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Portraits of the Bride in a Small Room

Lesson 15 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

Portraits of the Bride in a Small Room

Lesson 15 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

15. Portraits of the Bride in a Small Room


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 the Bride in a Small Room

Portrait of the bride this is always a tough one because I do try to take a few portrait's of the bride before the ceremony at every single wedding that I shoot now I'd say I am on ly successful with this maybe twenty five percent of the time if I'm being completely honest with you guys because remember how we talked about things happen before the ceremony this is where I'm going to lose out we have not started talking about first looks yet which I'm going to complain mightily about tomorrow morning but when the bride gets dressed whether she's going off to her ceremony or she's going to see the groom for the first time it is often very difficult to get her alone by herself for even thirty seconds to take a quick portrait of her much less five minutes ten minutes or beyond so if I do have a chance I try to eke out a couple of these portrait of her by herself before the ceremony happens but it doesn't always happen I also try to take a few more post ceremony and by post ceremony I mean ...

whenever I get the bride and groom together so if they're going to see each other before the wedding I will do some pictures of the bride alone and the groom alone during that portrait time of the two of them whether it is pre ceremony or post ceremony which it says here so if I don't get her by herself I can always grab that again ah little bit later in the day when I do have more portrait time sometimes time on ly allows for a very very very few number of these images very very very very very few sometimes like three and it's hard because the bride's mom always wants and a beautiful formal full length picture of her smiling directly at the camera and I will endeavor to do that it's just when things start piling on you and schedules start running late it starts getting really hard to pull her aside just by herself so a portrait of the bride by herself is probably one of the most difficult things for me to get on the wedding day even if we have a lot of time for it so I have streamlined the way I do things I 00:02:00.72 --> 00:02:04. I'm able to do them very quickly and speed is definitely 00:02:04.36 --> 00:02:08. of the essence in this sort of scenario so let's talk 00:02:08.23 --> 00:02:12. about what I did in that glorious venue when I finally 00:02:12.15 --> 00:02:14. got the bride by herself so what I'm going to take 00:02:14.91 --> 00:02:19. a portrait of the bride I try to not change lighting 00:02:19.03 --> 00:02:22. scenarios more often that I really have teo so we're 00:02:22.0 --> 00:02:25. in the exact same room where she got ready one of 00:02:25.36 --> 00:02:28. the scenarios where she got ready and before we moved 00:02:28.22 --> 00:02:30. on to go somewhere else or to take portrait's over 00:02:30.54 --> 00:02:32. somewhere else or to do a first look or to go to the 00:02:32.23 --> 00:02:35. ceremony I'm already in here why not take the opportunity to make a nice simple portrait of her she sat down she's fussing with her veil putting on extra lipstick doing those final last minute touch ups before we head out to do whatever we're going to do next and I'm going to just take this opportunity to make a really nice portrait of her however she is still not in great light because they're still not great light in this room so if I want to make a portrait here I'm going to have to make the light I still have my d seven fifty I still have my eighty five millimeter one for on the camera and still inoperative priority still in auto eso but if I go over there and I shoot this it's not going to be super interesting because the lights not great is it going to be bad it's not going to be bad per se but it's not going to be as good as it could be so it's still got my eye slight it's still got the barn doors on it what I'm going to do is I'm actually just gonna bring it up over her head here and just shine the light directly on her face whenever I'm working with the flash or a video light and I'm thinking about light I think if there were a window in this room where would I want it to be and then I put the light there whether it's a strobe a video light or the light from my iphone it's going to go exactly where I wish the window were or where I wish the sun waas so I've got