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Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Shoes

Lesson 10 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Shoes

Lesson 10 from: Wedding Photographer Survival Kit

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

10. Wedding Day Details in a Difficult Situation: Shoes


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: Shoes

So the next thing we're gonna do is we're gonna shoot shoes as you dio on the wedding day you know it's it's funny I'll see clients will spend fifteen hundred dollars on a pair of jimmy two shoes that they were for twenty minutes and then they never wear again on ever but it's a thing it's try not to get too far on rants about this but wedding blog's have really convinced brides and grooms that details are of extreme importance not just the detail that is important to you and I go into this a major amount during thirty days, which is I'm only really going to shoot details that I know are important to the client I'm not going to go super crazy shooting details that are not important to them so if their shoes were important client I'm absolutely going to shoot them if they look at me and they're like I really don't like my shoes that much or my shoes don't matter don't shoot them I'm not going to shoot them no big deal but what if you have to shoot them in a room that is really bad let's...

give it a shot and see what it looks like so now we're going to shoot the shoes and again I usually have less than five minutes to do this so I have to do it really fast same thing sort of when you're looking at the rings, aiken probably shoot the shoes anywhere in here I could go outside I could be inside it could be upstairs I could be anywhere because I'm going to overwhelm the light with with my external lighting source here I'm choosing to use the ice light you could do the same thing with a strobe I don't care how you have to light it you're just going to have to overwhelm what's going on in here and as you can clearly see the lighting in here is not ideal there are some windows in here but same with the rings the windows aren't in the spot that I really need them to be in it's so dark and so dim outside that unless you are straight up on the window sill the light from the windows is not going to help me at all so if I scratch the first thing that I'm looking for which is lighting and I go looking for the second thing that I need which is a good background then I start to have some things to work with so don't worry about the light if you're in a situation like just this just say forget the light I'm going to make 00:01:58.694 --> 00:02:01. it later let me find a good place to shoot and then 00:02:01.93 --> 00:02:05. all light it sort of after the fact so behind me on 00:02:05.67 --> 00:02:09. this stage is piano the light up on the stage is terrible 00:02:09.77 --> 00:02:12. I don't like it, we literally just left it on so that 00:02:12.78 --> 00:02:15. we're not shooting this in a dark pit but whether 00:02:15.11 --> 00:02:17. the light on the stage is on or off I'm going to be 00:02:17.33 --> 00:02:19. creating my own light from that ice light back there 00:02:20.02 --> 00:02:23. so I saw this piano it's got a curved piano lid and 00:02:23.84 --> 00:02:27. if anyone's ever watched me shoot shoes before on 00:02:27.9 --> 00:02:30. you know my educational blawg or anywhere else you 00:02:30.2 --> 00:02:32. know I like shiny surfaces I've taken pictures of 00:02:32.49 --> 00:02:35. shoes on piano lives before and listen every single 00:02:35.85 --> 00:02:37. time I go out and shoot a wedding I'm not trying to 00:02:37.89 --> 00:02:40. reinvent the wheel that's not saying that I'm doing 00:02:40.53 --> 00:02:42. the same thing every single time that I go out to 00:02:42.44 --> 00:02:45. shoot but I don't feel like every time I pick up the 00:02:45.25 --> 00:02:47. camera to shoot a shoe shot I have to shoot something 00:02:47.1 --> 00:02:49. that I've never shot before sometimes defaulting to 00:02:49.9 --> 00:02:53. something that you know works is fine it is not going 00:02:53.83 --> 00:02:56. to hurt so if you're in a situation that is really 00:02:56.56 --> 00:03:00. difficult and you've shot that type of scenario before 00:03:00.02 --> 00:03:02. and done it in a way that you really like don't be 00:03:02.51 --> 00:03:04. afraid to do it again there's something to be said 00:03:04.79 --> 00:03:08. for continuity and your clients hire you because they 00:03:08.74 --> 00:03:11. like what you've done maybe they've seen issue shot 00:03:11.32 --> 00:03:14. like this and they like it so I've placed the shoes 00:03:14.07 --> 00:03:17. up there there on the curved lid of the piano I'm 00:03:17.0 --> 00:03:19. going to use my ice light again with those barn doors 00:03:19.6 --> 00:03:22. so that I can really control where the light is and 00:03:22.54 --> 00:03:25. I took one hundred five millimeter macro off of my 00:03:25.01 --> 00:03:28. d seven fifty I put my eighty five millimeter one 00:03:28.25 --> 00:03:30. four on there that eighty five millimeter one for 00:03:30.91 --> 00:03:33. at one for is really going to allow me to isolate 00:03:33.97 --> 00:03:37. my subject and minimize my foreground and background 00:03:37.26 --> 00:03:41. that combined with very specific direct lighting is 00:03:41.29 --> 00:03:44. really going to help take away all of the terrible 00:03:44.46 --> 00:03:46. distracting things that are going on here and let 00:03:46.79 --> 00:03:49. me focus directly on my subject so let's go do it 00:03:49.87 --> 00:03:52. okay so we're going to start shooting the most important 00:03:52.88 --> 00:03:56. thing here is the positioning of the light so again 00:03:56.3 --> 00:04:00. these barn doors I can work without them but it really 00:04:00.2 --> 00:04:03. helps to have them and you don't have to have a nice light you can do this with a strobe you khun do this with another type of light the important part for me is that I can control the angle of light whether it's a big wash of light or narrow down to a little spit of light on when I'm working with something like this I don't wanna light everything up I just want to let the shoes so what images to turn this on it's all the way up on