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Lesson 1 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

1. Introduction


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


We have an awful lot to talk about and we're just gonna jump right into it I know a lot of people really hate it when instructor start off by talking about themselves right because I'm here to teach you and I'm here to help you make your wedding photography better but I really feel like to kind of give credibility to myself as an instructor and also let those of you who are who are new to this know that this doesn't happen overnight I've been doing this for about thirteen years now and I think it's really important to know where an instructor comes from oh because if you look at their work and you're like wow, you know I really love this work I could never do that or that seems like it took a lot of work I think it really helps to see you know where things came from had the progression of how the work changed over the years you know, for example things like this is the first wedding I ever shot don't make fun it's not funny it was film I really didn't know what I was doing but I shot m...

y very first wedding in two thousand won and the way that kind of went down I went to school for theater actually have a buffet in acting which I thought was totally useless but once I get up here and start teaching you guys, I realize very, very useful. All the improv, all of the acting lessons. So thank you, mom and dad for sending me to college, which has actually been incredibly helpful to me. And also the things that I never really thought I would use in my day to day life. It when going to school for theater, right? Like you learn howto place lights you if you look around this room, it is like a phenomenal kino flo factory in here. This is the sort of thing that I learned when I was in school. Like the tech side of things you learn howto hang the lights, you learn howto catch lights in people's eyes. You learn how to emphasize the scene and I thought, you know, that's it's a nice school tohave. But if I'm not going to go into technical theatre how's, that gonna help me? Well, it helps me. The second I pick up a strobe or the second I looked at the sun it all translates into what I'm doing right now. So I went to school. I graduated in two thousand. To do math was a long time ago, and immediately after graduating from school, I did what you know all of my friends were doing which was get married, I got married, I got married. Four months after I graduated from college, I was living in new york at the time and pretty shortly after that, we had our first daughter. We moved to tallahassee, florida, and I was a stay at home mom that's what I did and I didn't do anything else. I had a brief like flirtation with being a receptionist at the vet's office and that's pretty much that, but it always had a camera, right? Like I was always the friend that brought the camera round. I took a photography class in college, but it wasn't to learn photography. It was still like head on a guy that signed up for the photography don't laugh, you've all done it, too was to those like this guy's really cute and he's taking photography, and I like photography, so why not? So I spent an extremely misguided semester learning that I don't like working in the darkroom, and I always thought it was working under a kind of the delusion that if you're a wedding photographer, you have to run an old school studio, because when I was in high school the very last semester of high school, they letyou intern you could like, leave it lunch and go. Work somewhere and me being really intelligent eighteen year old was like that means I get to leave at lunch, but they did a good job of placing us in places that we thought would be interesting and I my first race was theater and in lawrenceville, georgia, there weren't a whole lot of options for that. My second choice was photography or anything arts based, so I actually worked in a studio for a semester I assisted a gentleman who and it was old school it was, you know, ducks at easter and santa claus at christmas, and while he did a really beautiful job that was kind of ingrained in me as toe that's what photography wass right? Like I thought you learned where the lights and you put the person and you click the button and that was basically it so I figured that wasn't for me, so I went to school for theatre, which prepared me to do absolutely nothing other than wait tables and stay at home with my daughter. So I did and as you do when you have a baby, you take a lot of pictures of you, her baby like an inordinate amount of pictures of your baby and as you do when you're staying at home and you don't have anything else to do, you always go to your husband's office and make him go to lunch with you so that's what I used to do I used to go over to my husband at the time I used to go to his office and we would go have lunch a lot and one of the days that I was there one of his co workers was like, oh, I'm getting married and I was congratulations and she's like you take a lot of pictures, right? It was like I really like taking pictures with my point and shoot camera at home this is like before my phone even could take a picture and she's like okay, well, you know well you shoot my wedding and I was like, yeah, I mean, that sounds fun does look fun, right? Okay, yeah, I'll totally do it I'll do it and it wasn't that I was like taking work away from another professional it was if she hadn't had me do it should have had some other friend do it she wasn't looking to hire anybody, so I went and immediately went home and I was like, I volunteered to shoot this person's wedding and then I was like, oh my god, I volunteered to shoot this person's wedding like I know she doesn't expect much from me she doesn't expect much more than like her friend with the camera, but like I just took on this big responsibility, right? Like I can't go out there and screw it up so me, being semi intelligent, decided that I needed to do a little research to know how much I was going to be capable of doing and at which point I needed to stop, right? Like, how