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Lesson 8 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

8. Lighting

Next Lesson: Seeing the Scene


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


So moving on words to talk about many other exciting things, such as a flash I used to never want talk about flash because they didn't understand flash. I thought that you know how many times you look on the internet and someone's like, oh, I'm a natural light shooter nine times out of ten that means that you're a natural light shooter because you don't know how to use a flash. Seriously, be honest, am I wrong? Oh, well, I only shoot outdoors and everything that I do is outdoors really that's a ridiculous thing. Not all of us live in southern california, where apparently it's sunny all the time and nobody ever goes indoors. But I feel like not knowing how to use your flashes. You is doing you a terrible disservice. Because even if you are a natural light shooter, even if that's your thing, I mean jose via, who is one of the best natural light shooters that I know. You really think that it's never rained on the day that he shot a wedding? That guy knows how to use a flash because he kno...

ws how to take care of himself in every single situation. If you're gonna hide behind the veil of being a natural light shooter because you don't know how to use a flash man up and learn how to use a flash I feel like this is thirty days of learning how to man up but that's neither here nor there so I used to be very afraid of my flash because I didn't understand how to use it and more so above and beyond that I had no concept of how to take it off the camera adam like it was flash on camera bounce off the ceiling was everything that I did and the idea of being flash on a stick just like just decimated me and humorously enough once I actually learned how to do it it is so much easier then shooting flash on camera because it's all manual and you know exactly what's gonna happen every single time I don't know what I was afraid of so my conversion to becoming a flash happy photographer the very first thing was I took zac's one light workshop and if you want to learn from him he is a genius I will spell his last name for you a r I a s he has taught here on creative lives and he knows more about man made light than anyone I have ever met in my entire life and above and beyond that he's a fantastic teacher because he can put everything in layman's terms where even if you've never put a flash on your camera or offer camera or even seen a flash he's not gonna make you feel dumb but his whole concept is let me show you what you can do with just one light and so I kind of went about it in a backwards way before I even attempted to harness the sun and understand how to use the sun I decided that I wanted to learn how to use flash first so his was what one of the very first private workshops that I ever took and was he teaching me wedding photography? No, he was just teaching me how to use a light but then I had the knowledge of how to use the light and I could take that into any situation and then you take that coupled with classes that I took it w p p I and tutorials that I read online and practicing what I did at home and things that I learned at cliff's boot camp when I went to his boot camp and then I was armed with e not only the knowledge of how to use a flash off camera but the confidence to do it and the confidence to practise it at home and practise it with my kids and to practice it on an animate objects so that by the time I did take it to a wedding it was becoming second nature and if I'm teaching you how to take your flash off the camera, do not go to an event on saturday and attempt to shoot it that's first of all, not respectful to the client and second of all, just a recipe for disaster. So, you know, I would say, don't do this at home, but please do this at home before you do this at work. So flash, first of all, usually the first time that I'm going to put a flash on camera at any point in time throughout the day is when we get to the family formals that's gonna be the first time that I start flashing anything I don't use flash during getting ready. I don't use flash during a ceremony, even if I'm really desperate during a processional and recessional a lot of times there's just logistically no way to use a flash. And even if I can use a flash it's gonna look like a different ceremony, the processional is not gonna look like the rest of the ceremony. And then the recessional is not gonna look like the rest of the ceremony. It's gonna look like they processed and re he's just in a completely different room, so if I can in any way not use flash, even if I'm capable of doing it. During a processional during a recessional so that the continuity of the look of the image because then I have to turn off that flash this second ceremony starts right so I would rather just leave it off in torment myself from day one the first time I'm going to start using my flash is going to be during family formals and it is very, very very simple setup that we use during the family formals in terms of how we get our flash off camera I am going to go over this ad nauseum you're going to see videos of me doing this you're going to see pictures of me doing this but to not tell you how I do it today would also kind of be doing a disservice because I'm talking about flash so I should tell you what I'm using and how I'm using it my flashes of choice are the nikon sb nine tens I have two of them I also have to s p eight hundreds I also have a twenty four I've