, they're going to look at you like you're kind of crazy because it sounds like you're using a shutter speed. That you can't possibly be getting, you know anything other than a ton of blur in but it's not because it's a super slow shutter it's just simply the sound of the quiet mode on the d for so let's talk through some of these details that I photographed that you just saw just now you saw me shooting them, but I was shooting them on an actual wedding day, so I didn't want to take two hours to sit out and explain every single thing that I was doing. I wanted to get them done, get out there and start giving her the respect that she deserves and not turn her wedding into a teaching opportunity. So this is my favorite ring shot. You can actually see it hang up behind me here and you don't have to ask, what are the blurry things or what are the pearls or what's going on here? Because you saw me do it? The pearls over here to the bottom right are the pearls that were on the toes of her shoes and over here to the left, all of the indistinct sparkles in the background are the sparkles on the purse that she had now. I was very lucky I went into the room and she did have wonderful things that I could use to create these images and to make them visually interesting. But if they had not been there if she didn't have a sparkle person, she didn't have shoes with the cool, you know, pearls on the toes, I would have looked around in the rest of the room to see what else I could find whether I could find a mirror or one of her bridesmaids purses or maybe a bridesmaid's pair of shoes and if there really is nothing there whatsoever to show you many images towards the end of today is our that were shot in different conditions, I'll simply looked for other things and if there are no other things, I'm just looking for a nice clean background. So while I do like to make these visually interesting while I do like to make them ah little bit different, you don't have to go crazy to make a very nice clean detail photograph. I get asked a lot when people are looking at the blurry parts of the ring shots that I do give me a mathematical equation and how how far is the ring from the background and how far is the ring from your camera? Will you saw and I don't go into a wedding day when I'm setting these things up and think, okay, I need to have the purse four point five inches behind the ring and I need to be this far from it it becomes a matter of field I can take a shot I could take a look at it and then I could move on from there now at the point that I'm at now I've been doing this for so long I've been putting so many years into this work that I generally don't have to take a test shot and look at it I can just visualize in my eye what is going to look like but if you're one year in business or two year in two years in business or your newer at this there's absolutely nothing wrong with setting it up, taking a test shot looking to see it, you know, looking to see what you've got and see if you like it and making any changes that you might need there's also nothing stopping you from practicing this at home take off your rings by a piece of costume jewelry, take anything that you want and practice you'll start finding where your comfort level is you'll start seeing the effects that you like and I'm strongly encouraging you not to just copy what you're seeing me dio but to take the principles that I'm teaching you and go from here and find your own way of expression now well, you know in in layman's terms that blurry background again I've spoken about this before a lot of people have them misperception that if you have that beautiful out of focus, look in your background that it's because you're shooting at one point eight or it's because you're shooting at one point too, but that's, not it at all. The reason for that is multi fold first of all, because I've physically separated my subject from the background second of all, because I'm shooting with a longer lens, so that does introduce some compression and third of all, even though I'm shooting at f tin for this image, I'm shooting with a macro lens and a macro lens has a very, very, very narrow playing a field plane of focus because of the magnification of that lynn that's, not the same as a twenty four to seventy or eighty five you have a razor thin plane of focus, even at f ten. You can see this very clearly, even though the ring isn't focused by the time you come forward to the bottom right foreground, even though that might be half a centimeter away that's completely out of focus, even in f ten and that purse that's, maybe five, six inches away from the ring is completely gone, even at ten. So when you're shooting with a macro, you have to keep in mind that magnification and you can't shoot it at three point five you can't shoot it at four and expect the entire facet of the ring. To be in focus, you can see here very clearly, even in f ten it's really just the front of the ring and by the time you get back into the band that's completely gone, so I'm trying to work with several of my rules of composition that I've talked about here I'm going with the rule of thirds, I have the ring all the way over to the right, but I'm also creating visual interest in the rest of the frame, so it isn't just a picture of a ring on the right and then nothing else going on on the left. For all