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Introduction to Gear & Equipment

Lesson 5 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

Introduction to Gear & Equipment

Lesson 5 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

5. Introduction to Gear & Equipment

Next Lesson: Lenses Part 1


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

Introduction to Gear & Equipment

So what I want to talk to you about before we even get into what's in my bag like I could come out here and I could roll out my bag and I could, you know, sit in front of you and take everything out. This is an eighty five, this is a one o five, but I don't want to insult your intelligence. You know what a bag looks like? You know what a camera looks like? And I really hope you know what elin's looks like if you don't, we have a figure problems than this, but before we talk about the specific gear in my bag, I wanted to take a second just reiterate what I talked to yesterday about the finances of gear that when I very first got started for those of you who were with us yesterday, you will know that I took out a loan to finance my gear. I took out a fifteen thousand dollar loan and gave myself six months. If I wasn't earning enough money in those six months to pay back that three hundred eighty seven dollars a month towards that loan, I knew that the gear wouldn't have depreciated so mu...

ch that I couldn't sell it. You sell my gear, pay back the loan as much as possible and then just deal with the rest on my own. Luckily, things did end up going pretty well so I was okay but I really just want to strongly advise you against two things just buying a bunch of gear because you think that you need a bunch of gear and then buying the latest and greatest because it is the latest and greatest um the gear in my bag him to talk you through all of the cameras that I have with me you'll notice I still shoot a d three and I still have a d three s and I only have one defore for those of you who weren't here yesterday I am a nikon shooter on very proud to be but I don't upgrade unless I have to or unless something new comes out that I can tell is going to make me more money so when the dea for came out like it's a phenomenal camera right like we can all agree that it's pretty fantastic I sat down and I looked and I said okay, now it improves in all of these areas better I hope better I s o performance amazing file size like it's it's faster it's it's all of the great things that a new camera is but is it going to make me enough money to justify the price tag on that camera? No, I mean it wasn't there was nothing that it could do for me that would take my work up to another level so I wait I waited until at the time I was shooting too di three's in eighty three s I waited until one of those d thirty started to cat like gas like it's kind of in the death throes and listen, these cameras will last forever but I really believe it's like driving a car you don't want to drive it until it dies on the side of the road with you in it you know you want to like like I said yesterday let it go to the farm and play with the other cameras after a certain while so when one of my di three's was getting old it was still holding a decent resale value. I was able to sell it, take some of that money, put it towards a d for and that's why I bought it before for a very long time my eighty five millimeter was the old one four and by old I mean like five years old but it was the older one for they came out with the newer one four faster, sharper nano coated glass did I need it? I didn't, but then my eighty five one four started to get a little older and it started to get some dings and I dropped it a couple of times and then I just thought, you know, I really feel like now is the time toe upgrade that glass so if you're at home and you're thinking I've gotta have the newest and I've gotta have the latest I've gotta have the greatest cause that's what's going to make me a great photographer that's not what's gonna make you a great photographer like you look at people's instagram accounts shooting pictures on lee on their iphones you're light in your composition makes your great photographer your gear is just a tool now do you need obviously tools that can help you make the images that you want of course ugo but thinking that buying you know a ten, one hundred thousand dollars case of gear is going to make you a professional photographer that's just gonna mean you own one hundred thousand dollars worth of gear whether you can or can't use it that remains to be seen so that said before we really start talking about what's in the bag I want to talk about the bag itself and if you follow me on instagram or you follow me on twitter you'll know about the day that I cleaned the bag out for the year and found a cristante that had been in there for ten months do not laugh you have done it to cleaning out the bag we found about thirty two timelines a bunch of crushed protein bars and a cristante that had died a slow, painful death at the bottom of the bag so the lesson to that is take care of your gear, not just take care of your bag, not just clean it out every once in a while but make sure that you're staying on top of your gear every single year that in this time of year when normally I would be vacationing and, you know, enjoying my leisure winter months but I'm spending it with you guys that's when I'm sending my gear in to be cleaned that's when I'm making sure that everything is kind of repaired and rested from the year before so it's again analogy like your car, you would not just buy a car and then never take it in for service that wouldn't be very smart you need to stay on top of your gear so before every single wedding I do have a very meticulous and I know my assistant is at home watching this and laughing at me because of the amount of times I've screwed up with my bag, but I really do have a system for how I packed the bag actually unpack everything out of the bag and then put it all back in the bag. I just don't sometimes remember to put it all back in that is neither here nor there, but I take everything out I do have a micro fiber cloth and a little in a little in spray I spray every single lens I clean it all down I try very hard to make sure that I have front caps and back caps. There is like the same goblin that lives in your dryer that steals all your socks, steals all my front caps and back caps. I mean, does this happen to you two? Where do they even go? Like the end of the night? We like being the lenses back in