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Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Rings

Lesson 9 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Rings

Lesson 9 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

9. Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Rings


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

Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Rings

So on the day of our first thing that we shot were the rings I chose to put it a little out of order because on the wedding day usually I kind of get the dress first because it's like hanging right there when I first walked in but on this day and on a lot of other wedding days I start with rings so let's shoot some rings so we're gonna shoot some details on when we're shooting details we're gonna start off by shooting rings were going to shoot my rings today because why not on senate hair over next to this window I sort of had a vague hope that somewhere this rainy awful outdoor day might still provide me enough light to shoot the rings by the windows but I've a problem with the window because first of all it starts starts about rib height for me so the light is coming from kind of high up and there is no light like you can tell we've got a little window light it's not enough to help me out here I would have to be at s o ten thousand just to start and that's really not a good place to ...

be for this and I just don't like the quality of light you know it's okay but it's not great and there's absolutely nothing wrong with supplementing with a little additional light if you find yourself in a bad spot so I set up over here gave it a shot it didn't work I realized it was time to bring in the reinforcements I've got my ice light here I could really shoot what I'm about the shoot anywhere I could shoot it right here by the window I could shoot it on the stage I could shoot it downstairs in the hallway because what I'm gonna do with this light is I'm going to overwhelm the light coming in from the window so less to look at this and think well she's by a window you know the windows helping around it's not because I'm going to use this to be my main light source I have my ice light on a cheetah stand and what makes a tina stand so amazing is with most normal light stands you can carry it around you have to tell us about the legs you have to set it down the cheetah stand you can literally just pick it up and run you pick it up the legs telescope up the end so for a lot of wedding photographers they talk about bringing a nice lighter bringing an external strobe and they say, oh I can't do that you know you have an assistant that goes with you to weddings I don't have an assistant if I don't have an assistant I can't use additional lights is it going to be kind of frustrating to have to pick up and carry a light around with me everywhere I go sure but you know what else is frustrating bad light so if I put this thing together at the start of the day if I don't have an assistant I just pick it up and take it with me wherever I want to go I put it down and I'm ready to go you do have to connect it to an adapter so I'll show you this I'll put it together for you live but where the cheetah stand ends and this thing starts there is an adapter to go between the two it lets you screw the ice light into this thing which screws in teo the cheetah stand itself and it's really starting on the ice light I have barn doors that's going to allow me tio shape the light as I'd like and what I'm gonna do is I'm gonna end up turning this thing sideways which will do in just a second and it's not going to be straight up it's going to come from an angle so as faras setting up I never bring things with me I know I've talked about this before I'll probably talk about it again I don't have a ring shot kit or anything like that I use what I confined I grabbed a chair because I don't want to sit this stuff on the ground and have to lay down on my stomach to shoot it so I got a chair just floating around the room set it up over here, and then I fail in my super special, really fancy high end props. I don't know what this is. It's, sparkly stuff on a stick, and I found it sitting around. This is the lid to an ice bucket sparkly stuff ice bucket lid and we're gonna make a really cool really compelling ring shot as faras gear goes I've got my d seven fifty one hundred five millimeter macro light 00:03:58.703 --> 00:04:04. gear rings random sparkly stuff see what happens okay 00:04:04.31 --> 00:04:07. so I grabbed this thing mostly because it's reflective 00:04:08.34 --> 00:04:11. I don't always want like a pure clean reflection sometimes 00:04:11.73 --> 00:04:13. I just want to put it on something shiny so I have 00:04:14.54 --> 00:04:17. something going on in the foreground background reflection 00:04:17.99 --> 00:04:21. I know that this is I mean it's dirty it's kind of 00:04:21.49 --> 00:04:22. awful actually 00:04:23.6 --> 00:04:25. it's goingto let the light bounce around a little 00:04:25.78 --> 00:04:29. bit I'm going to see sort of an indistinct blur of 00:04:29.61 --> 00:04:33. reflection and I like that so I've got my rings 00:04:34.74 --> 00:04:37. I