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Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Doorway

Lesson 14 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Doorway

Lesson 14 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

14. Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Doorway


Class Trailer



Class Introduction


The Gear That Will Save You in Tough Situations


How Lenses Shape the Image and Help Tell Your Story


Light Modifiers for Your Survival Kit


Gear to Spice Up Bland Images: Prisms, Mist and More


Walkthrough of a Difficult Venue


Why Each Room Works and Why It Doesn't


Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Dress


Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Rings


Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Shoes


Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in Difficult Scenarios


Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Small, Cluttered Room


Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Dark Hallway


Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Doorway


Portraits of the Bride in a Small Room


Removing the Surrounding Space for a Bridal Portrait


Window Lit Bridal Portrait in a Tough Space


How to Shoot a Quick and Simple Bridal Portrait


Photographing Guys, Complaining Brides and "Helpful" Bridesmaids




Portraits of Bride and Groom: Ideal Situations


Portraits of Bride and Groom: When Things Go Wrong


Bride and Groom Portraits: What to Do If You're Indoors


Bride and Groom Portraits: How to Pose an Awkward Couple


Family Formals: How to Achieve Your Ideal Situations


Family Formals: When Things are Less Than Ideal


Family Formals in an Awful Space


Family Formals Recap and Questions


Photographing the Reception


Reception Q&A


What Can You Do to Safeguard Your Business?


Contracts Q&A


Dealing with Social Media as a Wedding Photographer


What if Advertising Isn't Working?


What to do When Everyone Just Wants More


When Everyone Says I Am Too Expensive


When You Hate Your Job as a Wedding Photographer


Lesson Info

Photographing the Bride Getting Ready in a Doorway

So we're talking about again that one window. Remember the window at the bottom of the steps in that hallway, that's. The same type of lighting scenario. It's, just a slightly bigger window. Come on, little, remote, same type of lighting scenario. You just can't see the window, same type of lighting scenario except there's, another window and it's next to me, and I was able to lean on it. Same lighting better than you but literally same lighting just bigger window so if you bear in mind this lighting scenario plain room light coming from a thing that could possibly be a door now you're in this hallway don't laugh at me been there too I thought this was actually a really nice find because I think this doesn't look terrible it doesn't matter at all this is at I just went straight for the exposure compensation to o by now you know if it were at exposure compensation zero it would have been too stops overexposed in this great it is not great is this bad it is not bad if she had another bri...

