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Portraits of Bride and Groom: When Things Go Wrong

Lesson 21 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

Portraits of Bride and Groom: When Things Go Wrong

Lesson 21 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

21. Portraits of Bride and Groom: When Things Go Wrong


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

Portraits of Bride and Groom: When Things Go Wrong

00:00:02.04 --> 00:00:05. So my ideal what I really want when I get the bridegroom 00:00:05.44 --> 00:00:10. together like you know best scenario possible is brilliant 00:00:10.29 --> 00:00:13. bright light either earlier late in the day I mean 00:00:13.28 --> 00:00:15. it this time of year I can basically just chuck that 00:00:15.35 --> 00:00:17. desire out the window because in new york it's dark 00:00:17.77 --> 00:00:21. by four thirty or five it's actually really dark by 00:00:21.09 --> 00:00:24. four because the sun goes behind the buildings I have 00:00:24.11 --> 00:00:25. to do my engagement sessions at like two o'clock in 00:00:25.84 --> 00:00:28. the afternoon right now that's just ridiculous but 00:00:28.85 --> 00:00:32. what if you're outside at noon and does anyone really 00:00:32.66 --> 00:00:35. want to do that not really and what if it's like five 00:00:35.73 --> 00:00:38. hundred thousand million degrees outside right like 00:00:38.74 --> 00:00:41. the wedding in july w...