have four little wedding bands one for each of my 00:04:37.34 --> 00:04:40. kids my daughters my stepdaughters now you don't always 00:04:40.34 --> 00:04:42. get all of the rings together right sometimes you 00:04:42.37 --> 00:04:44. just have the bride's engagement ring sometimes you 00:04:44.59 --> 00:04:46. have them all together which is really nice if you 00:04:46.23 --> 00:04:49. do if not don't stress it you can always do this again 00:04:49.18 --> 00:04:51. later during the reception you can get all of their 00:04:51.23 --> 00:04:53. rings together because you can take this lighting 00:04:53.4 --> 00:04:57. scenario and you khun do it at two o'clock in the 00:04:57.03 --> 00:05:00. morning if you have teo so I'm putting my rings kind 00:05:00.05 --> 00:05:03. of making a little ring pile over here as you d'oh 00:05:05.04 --> 00:05:07. usually by this at this point of the day. I'm severely 00:05:07.64 --> 00:05:09. caffeinated, and my hands are shaking. So the last 00:05:09.84 --> 00:05:11. thing the world really want to do is try to stock 00:05:11.51 --> 00:05:13. up a bunch of rings and get them to sit together. 00:05:15.74 --> 00:05:17. But I just want them to be sort of in a perfectly 00:05:17.57 --> 00:05:20. imperfecta pile so that it doesn't look like I posed 00:05:20.66 --> 00:05:22. it really hard. Kind of like it just sort of happened 00:05:22.55 --> 00:05:23. that way, 00:05:24.07 --> 00:05:24. okay? 00:05:26.44 --> 00:05:28. So I've got that and I've got the ring sitting on 00:05:28.75 --> 00:05:31. a shiny surface which is great but if I shot this 00:05:31.19 --> 00:05:34. my background is going to be the rest of the room 00:05:34.08 --> 00:05:36. and I don't love it this is going to be my background 00:05:37.54 --> 00:05:39. it's biting my foreground and background we're going 00:05:39.64 --> 00:05:42. to see so I take these all I'm going to do is set 00:05:42.78 --> 00:05:46. them in the background there about four inches from 00:05:46.51 --> 00:05:49. the rings they're going to sparkle in the reflection 00:05:49.45 --> 00:05:54. a little bit I have done this with the bride's necklaces 00:05:54.32 --> 00:05:58. with her sparkly belt with just random stuff that 00:05:58.35 --> 00:06:01. I've picked up around the space take this guy just sort of set him in the front why not? This is literally ridiculous okay so sparkly things in the front sparkly things in the back there about seven eight inches apart and the rings are directly in the center but now we need to worry about the light and this is one part of the day that no matter what's going on no matter where you are you could be in a parking lot you could be inside your own car you could be in the bathroom as long as you've got a good light source you can see that all you need is a really small area to work in so going to take this little guy here twisted so he moves and let the ice light fall down like so I've got the barn doors on it they're actually really really really easy they're an accessory that you could buy with the ice light it's barn doors you literally just come on here you'll get to see me use these for portrait but what it lets you do is it lets you control the direction and intensity of the light so I turn this on I turned it all the way up I shine it straight in your face is this is too much I'm going to narrow it down I don't want the light to spill too far in the foreground or background I want to concentrate it right on the ring itself some in a narrow this down until it's exactly where I want to be lovely maybe seven fifty hundred five millimeter macro I am going to started f eleven you've heard me explain why I'm on aperture priority we're going to see what happens with my exposure compensation to take a test shot and let you know and because I'm using auto I s ome I'l I s o is ping ponging around all over the place so now I have to find where I'm going to be in relation to the light because obviously I can't block it with my large head here and the ring as it does has shifted out of my spot to come in here and take one test shot where I just let my exposure compensation be at zero and we'll see what that looks like and their silence, as I awkwardly manually focus. The camera would play with my foreground and background elements to get them exactly where I want them. Snake myself in here and get a shot at exposure compensation. Zero so take a look at the shot it's pretty close, but I am a little too far away and it's a little over exposed some new rule, my exposure compensation down minus point seven. Get back in there, get a little bit closer so I can already tell that this is it. I always manually focused my mackerel ins because I can focus it faster than it can focus itself and fire and it's perfect one ice light, a bunch of sparkly things in the top two, an ice bucket. If I were doing this without talking, I would have been done in about two minutes, but we're done. I've got the ring shot, I shot a really nice horizontal. If I've gotten extra second, I'm gonna come in here and just get a vertical, just for let's, take a variety. Why not? And we all hold our breath while I try to focus. Sometimes we'll hear me when I'm shooting small