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Q&A Days 24-30

Lesson 76 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

76. Q&A Days 24-30


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

Q&A Days 24-30

I answered all of your questions out here, and we may have a few questions hanging from our beloved internet friends. What can I help you with before we move onwards? Yes, uh, sunny sarasota asked, I says, first of all, I love love love learning the proxy dian treated g trick that not my trick. Sidecar post yes, however, do you say master raw files and master dmg files? Once you've finished editing wedding, this takes up so much memory, and I'm wondering how you handle that now I can't talk about jen and her master deon geez, what she sends back to me, I do keep my ross elections from the wedding. External hard drives are pretty cheap. I prefer to just have them just in case I need to go back to them for a competition image or let's say, a couple years down the road, I've refined kind of a post processing technique or retouching or what not. I want to pull an image for my portfolio, I'd liketo have them there, just in case you never know what jensen's back to me are the ex mp files kin...

d of those sidecar files, if you will, just in case I need them, I pretty much don't use them, you would have to ask sidecar post directly what they do with the deon geez, I'm not entirely sure she doesn't keep the master raw files when she's done I keep them on my end just cause I d'oh awesome I think we could move on wow, that was easy. I okay? And everybody knows that if you need more health sidecar are the people to ask so let's talk about managing your studio when you've got some bookings you've got some weddings you're out there working you're out there shooting and now you have a studio to manage whether it's at home or in a physical studio how do we go about doing that? Well, I talk about the fact that I work from home I mean kind of this is really just me out of the spare bedroom of my house and by house I mean apartment in brooklyn I don't have a fancy studio I don't have a staff of people that worked for me besides outsourcing to sidecar posted having sandra who only helps me on the wedding days. I don't have employees I don't have anybody else two extra minutes just me. This is a really pretty simple operation. If you order a think book, I'm the one that puts it in the envelope and mails it to you if you need another download code for your case studies, I'm the one that sends it to you it's just me I say I sort of work from home because my husband has a studio outside of philadelphia and I also have a full work space there when I'm working from that location, we talk about managing your studio and about how you shoot cue to handle live everything in my studio. We talked about it before there's no need to beat this dead horse, but I literally use it for everything we actually got to talk earlier today about ever note this is the evernote desktop app that I used to store all of my receipts for everything we talk on that day about why I don't have an employee to help with all of this and why it's just me let's talk about a couple more of these days and then let's take some big final questions instead of just stopping and starting then we very, very quickly went into day twenty six, which was post wedding marketing. Now we talked about marketing in general for your business, building these relationships with clients, building these relationships with vendors and venues. But what do you do after you shoot every single wedding? When you get that wedding and it's edited and it's done, how do you actually take that wedding and leverage it towards getting future clients? I talked about putting things on facebook, how I blawg my philosophy behind blogging and how I do it talked about pin trust and why it's good for you it's actually good for you if you use it the right way we talked about paid advertising on sites such a style me pretty and june bug and what works and what doesn't we talk about how after every single wedding I actually pull images for my portfolio and for competitions that I want to enter so that at the end of the year I've got a body of work sitting there ready for competition season and I was asked how do I handle a vendor publishing or a client posting images without the watermark or credit well if it's a client posting it that's different from if it's a vendor posting it if a client post it I just dropped them an email and say hey do you mind throwing up a link to my side it's a much more of a friendly kind of interactive thing if a vendor has taken it and published it on the internet without my water mark I'm gonna also email them and ask them to put it back either put up the un cropped version with my water marker at least include a link to my site we actually had that happen on a pretty big scale recently where david tutera the wedding planner took an image that I had or david's team I'm not thinking that it's david doing his own instagramming they took a picture that I had taken on dh put it up on their instagram gave me no credit whatsoever and just used it is like a picture that accompanied a little tip kind of ticked me off that's not cool and if anybody should know that it's david tutera he's a really super nice guy he was an absolute dream toe work with I would work with him every single day. But the fact that his team put a picture that was on watermarked with no credit whatsoever on their instagram was not cool by me. So I commented in the comments. Hey, just in case you were wondering as a vendor it's not cool to post one of your photographers pictures