it kind of up and over her head sorry about what's about to happen to you I turn it on I've got it on full power and I've got the barn doors closed down because when you 00:03:58.682 --> 00:04:02. open it up like this it lights the whole scene and 00:04:02.08 --> 00:04:06. I don't want the whole scene lit I just want her face 00:04:07.79 --> 00:04:11. very nice, very simple and then I'm just going to 00:04:11.49 --> 00:04:14. let her do her thing so if it's a real wedding day 00:04:14.0 --> 00:04:15. I'm gonna grab this light I'm gonna plump it down 00:04:15.86 --> 00:04:18. I'm going to say don't look directly at it but otherwise 00:04:18.02 --> 00:04:19. you just keep doing what you're doing and it's gonna 00:04:19.92 --> 00:04:23. go a little bit like this one point four I'm going 00:04:23.25 --> 00:04:25. to show you what it looks like at exposure compensation 00:04:25.56 --> 00:04:26. zero 00:04:27.69 --> 00:04:30. which is clearly terrible because she's super over 00:04:30.22 --> 00:04:33. exposed I'm gonna take it down to minus one point 00:04:33.52 --> 00:04:36. seven move my focal point, make sure it's directly 00:04:36.73 --> 00:04:39. on her face and just look at yourself and just do 00:04:39.04 --> 00:04:41. what you're doing there you go 00:04:42.69 --> 00:04:43. good 00:04:44.69 --> 00:04:46. and then just look right in the mirror right it yourself 00:04:47.44 --> 00:04:50. that is perfect just like that 00:04:52.89 --> 00:04:55. two seconds done. And off we go. 00:04:58.19 --> 00:05:01. So first things first right it's just a nice simple 00:05:01.03 --> 00:05:03. portrait so someone asked earlier what would you do 00:05:03.68 --> 00:05:07. if you wanted something very even very well lit and 00:05:07.56 --> 00:05:09. even while you would put the light in front of them 00:05:10.09 --> 00:05:12. am I going to do this all the time? I'm not again 00:05:12.84 --> 00:05:15. survival kit there's a time and a place for this um 00:05:15.82 --> 00:05:19. I'm going to sit every single bride at a window and 00:05:19.57 --> 00:05:22. have her mirror and have her look at herself I'm not 00:05:22.59 --> 00:05:25. but if the opportunity affords itself to take a couple 00:05:25.97 --> 00:05:29. of quick images of her by herself before the day really 00:05:29.04 --> 00:05:32. gets going I mean this is not a real wedding it's 00:05:32.04 --> 00:05:34. obviously not a real wedding I'm not pretending that 00:05:34.15 --> 00:05:36. it is a real wedding but it is applicability to real 00:05:36.87 --> 00:05:39. weddings and if we look at the settings 00:05:40.89 --> 00:05:43. come here it's supposed to light oh there we go um 00:05:44.09 --> 00:05:46. starting off I'm sparked sorry that's supposed to 00:05:46.13 --> 00:05:49. say exposure compensation minus one point seven because 00:05:49.82 --> 00:05:52. you saw on the video what it looked like when I shot 00:05:52.29 --> 00:05:55. at exposure compensation zero and how again the same 00:05:55.82 --> 00:05:58. thing that you've been seeing all day long exposure 00:05:58.27 --> 00:06:03. compensation zero was way, way way too bright so for this instead I rolled it down to minus one point seven eighty five one four eighty five millimeters in one for exposure compensation at negative one point seven one hundred sixty eighth of a second because again moving subject now how does this actually apply to something that I would do actually on the wedding day? Well, take this image on the left over here remember how I said put it where you would want an actual light to be coming from that's the same scenario only there's actually a window there there's no time mean yes is there a difference? Of course there is you can see the window it becomes part of the scene it's a much in purer light source in that scenario but it is the same concept of taking that video light of putting it high and above and having it come from where I wish there were a window, the image on the right if you want somebody very evenly lit on the wedding day, simply move the light in front of them and I'm not saying, oh, this is so easy just move the light in front of them but it doesn't always have to be a dramatic sidelight and I've shown you images and any of you have ever seen me teach before gone to my website and looked at my images I do like very directional light on I like a strong quality of light and I like a great interplay between light and shadow but I also understand that there's absolutely a time in a place for images that are very evenly front lit no problems with that

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