of these images, you can see my settings on the bottom f ten, one hundred sixtieth of a second, I could actually go lower on my shutter speed cause I can hand hold really low, but with one hundred five millimeter macro, I don't want to go below an eightieth of the second or sixty of the second because I am hand holding these I'm not using a tripod and I don't want to get shake, so I saw that my s o was four thousand I'm comfortable with that, so I was comfortable staying with one hundred sixtieth of a second because I knew full well that I s o four thousand is going to be perfectly fine on my defore. Now if I were at maybe I s o ten thousand or twelve eight I would have reduced my shutter speed to an eightieth or a sixtieth of a second which would allow me to bring my I s o back down f ten so that the entire ring isn't focused on one hundred five millimeters because that is my macro now I've talked a bit about auto eso I do work with auto so when I'm shooting aperture priority it's not because I can't I set my own s o I am perfectly capable of setting it but it's because it's a it's a feature on my deformity that is incredibly reliable it really doesn't fail me it's something I really liked to use so what I've told the camera here is that if you have to go lower than one hundred sixtieth of a second, bump me up to the next so so it would stay constant at one hundred sixty eighth of a second this is the s o that corresponds but if it were any darker in the room instead of changing my shutter speed my camera would automatically take the risotto five thousand or sixty four hundred if that's not a feature that you dont that you like, you don't have to use it it just is one that I happened to greatly enjoy but only when I'm working on aperture priority never when I'm working on manual so this is the exact same setup just a vertical instead of a horizontal we've spoken about working the scene I like to shoot them vertically I like to shoot them horizontally it gives it a slightly different look to the image the ring itself becomes a little bit more of a focus and it's just takes two seconds to flip my camera vertical and shoot something else that shows the same scene in a different way. So from here you actually cannot see the ex if data at the bottom because it's way too bright but I'm still a f ten I'm still at s o four thousand I'm still in one hundred sixtieth of a second and all I've done is simply layer her ring on the top of his ring and the matter was so incredibly amazing that you can actually see not only the sequence of the purse that I have laid it on, but you can see every single fiber of fabric between all of the sequins and these tiny little sequence now look like rocks that the ring is laying on now. I have to be very, very careful when I'm focusing with a macro because even though it is an incredibly powerful, wonderful piece of glass it's hard to focus macros or just in general hard to focus, especially when you're putting a shiny thing on top of another shiny thing it doesn't know which shiny thing that you want in focus. So I will give it a good college trial at it attempt to focus on its own, but because it generally tends to ping pong around with all of the sparkles that are going on. Ah, lot of times I do end up switching over to manual focus. I can work a lot faster. I can get what I want in focus a lot quicker, and then I can move on. So then we come over to the ring that has the engraving in it, and I do not see the map for the exit information here. But I can tell you that this was shot at f twenty two. The went up to about ten thousand because I went upto twenty two. It needed to compensate and still one hundred sixtieth of a second. And what I did was I turned the ring, being very, very, very conscious of how the light and how the shadow we're falling inside the ring. The fact that the tin in the thirteen or in a bright spot and the eleven is in a dark spot. It's, not an accident. Nothing that I do is an accident. It's very, very, very deliberate, and I'm focusing on the eleven knowing that at f twenty two with a macro the ten and the thirteen will still be in focus and if this isn't something that you're comfortable with it, this isn't something that you do on a regular basis you need to practice with it and the more that you practice with it, the more that you shoot your macro the more you'll be able to tell what f twenty two looks like what f sixteen looks like what eleven looks like and you'll be able to choose your settings accordingly I don't even think about it anymore and I'm not saying that to brag and I'm not trying to say, well, I could do this but you can't that's not where I'm going with this I've just been doing this for a really long time now and it's becoming more comfortable with my gear becoming more comfortable with my settings you have to start thinking less about what you're doing and it starts to become instinct and as I mentioned before, there is no fast track to being able to do this tomorrow this does take practice getting to know your gear inside out takes a lot of work but if you stick with it it is very, very, very rewarding to be ableto walk into a situation and to be able to set it quicker than you did six months ago or a year ago or ten years ago, so please don't get discouraged and please please keep going so I have actually moved over here to f twenty