full power bring it over here it is these barn doors if you open them all the way up like this you can see it lights the whole scene that's not what I want I want to minimize this here so I'm gonna take this and actually narrow it down and you can see first cuts out over there the spell of light and then over here it cuts out the light so you're really left with one tiny little spotlight and it's mostly lighting the shoes that's what I'm going for I wanted to be dark over here and dark over here so that when I expose properly for the shoes they're really going to stand out now there's a lot of different ways you can set up in sort of poe's shoes these are maybe less fancy she wise and listen I don't want to imply that I'm judging what my brides were on their feet I don't care what they were on their feet from uggs too you know nine hundred dollars shoes it doesn't matter to me I want to present them in the best light so it's difficult to shoot straight into the toes of the shoes I'm going to shoot straight into the heels of the shoes I also think that it makes it look a little more architectural makes you look a little bit more interesting I've got it set up here on the curve of the piano you're going to get a little reflection in the shine of the piano it also just gives me somewhere interesting to put it I could put it on that table over there I could have put it on the bar top over there, there are a million different places here that I could put them. I just thought that this was something a little bit different. I've done it at weddings before. It always turns out really well, let's, talk about settings. As I said, I've got my eighty five one four on here. I'm on aperture priority as I am keeping my shutter, speed it about an eightieth of a second or faster, because I know that I can hand hold this eighty five an eightieth of a second, when my subjects aren't moving. So I'm going down in here, and I'm going to shoot this once with exposure compensation on zero, so that you can see that it is not going to look good. Gonna come in here? I'm on eighty five one forum at one for when I'm at one for have to make sure that my focal point is directly on my subject and fire well at exposure compensation zero this is a disaster because the cameras trying tio equalize out the scene the shoes are completely blown out the piano is way too bright this looks terrible so after he's smarter than my camera I'm gonna roll it down. Teo a stop under exposed to exposure compensation minus one and let's see what that looks like that exposure compensation minus one we're getting closer but it's it's still overexposed because if you look at the lighting scenario the shoes they're so bright and the background it's so dark there's such an exposure difference between the two things I'm gonna go down to minus two on my exposure compensation set it up and fire and now it's perfect. So shoot a horizontal because I have a couple extra seconds here and why not issued a vertical? And if you look at how I'm holding the camera lens, I'm holding it kind of ridiculously. I have actually propped my hands on the piano itself and I'm using it to hold the camera steady because I'm not on a tripod. And we got it. I'm actually on this one. When I went vertical, I included a lot of the piano in the scene, and it tweaked the meter again. It freaked out a little bit more, because now there's even more darkness. So I actually took my exposure compensation down to negative two point seven, I brought my hand on the edge of the piano, fire and it's perfect. All right so it's kind of like the trifecta of details the dress the shoes, the ring we have them all done here so let's talk about what it actually looked like I took my overall shot of this when I had my lights set up for family formals it looks bleak and also sad s o talking about the settings right eighty five millimeter one for at eighty five millimeters and one for exposure compensation at zero s o is it seven twenty and it's an eightieth of a second that doesn't look good that is really, really, really over exposed so when you look at it you think how many stops over exposed is it right so then you just make the change if it's two stops overexposed take your exposure compensation down two stops and there you go nice and clean so talking about this a little bit dropping my exposure compensation changed my eyes so from seven twenty to two hundred as it does my shutter speed stayed the same because of auto eso on my f stop stayed the same because of aperture priority so whether you go outside and you shoot the shoes with the twenty four to seventy or whether you shoot them inside with eighty five one for at one for if you do not have good light you can make your light again shoes or not that big you don't need that much space to shoot them in is this window light or ice light doesn't matter I mean it's window but that could also if I shot it with a nice light it would look like that because I would put the ice light where I wanted my window to be and you'll see me do it later with more ice lighting talking about strobe I put my light where if there was a son or a window where I would want that to be I always want the light to come from a good direction no matter what the light source is and I'll shoot my eighty five one for that one for out and regular everyday weddings too make beautiful image is it helps you isolate your shoe you know you've got beautiful light here it's lovely it's a window it could also be a strobe it could also be a nice light it's the corner of a room you have no idea what the rest of the space looks like so the theme from detail to detail here whether it's the dress or the rings or the shoes is creating beautiful light where there was none making the difficult backgrounds that you have more compelling being able to do it quickly without an assistant and without the fanciest camera in the world you know a lot of people say oh I only have the g seven fifty I don't have a d for us you know what can I do well you couldn't do that. Oh I don't have an assistant what can I do? Will you khun do that I intentionally did not bring an assistant with me for anything that I shot and you'll see it in bridal prep you'll see it in portrait of the bride and so on and so