can I take the best like, snapshot type pictures for her possible without trying to overreach? Technically, without trying to do more than my ability? You know, I went to that wedding with one camera, two lenses and one flash that was it, I don't have any backup, but these were things she knew, right? Like this wasn't a paying client that I was going out and kind of screwing up on. I knew enough that I needed to get my flash up off the camera needed to not rely on the pop up, and I then knew enough that I just needed to put it on the green box and try to compose because I didn't have enough time to learn the technical side of things, and I knew that all I could do is let the camera do what it was going to dio and I needed to just get clean in focus compositions for her, and this is kind of an example of what I was doing this is back in the day, right? And I did find like I did exactly how you would expect your friend with the pretty okay camera with a kind of good I to do the right and then a really incredible thing happened after that a friend of first contacted me and was like, I'm getting married to a u do my wedding and I was like, you know, like, this was literally this was like a favor for just like, I'm not a wedding photographer and she's like, well, can you do for me like what you did for her? And I was like, uh, yeah, it'll be like five hundred dollars, and she was like, okay, that's fine, and I was like, you guys thinking paid five hundred dollars for, like, one day of work, right? Like we don't know and there are ways to go to school for a photography, a wedding photography and told actually learn this, but most of us don't get into it that way, most of us find it from another way we kind of fall into it, and so I think, oh my god, this is going to be amazing, like, I'm going to get paid like five hundred dollars a wedding to shoot a wedding and this is gonna be sweet, so my very first year that I was in business, I actually went back what's been amazing about this thirty days is I went back from day one, I pulled my hard drives from two thousand two and I looked at every single wedding that I have shot from the beginning on, and this is something I think that we forget to dio, so if you've been in business for a while, even if it's a couple of years occasionally go back and revisit your early work, I learned that not only is it not as bad as I thought it wass, but a lot of the things that I'm doing now are really just improvements on what I was trying to do then, which you're going to see more of a more enough of today. But that very first year I shot two weddings, right? Like after shooting the wedding for the friend, and these were just weddings of people that knew the bride who asked me to do exactly what I did for her, then this really interesting thing happened. Where did bridal fair? Yeah, whoa, that was kind of a big living in tallahassee, florida, which high tallahassee I still miss you truly. I actually really dio it is probably one of the sweetest places I've ever lived and it's really wonderful in that it's, a big city for florida. It's a big city, but it feels like a small town, so any new business start up any new like venture in the area? People were legitimately curious about you and they, like want you to succeed it's the south we I want good things for our neighbors, not like new york, where they didn't want me at all, but that's that's neither here nor there, but I signed up to do a bridal fair, and I remember my very first bridal fair. I didn't know anything about going to a bridal fair. I've never seen one before. This was way back before my god, I'm so old, this is before facebook, this was before any of like the digital wedding for many of those groups were really going there were a couple of, like a little groups for wedding photographers, but it was and I can't believe I'm saying this it was back in the day, so I had absolutely no idea what people did when they went to a bridal fair. And now you can get on facebook and be like, what do you do it? A bridal fair and people will help you nuclear so I showed up and I am not joking had one eight by ten in a mat on an easel. And I had a couple of prints laid on the table I had some business cards and some handouts that was it and I show up and I got all my stuff my arms people are building these foam core doors they're like rigging up lighting and I looked around and said I have no idea what I'm doing like this was why did I do this? This is I'm unprofessional I didn't know I should have taken a year I should have come and looked around I should have asked around to see what people dio this is not going to go well at all and this is it is very fortuitous I was very, very lucky um people thought that I was like, this is end minimalist there like she doesn't care about the set like she doesn't care about all of that she cares about the work and I was like yes that's exactly I yes, I care about the work and I was charging twelve hundred dollars for a wedding it was eight hours by myself I didn't even have an assistant then and you got I think your files and I think you got a set of proofs our proof book that was back in proof book day is like the spiral balan everyone's nodding the spiral bound proof books that's what you got and I booked twenty wedding's off of that bridal fair and part of it was because I was new and it was still and again back in the day where there wasn't a brand new wedding photographer like, you know, spawning like gremlins, like twenty new ones every minute it was still kind of a new thing, and I was kind of in a small town and I was new something was a little different. The work that I displayed is all black and white, and it just struck it just struck it the right time. However, I did take those twenty weddings, and I did a pretty good job with, um and at this point in time, I was starting to educate myself. I went to my very first w p p I I believe in oh three oh turo three and that's an p p a was also still doing a lot of their super mondays. I joined the tallahassee professional photographers guild, which still to this day, your local little camera club that you don't think is going to be any help to you