and we're like where's the lens cap for the seventy two, two hundred and she's like I have no idea, like just gone somewhere, but I don't take it out. I clean all of the lenses, I clean the sensors on my cameras. I do clean them myself. I'm not scared to touch them. I just use a very simple sensor swab the one that looks like a q tip and it has the little yeah, the little fold over kleenex type looking thing on the end, they use a little sense or cleaner and just tiptoe. Call it a day so that when I start every single wedding, everything is nice and bright and clean and fresh and ready to go. I also the way I handle my cards it's going to create a gasp on the internet because everyone seems to be polarized, whether you shoot small cards just in case something happens to one of your cards or whether you shoot everything on one big card and I'm in the chute everything on one big card camp because generally when you look on the internet and you look problems that photographers have had when they've lost images it's because they physically lost a card nine times out of ten oh my gosh I was at the reception my card ran out I took it out and put a new one in I deviated for my system I put in my pocket now I can't find it like that's my worst nightmare is losing clients images no matter how careful I am so each of the cameras that I shoud have two cards lots and the way I handle it is thus the d three s in the backup slot gets a sixteen gig compact flash card it's a smaller file size the defore gets a thirty two gig in the backup car ds lott and the backup card slot on both cameras gets fine j pegs I'm not double shooting my ross so that way I know that I can have an entire wedding sometimes two weddings on that backup cards lot now on the primary card slot in the d three s that gets a thirty two gig and in the d for its gets a sixty four gig and that basically means I can shoot an entire wedding on both cameras without having to change card at all I'm confident with that because I do have backup cards lots in the cameras so I know that I'm I'm okay I'm just gonna knock on literally like every wood particle in here I feel like I'm inviting disaster but I haven't had a problem in yet with that system I don't have to worry about backup card I don't have to worry about keeping a card wallet on me I go I shoot the wedding I come home we'll talk about this in workflow but when I come home I take the cards out of the primary slots the one with the raw files on them and I leave the ones with the backup j pegs on it in my camera and I don't reform out that until the next time I shoot again and if I have two weddings in a weekend I have enough cards that all I do is pull both of them out set them away even though they're downloaded backed up ready to go before I even shoot the next gig and I start the next day on fresh cards because I don't want to reform out of card until I've actually cold the entire wedding looked through the whole thing made sure I have all of my images I'm just nervous like that I remember my very first one good card I had a one gig micro drive did anybody have a micro drive? I am ancient nevermind thank you for backing me up there it costs something like three hundred dollars for a one gig micro drive and you couldn't drop it on the grounds if you dropped it on the ground you'd break it like dropping a hard drive but nowadays the memory for your cameras is so cheap that I just would rather have a bunch of extra cards and even just leave the literal car that I just shot on as back up until I shoot the next event so that's how I started the day we don't put the cameras together like in the car before we get there anything my assistant and I always get to a wedding a little bit early we almost always have something to eat before the wedding not only is it a nice way to ease your way into the day but it's also a nice time for us to talk through the timeline again to just sort of get everything ready we've been put the cameras together and before every wedding I gave her a camera I take a camera we put the lens on that we start the day with, which is usually the twenty four to seventy on the day three s and one hundred five millimeter macro on the d for because I know I'm almost always going to start with details like we talked about yesterday we both go through we put the cards and we reform out all the cards and then we think the date and time and I don't know why no matter how hard we try those cameras wander off by a couple of seconds at the it's just weird makes no sense whatsoever but if we go a couple of weddings without sinking them suddenly all realize that we're like six seconds apart seven seconds apart which doesn't sound like that big of a deal but when she shooting the ceremony from the back of the room with a wide and I'm up close with a zoom when the kiss doesn't match up when the ring then you're moving things around manually it's really frustrating so it's much easier just to the start of the day date and time is the last thing that we dio and then we're ready to go my bags themselves I pretty much always used think tank bags and I go back and forth I go back and forth for amusing the tallest airport international and then a kelly more shoulder bag I go kind of between that and then using their massive logistics manager has anybody ever seen that my nine year old can fit in that bag it's like the biggest bag of all time so we kind of are always trying to figure out is it easier to have two bags that are lighter but we have to manage two bags or one bag that's heavier but we only have to manage one bag so it seems like a couple of times a year we change from one system to another. Get irritated with it and then change back. So, like I am about handbags and sort of a junkie about actual camera bags as well. So I'm always looking for, like, what might serve all of my purposes, and there is no one thing to serve all of my purposes. So that's, why we kind of have the two systems if we're going to travel for anything, if we're going to go on a plane, I have two small think tank internationals, the baby ones that will actually fit under your seat. So there's. No reason why anybody on a plane would ever need to take it gate. Check it anything, even on the little ist pedal jumpers, it goes in underneath the seat in front of you. So I'll split the entire gear bag between the two small rolling bags so that my assistant I can each have a bag and go interested if we need it.

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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