got a couple of things I don't know what they are I just sort of sword flashes and I don't really know how it happens but they sort of multiply like rabbits I can't remember the last time I bought one and yet I still seem to keep having more the thing that I lose more than anything else are the stove fins on top of the flashes those fall off and go live with the lens caps and back caps that I talked about, so it several times a year, we have to place on order for linz caps, back caps and stephens when I'm using my flash on camera, which again come back during the reception day and I'm going to talk about exactly how I do that. The flash is this sb nine ten is mounted onto my camera, but it's also connected to a photo radio p h o t t I x those are my radio transmitters of choice I have used if you think of it, I've probably used it from a variety of other manufacturers and companies to varying degrees of no success whatsoever. Generally having problems with unreliability. The folks are the only radio transmitter receiver combos that I found that have been reliable consistently the only time they ever don't work is it? The battery dies. We replaced the batteries before every single wedding, and once we forgot and did went like five weddings and they were still going strong, we just replaced them because we are neurotic, so on camera, flash camera, photo transmitter, flash stuff in easy peasy, flash off camera, mono pod phobics, flash stone often sd nine nine battery pack pardon me. The nikon battery pack takes eight double a batteries plug it into the front of your flash you'll see this picture there's a picture that rikers over and over again. You thought yesterday where you see the mono pod? You see, the photo makes you see the flash. Then we wrapped the battery pack with its elastic around the mono pod and then hook it in the front of the flash. The first time I put one of them together, I was like, this is so incredibly complicated this seems incredibly unnecessary and now I could put them together in my sleep. Sandra can put one together in like thirty seconds like nothing for family formals mono pod phobics s b s b nine ten rogue flash bender when I showed the picture yesterday of what looked like the soft box on the front of the flash that's the rogue flash bender it's fantastic she's like, yeah, ha ha it is. When you put the road flash bender on the flash, I make sure to take the stuff and off, because if I don't do that, then I'm defusing into the stuff in that I'm defusing into the flash bender and that's just way too much diffusion for me. The reason why I used the flash bender during family formals is it helps me just feather that light out a little bit more it helps me from because I am only using a one lights set up for my family formals it keeps me from throwing big shadows on the wall it just softens it out just a little bit so off camera for the family formals, which you will see again ad nauseum on family formal day a seventy two hundred is close to two hundred as possible because we're here to talk about gear off camera flash held by my assistant and no on camera flash that's it nice and easy and that stays true whether we're inside or whether we're outside we still use the same setup we still use the same combo, the on ly differences that obviously you need more flash power when you're outside because you're attempting to fill in the sun vs attempting to fill in the bad light in a difficult church. I also use off camera flash for a variety of billions of different things, including first dances the difference between what I talked to you about before with the stuff in with the rogue flash vendor. How I put the road flash bender on during family formals I don't leave that flashman are on during the reception the reason why it's on during family formals is to soften the light and feather the light by the time I get to the reception by the time we're at introductions first dances, parent dances and toasts then I don't want to feather the light out then I want the light to be more direct however I don't want it to be so direct but I'm using my off camera flashes a beacon street towards them I do want to soften it out a little bit I'm not trying to throw darts of light at people so I'll just put that little stuff in back right on top of it I don't use any other light modifiers other than those it's either the rogue flash bender during family formals or it's the stove enduring literally every single other thing could you please describe the stove in tow our audience s t o f e n s e o f t n it's about yea tall about yea wide it is literally just like an opaque cap that sits on the top of your flash and if you google ston e n it will bring up exactly what it looks like I buy mine through being h you just have to make sure that when you buy it that you're buying it to go with the correct flash there not you reversal so you need to be careful with that and I mean I understand that this is a lot of a lot of deer talk without me opening up the bag and putting it all together I am promising you that in the ensuing thirty days you will see me put these things together, you'll see this picture of the flash off camera so many times that it's going to be exhausting, but I did also building an awful lot of time today to take questions because I know that the logistics of the year could be a little frustrating and I'd like to go ahead and get those answered before we even go above and beyond that. So yes, sir, on the road, but yes, they are using the defusing panel or just open, usually using the defusing panel. I'm still playing with