whatsoever helped me immeasurably, you know, I'm still indebted to them. So I joined the tallahassee guild. I went to the peopie a convention in florida. For the first time in, oh two, like late in oh two, I started going to w p p I and again, this was before you could get a lot of your education on the internet. This was before the forums, this was before anything like creative live, so I was getting out there and my my initial thought, when I first started my business was I really just want to be good enough to be able to do, like, twenty to twenty five of these a year to be at home with my kids and tohave a hobby like, I'm going to treat it like a business, but it's kind of a hobby business, because it's, you know, I was I was really young, like I was super young, I was like, twenty four you know it, and I didn't really think that I still didn't think that wedding photography was like a career, not really, but I really felt like even back in the day, back in, oh three, that if I was gonna be doing this for clients, that I needed to not be bad at it, that I needed to elevate myself from friend with a camera, two actual decent professional, I never thought that this was going to be what it has been for me, like, I never thought that that my career would do what it's done to my life. But as I started going to the dpp, I, as I started going to these educational opportunities as I started learning and you're very early days, every single thing that you learn is, like massive, right? Like every wedding that you shoot is, like, five hundred times what better than the wedding that you shot before? So I was learning in these, like massive leaps in these massive bounds and the technical stuff was just coming, like I was just really starting to, like, get it kind of, lock it down, get it, get it flowing. And then once that was happening, that my creative I was getting better and better. And so somewhere mid about two thousand and three, I really sat down and looked at what I was doing, and I said, you know what? I think that not only could this be and I was still thinking part time job, right? I still wasn't thinking major career. It was like, you know, I really think that this might be like what I want to do when I grow up, like I think this might be my thing, and the more I work at it, the more I practice at it and the more I learn. I'm actually getting good at this, I said you're going to give myself keep doing these educational opportunities, I'm gonna keep going to these things, I'm going to get out in the community a little bit more time to start learning a little bit more and then just things kept coming faster and faster and faster, so that years between that first wedding in no one and I guess about oh six were just massive learning years and then everything from, oh, six toe seven, I got kind of stuck and we're going to talk about the progression of your creativity or I felt like no matter what I did, I couldn't make my work look any better, like it was just kind of I mean, it was fine, it just was what it wass and then I had another creative surge, and to be honest, I'm kind of in that point right now where I feel like everything I do looks like everything else that I d'oh kind of little stuck. It's winter it's cold, I'll get over it when I start shooting again, but it's perfectly natural is you're going through your career to have periods of great growth followed by periods of seriously what am I doing here? And it's also the same way businesswise you have big booms and the u n big dead parts and I'm gonna talk about in the days that we talk about price and we talk about marketing when the government did that awesome thing where it shut down last october do you know any weddings I booked none and that's usually my biggest booking month so you know every year is not gonna be like the year before and you're not going to constantly be turning ahead so don't get down with yourself when you're looking at your creativity and it's not going where you want it to just keep going and you kind of break through the wall and get to the next place but it kept getting bigger like an oaf or I shot twenty five weddings and I was bringing my prices up in little bits and pieces at the very beginning I would raise it two hundred dollars and raise it five hundred dollars like every time I would book a couple of wedding is it would bump up a little bit more and then in two thousand five I opened a studio because again, following the natural progression of life you think I shoot weddings I work from home my wedding clients who are all local start having babies, they want me to shoot their babies I'm tired of doing everything on location I'm not really making money going on location all the time issue these babies, so I'm going to open a studio right it's just what you do so I did I opened a studio my first studio in oh five was a twelve hundred square foot rental I had employees that worked for me I had a receptionist I had someone who did my post processing and house in two thousand seven I bought a studio down the street which was one of the worst things I've ever done ever and we'll talk about that when we talk about terrible mistakes that I've made which is my personal favorite part of what we're going to talk about today we don't know all the stupid stuff that I've done over the past thirteen years which you will hopefully find way more amusing than I did at the time but ino seven I bought a studio I opened a studio it was massive it was like three thousand plus where feet I was miserable right? Like I was absolutely disgustingly miserable and these were the good years like this was before the economy went this was when someone would call you up and be like how much for a wedding and you would tell them and they'd be like cool can I just throw money at you and I'd be like yeah and portrait's were great people weren't really asking you for all the files yet so in studio sales were like booming I was making more money than I ever thought I would be making and I was so unhappy I was working all the time my business had turned into something that I didn't like, like it was just I was like, look at what I've done like I started doing