without a copyright. I hope you all notice this image is coffee right? Me, susan stripling have a great day. They actually took it down and put it back up with my copyright on it. On that same day, we also talk about client care. How taking care of your clients on a wedding by wedding basis is actually the best marketing that you can possibly d'oh. We talk about the fact that client care actually means really caring, not fake, caring, not pretending to be their friend, but actually putting forth the time and effort to really take care of every claim that comes through the door. I showed you my stationery and talk about how I write letters to clients and vendors the old fashioned polite art of writing a nice letter kind of a lost are we talk about what weddings do if I were going to do a post wedding session a sale post wedding in person sale to my client's right like they were going to come in and have a viewing and I were going to sell things to them what would this mean for me? I don't do this and why? Because I would have less time with my kids because my clients live all over the place because studio space in manhattan is blindingly expensive and because I can't do weekends because I shoot on weekends I can't meet clients on weekends for post wedding sales this is a tough one some of my favorite images are from clients that are now separated you ever remove images from your portfolio if past clients get divorced no a lot of times if you get divorced I don't know it I have no way of knowing unless you tell me but if a client reaches out to me and says we have gotten divorced can you remove my image is absolutely yes I have the rights to use them yes I have the rights to do whatever I want no it's not the right thing to do I will take them down I have no problems with it whatsoever then we moved into the album process which was a super fun day not only because we got voodoo doughnuts from portland but because my great friend andrew funderburg came out and actually taught you how to use fundy album builder and I figured what better way for you to learn that from from the gentleman who actually was responsible for it I talk about how I don't do album designs and up selling sessions in person and we've talked about why and then we talk about the process of exactly how the album designed goes down that the gallery is released clients can take their time choosing after a year there is a surcharge if they wait a long time to make their album they submit their selections by choosing favorites throughs in folio I edit in fundy album builder I proof with album exposure they take their time with revisions I'm ready when they are and they get to free rounds of revisions and then mr andrew funderburg stepped in and debuted his entire stand alone software and showed us how to use it from beginning to end did you guys like it sanders like no I wasnt here my own company we talk about them ninety percent of the books that I sell are flush mount from madeira books if clients want a matted book it is a five hundred dollars upgrade because the software is more difficult and because I used a different company my album company is madeira, it is madeira books dot com, they have beautiful products, and they had the best customer service in the business they d'oh they do, and it w p p I they gave us all free coffee. Then we went today twenty eight that beautiful day about balancing your business and your life, which was a good time. We talked about the fact that january is not the same as june, that you need to set your time intensive projects in the off season you to learn how to balance your projects with weddings that you're shooting and that you need to set specific downtime talked about this a little earlier today, if you don't have time for something, it means you don't prioritize it. If you really want it, you'll find the time talking about how I can't seem to get up off my butt and exercise by myself. I don't prioritise it strongly enough, I had to find the place at which it would start to hurt, which for me is financially. If I don't go to see my trainer, I lose the money that I paid for that day that's motivation to get me out of the house if you don't set manageable expectations and follow them, your life will implode during busy season no, it will, it really, really, really will and it will. There is a reason that after I came and I launched the thirty days that I took my children on vacation, there is a reason that when I'm done here, my husband and I are going away for a week, it's, because I have to balance the massive amounts of work that I do with places of light and joy in my own life. And then we talk about the fact that I'm not a rock star and this attention is beautiful and the fact that I've helped you guys is rewarding and wonderful, but I don't care about the being famous amongst photographers or the photographer rock star lifestyle are how many likes I can get on facebook. That's not what's, really at the end of the day important to me what's important to me is that I'm a good wife to my husband and that I'm a good mother to my daughters and my stepdaughter's, and that I'm a good friend to sandra and kraus and, you know, a few other people, and then I'm not my work in my work is not me, which is extraordinarily important to me to not find my own self value in the work that I do or the success of my business. When is a good time to start a family when you run your own business and you're a female photographer when you're the higher earner than your partner, there is no good time. The good time is now if you sit around in your waiting for the ideal time to have children, you're never gonna