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Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down

Lesson 27 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down

Lesson 27 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

27. Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down


Class Trailer

Day 1




Evolution of Susan's Style


Branding and Identity


Mistakes Made and Lessons Learned


Day 2


Introduction to Gear & Equipment


Lenses Part 1


Lenses Part 2




Day 3


Seeing the Scene


Seeing the Scene Q&A


Rhythm and Repetition


Leading Lines and Rule of Thirds


Rule of Odds and Double Exposures


Day 4


Intro to Business


Day 5


Financing Your Business


Day 6


Q&A Days 1-4


Day 7


Pricing Calculator


Day 8


Package Pricing


Day 9




Day 10


Vendor Relationships & Referrals


Day 11


Marketing w Social Media


Day 12


Booking the Client


Day 13


The Pricing Conversation


Day 14


Turn A Call Into a Meeting


Day 15


In Person Meeting


Day 16


Wedding Planning


Day 17


Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down


Day 18


Engagement Session Details


Day 19


Engagement Session On Location


Day 20


Wedding Details & Tips


Day 21


Detail Photos Reviewed


Day 22


Bridal Preparation


Day 23


Bridal Preparation Photo Review


Day 24


Bridal Prep - What If Scenarios


Day 25


Q&A Days 5-11


Day 26


First Look Demo


Day 27


First Look Examples


Day 28


Portraits of the Bride


Day 29


Portraits of the Bride and Groom


Family Portraits Demo


Family Formal Examples


Wedding Ceremony Demo


Day 30


Wedding Ceremony Examples


Different Traditions and Faiths


Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Demo


Wedding Cocktail Hour and Reception Room Examples


Wedding Introductions


First Dance


Wedding Toasts


Parent Dances


Wedding Party


Reception Events


Nighttime Portraits


Nighttime Portraits with Found Light


Post Wedding Session Demo


Post Wedding Session Critique


Wedding Day Difficulties


Post Workflow - Backing Up Folder Structure


Post Workflow - Culling Shots


Post Workflow - Outsourcing


Q&A Days 12-23


Post Workflow - Gear


Post Workflow - Lightroom Editing


Managing Your Studio


Post Wedding Marketing


Client Care


Pricing for Add-Ons


The Album Process


Balancing Your Business with Life


Post Wedding Problems


Parent Complaints


Unhappy Customers


Working with an Assistant


Assistant Q&A


Lighting with an Assistant


Q&A Days 24-30


Lesson Info

Actual Client Pre Wedding Sit Down

So to recap in to talk a little bit more, you need to be honest with your clients about the timing of the day, you need to let them know if the timeline that they're looking at is going to be something that will work or something that will not work, you need to manage their expectations, you need to know what they're expecting from you, and you need to tell them whether you can or cannot do the things that they want you to do. You need to know whether you're going to work with an event planner or not. I have worked with event planners that are absolutely extraordinary and did nothing but make the day easier, smoother, happier, awesome. Er for everybody involved, I've also worked with event planners that did the absolute opposite, so it's helpful to know if you're going to be dealing with a planner on the day of and you definitely need to contact them before the wedding day so that you could make sure that you're all on the same page together. You need to also know that you're not there...