this thinking that I didn't want to be a studio owner, and I didn't want to be doing studio portrait, and I didn't want it to be like this. And now it's exactly like this. I just came out and in a different way, I love the people that I worked with. I loved the people that work for me. I liked my portrait clients like it wasn't the people around me. It was the structure of the business that I had built. I was not happy with it. So, you know, in in all good susan fashion, I decided to blow that up in about two thousand eight. My husband and I split up. He got a job in new york. This is a short version of a long story, but he got a job in new york and it is a tremendous job for him and he is tremendously talented at it and he's very, very, very good at what he does he's in disaster management. Which humorously enough is not all that different from shooting weddings but that's what he does and he's he's very, very good at it, but he had an incredible opportunity. We've all wanted to move out of florida, but he got this job in new york, which meant we all move to new york, so we my ex husband, I actually live point three miles away we do all our holidays together, he is a fantastic person, his wife is a fantastic person, their dog is a fantastic dog like it's a good life, but it was a rough year, you know? Not only am I relocating my entire life, I'm moving further away from my family. I'm splitting up with my husband, I'm relocating my kids to a new town to a new school to a new way of life and it's all happening when the economy is in the toilet, so it was a good year was really awesome, but part of the reason why the move ended up being fantastic for me it was because I'd been very reliant on destination weddings and when I talk in the pricing and marketing days about destination weddings and I talk about them with a mixture of bitterness and depression it's because that's what I had been shooting for years, it wass waking up on a saturday morning and yet another hampton inn and saying my naples nothing miami's no, I'm in fort myers, which part of florida was I am that morning? You know, I was flying down to miami and as in any of you who live in tallahassee no, you can't go anywhere unless you're going to charlotte, atlanta or tampa by plane you have to connect so every weekend was a flight every weekend was a trip I was only able to do one wedding a weekend and so that I was maxing out at what I could do and when the economy kind of went south, destination weddings went south as well. People were no longer spending a ton of money, they were no longer it was it wasn't a point of pride anymore to bring her photographer in from another location which used to be a big thing. Oh, well, we brought our photographer in now it was like the millennial way of thinking of that that type of luxury is a ridiculous expenditure of money like why would you leave money out on that that's dumb but it used to be the thing to do so after relocating absolutely everything up to brooklyn, I started making decisions about what I wanted with my business, and the first thing I decided was that I wasn't gonna do portrait's anymore I took a look at the manhattan portrait market in the portrait market in brooklyn and I just had a sinking feeling in my stomach I was like I could do it I could get out there I could start doing it I don't want to do it don't make me do it please don't make me do it so you want a portrait? I don't want to commercial work I don't like doing commercial work it's not my thing I only wanted to do weddings I didn't want to get my headshots I didn't want to work with babies no offense to anyone do not like babies do not like children like again my assistant's children are watching love you guys I love my kids I love my friends kids I don't like working with kids and that doesn't make you bad photographer that means that I shouldn't be a children's wedding children's wedding photographer oh my god that's a whole new that's a whole creepy niche that I haven't even considered but it just wasn't my thing it wasn't what resonated with me it's like when you go to school for theater, you find your thing that you're good at and his portrait's just not it's just not me, it just isn't. So I said, I'm going to give myself a period of time to see if I can make enough money to survive in new york without doing portrait without doing commercial work and on lee shooting weddings so I had to sit down at to completely re invent my entire way of doing business because I was coming from a place where I'd run a studio and where I had employees and I tried for a really long time the woman who worked for me in tallahassee, I tried to keep her working for me when I was living in new york, sending the workout, I'm getting the work back, but they're just started to be a disconnect between the new clients I was booking, and it was it was just really hard, so letting her go was actually one of the absolute hardest things that I've done in my entire business because she was like family to me, I felt like I was breaking up with my wife like it was it was devastating on I'm still sorry for it, like, I still wish she could be working for me and with me, but life is life, so is going to reinvent myself, refocus the way my business was going and streamline everything and kind of blowing up my business and moving to a new place and having to do just from the very beginnings of re setting myself up legally in new york. Getting all of my licenses to work in new york it was like day one in tallahassee all over again just with a lot more knowledge not only of what I wanted to do but more importantly what I didn't want to do with my business so I was able to start over now I'm not suggesting that if you're looking to start over her get a creative bump that you break up with your spouse and move you know thousands of miles away and reinvent your entire business it was a little extreme but because of the circumstances about how life was going at that time it did give me the opportunity to do such a thing so that is kind of basically how that went down and I went ok in two thousand eight I had thirty two weddings and they were awful not because of my clients but