have children do it when your heart tells you to do it seriously. And then yesterday, terrible, horrible post wedding problems that kind of sought bad things will happen. Clients will get upset, you manage their expectations, have a good contract. Visit my friend rachel over at the law, todd dot com for your legal questions how phenomenal insurance to protect you in that oh god, what if scenario and that it's not personal, it's just business. I've had terrible experiences of customers during post processing on my images after I give them the files, then they credit me for these horrible processing nightmares. I don't see any way of stopping clients from doing this except not giving them the files. Maybe I'm not working with the right clients. How would I deal with this? The second you let your files go out the door, you've lost all control over what your clients are going to do with them and stop if you don't want them to touch the files, don't give them the files I know that if I give the files to my clients, they're going to crop them, they're gonna bring them in a photo shop, they're going to do weird things to them, and I can't stop them, and I have to be okay with that. And then this thursday twenty nine, but it was technically or day thirty that was technically day twenty nine plus because we got a bonus. Ninety minutes of working with my beautiful, lovely assistant, miss sandra kraus. So questions now, is it? We're at zero hour, I'm going to go home. I'm going to go to a place where you can find me very, very soon. And when I'm in italy, I am not checking my e mail and I'm not gonna talk to you on face a book. I am going to go hug my husband for a very long time to thank him for being extraordinary, even though I've been totally evil for the past couple of months, I've been getting this thing out the door, so we need some time together at which you cannot come. You can't come either. Sorry, sandra, anything over anything we've talked about now anything, period, now is your time, ma'am, so back to taking care of the client, I'm kind of sensitive, too. You know, people that may have divorced don't want images up, so blogging is part of my work flow to and how would you handle a situation if a couple might be a little bit more shy are reserved and they say to you, you know, we understand that, you know, you can use our images however you please on your website marketing whatever, but if we have personal ones or ones that are really, you know, intimate to them that they don't want shown, how would you respond to that? You'd like, of course I will be sensitive to that that's fine sometimes all counter back and say, can I use images of your decor of your details, maybe ofyou guys from a far distance sort of more over our king shots that don't show maybe those sensitive moment or if you'd be okay, just okaying them before I put them up? You know, the one place that I would really appreciate it if you would allow me to use those images is in competitions they're not going to be shown to. Other clients are going to be showing two photographers, but if it's something or if I post something that makes a client deeply uncomfortable, whether I'm right or not, I'm going to take it down it's not worth the fact that they will hate me if I don't a client who really values photography and has told you like they're your their number one priority on wedding day on they are asking you what your recommendation is for scheduling for the timeline what's your ideal timeline with regards to, like first look. Okay, inopportune. You're the client? Yeah, what time's your ceremony for talk. Great! What time are you guys wanting to do a first look or not it's up to you what's better for photography, okay, what's better for photography, let's say we're going to do a first look right let's say that I laid out the pros and cons for you and I said even though you want to do what's best for photography, I'm still going to give you the decision still going to give you the pros and cons and then I'll tell you what I think would be best. So we've got a four o'clock ceremony and we're going to a first look, okay, so your four o'clock ceremony we need to be done with absolutely everything that we're doing it three fifteen that gives you time to hide away for your guests to arrive so that there won't be any overlap between you and your guests, I'd like to start your family formals at about we're gonna stop at three fifteen I'd like to stop it to just between you and me I know full well we're not going to start it too I know that we're going to start at two thirty but I told you to because I'm patting the schedule right so we're gonna start your family formals into I'd love it if you guys saw each other for the first time it you know twelve fifteen twelve thirty and I'd love to start with you around about eleven how does that sound great awesome okay find a wife let's do this find a wife what ma'am similar situation um if you are working with a couple on their timeline and they're looking to you for that kind of guidance on what's going on best maximize for the portrait ce and it's an outdoor wedding and so you're suggesting okay let's do it an hour hour and a half before sunset so six o'clock ceremony but then they go back and they speak with a venue and the menu says caution caution you know this area doesn't get a ton of direct sunlight so we think you should do it at three do you heed what the venue is saying because they know what's best for my wedding my wedding there's only so far that I can push for an ideal time line before I have to stand back and let my clients do what they want to do okay and then be able to rise to the