it, and I'm always again. This is this is white wedding photography is fun is I'm always trying to find a better way, but usually I really like the diffusion panel a lot it's just it's, just easy it's kind of like bringing a little studio saw fox without bringing the studio saw fox, and I mean, are there better ways to do this? I mean, sure, I could bring two big alien bees and I could fire them in the soft boxes, and I could make a studio when I'm doing family formals. Of course I could. But I'm usually doing these quick and dirty and on the fly and I don't have time to plug in this battery pack and plug in that battery pack and set this up. And annie liebovitz come in and shoot the family, you know what I mean? Like there's, only so much you can do on a wedding day. And if it were a commercial shoot, it would be a different animal. But I just need to get in there and delighted as good as best I can, and then I need to keep going. So, yeah, diffusion panel. That was a long way to say yes, ma'am. So in the outdoor shop, bree is the flash for phil. Like, yes, that made me think. Do you ever use any gels for any kind of tonal color? No. No. Ok, are you talking about with flash or just in general with flash? I mean, like just yeah, you know, if you're talking about okay with flash no, I find that with the night cons, the flash white balance generally warms it up in a really beautiful way for me. And if the reception space so we're kind of above and beyond family formals, like when you're using off camera, flashing a reception. If you've got those weird led lights, if you've got a lot of problems or if the light's on the floor don't match the lights on the walls sometimes actually have to tell jen when I send them the sidecar for post processing the room was purple because it's kind of hard to tell then I'll switch overto auto white balance and just let it do the best I can and I understand it there's really no way in camera to correct for like thirty two different white balances but for the most part like for this family formal that you see here for the ones that you saw previous the white balance was set over to flash cloudy will also work in a pinch, but flash is my favorite because there's a flash? Yes any other questions about flash? Yes, sir when you're shooting with your flashes like full power, not really depends when we're looking at family formals a lot of times with the flash for family formals the fact the and again we're going to hit on these on those days, but I feel like it's very appropriate to talk about now as well family formals, air usually half power or full power if we're outside it's almost always full power just because I've got to overpower natural light so full inside it's usually somewhere between half and full depending on how bright or dark the rooms for dancing it's anywhere from a sixteenth to an eight to a quarter depending on how bright the room is, how dark the room is and how far my assistant is actually capable of standing from the actual subject obviously she's able to be here we need less flash power than if she's able to back yes we need less flash our there she's able to back way off here because then she needs more power to get the flash to the subjects so we usually have one setting which is what we use for formals and then by the time we get to the reception we have assessed the room she's getting so good now that she can even assess the room without me and figure out where we're gonna go but what? We usually stick for what we usually do for introductions like say the introductions are at eight power then first dance a toast most of that are going to be about eight power unless they dramatically raise or lower the lights in the room yes, david for your dancing shot yes sorry. Explain what your policy is on where flashes pointing are you bouncing if you can or you pointing it right after a couple for family formal cystic step back a little bit I heard your question still stepping back for family formals because I do have the rogue flash bender on the fash the flash is like this so the flashman or goes in front of it like this you saw the picture yesterday so when sandra holds it out like so so that it's lighting towards my subjects it's not been this way it's not been that way it's straight up in the flash bender because it's just bouncing in there, then bouncing out when we're shooting first dances and toasts and parent dances shes got it up towards the subject but its balance just a little towards them just a hair like put it straight up and click at one klick down you get a little balance and then you get a little push forward if it's on my camera itself if I'm just shooting the all dancing portion of the night it's on camera, click one click back bouncing and then feathering at the same time. If it's off camera flash it is always on manual always and then therefore my camera is always on manual if it is on camera flash my camera is always on manual my flashes on auto not on tio I found that you know by talking the other night on shooters by talking about how the flash is performed, the dark tux is in the bright dresses freak out the flash doesn't know what to do and I find that auto gets a really much more consistent exposure moving forwards we're still talking about flash and the applications off the flash so we've talked about how I will use it four first dances I also use it for toasts and when I'm using them for first dances and when I'm using them for toast, I'm not using them in conjunction with anything else. It isn't off camera flash supplemented with on camera flash it's off camera flash