nine, and you can see that all of my settings have changed. I'm in twentynine because I want the ever and the after both in focus and again, it is not an accident, that one is in the light and one is in the dark. I don't want that line between the brightness and the shadow to cut a word in half, so I moved the ring and I have moved myself so that it is deliberately placed. I had to drop down to a fiftieth of a second because I was already at s o ten thousand because I'm shooting it, twenty nine had to take it down to a fiftieth of a second, you saw me take a breath in and shoot three times that's a trick that I picked up from job you think at a workshop that I saw him give many many years ago, he said, if you take a breath in and start to let it out slowly and fire three times, the one in the middle will be in focus, and I thought, that's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard that doesn't work, and that totally works, so a little tidbit of something that I picked up at a w p p seminar ten years ago has stuck with me and continues to remain true to this day. So you can see that adjusting to f twenty nine pushed my eyes so up to ten thousand, which then meant that my shutter speed automatically brought itself down with auto. So once you hit your threshold, once I hit my ten thousand, then the only place to go is down, it can't change my associate starts bringing my shutter speed down. I had to be very conscious of it. I had to be very careful because I don't use a tripod. I just had to make sure that I was steady as I possibly could if I couldn't be steady at a fiftieth of a second, I would have gotten my eye slight to fill in a little light onto the image and again, just moving through very, very simply included this image because I wanted to show I don't shoot everything at twenty two or twenty nine this is it five and the reason being is I just want one of the pearls and focus and I want the other one to melt away into the distance, so talking about shooting it f nine f eleven f sixteen sometimes I want to do the exact opposite of that and have on ly one small thing in focus, and I know that at five I'm going to lose everything else other than what is precisely under the focal point of the camera. Coming down even further for this is for this is that one point two is at one point eight this is f four on a macro and you can see when I went to f four my I s so adjusted itself back down to two thousand five hundred I was able to shoot a one hundred sixtieth of a second so I got no shake. You can also see that the only thing that's in focus is one pearl in the very center of the very front and everything else melts away like liquid that was a very, very, very deliberate affect just like this was also a deliberate effect when I laid the pearls on top of the kleenex box so that I could get the slight reflection in it so that the corrugated tin of the box would look like water and instead of being up and shooting down so that you could see it melting away, I wanted you to see the rest of the pearl necklace on the same plane. So again, none of this is an accident. I've thought through everything from the background to the surface that it's laying on to what height I'm at two how much of the rest of the detail is there and this is thirteen years of doing this over and over and over again, so if you do stick with it, you will find your own voice even in something as as minuscule as shooting the details of the day so we hot back over here we go two three point five the reason being I only want a little point of the poof on the tip of the shoe in focus this is the exact same shot justus the horizontal instead of vertical I went to three point five here I wasn't I wasn't really loving this set up all that much I was trying too hard and sometimes in your desire to make something really interesting you khun try way too hard and overcomplicate things which is what I was doing here but I went to three point five because all I wanted was the very tiny pearl on the tip of the shoe in focus but then I found a much better place to put the shoes with a better light source with a better quality of light with a more interesting background yet I still stayed at three point five partly because the shoes were so close to the background itself the shelf was very short I wasn't able to pull it out much further than that and really I wanted the focus to be on the rushing at the tip of the shoe and on the pearls on the tip of the shoes not the back of the shoe or the background so that's why I went to three point five and again just working through these details that she had provided for us choosing the aperture that is correct to produce the effect that I'm looking for. I shot these at three point five because I didn't want the whole thing and focus just a very, very, very little snippet. So we're going to move on from here and I'm going to show you some before and afters from some ring shots that I took it different weddings so these are not from blair in jeremy's wedding, you are not going crazy. You did not just close your eyes and miss this part of the video. This is something completely different. All of the before shots were actually shot with my iphone or my assistant's iphone because I knew that I was going to make a slightly cool shot and I wanted to be able to show it to people. So this is just a ring sitting