here the ceremony's at two o'clock 00:00:41.79 --> 00:00:43. and they do their first look at noon and you're on 00:00:43.72 --> 00:00:48. the beach like that's just you kind of want to just 00:00:48.01 --> 00:00:49. throw up your hands and say what do you want from 00:00:49.57 --> 00:00:52. me like I can't you know slam down your camera and 00:00:52.78 --> 00:00:55. say I can't work like this but you can't do that that's 00:00:55.02 --> 00:00:58. terrible customer service so what do you d'oh if the 00:00:58.88 --> 00:01:00. bride is about to get ready and her bridesmaids are 00:01:00.87 --> 00:01:03. awesome and they want to step outside into a champagne 00:01:03.05 --> 00:01:06. toast and the sun is straight up full on overhead 00:01:07.48 --> 00:01:10. now today we're really here to talk about what happens 00:01:10.61 --> 00:01:14. when things go wrong but for me this isn't a thing 00:01:14.55 --> 00:01:17. going wrong, is it frustrating it iss but I would 00:01:17.86 --> 00:01:21. still rather have full on sunday at noon then be stuck 00:01:21.27 --> 00:01:24. inside because I can still work with the son you know 00:01:24.48 --> 00:01:26. I know that we've mentioned a lot yesterday and a 00:01:26.47 --> 00:01:29. little bit this morning my thirty days of wedding 00:01:29.07 --> 00:01:32. photography for creative lives ah lot of what we talk 00:01:32.96 --> 00:01:37. about in that course is portrait of the bridegroom 00:01:37.19 --> 00:01:42. especially in harsh bright sunlight so while we are 00:01:42.52 --> 00:01:45. going to stick to more of the oh dear lord, we're 00:01:45.56 --> 00:01:48. stuck inside aspect of things today if you do want 00:01:48.74 --> 00:01:51. to learn about my ideal because unfortunately the 00:01:51.24 --> 00:01:54. title of this class is not you know awesomest wedding 00:01:54.23 --> 00:01:57. ever which would actually be really fun class it is 00:01:57.01 --> 00:01:59. how to survive in difficult situations if you want 00:01:59.81 --> 00:02:03. to see how I deal with my ideal light and you haven't 00:02:03.51 --> 00:02:06. watched that thirty days of wedding photography, you 00:02:06.0 --> 00:02:08. should totally check that out but it would be sort 00:02:08.97 --> 00:02:11. of her miss for me to walk through this without telling 00:02:11.34 --> 00:02:15. you what I would do at noon and it is the same principle 00:02:15.92 --> 00:02:19. that I always sort of follow when I'm dealing with 00:02:19.15 --> 00:02:22. light in general whether it's like that I'm making 00:02:22.19 --> 00:02:25. whether it's light outside whether it is the sun at 00:02:25.62 --> 00:02:29. sunrise or later in the day it's a very simple principle 00:02:29.28 --> 00:02:32. of keeping my subjects between myself and the sun 00:02:32.42 --> 00:02:35. so if the sun is over there and my subjects air here 00:02:35.39 --> 00:02:38. I'm going to be over here make a straight line between 00:02:38.05 --> 00:02:40. yourself and your subjects and the sun and you're 00:02:40.48 --> 00:02:43. going to be great if you keep trying this if you still 00:02:43.08 --> 00:02:47. get stuck um cm boot camp dot com my husbands two 00:02:47.31 --> 00:02:50. and a half day workshop will change your life pretty 00:02:50.07 --> 00:02:52. much changed mine and lots of ways but you can't marry 00:02:52.42 --> 00:02:55. him because he's mine um now what happens if you go 00:02:55.55 --> 00:02:58. outside at noon and you're trying to make that line 00:02:58.14 --> 00:02:59. of keeping your subjects between yourself and the 00:02:59.98 --> 00:03:02. sun but the sun is straight up overhead what are you 00:03:02.27 --> 00:03:04. gonna do like lay down on the ground and like suspend 00:03:04.48 --> 00:03:07. your clients in the air that's would be awesome but 00:03:07.29 --> 00:03:11. is shockingly unfeasible it is still the same principle 00:03:11.11 --> 00:03:13. you can see here that the sun look at the top of the 00:03:13.76 --> 00:03:17. bride's head especially the sun is coming straight 00:03:17.08 --> 00:03:20. down on their heads you have several different options 00:03:20.92 --> 00:03:24. you can fill it in with a reflector you can fill your 00:03:24.8 --> 00:03:28. subjects in with a strobe at this time of day you 00:03:28.44 --> 00:03:30. can really feel your subjects and with the video light 00:03:31.21 --> 00:03:34. because despite best efforts you know I I can try 00:03:34.36 --> 00:03:36. as hard as I want I cannot overwhelm twelve o'clock 00:03:36.81 --> 00:03:40. noon sun with a nice light that's just not what it's 00:03:40.24 --> 00:03:42. meant for you can with strobes if you really want 00:03:42.9 --> 00:03:47. teo I would simply rather even at noon even when it's 00:03:47.14 --> 00:03:50. up overhead put my client's, right out in the sun, 00:03:50.3 --> 00:03:53. exposed for their faces and call it a day. 00:03:55.66 --> 00:03:57. Keep them between yourself and the son as much as 00:03:57.95 --> 00:03:58. possible 00:03:59.77 --> 00:04:00. the end 00:04:01.74 --> 00:04:05. so to show you a few examples of that you can tell 00:04:05.47 --> 00:04:08. that the sun is very high in the sky not just by looking 00:04:08.82 --> 00:04:11. at the tops of their heads but if you look at the 00:04:11.29 --> 00:04:14. bride's like collarbone area you can see how bright 00:04:14.8 --> 00:04:17. the sun is because it's coming straight down on her 00:04:18.24 --> 00:04:21. as it's earlier in the day and as it gets later in 00:04:21.26 --> 00:04:25. the day this won't happen here right here like this 00:04:25.84 --> 00:04:28. because the sun will be lower in the sky 00:04:29.24 --> 00:04:31. so let's say you have your clients right here the 00:04:31.66 --> 00:04:34. sun is here it's coming straight down on their heads 00:04:34.25 --> 00:04:37. obviously it's hitting this part of her body because 00:04:37.33 --> 00:04:39. it's basically like putting your hands out and saying 00:04:39.68 --> 00:04:41. son hit me right 00:04:42.54 --> 00:04:45. son here son starts to come down it's not going to 00:04:45.56 --> 00:04:48. hit this right here as hard because it's coming from 00:04:48.68 --> 00:04:51. an angle it's going to hit her shoulder it's going 00:04:51.39 --> 00:04:55. to hit her arm so a big telltale giveaway is too time 00:04:55.48 --> 00:04:58. of the day is to look at sort of their upper chests 00:04:58.3 --> 00:05:01. and see how the sun is hitting it as the sun also 00:05:01.1 --> 00:05:03. comes down lower you see how the sun is really strong 00:05:03.84 --> 00:05:07. on the top of their heads but not so much unlike the 00:05:07.56 --> 00:05:10. bet on her back or on the top of like kind of under 00:05:10.79 --> 00:05:13. here it's because the sun is so high as it starts 00:05:13.6 --> 00:05:16. to come down in the sky especially right after sunrise 00:05:16.44 --> 00:05:18. or right before sunset it's going to be coming at 00:05:18.86 --> 00:05:23. them like this instead of like this and that's when 00:05:23.56 --> 00:05:25. you start to get that beautiful aura of light that 00:05:25.77 --> 00:05:27. really sort of envelopes them which is what we're 00:05:27.82 --> 00:05:30. really going for is there anything that I could have 00:05:30.6 --> 00:05:33. done about that big patch of light right here sure 00:05:33.73 --> 00:05:36. I could use a reflector or I could use a flash and 00:05:36.11 --> 00:05:38. I could feel things in a little bit more but that's 00:05:38.59 --> 00:05:41. not what I like and I understand that there might 00:05:41.03 --> 00:05:42. be a lot of people out there saying well this isn't 00:05:42.9 --> 00:05:46. technically perfect I know I know it's not technically 00:05:46.07 --> 00:05:49. perfect but it's what I like I'm not lighting it like 00:05:49.41 --> 00:05:51. this because I can't do something different it's because 00:05:51.83 --> 00:05:53. I know how to do something different and I choose 00:05:53.58 --> 00:05:57. not to are you going to get a completely blown out 00:05:57.34 --> 00:06:00. vale if I'm wandering around at noon with my clients 00:06:00.96 --> 00:06:06. outside that yeah I mean that's how that works if I expose for their faces and get a proper exposure on their faces yes the dresses you know the dress might be kind of close toe blown out it isn't really you can see a little detail in it but her veil is gone that's a choice I'm making myself and that's a choice you have to make yourself if you look at this and you say I don't like how her veil has blown out then you have to add in more light coming from the front to illuminate your subjects but it's going to change how the light from behind them looks so it's pretty dramatic that the juxtaposition of them against the background but you start filling in their faces then it's good it's really going to change the look of the image so you have to know getting that detail back in that veil to you is it worth it based on how it's going to change your image or is it not worth it? I can't tell that freak to you for me this is totally worth it and they're so cute and again they wouldn't be like this if I had yelled at them and been like get outside do a first look same thing keeping my client between myself and the son as much as possible ideally putting them against a dark ish background so that you can really see that light stand out you know you come over here if you look at her bouquet it's against a dark background, you can really see the light coming down and how it really stands off but then if you look over at this other side of her body it's sort of hard to see the light because the background is so light yeah so brilliant bright light outside I know that that was a quick overview again were mostly focusing on surviving inside when it is straight up horrible but any questions at all about being outside being in the sun dying of heat stroke any of the above y'all are all smiling at me so let's take to the internet well we did have actually and a number of questions for a class about that or a bright son but I think you kind of just answered I'll dad cara asks doesn't blowing out areas in the image affect how it prints are you concerned about that does and it is true if you blow out areas of the image to your print is goingto have blown out areas and you have to decide whether that bothers you and not for example step back a few slides for those of you who know me well you know that I am insanely competitive with myself which is a very bad place to be and I do not necessarily recommend that but the epitome of my self competition comes every year when I enter w p p I print competition it is I don't know what I'm searching for every time I enter but it is just this emotional crazy thing that I do to myself every single year it is also where I have learned the most about wedding photography is entering my images and then later years down the road, becoming a judge as well and learning how to judge and it is a fascinating process what I ever enter something like this into print calm I wouldn't this past year if you go to the dynamic range and you look up w p p I print competition I actually took all of my print comp entries for the past couple of years and wrote up why they worked why they didn't why they got the scores they did why they either deserved or didn't deserve those scores and a very it was a very serious analysis of the print calm I posted them all on facebook I'm going to do it again next year it's it's a huge siri's it is apparently what I do with my spare time I don't know why but why would I not enter this in print competition part of it would be because so much of it would be blown out there would be hot spots everywhere I mean if we're going print calm this is like a seventy two right you've got hot spots you've got hot spots there's lost some of his shirt her veil is gone you've lost some of the bottom of her dress there are hot spots all over the place the emotion is great yes but as a print it would fail technically because there are hot spots so does it bother me no because this is how I shoot I know what it's gonna look like in the album could you bring back a little of it if it bothered you like could you go in in light room and get your darkening brush and bring this back a little bit maybe bring back in some highlights sure you're never going to bring this back it is just gone there's no data there at all so does it bother me it doesn't I can understand why it would bother some people and that's where you have to make the artistic choice about does it bother you enough to shoot it differently that's great and I cannot tell you I am not you and I would imagine that a lot of brides aren't looking as critically at those types of things as the photographer might be no you could spend on I'm not joking a month editing an entire wedding and you're and I'm not okay I'm not saying that you need to do a subpar job of shooting or editing because your clients won't be able to tell but there does reach a point that the only one who's going to see what you're doing is you when I am prepping a print for print comp I worked incredibly closely with the master printer who actually makes the physical print on an image and we could work an entire work day on one print one the end I mean this is a massively time consuming process it's for print competition you are finessing it tio un absurd, insane degree I would not do that for every single print for a wedding without charging like fifty thousand dollars to shoot a wedding and that's never going to happen also I would probably be crazy when I was done it would just never happen so yes if you shoot like this will you blow things out totally are you okay with that? I don't know any other questions yeah that's great yeah he actually do have more questions about harsh light coming really s o this is from captain m photos what about raccoon eyes under the bright sun you know that's a tricky one right because if you look at them here the sun is really high overhead I think there's no that's not a really strong example the sun is pretty high overhead you can see they're under eye circles because it's coming down it hits their brow it makes a circle under their eyes you're gonna have to have them keep their faces up they can't look down like this you've got to have seen his chin is up ish hers is down she's got a little more shadow on her face you've got to keep chins up you also can't have them directly face you that's another kicker is if you notice in all of these images they're not camera where they're not looking at me if they look straight at me they're gonna have raccoon eyes. They're gonna have an under no shadow there haven't under chin shadow, then you are going to have to fill in their faces. So if you're shooting a formal portrait of them outside at noon, you're gonna have to add additional light in on their face. Or you are going to get raccoon eyes for images like this, where there, wandering around it's a little bit easier, especially if they're looking up in each other, so on and so forth. But a formal portrait. Absolutely. You're gonna have to light it and have fun, because that's, a difficult situation, full power, pretty close, enjoy. I mean, listen, it's, a time of day. Nobody wants to be outside for a reason. It's, tough, it's really done great. Thank you.

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