on lee and if you come back for the introduction day, if you come back for the first dance day, if you come back for the parent dance day, you'll learn every single setting that I use you'll learn why you need to keep your shutter speed in check you'll learn how to balance your shutter speed with your ambient light. You'll learn how to pick an aperture and why and everything that you need ad nauseum about your settings where to stand your assistant if you don't have an assistant where to put your light stand, we're gonna break it all down for you, but today I'm simply talking to you about what I've got and what I'm using it for. So for toasts in all manners of setting both with the light coming strongly from the side with the light more being used to fill the faith on off camera light is not something that you need to be afraid of because it is being used on manual if I'm standing right here, correct and I'm my assistant and I'm holding the light the light is going to hit this gentleman right here in front of me and it's going to hit him at half power if I've got my camera, I can stand next to sandra and the flash is gonna get hit him at half power without changing my settings at all. I could go stand by the door and it's still going to hit him at half power exactly the same. The image is gonna look the same, but you have to change my exposure. I could go two feet from his face with the same exposure as long as the flash doesn't move, so that gives me freedom. If she is constant with the flash, I can move wherever I want, and as long as I'm within range of the radio, you're still going to get the exact same like quality in the exact same exposure every single time. I don't use my off camera flash ever on t t l it's always on manual, and I don't have anything on my camera that allows me to adjust my off camera flash. My assistant actually does that for me and there's, you know, there are a lot of I would have thought. On this my husband uses the pocket wizard system and he has the little thing and I call it thinking because I don't use it I don't know what it's called where you can put it on top of your camera and you can actually control you're off camera flash on manual with it he keeps trying to talk me into it I look at it and I say cool but I'm perfectly fine with my fancy way of changing my flash power because in the two seconds that I pull my camera down and make that change and put my camera back up she could have also just pulled the flash down make that change and put it back up now if you don't have an assistant if you don't have someone holding your off camera flash for you that might be a very smart thing for you to look into investing in because then you could make those changes with your off camera flash yourself without actually having to walk over there and manually do it so again it's however you choose to approach the wedding day it's about how you choose to either work with an assistant or not how the actual logistics of working with your flash really go down again off camera flash now we've talked about off camera flash for a little while now sometimes there's a really good point in time for on camera flash when I'm talking about shooting the dancing when I'm talking about you know it, we're into our three of the reception that's the same twenty people on the dance floor I am I gonna be working with a one light off camera setup I'm not I'm going to be working with one light but it's going to be on my camera now sometimes and again we're simply talking about tools if you come back on reception, I'll show you exactly how it's done sometimes we will work my on camera flash in conjunction with off camera flash at the same time so if I'm shooting like let's say I'm shooting something like this this is actually a really, really good example I'm shooting crystal she's dancing I've got my flash on camera that's what I'm using toe light up her face what if I wanted to separate her from the background? If I wanted to separate her off of the background enough in her room she didn't have any up lights, there were no decorative lights kind of lighting the walls. So when she's dancing there's not a whole lot of separation between her and the rest of the room, if I wanted to create that effect, I would have my assistant with the off camera flash go to the other side of the dance floor where she is and aim that flash on a stick at her back that would allow the separation I'm gonna still be using the same settings on the off camera flash so I've been using all day long because I'm still in the same room I'm just now using it in tandem with my flash on camera, so when you look at covering her reception, I have three ways that I do it flash off camera flash on camera and then the two of those things married together, which I think is a pretty potent combination and again off camera flash nice and simple and you'll see by these two images side by side there is a very strong relationship going on between myself and my assistant. So for example, if we have a first dance, the couple dancing is here and I'm here the band's back there, I'm always trying to keep my back to the band shooting towards the crowd they know the people in the crowd, they don't know the people in the band if I'm gonna have reaction shots of people in the background, I would rather the people that they know and usually the band's just killing me anyhow with whatever lights they've got going on, I'd rather shoot towards the room. It also gives it context and kind of a feeling in the space, so if I'm here you guys are the people dancing, I will have my assistant start