on some rocks with some pearls, and when I readjusted and I got down, I put some pearls in the foreground as well, still propped up on the rocks, shooting straight into it. Now, instead of being visible obvious pearls, they look like bubbles. This is outdoors at a mountain house in the hudson valley, and I am literally on a lounge chair outside, piling up grass that I pulled out of the ground and some flowers that I yanked out of the ground as well, but it looks like that I phone on the left professional photo on the right and you can see the relationship of where the ring is toe where I'm placing the yellow flowers behind them even at thirteen you can clearly see you start losing the focus in the front as the leaves go down towards the bottom of the frame on the right and up in the back it looks like it's so far away it almost looks like a watercolor portrait. That's f thirteen on the macro I s o eleven hundred. I was outside, but I was shooting at f thirteen and by the time I got my exposure correct on the ring which was maurin the son because I was outdoors, the correct exposure on the ring brought the rest of the kind of the rest of the frame darker because the area on the chaise lounge that I was seating the ring was brighter than where I put the flowers. I deliberately put them in a slightly more shadow section of the frame. This is that sweetwater farms in glen mills, pennsylvania it's a wonderful, fantastic location. I am in the room that the bride is getting ready in. You can see to the upper left over there there's like the chairs there doing makeup out there there's a window over here and this is a shoe box that it's sitting on just a glossy top of a shoebox and I went outside and I found a flower that had pulling on the ground and I came inside and started tearing the petals off that I did not rip this out of a bouquet. I do not, you know, do any vandalism to make my room ring shots, but it took me two seconds. I went to the room, I saw the shiny shoe box, I went outside, I grabbed a flower and within two minutes I was setting this up. This didn't take me an hour of wandering around so again, as I've talked about before, what comes with experience is the ability to think faster and to think on your feet and make snap decisions and something that would've taken me fifteen minutes to set up three or four years ago took me only two minutes to set up now and the final shot looks like this is in the same set up as the picture that you saw from my iphone earlier, even at eleven, look at how out of focus the background is. We're s o nine thousand and it's still a beautiful, beautiful photograph at a little noise reduction in post processing, and it looks extraordinary. What we've got going on here I'm in the bride's getting ready room you can see the bed in the background you can see my coffee off to the left what? This is right here is a picture that we tour out of a magazine the bride had a bridal magazine in the room asked her if she minded if I pull the picture out of it and used it to create a shot for her the bride and groom were going to the beach on their honeymoon so what you're seeing here is a tor now picture of a picture from a magazine and two sugar packets dumped on a bedside table and it looks like that and there you go what's happening over here on the left is a picture that I tried at which worked which I really really liked from another picture that I tore out of a magazine and over here on the right is the end result of this setup that you saw in the frame prior the sugar on the table looks like sand and then the picture in the background looks like the sky so I was trying to create that beach effect for them this is at a place called yasmin polana it's a golf club in princeton, new jersey this is just a chair by the window in the room that the bride is getting ready in and I do have a lot of photographers hey, how do you do ring shots at venues that are maybe less fancy and my responses? If you think that I'm working at a fancy venue every single weekend, you're crazy because I'm not sometimes I am a the four seasons sometimes I am at the plaza, but sometimes and at the holiday inn, sometimes I'm at the hilton garden inn sometimes I met a catering hall I'm in different places every single week, and it doesn't have to be a grand dramatic location that you're shooting in to get really beautiful photographs of the details that you're working with. What I did here was I kind of walked around in the room, took a look around and grab these two weird kind of copper cups that we're sitting on one of the shelves if we do borrow something to put it into one of our ring or detail shots, we take it, we always put it back afterwards, usually by the time I'm photographing the rings, if I've moved on to the shoes or the earrings or whatever, I'll hand the ring back to my assistant all handed the cups that I've used back to my assistant, I'll ask her kindly to put them away for me, her putting them away means that I can keep working, I'm not trying to be a slave driver or make her do all of these stupid errands for me but if she takes two seconds and puts them away that's two seconds that I can be continuing toe work and using my time to the best advantage so I took sarah's ring I put it in one of the cups I got down and I shot through the arm of the other cup and it looks like this eleven this is