things you'll hear, click, click or click, click click I'm shooting at a sort of slower shutter speed I'm an eightieth of a second I know that I'm cool because the subject isn't moving, I'm not moving, but I also have to be careful and not on a tripod have to make sure I'm not getting any camera shake, and so sometimes I'll take two or even three in a row will hold my breath. I'll let it out. It's a tip I picked up from job you sink, he said, taking a deep breath and as you start to let it out fire three times and the one in the middle will be in focus. I heard him say that like ten years ago and it stuck with me and it's true, so we got a nice horizontal and ice vertical. If I had a few extra seconds, I would maybe play a round with my background a little bit. I would shoot the engagement ring by itself. I would shoot the groom's ring by itself, but we can run and gun and be done with ring shots and less than five minutes. So that was fun it's actually my favorite of all of them because it's the one where I don't have to work with people because it's hard when you start working with people because you've got do you know what I mean like you've got to deal with making sure they're opposed well and you know that sort of thing and with a ring it's just kind of like a solitary little endeavour eso you could see that I could shoot this anywhere we could do it right here we could go in the parking lot and do it we could hang out in the green room while people are getting makeup done and should bring shot because I've made my own light so a lot of times we'll end up where you shoot the ring shot you've only got the bride's engagement ring and then you get the groom's ring later during the reception you can do this there I have actually even taken ring shots using the flashlight from my iphone because I was desperate so one thing that I did mention that I want to talk about in more depth are the settings that I used when shooting this shot so this is the first one one hundred five millimeter macro it's one hundred five to eight but I'm shooting it at one hundred five and f eleven now why f eleven that sounds nuts if you look at this picture, the foreground is blurry. The background is blurry and the ring is in focus well you're using a backer linds you are super super super mega close to your subject f eleven when you're that close to your subject is a whole different ball game then f eleven when you are fifty feet away so bear in mind that magnification I shoot my rings at f nine eleven quiet f eleven here it's a halo ring so there's the main stone and then two rows of halos that air set a little further back and I wanted to make sure that they were pretty much and focus I know it f eleven I can focus on the prongs holding the diamond in place um and everything else will be good but even if you look at the rest of the ring if you look at the back of of my band's it's a f eleven and that's not even in focus now this is pretty good I am a little too far away I don't like how long it takes to get your eye over to the subject I really don't like that big weird spot down there it's kind of pulls my eye over I also have my own here stuck in the ring that's kind of creepy so then I move over here I get a little closer and I drop my exposure compensation down point seven what does it do here? I'm still in one hundred five enough eleven my exposure compensations down point seven I s o forty five hundred still in eighty eighth of a second so let's talk about these settings for for just a minute dropping my exposure compensation changed my eyes so from five thousand forty five hundred right my shutter speed stayed the same because of auto eso my f stop stayed the same because of alberto priority so there you go why does this work well it works because it's pretty because I can control everything and this is why weddings why details for me are fun because I have pure creative control over what's happening the room might stink but I can control my twelve inches of space there and make it look pretty good it works because I've got a reflective surface it's helping to bounce the light it's giving some graphic interest I found those weird sparkly things they were literally just sitting on a table in the lobby and I was like well borrow you it works because I have a good four ground it works because I have a good background it works because it's just really pretty what if there are no good props should I bring props I don't bring props because I have a client ever looked at that and was like what is that in my picture I'll be like oh it's these things I picked up in your venue it's environmental it's part of the scene that's already there I didn't bring something in I would never want a client to look at it and be like, what is that sparkly thing? And I'd be like, oh, it's paper I brought with me that's not part of their day. Like I want anything that I use in the photographs to be something that's actually part of their day. And what about sticky gummer wax? We talked about that. Really? Someone had a good question about that in the first segment. I'll bring sticky gum or dental wax, not chewing gum. It sticks to the rings. It's, hard to get off it's kind of