, planner, that while you will help them all day long with their timeline when the day does roll around, it is not your job to make sure that the day runs on time. I will help you plan your timeline. I will help you put it together and I will help you figure out exactly what goes in what time slot and how long we need for all of these things. But on the day of the wedding, it's not my job to tell you that it's time to get dressed and it's not my job to tell you that it's time for family formals if that's something that you're concerned about, I tried to tell clients if you're concerned about your day running on time, if you're concerned about it running smoothly, even if you don't have an event planner for the entire time. It's very useful to hire a day of coordinator who just has your timeline and helps make it happen because every second that I'm spending corralling you are telling you that it's time to do things. I'm your plan or not your photographer and that's taking me away from moments that I could be documenting for you. The other thing is, I'm not your mother it's, not my job to clean up after you or tell you how to behave or tell you how to be there's a very fine line between photographer and planner, and you have to designate that early on. With your client and let them know. Listen, I'm going to tell you you need to get dressed it two o'clock and I'm going to tell you at two o'clock to get dressed, but if you don't do it, it can't be my responsibility to make you do it. It just isn't so being very clear and very upfront with that expectation from the very beginning is very, very, very helpful. Another thing that you should do in the pre wedding planning stage of things with your clients is to make a backup brain plan if they want to go outside on the wedding day, if they want to do their portrait outside on the wedding day, you need to make a plan as to what's going to happen. If that doesn't happen, you will see when we cover the wedding that we're covering for the entire wedding day portion of this thirty days that it rained on the wedding day you're going to see in the video that you're about to watch, you know exactly how we plan to get around the bad weather that might be looming on their wedding day. So if you're looking at a day where there might be rain, or even if you're forecasted for a beautiful, perfect, sunny, lovely day, you still need a rain plan. Maybe to rank plans you need to know what's going to happen if you plan on doing all of their family formals in the park and it doesn't really happen that way because it rains what are you going to do instead you don't want to wake up on the morning of the wedding and say, oh my gosh, it's raining I have no idea what to do you need to know what to do beforehand and a lot of clients will be unwilling to make a rain plan, which is a very strange thing but they feel like if they make a rain plan their sort of inviting it toe happen but I tell them that it's just an insurance policy it's just a backup will have it if we need it, hopefully we won't and then you just go from there with it the last thing in the world that you need on somebody's wedding day is a surprise that you didn't see coming because you didn't plan correctly enough because you didn't allocate enough time for things because you didn't manage their expectations of the wedding day because you didn't talk to their planner beforehand. A surprise in the middle of game day is not the surprise that you want tohave now we're about to show a video for you that will introduce you to two of the kind of people that I have ever met blair and jeremy he very kindly allowed us to bring a videographer along with us to their engagement session, their wedding planning meeting, their entire wedding day and their post wedding session. They are very graciously allowing us to use their images to share with you what their day was like to take you through their entire workflow, post wedding, an album process, and we're about to meet them for the very first time, and we sat down to talk about the timeline planning of the day. Ah lot of times I have to do the planning phase of things by e mail or by phone, but blair and jeremy were very gracious to invite us into a meeting where we got to do this in person. So say hi to them for me, enjoy, and I'll see you on the other side. Okay, so basically reading through all of your responses here you're getting ready at monaco and you're getting there friday morning, there's thursday night. Okay, uh, yeah figured we'll do the whole sleep separately for the wedding, kind of a traditional. So we did, um, so when you get there it thursday or friday or at some point in time, you've got my cell number, just text me your room number, it saves me having to call up to your room. On the morning of and you just let me know where you're gonna be where are you gonna be in monaco also are you getting ready at home? No my brother's house so we won't see you until you come over okay I'm getting ahead of myself let's talk to this angry so I'm going to start with you at noon at the monaco have you talked to hair and makeup? Do you know what time they're starting with yet? They told me they'd figure out basically when we're done with all of this all right at the time line and I'll send it to you okay? And then I'm gonna lie a little bit like if if we're going to see if you all are going to see each other for the first time at what do we talk about two fifteen and that would mean that we we need to get you dressed earlier than that. Obviously we're going to tell here and make up that you need to be ready even earlier than that so that when things inevitably I mean even though you've only got for people to do here five people something like that it always runs a little over I wanted much time as I can get with you guys, so I'll make a note here that we just need to find out um hair and makeup wise where you fit into the schedule we want to make sure also that they don't leave you for last yeah, and the cool thing is they can keep doing the girls after I leave because that's the thing exactly while it might seem excessive toe have both a questionnaire and a meeting or phone call, the result of discussing the hair and makeup and making sure there was time for everything meant that I had ample time on the wedding day to photograph the details and all of the getting ready without missing a thing or rushing my clients at all. I want you to be totally dressed by two so that we have a little extra time just in case, so let's say we want to start getting undressed at like one forty, which will give you enough time to get into the dress, make any other adjustments that you want to do jewelry the whole nine yards um, I'll see you see you really rushed you don't want it like one fifty five you'd have, like, fling it on and jump in an elevator. Um, so if you're going to start getting dressed, um on cannot write and speak at the same time, so if you want to get dressed it like one forty, tell them that you need to be done by like one, fifteen, one, twenty that way they have a little extra time in case they want to tweak anything or do anything yeah, I mean, the goal here really is to have enough time where you just kind of feel like the whole day is really left early. The goal here is to make sure that blair has plenty of time to get ready and even if hair and make a brun late we've patted the schedule so that nothing actually hampers us from getting to the first look on time um I'm meeting you at monaco you're gonna text me your room number before we even talk about portrait time your ceremony still at six, okay and everything's there so your ceremony is long short very short you say it's your cocktail hour starts in six twenty so like fifteen, twenty get married d do you ideo that's good let's go wave like a reading them I was marrying you um a friend of his dad's old buddy from high school, right? That's cool. Yeah, listen ordained minister not yeah funny guy. Knowing that the minister was a family friend meant that when the ceremony came around I knew to focus on him and make sure that he was included in the photographs the fastest ceremony I've ever seen with six minutes really there was like a two second intro they read their vows to each other they exchanged rings they kissed, they work out I mean, literally it was really final six minutes you could be six minutes. I'd be pretty way have we're only doing like twenty percent seating for guests so like our guests will be standing well that's nice because there's a small it alright courtyard kind of deal I'm just writing what you're telling me as we go along so I will not forget everything so we figured we can't let them stand way want to get hurry up and enjoy the reception