actually with my sixty millimeter macro so you don't even have a whole lot of compression going on but the sixty millimeter at f eleven eight hundred one hundred sixtieth of a second shooting through one cup into another cup very easy so we're done with the before and afters I don't pull out my iphone and take a picture of every single set up that ideo although it's really fun and I really enjoy it I just wanted to share with you several other detail shots that were taken in other weddings at other locations and talk to you briefly about how they're set up. The wonderful thing about the thirty days is I do get to spend a lot of time talking to you about every single segment of the day and showing you lots of examples so if you're new, hopefully this will help you get going and if you've been established and you've been doing this for a while maybe something that I show you today will spark something in you the next time that you go shoot so a lot of times I'm just simply trying to do very nice very easy photograph with my macro you'll see that the ones you're about to see switch back and forth between sixty millimeters and one hundred five millimeters just because I got my one o five doesn't mean that I suddenly hate everything that I shot with a sixty it doesn't really work that way but you'll be able to see the settings at the bottom you'll be able to see that my aperture is consistently nine eleven f sixteen as you've seen already f twenty nine that I try to keep my shutter speed is low as I can without getting camera shake and then I'm always very conscious of what my s o is this is very, very very simple it's just rings sitting on a shiny bedside table with a several orchids laying behind it very simple ring on a picture that I tour out of a magazine I always ask before I shred a client's magazine I always ask before I move anybody's property if I want to borrow a purse if I want to borrow a pair of shoes if I want to touch something that's not mine or from the hotel I'll always you know hold up the shiny person I'll be like hey whose purse is this on one of the bridesmaids is like that's mine I'll say do you mind me borrowing this for just a second one time several years ago probably back in eight or nine the groom had gifted the bride a very, very very expensive watch on the watch was stolen from the bride's hotel room and I got a call the day after the wedding from the groom's security teams he was a radio host the groom's security team wanting to see my photographs and wanting to talk to me about the theft of the watch I've never said I hadn't seen the watch I didn't photograph it it had never kind pross my plane division throughout the day but I do ever since then I try to be very very careful when I'm touching someone's personal possessions that I make sure that I put it back in the hands of the person that I borrowed it from and if I have the ring like let's say I'm shooting the ring or the shoes or whatever and the videographer wants it or somebody else needs it for something I always go back to the brighter I have sandra my assistant go back to the bride and say you know hey blair we have your ring and adam wants to video it a little bit do you mind if we give it to him and then she says sure that way of adam who adam hi I know you've never lost anything if he drops it down a great or loses it or something happens she knows full well that it past the chain of command and it wasn't mine, so maybe it's a little anal retentive maybe it's a little paranoid, but if I'm working with somebody's valuables, I do want them to know that I'm taking care of them and I want them to know where they've gone, so not only I know we've spoken very heavily in this set this section so far about shooting the rings, but I do try to make interesting images of other details throughout the getting ready process as well, such as the shoes and I used to think that it was goofy to take a picture of the shoes. Why would anybody take a picture of shoes? But then I would notice that, you know, for some brides they buy thousand dollars, jimmy choos and this is the first time they've ever really bought a luxury item for them and it's easy to laugh and say, oh gosh, is the same jimmy shoes again, I've seen these things like a million times, but this might be a really precious purchase to your client and this might really mean something to them. I know that it's, goofy and I don't expect anybody toe understand if you don't feel this way, I'm not trying to convince you, but a lot of times these details do you have a really important meaning to the people who purchased them the every time she wears those jimmy choo's out on date night or to the movies or to her best friend's wedding two years down the road those will be the shoes that she got married in and it's a nice memory so I'm always trying to make something a little bit more interesting than just laying the shoes on the bed and taking a photograph of that what we have going on over here on the right is we took a gold j crew belt that had been laying on the bed and we asked whose belt is this? Do you mind if we use it stuff the heels of the shoes through the buckle of the belt on what you don't see is my assistant standing up over the window contorting herself to hang those shoes in the window for me now while I do always shoot my rings with one hundred five or in years past