forth it's just me it's just a cheetah stand it's just a nice light and then a little bit later when we get towards family formals and receptions it will be an off camera strobe all by my lonesome so hopefully this shows you that if you have to survive while shooting details even when the situation is bleak and seemingly hopeless you can you might not make the greatest pictures of your career but you might at least you're gonna make something good and you're going to make something better than the non resourceful photographer would make so it's about separating my work from other people it's about if someone finds my let's say I shot this and it was an actual wedding and I did a blogger post and I put up those detail shots someone who goes online and start searching for weddings at that venue if they find my block post my pictures were going to be different and they're going to be memorable so it's important that I deliver something gorgeous to my clients but also that I show potential clients what can be done in the space first and foremost I'm serving my clients it's to make them happy it's not about me it's never about me it's not my artistic vision it's not my opportunity create marketing images for myself it's about it's about making beautiful things for them if a residual effect of making beautiful things for them means that I can have some lovely pictures from my marketing endeavors that's great too so yeah we've got a good amount of time to take some questions whatever questions you have any situations you might find yourself stuck in before we all go eat some lunch and then come back for more more more I just worry about the ice light do you always keep it vertical or do you have to stand the time yeah most of the time I do keep it vertical but I did as you saw in the ring shot where I turned it sideways you do have the ability with the little adapter that I have to tip it sideways or put it in an angle if you want so you can move it around you can even buy an adapter where you can hook to ice lights together if you want to get crazy town and haven't be one big long I slight I haven't quite gone there yet but I can see the tons of possibilities that would have if you did and it's easier I mean this is where having an assistant is easier if sanders holding the ice light I could just have her wave it around until its right where I want it to be but as you saw when I was shooting the ring if it wasn't right where I wanted it to be I just had to reach up and keep tweeting at myself so it's definitely it's a timesaver too have a person with you but as you saw you don't necessarily have to have one yeah questions from our friends online everybody's feeling pretty good absolutely I think your dispelling a lot of a lot of the mists of things where we we do create excuses for ourselves well, I can't do this because of this and that, but you're really showing us these these creative ways to get around that and not get get block a couple more questions at all please let's see, I don't know if this is just a stiles a style thing for you but the question was about in these particular examples the shoes air all your shooting the back of the shoes versus the front of the shoes is there a reason for that other than style it's style I shoot the front of the shoes plenty I shoot the sides of the issues plenty ah lot of times if I'm sort of struggling to make something interesting, I'll shoot into the back of the shoes because I could do something a little more graphically interesting with the to hell stacked together and it's hard especially if the heels or short if you're shooting from the front the shoes look flat there was a shot back here step back just a couple of slides those air flats so I shot straight down onto them versace come on you can do this there we go I like the hell you can see the blue soul to the shoe here the heels were gold and sparkly here the souls were red and anyone who buys those shoes that there red soul is kind of important to them so I'll shoot them in all different ways it doesn't have to be into the heels in also if they've been worn a lot if you see a lot of scuff for sweat marks or stuff on the inside of the shoes I don't necessarily want to shoot into that because it's not a cz hygienic flattering pretty you know what I mean? Like really you want to present them in their best way and sometimes it's like posing a person things have their best angle. Well, exactly and it's just the matter of figuring out in that particular scenario that particular shoe what's going to work best? Absolutely same with the like I do have a question unless we have any more here kind of interesting from julie paul because you were talking about trying to do something special for you know each of the different clients do you have the challenge of shooting in a venue often that you've done over and over where then you're trying teo make it feel unique for that particular bride and groom our unique spots for the dress or what have you is that how do you go about shooting at the same location interesting there's there's sort of two answers to that it's sometimes you will be in a venue where hanging the dress in that spot is the best place for it and that's what the clients have come to expect like there is a place in long island called mojica castle and there is the bridal suite and as these billowing curtains towards like the ceiling is draped towards the dress always hangs in that one spot and I know the client's really want that I know that's important to them so I'll hang it up there and I'll shoot it but then we'll try to find somewhere else to put it and some venues you have very limited options with where to put it you know you can put it in a spot there is nothing wrong with going somewhere that you know is going to work and quality yes you do want to create inventive and unique things for each of your clients you also don't want to reinvent the wheel every single time you go out because they're going to expect the consistency that they've seen in your work. So for example this shoe shot that's up here that's also in mojica I've shot there a dozen times by now and no matter what time of day I'm there are the lightest falling indifferent places so I could have come to this spot thirty