too so then you're doing an hour and ten minutes for cocktail hour, so basically, whenever you're done until seven thirty yep it's cocktail out where you doing? Cocktail hour it's so there's the court area and then it's right inside. Ok, it's the cocktail hour it's like downstairs of the building's almost like their basement. Well, it's street level one toe yeah, it's got a weird split level perfect thing going on so they've got you at seven. Thirty they're going to start pulling your guests in and then they're going to start introducing you guys at like, seven forty are they introducing your whole bridal party? Yeah, just some silly songs as they d'oh so then okay, so that that gives me an idea of what's going on timeline one for the evening so it's six to six, twenty ish ceremony cocktail hour is seven thirty so what time are you completely done like what time do they shut you down? Eleventh party wise okay knowing the specific timing for the ceremony and the cocktail hour will allow me to budget my time at that point in the evening to make sure that I can accurately cover the reception space and my assistant can cover cocktail hour so then sort of stepping back a little bit you have four bridesmaids and your maid of honor is your sister okay and you have three on the best and your brother that's easy to remember. Yeah all right, so you have one sibling your sister and that's her maid of honor okay, well that was that was an easy little conversation so you've got on your side you've got a grandfather and grandparents so your dad's mom my dad's dad your dad's dad and then your mom's parent yet? Okay, my dad's dad probably won't be there that long. He's sure ninety four, ninety five years old wow, he should've for engagement party for a whole five minutes e said okay, can I have some food teo box of the cake and go home now that's why we're having the limo stay there throughout the night in case he needs to go now he's ready to get out so you have parents and a brother and a grandmother and the grandmother is thatyou're oh mother's mom okay and you have an uncle which is your mother's brother mom's mother wave lots of other family but he's his nan and his uncle are pretty much like in our day to day lives perfect it's important to find out who their family members are so that I can make sure that they're documented during the getting ready process and so that it makes the family formal process ah quicker and more expedited experience so you said you're it ninety four ninety four gathered including us okay, so is it your you bander d j d j c easy, easy all easy and you don't have a videographer so you know still just talking through the timeline so before we talk about that like timing for family pictures the only other family picture that you wanted on here are besides like the basics because you wanted to dio you guys, your parents and your siblings all in one big one that's easy that is a very common required knowing in advance that this photograph was important to them meant that we put it on our family formal list and expedited it quickly along with the rest of the groups easy sounds good. Okay hope it's easy help it's fun we've built in so much padding in the timeline that even if any thing runs like pretty seriously behind, we still have time like I I really don't need four to five fifteen to shoot bridal party and family but I give it that much time in case we've been case we're late in case there's an accident we have to go around it you know we could pay some like just us they're too exactly and also true absolutely so if we get done with bridal party we get done with family and we have some extra time I'm going to use it to take you guys out on the street you cool and force you to get more photograph like it you can steal whatever you want at night to yeah I was thinking if there's something really cool like there's a cool street shot at night something that we could do kind of dark and find pull you out for ten minutes and do some other stuff and then sent you back to your party sounds good having this discussion about nighttime portrait's before the day of the wedding means that there are no surprises when I contact them during the reception and ask if they're willing to step outside for a few more pictures I think we're good but if anything changes in the next week or comes up or just any questions like any of your other vendors have deejay or your hair and makeup people of anything just call me okay we'll be sitting around waiting issue but basically yeah so now that you have come to a meeting with me and seeing the type of questions that I asked seem, the type of answer is that I get got to know blair and jeremy just a little bit you're gonna see seeing their faces an awful lot for the next, however many days you're going to be with us here, but the most important thing that I can talk to about when we look back at that meeting is what we accomplished during the meeting. Now, what did we do in that time that we were sitting with blair and jeremy and talking about their day? Well, first of all, most importantly, we set expectations, we talked about what the day was going to be like I told them what I was going to be doing for them. We talked about how things were going to flow together, and again, we've taught from the very beginning about managing their expectations. I've re cemented the expectations that they have of me and that I have of them, which is very, very, very helpful. We padded the timing of the day, we didn't just set a time line, we set a time line with buffers in them if something ran too late, I've put extra time in every portion of the day that I am capable of putting extra time so that we don't kind of have that timeline snowball effect. Were things start to go badly and then a very rapidly go super super badly, because when you start to run far behind and you run further and further and further and further behind, we've patted the timing, so even if that happens a little bit, it will be the epic disaster that it could be if you weren't careful with how you timed out the day. The other thing that we did is we discussed locations we talked about where things were going toe happen, how things were going to go down and what our options are are in terms of where, exactly, we're going to go for things, and again, this may be something that you've talked about before this may just be reiterating everything that you've talked about in your e mails and your phone calls and your plans and your questionnaire. But again, you cannot kind of over plan things, and you have to remember also that your clients have a million things going on at one time they're talking with a bunch of different vendors, they're interfacing in a bunch of different ways, and you just sometimes need to re repeat things for them to sink in really well with them, so we definitely did that here I learned about their families, I learned important things like they know the gentleman that's marrying them. You know, that's, an important thing to know, knowing that their officiant to someone that's important to them, I learned about that I've learned about their parents, I've learned about their siblings. I know what I'm going to expect on the wedding day when it comes to the people that I'm going to be working with, and the one thing that we did not do is we did not talk about the weather. This was still a little bit early on in the planning phase of things when we were still all sunny and excited and thinking that everything was going to be great. This was quite enough time before the wedding that win the wedding rolled around. When we got to the wedding week itself, we realized that it was very likely going to rain. We had several follow up phone calls and e mails where we talked about what our rain plan was going to be. So in terms of how I usually talk things through with my clients in terms of how we usually do the rain plan, that was the only thing that we didn't accomplish in this meeting, but we did accomplish it in multiple other phone calls and interactions before the wedding day, so we've done quite a bit so far, thank you so much for being with us up till now, we're about to start. Actually shooting. And you're about to see. These two find people that you just met in this meeting, get married, have their engagement pictures. We see all of the details that I'm going to shoot. On the day of the wedding. You're going to come to their reception with us, and then you're going to edit some images with us. In the meantime, we're going to talk about running your studio, maximizing your efficiency and continuing to make your already happy clients even happier. I thank you so so, so much for being here with us so far, and I'll see you tomorrow.