the sixty millimeter macro I don't necessarily have to shoot shoot or flowers or things like that with a macro unless that's the effect that I'm going for so I was shooting with my eighty five it's an eighty five one eight but I shot these two eight because I wanted a little bit more of the ring a little bit more of the shoes and focus and I wanted to bring in a little bit more of the background I didn't want it to just be an indistinct mess what it actually is is it's the window of a new york city hotel, and you're seeing the building across the street eighty five one four at one four shot at one point, four for deliberate effect, focal point directly on top of the shoes over here on the left and everything that's going on in the foreground and sides are it's like wire long wires with little beads, stuff on them, kind of like a christmas tree. Garland of sorts on I just wrapped it into a wreath and said it in front of the shoes. I found it in a corner of the bride's room in like a craft box asked if I could borrow it and and off I went back over to the ring. Like I said before, it doesn't always have to be a gimmick, it doesn't always have to be what clever thing can I put in front? Or what clever thing can I put behind sometimes it's unjust, simply a beautifully perfectly exposed photograph and nothing more very simple, very clean, you don't always have to try so hard, but when you do have the opportunity to make something really interesting it's kind of fun, you know, these air kate's shoes and catering sitting in her shoes, knowing full well that it f nine their entire ring was going to be in focus you'd get a little bit of the bow that encircled it and then everything else would become a very lovely indistinct background and back to the lesson that I gave on composition rule of thirds the ring is all the way over there in your first third, but everything else is visually interesting and leading right back to what I want to be the focus of attention in the frame this is a tor now picture from martha stewart's wedding magazine it's actually a picture of a bunch of jewels all piled up on top of each other it is a teeny tiny piece of bubble gum stuck to the back of the ring and stuck right down there on the magazine I'm sitting at the bride's getting ready location right next to a window it doesn't have to be a fancy place it doesn't have to be the waldorf historia all you need is some good light and something interesting visually and about one foot of ground space to work on and you can make beautiful things torn out pictures from a magazine um this is a table kind of ah fabric table with a purse sitting behind it and this is a great example that even at sixty millimeters even it s nine look at the focus of where the ring is sitting traveled down from the ring onto the surface that it's sitting on and look left to right look how little of it is actually a folk in focus at f nine and look how quickly it falls out of focus behind it. So I'm not joking when I talk about that your plane, a field off focus, is actually very, very, very narrow with a macro because of the magnification of that type of lens, the ring is sitting on a very weird pair, like from a craft shop that was sitting on the bride's mother's table like a sparkly pair and then there's another sparkly pair in the background. This is sitting on an ottoman with some candles in the background. Back over to some shoes. I'm practically standing on the kitchen table, shooting into the chandelier that's hanging down above the table. The bride had really extraordinary shoes with sparkly soul and before she put them on and she wore them, which would have destroyed the sparkle in the soul, she asked me if I could take a photograph with them. Not only did I photographed issues which I did, but the ring and the groom's cartier band we're so incredibly sparkly themselves that I was able to use the soul of the shoes one flipped up one like this put the ring in the middle, the shoes were being held by my assistant so that nothing fell or spilled sixty millimeters right in there, nice and clean and again, as I've mentioned before, it doesn't always have to be one hundred five millimeter macro it could be the eighty five and this is the eighty five one point four at one point six I found a shaft of light coming in from a window I put the shoes on a chair I wanted the crisscross of the shoes I wanted something criss crossing an ornate with the chair so I found one that really kind of match but I was going for but the shoes right in the shaft of light and by the time I exposed correctly for the shoes it brought back down every single other thing in the frame thirteen again f thirteen I was all the way up it s o eight hundred so I brought my shutter speed down to a fiftieth of a second. This is in the bellevue hotel in philadelphia. It has these kind of orbs sitting on the tables in the room it's it's a little bit like those like hurricane glass candleholders that you'll see a lot of times it like pure one or west home or somewhere like that I put one in the background in the light I put one in the foreground still in the light but not as strong of a light as the background exposed for the ring everything else dark and down in the rest of the frame f eleven and again, just simply looking for something visually interesting, you can see her that that she was sitting