because half of them were in florida over half of them were in florida and my clients were not in any way expected to pick up my travel expenses I'd moved that's not there it's not their fault that's not their problem so I was on my dime having to fly back to florida for all of these weddings fly myself back put myself up rent a car which just ate literally the entire profit of everything that I made in two thousand eight on dh then two thousand nine rolled around had thirty weddings which you know kind of coming down a little bit but I'm trying establishing myself in my new market we're going to talk a great deal about pricing not now I want to talk inordinately about marketing in these thirty days not now but everything that I was doing once I moved up there with starting the book local weddings but unknown I am I still out of those thirty about twelve of them were still in florida so again and flying on my own dime back down to florida shoot these weddings and then a really great saying happened which is after one hard season of working my butt off in the new york and philadelphia area, people started noticing me the clients that I was starting to book locally were starting to tell their friends and something extraordinary happened between two thousand nine and two thousand ten forty seven weddings I still remember the first time I started booking weddings in september my boyfriend at the time who is now my husband I was like I booked a september wedding and he's like yeah like I'm totally booked for september right now and I was like but it's september and he's like yeah it's our biggest wedding month of the year and I was like, oh, I was in florida nobody got married in september so I thought I was doing something good yes book weekends, not your yes that's the other thing that happened that year was the great thing about living in new york philly d c the area that I'm in fridays are a thing sundays are like a big thing in jewish weddings that we have a lot of them, not on saturdays, so I'm starting to fridays and saturdays of storing to do saturdays and sundays. I experienced my first friday saturday sunday, doing a triple and that's sort of that's what helped get the numbers up a little bit more because in florida fridays nobody really got married on a friday. Nobody really got married on a sunday, and because I was traveling so much, it really negated my ability to book a friday or a sunday, so they booked forty two weddings in eleven and again, this is also partly due to my pricing efforts, my marketing efforts getting out there getting to know my new area, local clients referring to you know, the obvious things that happen is your business gets rolling, but also the fridays and sundays being major, I'm forty two, then fifty then last year, which was very misguided fifty four weddings we're not doing that this year like my assistant night looked at each other, we were shooting our last wedding of the year we were in natchez, mississippi, she looked me in the eyes and we said we're not gonna do this like this next year it was too many you really do in what we do you reach a point where no matter how much you outsourcing no matter how much help you have, you just can't do that much my husband does this many weddings a year he is a machine and he's phenomenal at it like he just goes out there and he is fresh every single saturday and every single sunday and he is on it and I burn out after a while like I just can't run like that maybe I'm not conditioned enough yet, but I've realized that my threshold is would be fifty five and if I were to do fifty five this year there would reach a point in time in which I would burn out and I just wouldn't be able to and I don't I very much remember how I felt when I was very depressed in florida and I'm not talking about a clinical depression and depressed in business um and I don't want to feel that again so I'm being very careful with everything that I do so that I don't get to the point where like I'm in the corner chewing my hair right on and I can't be burnout now it's only february however my entire winter break has been spent doing this so I hope you like it because I gave up my winter for you so I hope it helps you out but I've got some trips looking you know coming up I get to go the bahamas with my kids we finally get to go on a honeymoon eleven months after being married so you know it's it's not if it's all work and no play if you're not taking joy out of this if you're not taking time for yourself again you're gonna be in the corner showing your hair and crying so moving onwards where do I live? I get asked this a lot because they do work a lot in philadelphia I work a lot in new york I talk about living in new york yet anyone who knows my husband knows that he lives near philadelphia I live in both places we each have children who going to go to school in these separate locations we each have our previous spouses is in those locations so we each we have a home in brooklyn, we have a home outside of philadelphia and we go back and forth and before you make a sad face at me ah how sad it's not that bad we make it work we're both able to tap into each market I'm able to refer new york weddings to him he has been instrumental and helping me with philadelphia weddings we do not work together we don't run a business together we will never ever run a business together ever because we were wedding photographers before we were married, we had our own separate businesses. We are ultra competitive type a personalities we should never for the sake of our marriage and everyone around us, we should never work together. So we've shot a couple of weddings together here and there it's been fun, but I we have no desire to work together at all, but I love him. So before we move on and we talk about style and we talk about evolving your style throughout the years to have any just logistical questions for me, any anything, you're also like someone take that is good, we're good. So far, smiley faces how's the internet feeling so far, you know we're good ready for question from nisha forty seven wedding yeah, exclamation point, right? I can barely handle twenty a year. How do you