minutes later in the light wouldn't be there like that so yes, sometimes I try to find new and different and interesting places sometimes the best place is the best place for a reason and there's nothing wrong with that cool thank you so have several people asking about how you address white balance especially in scenarios where light and his bad it's low or what have you yeah for everything that you've seen me shoot so far it's all on auto white balance sometimes if I've got good window light sometimes if I'm outside all switch over to cloudy because on nikon it's a very warm quite balance but on the seven fifties I've gotta be honest the auto white balance is so incredibly good ah lot of times nowadays I find myself just defaulting toe auto unless I put a flash on my camera put a flashing my camera or if I'm working with off camera flash I switch over to flash fight balance it's just warmer but for the most part I'm don't mean to be here writing a love letter to my d seven fifty but so really great camera and the auto white balance is probably the best that I've seen from anything so you don't necessarily use a great card and the different rooms that you're in. No and I know a lot of photographers who do with great success but because the types of weddings that I shoot there very fast paced I don't have time to set a fight balance every single time because I'm shooting two cameras I don't it's I just don't I mean it's would it make postproduction maybe a little bit faster if everything were completely custom set sure but my post production team hasn't complained to me too hard yet so please guys don't make me start please don't do that is it better of course it is better is it feasibly realistic not always yeah all right great thank you any more questions yes please I guess this could be a survival tool you mentioned editing team is one of your thoughts going through your head sometimes in these situations this is the best I can do I know they can fix it in post I know that's not the best answer as a wedding photographer but is that ever come to mind I I we don't do fix it in post like I just can't you can fix it in post for hours and hours and hours like I could tweak these images for days on end I do if I'm entering it in a competition but as faras fix it in post if there were things on the shelves with the dress shot that we're distracting we're not going to remove them we're not going to go crazy burning and dodging my goal is to get it almost all the way there. And fix it in post while possible, is something that I try really hard to never have to dio. I want my editing team to keep liking me also, and to not quit on me and leave me in the middle of november. With the cuban if you d'oh my editing team actually they're called sidecar post jennifer cody and john are neo they were actually here they did an entire full day when I came here for the first time the fourth day was them and editing how to edit how to color balance how to become faster and they have a one day course actually hear it creative live which is freaking excellent I can't do what they d'oh not with the speed that they can so maybe I should clutch their course but I don't want to because I want to thank you doing it for me so that I have more time to live that's right yeah it's all about finding that balance of what you want to do and what you want to outsource right it's absolutely true and that is an incredibly hard thing and that's this winter I'm actually mentioned it really briefly jen jennifer cody from sidecar post and I are actually doing a retreat in savannah for two and a half days in january we only have two spots left it's limited to ten people but what we're basically going to do is sit down with people for two and a half days and we're gonna say listen you know all those things you say you want to do in january right like I'm gonna revamp my prices I'm gonna look at my budget I'm gonna figure out my marketing plan I'm gonna under totally this room totally do a five year plan and then january happens and you're so tired you just sleep that's what we're going to do it's kind of a business and marketing revamped reboot and one of the things we're going to talk about is what slows you down and how to either get faster at those things or figure out what you need to outsource because that is a hole you know you just think oh when I get busy all start outsourcing but there are so many more factors to consider when you're considering outsourcing than just am I busy so that's one of the things we're gonna do in the retreat so I'm really excited about that but the theory behind I mean I spend I think we spend multiple days in the thirty day class talking about outsourcing an album design and all of that and the first thing is how can you get it fast as you possibly can buy yourself like how can you maximize your work flow so the you are going at full speed and then how do you realize once you're still going at full speed your time might be better served somewhere else I realized that once I started outsourcing almost three years ago I got back three whole months what worth of work weeks of time well imagine what I could do in three months to make more money to diversify to do better things to do different things to take a nap to watch netflix like there's there's so much more I could be doing with my time and my time is better served elsewhere than doing the ross log of postproduction. So I mean, how could I say no to three whole months of my life? That's pretty great. I just gave those three months to jen and john and let them have those instead. But it's it's a very it really is a delicate balance of if I'm going to outsource who'd buy, outsourced to and how can I make my images so that I'm spending less time in post production, which is major getting it right in the camera. I mean, you're the images that you see coming out here, I didn't edit them. They're the images that came out of the camera. I want to get them as close as possible so that when they get them to edit it's just a matter of maybe tweaking some white balance, maybe tweaking a little exposure, popping on a vignette or two and calling it a day.

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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