Class Materials

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Ratings and Reviews

Misty Angel

oh Susan, you are AWESOME!! I am not a wedding photographer (despite dipping my toe in this intimidating pool for one of my dearest friends), I shoot all forms of portraits and love sports too! Your '30-Days' has been the single most influential and educational moments since I started my venture into photography in 2009! THANK YOU! Your honesty, directness, bluntness, humor and vulnerability makes these 30-Days the most worthwhile time spent away from actual shooting; while simultaneously is the most inspirational motivator to push you out there to practice these ideas/techniques! #SShostestwiththemostest You raise the bar in this industry, not just with wedding photographers, but with all genres of photography! I wanted this course to learn about shooting and thought, great... I'll get a little bit of the business side too... OMG! I got it ALL! I'm dying! What an awesome investment in myself, my business and in YOU! PLEASE keep doing what you are doing! I love your new Dynamic Range, I feel that it is a wonderful extension of the work you do with Creative Live! I watch you EVERY DAY, every morning... I know that I continue absorbing your wisdom through repetition! I don't want to be you, I want to rise to your level! So thank you for the inspiration, motivation and aspiration! Keep on being REAL, its what we love about you! We embrace your Chanel meets Alexander McQueen-ness! :) Thank you for stepping into this educational space and providing us with your lessons learned so we can avoid the negative-time investment making mistakes... we are drinking your virtual lemonade!! HA! Like the others, whatever wisdom you offer in this medium, I will be jumping at the opportunity to learn from you! THANK YOU!


All the positive reviews say it all. When Susan took on the challenge of teaching this course it must of looked like attempting to climb Mount Everest...and she accomplished just that. Susan is a detailed, well-organized photographer and this clearly comes out in her teaching. Using repetition, clear instructions, a logical and well laid out presentation, she answers most any question you might have when it comes to wedding photography. I felt like I was having a private consultation when watching the course. She is real, honest, tactful, funny, and a gift to the photography community. Finally, her photography is professional and inspiring. Thank you Susan for the tremendous amount of work that you put into making this an outstanding Creative Live course for us all.


Wow. What a super, comprehensive, entertaining, informative course. Well done. I've taking a lot of photography classes and this one is definitely top of the list. Susan Stripling was very well prepared (and great job by the CreativeLive Team too). Terrific course. Susan shared so much. Thank you! P.S. Love the CL boot camp courses.

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