challenge whatever it isthe only money to within planners. Pardon? How you money tweeting blinis. How'd I manage wedding planners gently as best I can. Ah lot of times they're really there to help. And if they're not helping me, I just kind of his own them out. I find wedding planners comes in two flavors helpful in useless, right? And the ones that are helpful are amazing. And the ones that are useless, they neither add tune or take away from the day. But the ones that are helpful are so helpful and so amazing. And there are really incredible coordinators that we've worked within, that we continue to work with that we have wonderful relationships with mr connor. Can you give some ideas on creative portrait's with a couple like twelve to two pm and august sun? This is going to be a situation for me in montana the summer. Maybe. You gonna have some shots that I can do in the shade under trees, but a lot of times, they're gonna want mountains in the background. It's going to be like, open field. Well, I'm not gonna go for the shade under the trees anyhow, even if it's ranks right? Would you have an opportunity to take them out again during cocktail hour where they let you steal those probably later in the day? Yeah, probably yeah so in a situation like that like I'm going to do the best I can at twelve one o'clock in the afternoon but I'm also gonna ask them you know we're gonna do the best we can it's going to be alright it's gonna be hot can I borrow you again for like ten or fifteen minutes during cocktail hour so that we could get some sunset shots just around the whole thing out and then I'm going to just go about it the same way I normally do subject between myself and the son even if the son is two inches behind them it's going to be hot gonna be brite's gonna be awful you can still do it I'm just worried about the shadows under the eyes and nose there will be shadows under the eyes and nose and if that really bothers you bring your bring a reflector I have an assistant bounce it back up use um phil flash at that time of day with the brightness of the day, I'd recommend an assistant with a reflector to bounce back up if that's what you're looking for most of the times I just saw okay, do we own a reflector we did didn't wait, do you? Still on a reflector? I don't that's one piece of gear. I honestly don't think it's in my trunk it's evolving. No, we don't really use it that off. No, I generally just tend to suffer. But if you are worried about that and that from the sun just a little just to fill in a little bit, you'll be fine. You'll be fine, it's in your work, you're gonna be good. You'll probably know you'll be fine. Well, if it goes well, attribute it all to you, susan shot, but I can't give you your eye. So that is your own definitely high internet. This is your last chance friend eso susan, we have been, you know, collating the questions and look through this last, you know, but they're going to kind of, you know, just all over the place. Well, this is the way our day twenty nine and nine tenths. This is your last chance. Hit me with anything so orange field would like to know. Please help us to explain your advice on how we can book our very first wedding when we have no emmett images to show, and orange field says being a second shooter is not an option for me here. Well first of all even if you are a second shooter that doesn't mean that you have the rights to show that the show the images that rock ah lot of times if you are a second shooter the images belong to the studio that you shot for if you have absolutely no images to show anybody you're not going to book a wedding just hands down period what I would do if I were starting from scratch and I didn't have a friend that was getting married that I could beg into shooting their wedding I would hire models or I would ask my friends to dress up for me and I would do portrait's of them I would take pictures of my own jewelry I would hang my own dress in the window and I would compile a portfolio of sorts and show it to prospective clients being very honest what it is great listen I can take pictures you can see that I can take pictures I haven't been to a wedding yet charge accordingly there is no shame in doing your first one for free none whatsoever no thank you now jumping very uh without smoothly into ah marketing yeah studio managing and marketing tammy asked ugo your own marketing publicity and promotion I do my own as well what percentage of your time do allow for marketing publicity and promotion two hours per week ten hours per week it's in a poor weak thing probably for wedding about an hour figuring out if it's going to go to a blogger getting it on for maybe two hours actually if we're doing considering facebooking blogging figuring out if I'm going to submit it about two hours for wedding and then several times a year probably once a quarter I spend about a good day on it just sitting down and sussing it through yes sir speaking of marketing I meant to ask this awhile back but you had mentioned that you took out a print ad yeah and how did that work for you don't know it just hit newsstands I literally just got it okay it's not even it's been out for like three days uh hopefully really really well otherwise that's a really hard financial thing to swallow it looks really pretty looks better than any other photographers in there because I hire an actual designer to design it for me instead of just picking my favorite picture and putting a logo on it the same woman that laid out the think books amanda robinson of squared studios in florida she designed my ad for me so it's a professional at work and we see it where