manage editing that many and not fallen so far behind? I can't let go and let someone else edit for me because their style is so different you can absolutely let go and we're going to talk about that. We have two days dedicated tow workflow. We have one day dedicated to managing your business in your life, and then we have one day fully dedicated to running your studio. That will help her with all of her problems. The most important thing is you absolutely can let go, which is terrifying, it's like the first day you dropped your children off to day care, right? I mean, for the first time, you let a baby sitter watch your kids it's really scary, but if you're handing your work off to somebody who has a different editing style than you were shooting style, you're giving your work the wrong person, the people that I outsource my postproduction, too, and I do outsource my raw production of my wedding images it's, a company called sidecar post, and we spent an inordinate amount of time them learning my style, them learning what I wanted my final images toe look like and then a back and forth process as we edited them, you know, we had several weddings to get comfortable with each other, so if you're just blindly handing your stuff off to somebody and you're getting it back and it doesn't look like what you want, you're either with the wrong people or you just haven't communicated enough of what you needed. My tipping point is about twenty five weddings a year that's how many I can do myself at it myself and still have a life. But again, you're gonna hear this and I'm not trying to not answer your questions I'm not trying to push him off and say that you have to watch all thirty days, but guys, there are thirty days and there are like whole sections dedicated to how do you know when to outsource? How do you find someone to outsource to? How do you financially decide now? I can afford to start outsourcing, so take those exclamation points and just stick around for a few more days and we'll help her kind of get out from under her workload if it's burying her for sure. Yes, ma'am, great john calling and how maybe you can outsource that good about whether you outsource your calling or whether you do it yourself because that's a sticking point like they kind of get, I feel like I find an image of someone might pass over because I see something different in that image and how I would edit it and I'm afraid to let that part go but it's so consuming? Yes, so we'll talk. I call myself like we'll talk about in the workflow day you'll see exactly how I'd come home from a wedding exactly what I do, I'm gonna do the cooling process for us to talk about what I'm looking for, I think paula wedding of forty, five hundred images in an hour done I've also been doing this for a long time, and there is a there is a point in which you divorce your personal feeling from the work that you're doing in front of yourself, that if you are your business, you will take everything personally. Every image you shoot is your baby, and I'll just sit down and off we go, but you can't outsource your calling, but if you do, you have to be very careful who you outsource it to and that they know what you're looking for. My husband has someone in house who calls for him who's been working with him for, like, fifteen years and various capacities, so he trusts and every once in a while he'll go on, we'll chuck her work and she doesn't miss a thing, but I like the cooling process, not only because I can do it fast, it doesn't make any sense financially for me to outsource it, because I can do it myself, but also it helps me keep in check like my own work. I like, I need to look at the stuff that I'm doing that's not so good if someone's just calling it for you, and they're just giving you back the good stuff you're gonna think that everything you shoot, his gold, everything she does, not gold, like not gold, so we need to see things like, um I starting to make mistakes am I getting sloppy with composition? And my my personal problem is apparently I am wired to tilt my family formals at like a five percent tilled I don't know why it is not possible not to do it, but I need to see if I'm screwing things up if, like I got in when I got my d for the screen was calibrated dark, so I looked at the whole wedding and I was like home a con the whole thing is like half a stop under e I need to see my own work like that, like I need to be in there and doing it and says a quick, quick follow upon your when you you farm out your editing? Yes, yeah, it sure would be great if we could see how that relationship works and wouldn't it would be great to be phenomenal say perhaps someone from sidecar post actually showed up way have some fantastic guest stars. We actually have two guest stars in these thirty days workflow day one and day two will feature jennifer cody from sidecar post showing exactly how they do what they do we're going to talk together about how our relationship developed, how, as I mentioned, you find someone to post process for you, how you work that relationship. And then it would be really disingenuous for me to sit here and talk to you about how I edit fifty weddings a year, because I don't, because I pay someone a decent amount of money to do a beautiful job for me, wouldn't you rather, like, learn from the master? Because if I was teaching it, she would just be in a microphone in my ear telling you today, anyhow and also on the album designed day, I'm going to talk to you about how I get my clients. Image is how I go through all of that. But then andrew funderburg, who actually designed album builder, the program that I used to design my albums, is going to come teach you how to use it. So who better to learn from than the man who developed the program himself and he's, a great guy all are going to love him, so you get to meet fundy that's good times right there.

Class Materials

bonus material

Quicksheet Inside Guide (one large PDF file)
Quicksheet Inside Guide (zip file of individual PDF pages)
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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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