on two water glasses. The reason for that, as I was trying to raise it up to the height of the window and if I just had it sitting down the window sill cut midway through the shoes so I needed something to raise them up. I thought the water glasses were a really interesting visual and what's going on in the foreground is my assistant simply holding the other shoe, and I'm shooting through it back to that wonderful brand of shoes with the sparkly soul. It is sparkle on top of sparkle on top of sparkle. But again, if you follow the ring down to the soul that it's sitting on even in thirteen, you can see you're very, very, very narrow in focus area because of the magnification and I this is just a bedside table, nothing more, nothing less ah lot of the furniture in hotels will have that kind of glass topper on it so that it's shiny, grab a bedside table and drag it over by the window. Now this is using the ice light. I told you when I would use it, I tell you, when I was using some artificial light and I am this is the candle holder in the front left of the frame this is one of those round high tops at a cocktail hour it is completely dark in the room there is no additional light but my assistant is holding the ice light from the other side of the candle holder aiming directly at the rings as if it were a window on the same thing here they had done a champagne toast where they poured the champagne and it cascaded down all of these glasses and when it was done there were like four or five of them that were half drunk people who kind of abandoned them on the table so I got a fresh one ass bartender to pour just a finger of champagne at the bottom this is sitting on one of the cocktail tables at the marion which is a catering hall and cinnamon in new jersey my assistant is holding the ice light toe light the rings and the bands that are sitting in the very middle there and there you go I did wash them off before I gave them back and yes everyone did look at me like I was completely insane when I started putting my fingers and all of these champagne glasses but the bride and groom knew exactly what I was going for they knew exactly what I was doing and they were comfortable with me putting putting their rings in alcohol same thing here the bride's mother had requested that I photograph the rings in a champagne glass and now the first thought that I had was oh my gosh the rings in a champagne glass are you kidding me? How nineteen eighties is that? And then I thought you know what? Maybe I should instead of complaining, maybe I should rise to the challenge and maybe give her a more modern take on the image that she's asking for so I went outside this is that I am in upstate new york at a catering hall in upstate new york and I went outside onto the balcony. This is just a wooden table out on the deck behind the venue I had a circle of tea lights that I took from the other cop tell our tables because cocktail hour was over, I put the tea lights in a ring underneath the champagne glass there is no artificial light there's no ice light there's no other video light there's no flash it's just the light from the candles coming up into the champagne glass and I stood over it and I shot down into it and that's all there is to it. So as you can tell, shooting the rings is something that I do feel passionate about. It is something that I enjoy very, very much but it's about managing the expectations with the clients finding out if he's important to them or not finding out if they're important to you or not making sure that you have time in the timeline to accomplish these images, making sure that you have a strong handle on what you're doing technically, and then just having fun. Thank you so much for sitting with us today, and we'll see you all tomorrow.

Class Description

Learn the essentials of wedding photography in this comprehensive collection of the top segments from the CreativeLive catalog. Get an inside look at the techniques used by some of the industry's leading professionals – everything from shooting to editing to sales and marketing.

Whether you are trying to break into wedding photography or inject new energy into a flagging wedding photography business, this collection is for you. This series of videos was assembled to guide and inspire wedding photographers and help you develop the business and technical skills you need to flourish.

You’ll learn how to get the best possible images in camera, on the wedding day. This collection will cover everything from posing to lighting to composition – tailored specifically for wedding photographers.

SkillSet: Wedding Essentials also covers what happens after a wedding. You’ll get an overview of the workflow, retouching, album design, and post processing techniques you need to get your clients images they will love.

But beautiful images and smart post processing won't get clients in the door by themselves. You’ll also learn about the business of being a wedding photographer. This collection is a compendium of marketing, pricing, and business knowledge from some of the top working photographers in the industry. Plus there is some inspiration in the mix to get you excited about implementing everything you've learned.

Breathe new energy into your wedding photography with in this impressive collection of some the most educational segments in the CreativeLive catalog.