can we see it? I don't want my instagram posted on my instagram my instagram susan stripling and I posted a picture there but was it grace vermont no it was new york weddings magazine it's a beautiful magazine is gorgeous susan I want to take well person from the internet I want to take pictures at my daughter's wedding my husband won't let me we did hire a photographer I'm not talking about portrait's and family shots I just don't know how not to take pictures what will you do when the time comes and you're she's good I'll ask my fellow lope and offer to give them a lot of money to dio if you think I'm bringing my camera to my children's wedding you are out of your mind it's not gonna happen there's no way I would rather experience my daughter's wedding through my own eyes as my own person and I hurt someone that I trust to document it yeah I shot my own details on my wedding day shopping the day before on my husband and I shot each other a little bit the day after I don't want to photograph anything at my daughter's wedding I want to be their mother not a photographer that's good thank you I love your priorities um I had a question here let's hear regarding the album process do you put your own info? Your name logo etcetera on the finished album you give to your client if so where and how large if I like the album it depends I mean if it if they've asked for an album design that is very far from the normal what I usually do I will do it for them because at the end of the day I'm going to make the album that they want to make. But I won't put my logo in it because it's, not representative of the normal designs that I do. But if I do, you know, choose to put my information in it. It's a very small double s it's my logo it's in the middle of the back cover. Very discreet and very simple. Thank you, thiss one is from us. I'm trying to say that's, right? Us our sri lee botello dot com who's been asking a lot of great questions today. Susan, what is the best advice you have received regarding photography? I will tell you might have to modify one of the words the best advice that I received. I was really struggling with how to handle direct sunlight when shooting. Ah, bridegroom, I was shooting a bridal session. My husband was with me at the time. It was just my boyfriend on. He was watching me struggle and he was watching me that had the bride in the right place. The sun was in the right place and I would take a picture. I would look at it and I would take a picture and I would look at it and I looked over him and he's, just like and I looked over and I was like, what am I doing wrong? There's hes all over these images and to remove the slights where would that were here that he put it the end of it? Tio, which was really entertaining, he said, get in the shade and I know what you're talking about and he is like getting the shade. You've got too much sun in your lens, and I stepped under the shade of a tree and all of a sudden this light bulb went off over my head of the whole problem that I was having with my hazy portrait images that I've been having for a very long time was because there was too much sun in my lens and then chase jarvis, the best camera is the one that you have with you, whether it's your iphone or your d eight hundred or your phase one, the best ones, the one you can lay your hands on and take a picture with it and a lot of times for me. It's my iphone for a lot of us, if nikon would make an iphone, that would be, you know, nikon iphone hybrid would be good, probably, I'm sure that will happen one day, yes. Sets him shirts around the corner thank you filling a woman photography asked what do you charge clients extra if they don't want to send the model release is part of the agreement if they're not allowing you to use any of the images for any purpose is this happened with me a couple of times and I absolutely didn't know what to dio it depends right if it's just an average everyday wedding in an average everyday places people who were super private I will push back on it as hard as I possibly can I try to find out why it's a deal breaker? I try to find out why that's a really super big deal to them maybe they just want approval before I put them online maybe they're just a little skittish about it I've had clients say I don't want you to show my images anywhere and then after the wedding they were like, oh my god, show them to whoever you want we love them so much now if we're talking about a celebrity wedding or a high profile client wedding where I can't show them to anyone else because of privacy reasons, then they will sign it if I have to sign in india right like can't show it to anybody they're going to pay for that absolutely they're going to pay for that because if I'm you know, muzzled about a wedding that could really help my career I would like to be financially compensated for it but I don't want to shoot those weddings anyhow now so do with that what you will but in a case like that if you have to sign an india they've already probably sold those images to a publication correct which is why I need to be compensated for it and so what would you ask? I don't know it depends on the level of celebrity it depends on what it iss I mean are we talking justin timberlake? Are we talking the local news anchor and at that point I don't know because I'm swimming in a pool that I don't know anything about so I would call jobe sink alright, we call dennis reggie and say I'm in a scenario that I don't know what to do with can you help me? I'm not going to make an uneducated guess but if they were say they sold them for two million dollars to people magazine or whatever what would