gross, but dental wax or museum wax. You can use it to stand rings up. Our prop brings up, and then it just peels right off ce we have a little stick of it. And our camera bag it's also listed on my resource is paige. Now, if you don't have any good props, punch the bed push, make a little dent in the mattress. Stick the ring on it. This is on the side of a bed and a regular average everyday hotel room. Is that window lighter? I slight. Does it matter? Really? I mean, for the record, it's a window, but if there was no window, it could be a nice light. Moss, just random moss. I yanked a piece of it off of the centerpiece, stuck it on the ground, stuck the ring on it. Is it window lighter? I slight, who cares, looks really good. It could be either it's window light for the record, but it's winter light, because it's, good light. If it were not good light, I would add in ice light, the bride's belt in the background, sparkly little belt going on in the background. We're outside on the back deck that's the bush that's planted in the yard and it's sitting on patio furniture you can go anywhere so when you're looking for a backdrop for a place to put your rings think small look little I mean I'm looking at you guys out there we've got a great we've got some great scarves out there they would make a great background for a ring shot your lace shirt would be excellent you're wearing this amazing magenta pink scarf it would be very cool you could use any of that I have used the bottoms of bride shoes I've used wine glasses like anything that I could just grab and pick up and run with I will I'm not going to spend forever however looking for a problem if I can't find something in thirty seconds of looking around the room I'm just going to go nice and clean with a very simple background any question shins on rings yes ma'am give you a pass the mic as you d'oh would you I was out carrie okay would you ever use a flash for this air you always using constant like you can use a flash and it would be the same principle I would have it off camera I would have it at a very very very low speed usually for something like this it's a lot quicker to just pull out a video light and pop it on and if I can light it with my phone in in in a quicker way than I could with a flash I've only used a flash for ring shots once or twice um that I slightest so quick it is right there with us I mean it is a huge staple of gear that I have it's really important in my bag so we'll just whip it out and turn it on and it will be ready to go but you can use the flash you would just have to make sure that you dialed your power down really low and backed it off so that it wouldn't be too much but yeah, no reason why you couldn't questions from the oh to see they're not anybody oh yeah pass it around when you're shooting the ring is there something specific on the ring that you're actually focusing on is the prongs that the center of the stone that's actually an excellent question it's the prongs because if I'm trying to focus on the center of the stone you noticed in the video I'm shooting manual like I manually focusing my lens because if I'm tryingto let it focus itself it's going to get super confused because it's a sparkly thing on a sparkly thing with sparkly things around it it's not going to know what to do so I always switch over to manual and I manually focus I know that it f eleven I can focus on the prongs and the rest of the ring is going to be okay so that's what I go for also it's just a whole lot easier it's like a solid thing for mito look for if the prongs is way in front of the actual diamond itself then I'll go to f sixteen f eighteen I've shot rings at f twenty two before yeah so question from online you're talking about shooting are focusing man will eat do you ever use the depth of field preview to focus your shots asai something that I never have there's no reason there's nothing wrong with it right I just personally never used it now exactly thank you on dh then question from erich hampel what if you don't have a macro what would you sort of best use for ring shots somebody this person has a fifty millimeter eighty five twenty four to seventy and seventy two two hundred can't use any of those I mean a macro is a macro it's so that you can get one to one so that you get super close you're not going to be able to mimic that with any other linds in this section before this we had alternatives to the macro extension tube's filters I would spend fifteen to one hundred bucks to get something to modify your lenses with to be able to use it because you're just not going to get the same look with anything else even if you shot with like a twenty four to seventy and then cropped. It's. Just not quite the same, and you would have to crop so much out of the image that you would be left with. Kind of a rough file. S o I would recommend hearkening that hit my resource page. Find yourself something. Even if you don't want to go all the way to, uh, macro fifteen dollar tool would be, I mean, it's. Not a useful, perfect, but it's better than nothing here. Yeah.

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.

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