at the opposite side of the dance floor so if you're looking at the dance floor like this here is the band here is me my spider is the client's dancing my assistant's going to be on the opposite diagonal from me fi it left or right take your pick so when you look at this image right here, you can see that the lightest coming from behind them I include the image on the right to show that even I make mistakes or I lose track of where she's standing and I let her off camera flash flare into my lens. This is also a very good reason for not having your assistant move when you're working with off camera flash if she's trying to guess where I'm going next and I'm trying to figure out where she's going, we're just gonna be circling each other like crazy people on the dance floor I give her a place to stand and the only person that moves is me and even though she's not moving, I still need to be very conscious about where she is because if she leans a little bit one way or she leans a little bit the other way or she gets a text and she looks at her phone or she looks over her shoulder and the flash bends then you're going to get what happens on the right which is flare from the flash so you have to be really careful with that how about a question? I love questions? Awesome. Thank you. So, this's from joan rodeo, can you talk about if you did not have an assistant would derby ways you can make the young off camera flash work during the reception. You absolutely can light stand. Okay, if you get a nice light portable lights and you can really put the flash wherever you want, you just have to be really careful if you're gonna put it by the band, you're in a great spot because you can usually put it next to their speakers. You're fine, nobody's really gonna run into it. It's gonna be okay if you want to put it out in the room anywhere else. I would recommend that you sandbag it so that somebody doesn't knock it over. I wouldn't recommend setting it on the edge of the dance floor, so if you're going to put it out in the room, I would recommend pushing it against a wall, understanding that if you push it against a wall, you're going to need to compensate with the power of the flash because you've moved it off the dance floor cool and again. And I'm not when I say an assistant is cheap, I'm not trying to demean what sandra does, but if you can find any way to just bump your prices up a couple hundred bucks to bring a person with you so that you don't have to run and grab a light stand and move it it's a very, very, very nothing I could do my job without an assistant. I got light stands, I could go run them up there, but the effort of having to do it, I'm not afraid to work that's not what I'm trying to say, but let's say that flashes over there by the wall and I realized that really needs to be in a different location. I have to leave the dance floor and I have to physically move it even if you just have an assistant that comes and helps you for two hours at the reception, it helps to have another human being with you, so I'm not saying that it can't be done, you can do it. It just does introduce an element of difficulty that it would be really nice to sort of not have to deal with if he didn't have to deal with it. Cool and a question about the three slides ago just from me was that a second curtain, the second curtain releasing on the just? It was a blow I know exactly what you're talking about, and I don't mind stepping back to it because we do have a little bit of time I think it's worth taking a look at thank you because it's a beautiful show this one right here it's literally like a fifth of a second of course it is really, really, really slow really slow and it was like pick up and it was the slide that me moving it. Itjust caught her twice, so I don't try to work with a lot of like double closers are curtain sinks or anything like that on the dance floor. I do, however, like to look like a total and complete moron and shoot it like a fifth of a second or, you know, something really slow and do like this cool, so I'll be out on the dance floor I will sometimes it's moving the camera right left sometimes it zooming the linz and out it happens when I get bored I start making bizarre spastic dance floor choices thank you you're welcome you're welcome internet so let's get to where I waas so we're talking about again the use of flash at the same wedding thes of off camera flash and the use of on camera flash you can use them both why not? This image right here is kate and j during their first stands I'm working with off camera flash and off camera flash only kate when were our three into the reception and we're breaking it down I don't need any light to separate them off of the background because she's lit the walls I have great separation from her in the background and I feel like a lot of photographers will add in super multi light setups just because they can whether they actually need them or not and my point is I'm not gonna add a flash be at one light or two lights or twenty two lights I mean, I just like to think every once in a while about joe mcnally lighting a wedding reception that he would show up with like ninety seven flashes and hang them from all the walls and every table would get its own flash and it would be like this epic lighting bonanza but that's not what wedding photography is like wedding photography is quick and dirty getting beautiful shots without going overboard and that's what I think it is anyhow that I would actually love to see joe mcnally lighter reception but that is neither here nor there so that I will in the