you charge them for india? I don't know, you know I mean that's never happened to me before I literally have no advice about that whatsoever I don't know what to do, you know joe would be the guy to ask about that or dennis it's just nothing that I've ever experienced, so I I have no idea okay? I don't know I don't really want to find out who's, germany general advice for folks that are shooting sort of lower end backyard type weddings you could say if you guys could just do this this and this and respect them just like you would any other wedding, whether it's a ten million dollar wedding or a five thousand dollar wedding I'm shooting at the same way it really doesn't matter if you're shooting backyard weddings, be proud of it, and stand up to it and take beautiful pictures in somebody's backyard and be proud of where you are in your business that you're working and clients are hiring you and respect them just the same wood, same way you would anybody else, there's no difference at all. I'm going to be shooting a great backyard wedding this summer. I love backyard weddings. I actually like them best. They're great. Cool. Congratulations for having weddings. It's hard out there. I'm wendy gcms. How do you deal with negotiating with difficult clients after the wedding, when they're wanting to change the products in their chosen wedding package? Because the money is gone, too complete the rest of the sale or wanting digitals instead of a product discount uh, just all sorts of problems financially that are coming afterwards, do you ever? Listen, and I'm not meaning to be disrespectful to the client or the photographer, but I didn't hold you down and force you to sign that contract. And it's not my problem if you overspent overtax yourself, here's your invoice don't feel bad about it. Don't fall for a sob story. Oh, weii spent too much money on flowers and so now we can't pay our overtime, okay, I'm not going to work. I'm not going to start work on the images until the overtime is paid. I'll be glad to get started and put you in the production. You as soon as you take care of this it's not personal, it's. Just business. Thie end. Okay, here's. Another one from botello dot com. Yes. Why did you choose to specialize in weddings? Because they fell into my lap. And I'm very good at them. They mean that's, honest it's. The career sort of took me by surprise, and I like to think that I'm tremendously capable in that arena. Um, it allows me a lot of freedom in my personal life. It allows me the ability to be my own boss. And I never thought that I was going to be able to do that ever in my entire life, I thought that I thought that one day I'd meet a nice guy and I'd settle down and I'd have kids and I'd be a stay at home mom and I'd be pretty good at a lot of things and crap and to find out that I'm very gifted at something you know I have to honor that's what I do so I'm very fortunate that people give me money for it no it's I mean, I I love it I can't think of anything that I would want to shoot that I would love is much as I love this and have people let you into their lives and you as a virtual stranger witness these moments it's really humbling it really is sandra and I believe weddings where we really feel like these people have let us in and we have a very deep appreciation and respect for that for sure sir, you know you say that it's just business you still find it emotionally rewarding at times at times the shooting there are moments of pure gold there really are but as with owning any company owning any business having any job of any kind there's the drudgery and there is the difficult parts of it but the rewards are really beautiful and then there were words that it gives me in my personal life are nice but it also allows me to have a life that I like it lets me I'm not a very social person I don't have get togethers I don't have people come over for dinner it's it's miyata home and I'm kind of by myself and it's I live a quiet life by myself and it lets me I have relationships with people in a way that I'm not good at so it's rewarding on a lot of levels and it is definitely made me a stronger human being shooting weddings it's helped me deal with people it's helped me deal with problems I never thought I'd be an author I never thought I would write a book much less multiple books, much less it books with success and I never thought I could be my own boss and I didn't think I'd be good at business I just didn't know my own strength and now I'm I'm really proud of it and I'm proud to be able to be a good role models my daughters and I'm proud to be a good role model to my stepdaughters and to be able to stand up and say if you want to do something you khun, you could make it happen well, susan, we thank you for your expertise we thank you for your passion and we thank you for your emotion that you've brought to these thirty days I'm going to turn over to you for your final thoughts, okay and I'm not a crier anybody who knows me knows that this is not what I do, but I wanted to compile a list of takeaways for you that if you've been with us through these thirty days, if you've listened to me talk for what is it? Forty some odd hours and we figured it was almost fifty something hours, you know, that I'm a very no nonsense educator that I don't pull any punches that I don't sugar coat it on my friends especially know that I'm not all that awesome it feeling my feelings in situations like this, but I thought it was very important to make a list of the takeaway is that I wanted you guys to have in all of this was over, and these are sort of the principles that I run my business by and a lot of