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Strategies for Shooting in Difficult Situations

Lesson 2 of 18

Looking for the Fundamentals in Photography

Susan Stripling

Strategies for Shooting in Difficult Situations

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

2. Looking for the Fundamentals in Photography

Lesson Info

Looking for the Fundamentals in Photography

Talking through the principles before we even go into these scenarios and start looking at these terrible behind the scenes locations we have to talk about what we're looking for when we start making pictures in general and the things that I'm looking for things like your light your background, your composition the moment that your subjects give you so these things are all very important for very different reasons after we discuss what those things are we'll talk about the tools that you bring that will help you take the beginning fundamentals your gear and put them together and actually start making pictures so the first thing that I'm looking for what I'm making an image any image whether it is a detail on the wedding day or a bride getting ready or a portrait of the bride and groom or a family portrait or something at the reception the first thing I'm looking for his light I'm looking for a good window light maybe I'm looking for directional window light I'm looking for soft window ...

light to shoot things like details and we'll go through the kind of light that I'm looking for and how I use it in great detail very shortly I'm looking for light coming in from beautiful angles I'm looking for light coming from windows I'm dealing with light in overcast wedding days when you're still trying to find some sort of dimension to the light but it just seems like everything in the sky is mud what can you do to make light? You have a lot of different options going to talk about that light coming from windows and using it at an angle toe light your subject or your detail or your group light directly on your camera when you're at a reception if you need teo photograph some guy being thrown in the air at the central park boathouse in the middle of his wedding, how do you do that to talk about that? I'm also looking for a good background so first thing to me the most important thing to me is to find the light first after I find the light, then I start looking for a background and whether it's a background to photograph a ring shot or to set up a bride getting ready on her wedding day or a portrait of a bride and groom together. The light combo with the background is very important because the background you choose might help set your light off better the background that you choose might shape your light in a different way. The background that you choose will help tell your story in a different way maybe not in a good way if you choose a background for your image that's distracting if you have power lines growing out of people's heads if you're on the beach and you have horizons, cutting people's necks off your background will actually take away from the story that you're trying to tell and the last thing in the world you want to do is have your background competing with your subject for the viewer's attention so I'm looking for things in my background such as lines making sure my horizon is straight I you know I try very hard to make all of my image is nice and level I don't know why when I shoot family formals they seem to have like a seven percent tilt in one direction I yeah you too right on lee family formals I don't know why but for things like this like this image you see here with those steps going up in the background have to be very careful that those steps are straight and horizontal because otherwise that tilting background would distract from your subjects when it's tilted correctly, the lines just lead you right into your subject finding a background that might not be conventional you know it's not normal to really take a bridal party out and shoot them against a wooden fence in the middle of brooklyn with the building growing up in the background but the combination of the different colors in the background and the composition of the background this adds to the photograph instead of taking away from the photograph shooting at receptions, first dances, parent dances, toasts I like to make sure that I'm shooting into the crowd because if I'm shooting a wedding reception and I'm shooting the bridegroom during their first dance and I'm shooting into the band they have no emotional connection to their band they don't know the people in the band if I stand in front of the band and shoot into the crowd then you've got mom and dad in the background you got there and watching them dance for the first time so sometimes you're working with your background and you're trying to eliminate distracting things sometimes you're trying to use leading lines to push to your subject and sometimes you're just trying to make the background personal because a background like this with their family and their friends watching them dance that's going to be meaningful for them and you have moments even though they're not you know they're not sharply and focus in the background they can tell who these people are they're attentive usually they're holding their ipads to their faces at the same time but that's neither here nor there that's a subject for another rant on another day so once you have your light on once you've chosen your background then you have to talk about composing your image and this is where these case study start to become very important because you're going to look at these behind the scenes images and you're going to think how do you compose a compelling picture in a parking lot or in the corner of a reception room it's all about composition the light, the background the gear that you choose actually matters because all of those things combined with your settings will help you tell your story and then you have to frame your picture correctly I pretty much never crop in post production I'm not because I'm like an amazing wizard or magic or anything like that I was just always taught to get writing camera so instead of shooting loosely and cropping for my composition later well crop maybe two percent of our images when we're in post and it's usually to fix the angle because I'm an idiot and got kind of lean e during my family formals but I am very careful when I'm composing that what you see in the frame is deliberately in the frame for a reason for a purpose so for example something as simple as a ring shot the fact that there is that kind of indistinct line running through the background it's not an accident it's composition on purpose it's a shoe by the way case you were wondering composing so my subject is either in the middle of the frame or I'm using rule of thirds to push it to one side and have your eye leads straight into it sometimes I wanted composed where it's smack in the center but it's not just about being smack in the center one of my favorite things in the entire world to do is judge print competitions I think it's really fun because that's how I feel like I got much better is a photographer is entering my images into competitions and hearing them be judged hearing a judge say the leading line they're terrible the composition is terrible and this is why I'm now conscious of all of those things like for example the fact that the staircase leads you straight down into the window the fact that the way it is composed all of the lines bring you to the dress those things aren't accidents composing so that the light hits berlin's in exactly the right way and you get a very pretty halo around your subjects we looked at this image when we're talking about light but the composition on this one is also important because the light the background and the composition all make the image look this way if they weren't standing in front of that quite background in front of the window it wouldn't look like this and part of that is composition I wanted the window itself to frame my subject I talked a bit about rule of thirds just then putting my subject all the weight from one side or another and what happens here is that the blank space actually leads you directly towards her face you know composing here to let in background elements that might be distracting but also might help you tell your story for example they're cutting their cake she's texting I actually really like her that's really funny but like they're watching and they're taking pictures in the background and you can see people watching over there composing so that you have those guest reactions in the background.

Class Description

Wedding photographers can’t wait for perfect conditions before they work – when the clock is ticking and people are waiting you have to shoot, even in less-than-ideal locations.

In Strategies for Shooting in Difficult Situations, Susan Stripling will show you how to troubleshoot common calamities like; a wedding party getting ready in a room with no light or family portraits slated to be shot in a terrible location. You’ll see how Susan has handled difficult shoots and crazy lighting challenges and get insights and inspiration for overcoming your own difficult situations.  


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Wow! Fabulous course! Ditto with the above reviews! Thank you, Susan, for giving us such helpful information for shooting weddings in such challenging situations. You have such a brilliant and quick mind for making the magic happen! The camera settings by each photograph was so very helpful. Since I didn't write anything down I shall be in search of your books. Susan's class is a must for anyone considering a career in Wedding Photography. Thank you Suan and Creative Live!

Kat Penniman

As the description says: MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING! Spot on! Thank you Susan for sharing what you know and helping me become a more creative photographer despite less-than-perfect scenarios. As photographers, oftentimes, we find ourselves placed in a position where we are expected to create beautiful photos in the midst of difficult situations like low light scenes or crappy background. Her explanations are very clear and she definitely knows her craft. She cares about her clients and she's determined to give them great pictures despite what's thrown at her. If you are a strobist or use flash in most of your work, this course is not for you. But if you a natural light photographer and sometimes struggles to take photos indoor where light source is very challenging, take this course! You won't regret it!

Jessica Lindsay-Sonkin

Susan is amazing. This class is a pile of case studies, with behind the scenes and camera settings, to help you find the light. There are parts that can be repetitive, but that is because Susan is passionate about helping photographers memorize this message and put it into practice. A worthwhile watch!