same day use a combo of on and off and on and off together and then I'll start to play right? I'll have my flash and I'll have my twenty four to seventy together and I'll go with a super slow shutter speed and the second I click the shutter all human or all of them out and when you do have a long reception and you do have a flash you've got a little time to experiment you've got a little bit of time to play which is kind of a great thing I will use straight up on camera flash only for gripping grins why don't you two lights during a grip in grand you don't need two lights during a grip and grin what's going on over there that's actually the videographer his light that's not my life at all so it's you know hey guys can I get a picture of you guys flash on camera I'm not yes if I brought in two three lights for light six lights could I have made a better technically perfect picture? Yes, I could but it's a grip and grin on a dance floor at a wedding reception it's not vogue magazine that's not a has to do bad work that's just saying that sometimes mohr is not necessary sometimes less is more sometimes less is also less but that's not what I mean here video light my video light of choice and again I don't get paid money to tell you that it's awesome but I use the ice light by jury jonas it is the best light that I've used for video light it emulates daylight perfectly I can control the intensity of the light it's portable the battery lasts an extremely long time for a video light, but what it really comes down to is I like the quality of the light. It is a beautiful, soft, lovely quality and it's the closest to daylight that I've been able to find in a video light, so I went through a million different lights to get there. I tried the lowell I delight, which was just it wasn't for me, I know why people love it. It's a wonderful light it's not my light I tried a forty dollars like pot on amazon I used to have a pocketful of those teeny tiny little son pac video lights, those little tiny guys that look like little flashlights, they would die like I would just break them incessantly like candy, but when I finally got to touch a nice light, got to use an ice slide, I was like, oh, here it iss like, this is the thing that's actually going to help me make better images with a video like and when we're talking about working with video light for me, there's a very strong distinction of why I'm going to use a video light instead of a flash, I'm going to use a flash if I know that I'm not going to be ableto handhold at the shutter speed necessary to use the video like example, say, I'm shooting this and this is video light and I've got I'm should think I'm shooting my twenty four to seventy at two eight with this I know it's a two eight I think it's at like thirty five millimeters, so I'm hand holding this at like a sixtieth of a second I'm at s o ten thousand two point eight I can hand hold that the light is literally sitting on the steps behind her I can hand hold it it's the quality of light I want, it looks great if it were any darker if I were getting shape if the clients weren't able to hold still, if I was getting any shake in the image, I would switch overto a flash that would allow me to freeze the motion allow me to work with a slower shutter speed without worrying about shake because the pop of the flash freezes the subject in a way that shining a continuous video light on them doesn't do that said there are times when I'm definitely going to use a video light instead of a flash. I take my video light with me two receptions and we use it to light the details in the space that is a major point of using the video life I feel like it's my responsibility as a photographer to make a space looking absolutely good as I possibly can whether they have lit their room or not, let their room it's my responsibility to make it look incredible. Now, sometimes you go to a wedding and you're there and you see that they have pin spots on every single table and they have up lights on all of the lights and it looks absolutely fantastic. And you barely the bust out a video light at all because they've lit the room professionally foryou. Sometimes you go to a space and you realize that even though it's beautiful and it's beautifully decorated there's no additional light other than the light in the room so there's nothing dimensional at all that's when I will pull out my eye slight and have my assistant help me light the tables. This usually happens after she's gone over to cocktail hour. We mentioned this yesterday she goes to cocktail hour at the start of the cocktail hour can get a picture of you guys get a picture of you guys kind of get a picture of you guys, and then she comes and joins me in the reception room. What I've done in the reception room before she's got there is I've shot everything that I possibly could without the addition of an off camera light of some kind. Then when she comes in, she helps me fill in those blanks of the coverage that I've done so far when I need a light and it's almost always with a video light instead of a flash and that's what's going on in these images here is she's come in we've got the ice light we've turned it on to a lovely low illuminating power, so it isn't this big, massive beacon of light you don't always need like put the most light possible she's just holding it off to an angle and she's getting so good now that she knows the angle that I want but I can tell her you know, move it a little to the left, move it a little to the right and you can literally see how the light is going to fall the entire time. So