times, the way I run my life, I want you to have a good handle on your technical ability, and I wanted to become so second nature to you that you don't even think about it anymore at all, and I want you to be ambitious and I'm not saying that I want you to be out there and saying, well, one day I can speak it creative live two or one day, I'm gonna be a rock star photographer, but that little fire that burns inside of you to be better as a shooter, and to be better as a business person and to just be better all the way around that's the ambition that I'm talking about, the desire to get up out of your seat and to make these things happen, and to bring this business to you and to give your gift to people that's what I'm talking about ethics, sometimes sorely lacking, such as integrity, I want you to run a business that has a heart, and I want you to run a business that has morals and ethics, and that is governed not by greed or desire, but by strong integrity, not just from yourself as a person, but in the business that you want to run, and I want you to be compassionate to the people that you work with and the people in your life and to yourself as a business person, you're going to screw up, and you're going to make mistakes and it's going to be difficult, and you're going to do things that you wish that you done differently, but go easy on yourself, you're only human. If you make a mistake, get up and keep going. I don't want you to have empathy to the people that you work with, its hard to open up in front of someone with a camera that you don't know that you are. Showing how you love your husband and how you love your family and how you are with your friends in front of a virtual stranger and you're letting them document that for your posterity, for your children, for your grandchildren, for someday, someone who will touch her album in your family who's never met or known you that what I conduce you it's not just for my clients, it's for the generations down the road that are going to dig up their album in their attic, and I want them to open that album and say, I can feel how my great great grandparents loved each other in these pictures, and I want you to have strength not to get up and stop talking front of a bunch of people, but to get up in a wedding and tell a client, hey, go stand over by that window and get ready, or when someone screams at you for going to the bathroom and they want you to come out and take more pictures to be able to handle it, to be able to have strength not only as a person but as a business person, in your convictions and in the way you run your business and to run the business the way you want teo, and to have humility to admit when you're wrong to admit when what you're doing isn't really enough crap and be nice um, I like to joke that I have a cold, dead black heart, but in reality my heart is a fluffy teddy bear, and being kind to people is something that is deeply and incredibly important to me. Sandra is the kind of woman I know when it comes to her naturally, and kindness does not come to me naturally and so it's hard to find that part of my heart and let it out to people and to run your business with grace on more importantly, to run your business with love. So here's, where I am on the internet, you made me cry. It took thirty whole days, but we got it because it is deeply gratifying to do what we do and not I'm not talking about teaching, and I'm not talking about making money. I'm talking about being able to make something beautiful for people that will live on for forever. So if you want to find me, if you like this, if you hated this, if you didn't like my shoes, whatever I'm on the web at susan stripling dot com, I'm on twitter it susan stripling, I want instagram it susan's tripling guess what? My facebook name is their ego, and if you will allow me a few moments of thank you my clients who let them cover the day arlene and george here good god we're getting ahead of ourselves I met arlene and george back in my w p p ay days they came over here to create of live and they very graciously invited me to come here and I was terrified the first day that I came here and creative life has become a family of sorts to me the people here that you don't even see you see the host, their tremendous people lindsay's over here aaron anderson has at times literally picked me up and carried me through these thirty days tessa and danielle who bring me tea and make sure that I eat things and I don't pass out mallory and jim who made this happen sandra and her whole family everybody in the industry who has held my hands and helped me to get here and my family and my husband I would be absolutely nothing without him so I look at our wedding pictures what really bring this springs this on home to me is I can't talk to you all day about what we can give to other people, but when I look at my wedding pictures and I look at my album and I look at the fact that my daughter zahra you're older now they don't look quite the same and one day my parents won't be with me but I have them there on all of our friends that were there with us, and every single moment is preserved for the rest of my life and for my children and my children's children. And that is so important in a way that I think that a lot of people don't take the time to recognize and to think all of you who listen to me for thirty freaking data straight. Hopefully, I'll get to come back and teach you something else. But if you'll let me go on vacation first, that would be really nice. Thanks.

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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.

Student Work