desmaid you could add in another bridesmaid behind her you could have a bridesmaid sort of standing in the door not blocking the light but like standing in the door and holding hands and talking to her I'm treating it like a window but it's not it's ah door with the lights on it's brighter in there than it is outside you know what I mean brighter here darker here if this were a window brighter outside darker inside this could be a strobe firing through you could pop a strobe through this open door you could pop a nice light through this open door there has got to be somewhere whatever horrible venue you're at that you can have a bride stand on one side of the door and put light coming through it on the other side. If there had been no light there, like let's, say, this was just a cool wall, and there was an open door. I could have shown my ice light through there. I could have put my strobe in the room and fired that it could be a huge window in there that could be the door toe outside. You just don't know. So look for natural light first I think by now we have realized it is way easier if you can find it then if you have to make it but if you can't find any forget that moved a step number two find it he's in background so you saw me shoot getting ready scenario where I chose the light over the background that hallway at the end of the steppes where the background was just a door the light was better than the background but in the first room the sort of grandmother's parlors parlor room the background was better than the natural light so which one is more important to you you'll learn to figure that out on your own choose your linds wisely that eighty five one four really sort of paid for itself during this section here and now figure out how to create your light so if you've got to skip number one and go straight to number two when you've got everything set up then bring in your light and sometimes you just have to roll with what you've got you know I love directional light I love directional light where the bride stands off from the background I love having a lot of room I didn't have any of those things in this room there was nowhere for me to go and so I just shot straight into the window and made it look interesting it's a small room there's really nowhere for me to go I kept turning her into the window and she kept turning away they're did reach a point where I was like listen I keep turning her into the window and she keeps turning away can I make this work because eventually I'm going to start annoying her and she's having this moment with her grandmother and what am I gonna do go in and interrupting grandmother grandmother so stinking cute like I can't get in there and start screwing this up there's stuff on the ground in the corner the bed's not made but you know what it's what it looked like in there I feel like his wedding photographers we strive for perfection so hard sometimes that what's really is riel you know there was a really nice window over there in this room we totally couldn't get at it it's new york there was a massive radiator in front of it the bed was about three feet from the window I would have had to shove her over on the other side of the bed it's this right here we've got the bouquets and it over here and I kept taking it off the table and get putting it back on the table and it's I just had her stand in the doorway and the light is coming from the window it could also be coming from a stroke. It could also be coming from a nice light sometimes you have the opportunity to make a silhouette don't discount other things that you might be able to do in the scene so if the bride is in here and you know I could come in here and I could shoot from this direction right and then the light coming from the window would hit the side of her face I would be shooting directly in her face that would be beautiful I did that I could turn her towards the window and shoot from here that way so she's facing the window and the rest of the room darkens down I did that too but then when she kept turning around naturally turning this way I realized that there was an opportunity to make a really nice silhouette so I just went with it so even while you're thinking through all of these things as you're thinking through how can I survive here how can I survive here how can I survive here also look because you might set yourself up in one scenario and you get exactly what you thought you were going to get out of that scenario and then you find a nice little other surprise or another angle so as my husband likes to say take a look at what you're looking at which I think is funny also kind of annoying looks like I'm looking I'm already looking as hard as I can don't tell me to look harder but if I had not stepped backing on back over to the door I would not have seen this scenario to shoot also so if I can find several different ways to come out that getting ready then I can give a variety of different images to my clients if that makes sense so we've got about ten minutes I would love to answer now that I've walked you through all of those scenarios 00:06:02.677 --> 00:06:05. and shown you that things that I did with video light 00:06:05.67 --> 00:06:08. can be done with windows it's the same sort of principle 00:06:08.7 --> 00:06:11. and if you're stuck just put your light where you 00:06:11.37 --> 00:06:13. really wish there was a window and you're going to 00:06:13.32 --> 00:06:13. be okay 00:06:15.57 --> 00:06:18. questions such a great fall back always it's just 00:06:18.8 --> 00:06:21. to always think we're the light be let me put the 00:06:21.23 --> 00:06:23. light there where do I really wish the architect had 00:06:23.65 --> 00:06:26. come in here and actually put a window the windows 00:06:26.46 --> 00:06:27. are all in the wrong places 00:06:28.97 --> 00:06:31. let's see if there's any questions in here let's grab 00:06:31.66 --> 00:06:36. a mic right at one right here yes please do you commonly 00:06:36.17 --> 00:06:38. switch to black and white when there's those color 00:06:38.48 --> 00:06:41. issues is that a fall back so to speak 00:06:43.17 --> 00:06:46. he caught that did you my personal favorite is when 00:06:46.31 --> 00:06:48. you're shooting in a church and you have a processional 00:06:48.84 --> 00:06:50. it's happening and you're crouched down and you're 00:06:50.48 --> 00:06:50. waiting 00:06:52.17 --> 00:06:53. and then they open the doors at the back of the tree 00:06:53.99 --> 00:06:55. you know where I'm going with this? They open the 00:06:55.68 --> 00:06:58. doors at the back of the church and then they leave 00:06:58.01 --> 00:07:00. them open so you have the light that's coming at the 00:07:00.6 --> 00:07:02. front of the church the stained glass light that's 00:07:02.47 --> 00:07:05. coming down on the aisle and now there's the sun as 00:07:05.14 --> 00:07:07. like the beacon of light behind you when they're walking 00:07:07.24 --> 00:07:10. towards you this way so it's like forty seven white 00:07:10.02 --> 00:07:11. balance is happening at once 00:07:12.57 --> 00:07:15. if it's a really important moment we try to keep it 00:07:15.2 --> 00:07:18. in color but we tend to find that yes those moments 00:07:18.32 --> 00:07:20. are when suddenly I start seeing the image in black 00:07:20.46 --> 00:07:22. and white so if this were the on ly getting ready 00:07:22.9 --> 00:07:25. image I would never have showed it in just black and 00:07:25.41 --> 00:07:27. white I would have shown it in color we sprinkle in 00:07:27.84 --> 00:07:30. maybe ten fifteen percent black and white into the 00:07:30.23 --> 00:07:33. coverage justus kind of ah enhancement to the coverage 00:07:33.89 --> 00:07:36. itself but it's amazing how quickly you want to enhance 00:07:36.93 --> 00:07:39. the coverage when the white balance is really bad 00:07:39.48 --> 00:07:42. so no and it's funny you'll see on facebook when people 00:07:42.21 --> 00:07:43. are like oh what can I do about the white balance 00:07:43.8 --> 00:07:46. of this and everyone's like black and white I mean 00:07:46.16 --> 00:07:47. it's it's true 00:07:48.77 --> 00:07:52. yes sir so when you're taking pictures and stuff and 00:07:52.49 --> 00:07:54. you're moving people around and you're talking about 00:07:54.6 --> 00:07:56. a little bit before with the coordinators and the 00:07:56.33 --> 00:07:59. videographers and the brides and trust things like 00:07:59.07 --> 00:08:01. that do you tend teo turn the camera around has shown 00:08:01.56 --> 00:08:04. like this is what I'm getting to the bride a lot or especially to help kind of rebuild that report with him and say look, I know what I'm doing or to the to the coordinator of the videographer saying you know I just need that time but this is what I'm producing this is why I'm doing it so that way you're trying to repair never show the bride ever never like never ever ever because what's going to happen what's she going to say I look fat oh my arm looks fat oh I'm not standing up straight she's gonna immediately start picking herself apart and that makes me sad and that's honestly the biggest or and talk about this a little bit tomorrow the biggest problem that I'm having right now with just clients and brides perceptions in general I blame one hundred percent on selfies because now listen I don't think selfies are dumb I think they're I mean whatever I think they are what they are but you're used to a client who's got their iphone and they want to take a selfie of themselves they take five hundred fifty different selfies and they angle it angle it they work it like this and then they look at the hundred that they picked and they pick the one hundred they took it they pick one the second I showed them one off on my camera they're going to start analyzing themselves the way that they do in their cell phone pictures and it makes me so sad I mean it's not I'm not appear to do a commentary on body image or love yourself or anything like that but it legitimately distresses me when clients see beautiful real moments of themselves and all they can think is my arm looks fat or I look so fat first of all you don't look that you look great like I don't know what to tell you like why why do you do this to yourself I used to do it every once in a while and it wasn't a big thing but now I get it in the size zero bride will look at it and be like oh my god my arms are monstrous and then it didn't help now I've just sent her down a spiral of insecurity and it crushes me and so the problem that we're dealing with right now and again going to get heavily into this tomorrow is the are there more mentality honey time's have you delivered a wedding of a beautiful gallery of images and had the clients come back and say I love these but are there more first of all no there aren't mohr and if if there were more that were good why wouldn't I give them to you like I'm not like hoarding the really great images over here I don't want you to have them like I want you to have them but they don't understand with a family formal why did I only deliver three for them to choose from why didn't I deliver fifty to choose from it it's not iphone photography like it's this just not the mentality so it makes me sad that I can't do something like that with a videographer sure with the coordinator yes but I no longer feel confident showing clients things on the back of the camera because they're going to start picking themselves apart and it just kind of I don't mean in this segment on like a super downer but it's heavy heavy do you see is there more I look fat like what is that why is that happening? I just want to give all of these girls these hugs because they look amazing they're wearing amazing dresses it's one of the happiest days of their life they're marrying their best friend they've got all their best friends and family around them and they're worried about whether their arm looks fat like sweetheart you're getting married I want to hug you and speculate the same time like I just but I don't know what to do with that because my brain doesn't work that way like my look at a picture of myself and be like well that is not flattering but then I move on like so I'm standing dumber my eyes or cricketer or whatever but you know kirsten lewis came to our house about a year and a half ago now and she did a day in the life of myself, in my daughters, as I was taken into school and bringing them home, and for most of the day, I was wearing what I was wearing, which was like yoga pants in a tank top, you know, as you d'oh, and when I get really tired, I don't stand up great, I slump so there's a whole series of pictures where I'm cooking with my daughter and I'm standing like this, and I look seven months pregnant, and I am not pregnant. I just wasn't standing up straight, I was standing very unflatteringly, but I looked at it and I went, I need to learn how to stand up, but I was able to look past it into the image itself and the emotion that it conveyed and whatnot, and I feel like on a wedding day, everyone's emotions are so high that sometimes they can't do that at that point. And for some reason, selfies on instagram and facebook and all of that have have made people feel really bad about how they look, which is really sad. Andi, I feel like they automatically start looking for flaws instead of looking for the beauty, so I realize it's a very long, philosophical, convoluted way to answer that question, should answer your question no, I don't know. I do not, and somehow that ended up in, like the women's self worth and, like, why I hate your iphone. But it's, I mean, people were not get me when I was saying that it just why do all women think they look fat in pictures? That's. The saddest thing I've ever heard. You look happy and radiant and amazing. Let that be the end stop, you know, thank you. I have this debate like every other day. I mean, I literally just want to show up at weddings, wearing a shirt that says two things on it. Number one. Number one, you don't look fat number two, the videographer is not with me. Our people are like, is he with you? I'm like no.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Wedding Photographer Survival Kit Slides