you're creating your own light there and allows me to illuminate the details without changing the look of the room because that's also something that's very important to me is the integrity of how they decorated the space, whether it be super super fancy or not that fancy at all it's still my job to make it look amazing but not change it. One time I got a little overzealous and over lit a room one time and the clients were like you, it looks really great, but I don't really remember it looking like that then I had a really terrible disconnect one time where I shot the space exactly how it was rendering the lighting correctly everything looked awesome and the client didn't like them because all of her guests shot them with point and shoot shot space with point and shoot cameras with on camera flash and she wanted my stuff to look like that. So sometimes no matter how much you do to preserve the integrity, they don't really want the integrity, but I'm not going to go in there and I'm not gonna light it up to make it look like something other than what it isthe we use video light an awful lot for cakes because even if they've lit the room a lot of times they don't like the cake that's something that sort of ends up in some dark corner somewhere which is like super mega depressing so we'll have my assistant hold the ice light and she's got it over here literally you're looking at the cake right there as if you are the photographer she's standing over here simply lighting it up and what I want people to see when they look at my reception space images and they're lit with a video light I want them to go oh wow, that room looked a really fantastic not oh well how did you like that or oh, look at that video light that looks really cool but wow, that that space looks really, really awesome, so I'm attempting his best I can to not emulate natural light because you don't expect the sun to rise in the middle of a ballroom, but to emulate if they were going to pin spot the cake if they were going to pin spot the tables, that's what that would look like. So we've talked about every single lens that I bring to a wedding. We've talked about the bag that I roll in with the cards that I use, which, by the way, are sandisk in case you were really wondering, we've talked about every single piece of glass that I have and what I use it for and why we've talked about my flashes and the application of what I'm going to use the flashes for and why? And then we've talked about video light and why I'm going to use the video light and wanted me to use a flash, and if you're sitting there and you're on your own, your audience and you're thinking, well, gosh, I just really want to hear more about how she uses off camera flash for our first dance. Fantastically enough, we've literally dedicated an entire hour. To that for you are, you know, let's, go back the family formals and let's talk about where you stand in your settings and where your assistant stands, we're going to do that for you, and you're going to watch me actually do it in a video. So all of these things, all of these components, will be revisited over and over and over again during the thirty days, hopefully answering more and more questions as we kind of evolved through the program, but I've stopped us about fifteen minutes nice and early. We're down to one of the last days that you can actually ask me anything before I disappear for over twenty days before I come back to you. So this is a lot of information, this is a lot of gear, wherever you are in your business. How can I help you out? Internet photo asked for that grip and grin shot on the dance floor is that straight on her bounce? It's for your flash it's bounces I was talking about before when I put my flash on camera got the flash on camera it's connected through camera photo ticks flash the reason quiet a photo exes there is in case I'm going to decide to use it with my off camera flash later, I'm going to need to trigger it, so we automatically just put it on there so that's there if we need it the flashes on the camera like so and you got it straight up I click it back one click with the stuffing on top yes, I get a little bit. Yes, I know I'm throwing a lot of it behind me. Yes, I know I'm gonna have to shoot it probably a higher eso but it emulates a little bit more of a natural light and I don't like to bounce it off of the ceiling because when you bounce it off the ceiling and it falls down onto your subjects it hits the top of their head really hard their faces nice and bright their neck is mediocre bright their shoulders are starting to get sad and then it looks like they have no lower body as it falls off across their body so I don't like the bounce straight off the ceiling I also don't like to shoot straight on. It just looks a little too paparazzi like for me so I bounce it back just a wee bit great and this is from off camera flash how often and I know people have these problems does your trigger ever freeze or go to sleep or you miss a shot and how do you deal with that? But not with my photos readers they don't awesome! They don't fall asleep on me and if yours ever have, I realize I can't speak for all readers everywhere are transmitters and radios and receivers. They are not transceivers, they are transmitters and receivers, so they're not multipurpose, but I've been using them for a solid eighteen months. It has never frozen is never going to sleep. The only time it's failed means when the battery has died so again, they don't sponsor me. They've never given me a single free one. I would take one if they felt like it, but I