Ratings and Reviews


I found this course extremely helpful. I own Susan's 30 day bootcamp class and I think that this course is a great supplement to that course. I don't work with an assistant so it was very helpful to see how she would approach a scenario without an assistant. It was also great to see her point of view and thought process when scouting locations for portraits and witness her ability to make something beautiful out of "not so pretty" or difficult locations. It helped me to take a better approach to finding the light, and really paying attention to all of the different details throughout a room. Her business tips were awesome too. I could go on and on but maybe you should just get the course. It's worth it.


Good and useful course as typical of Susan Stripling; I also own Creative Wedding Photography. However, all the class materials should reside on the Creative Live website -- not just the Power Point presentation. I understand Susan's desire to drive people to her website to increase visibility and sales of her own products, but the strategy isn't very customer-centric for CreativeLive customers. People shouldn't have to "google" the name of her company to find the information that she references in this course; and then once on the website scroll through outdated or unwanted information to find, as she states at her website, "Below is the list of gear (as promised) that I've mentioned on Creative Live." If people are smart enough to find CreativeLive, they'll be smart enough to find on the web any presenter that they like or want to know more about. The folks at CreativeLive ought to address this type of behavior before it sets a bad precedent for future presenters.


I love Susan. She will give it to you straight! I own her "30 days" class and it's amazing but one thing I took away from this course was when she said something along the lines of, "Those photographers who tell you they hand pick their clients are lying to you!" Haha. There are TOO MANY young and arrogant wedding photographers who think they are rock stars. They really get me down. And that's why I like Susan. She's honest.

Student Work