use them because they were referred to me by a friend. They had proven themselves to him and they definitely proven themselves to me in thirteen years there at the most reliable radios that I've ever used. Okay, thank you. And they're just bare bones. It's, transmitter, receiver it's. Nothing fancy, but I'm not looking for something fancy. I just wantedto work. Awesome. Yeah. Speaking of working, everyone was surprised that you are able to get big group photos with just one flash. Can you yeah, um, talk about that again firm you are using one fly I am. And again, if you come back for family formal day, we're gonna break this down for an entire hour straight, but just to kind of give you a heads up with one flash my assistant is standing just a little bit off to either the left or right of me. We favor the left for literally no mathematical reason whatsoever except that's. How it usually goes down she's a little bit to the left of me a little bit closer to the client's aiming straight at them, understanding that this only works for a group of about six to seven people. Because when you get more to sixty more than six to seven people, when you have a flash off to one side it's going to hit one side and you're gonna lose it towards the other it's the same I was talking about before. When you bounce your flash off the ceiling and it hits the ceiling and cascades down, you have fall off, you'll have fall off. If you try to do that with your off camera flash for family formals and your group is too big. It'll hit one side and then so once I will be right on the other side will be dark when the group gets super big. Like I was talking about with fifty, sixty people and I have to get closer with my twenty four to seventy, she will literally come stand right behind me with the flash and pull it way up over my head. It's not ideal at that point in time I wish there was a flash on either side but for those rare occurrences of those really big groups it's not worth changing my entire system to accommodate the rare exception so she'll simply come put her flashes high as she can up over my head yes it's coming from right where I'm at but at least I'm getting it nice and high off the camera so it's coming from a slightly different dimension cool on this one from joe what's the seventy two, two hundred like on a crop body sensor like the cannon sixty d because is a reality that they needed two hundred on a crop sensor I mean it doesn't magically make it something other than what it is I don't really use crop since our cameras I haven't for a really long time um and when I was using them I wasn't using a seventy two two hundred it's hard to speak towards it because it's something that I know a little bit about because it's not something that I use so in a sense I I don't know but I bet if you ask the internet will tell you okay, awesome I mean there are a lot of tutorials out there there's a lot of information about working with crops since your cameras but because that's not my wheelhouse I wouldn't want to miss a step and give bad advice cool so I don't know internet I don't know speaking of internet and seventy eight two hundred one of photo buddy asked if you have a seventy two three hundred instead can you shoot at two hundred millimeters at four with the same result as the two hundred millimeter from the seventy two hundred can it's like the guy that asked about the fifty fifty I mean I feel like two hundred millimeters is two hundred millimeters unless it's a trick question right whether in what are am I overthinking this I think I might be I feel like a two hundred millimeter whether it's a fixed two hundred or two seventy two two hundred two hundred or it's a seventy two three hundred at two hundred it's still two hundred millimeters unless I'm really miss stepping something I've had a seventy two three hundred's pretty great lens I had it I'd shoot it at three hundred but I don't know cool and we'd like to know about what percentage of the time are you using a fill flash when you're outside shooting your outside portrait ce always only okay wait ho always and never okay let's go with that bride and groom together never okay any of those artistic images that you saw with the seventy two two hundred of the bridegroom together interacting laughing posing together there is no phil flash ever at all okay none family formals where someone is looking directly at me outside phil flash always awesome and a little follow. I loved your using that two hundred millimeter for those family portrait indoors when you do the same thing outdoors. Yeah, okay, and it's a way easier to do it outdoors because you usually have more room to get back unless, as I mentioned before, when we were in central park when we were shooting in front of that fountain, I simply couldn't get further back because I couldn't keep people out of my walking in between that's the only reason I ever wouldn't shoot at two hundred millimeters outside. Okay, perfect. Thank you. You're welcome. Awesome let's see her? You probably have time for another one or two more before I have tio I'm ready. I'm ready to go with one. So rodeo who says, do you ever use the zoom function on your flash for your assistant? No. Okay, there's, no reason why a or wine a it's? Just we just simply don't if you do it and it's giving you the results you want and go to town. It's just not something we've ever felt the need to add into our arsenal of tricks.

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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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