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Rule of Odds and Double Exposures

Lesson 13 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

Rule of Odds and Double Exposures

Lesson 13 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

13. Rule of Odds and Double Exposures

Next Lesson: Intro to Business


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

Rule of Odds and Double Exposures

Now onto that we've talked about rule of thirds we mentioned very briefly the other day rule of odds when you have even numbers of things in frames to things there's something your eyes can share four things your eyes start pairing them up six things they start pairing them up, fighting them in twos, dividing them into threes when you've got an odd man out that's your subject and I think about rule of odds and something very, very, very obvious like this one two three odd man out the guy in the middle your eye goes right there I'm not saying that it has to be repetitive, but in this instance it's it's a repetitive rule of odds but here you've got one the great to the car three the subjects it's hard to pair your eyes up so you've got three things you're odd man out to me is the clients now this is a good we'll have a lot of stories you know a lot of questions here how to tell a stronger story, which is my goal above and beyond anything else compositionally is to tell the story in a way...

that strengthens the story we looked at this example the other day the dress in the window is the dress in the window beautiful? Yes, it isthe doesn't tell a story yes it does I'm here on my wedding day I'm about to get married I haven't gotten dressed yet. My dresses on the special hangar it's hanging in the window of the home that I grew up in there's a story right there, but when I turned around, there was a mirror. The bride in her sister's had all gotten ready in the dining room and kitchen of her parent's house, and she has multiple sisters, three sisters and two brothers. I think yeah are four sisters and there are a lot of them there are many of them, and they're all delightful on I get a shoot one of her sisters weddings this year, so I'm very honored to go back and work for them again, but I realized that they had left a makeup mirror on the piano and also on the piano, where a lot of family portrait it's. So when I looked into the mirror, I saw eli's dress singing in the window, but then I saw her family looking on from one of the family portrait ce that tells a stronger story surrounding megan and jason with the twinkle lights tells a very strong story about where they are, they're outside, they're at a venue that completely holly hedge in pennsylvania. But what you don't see in the story and I mention this the other day are the bridal attendants holding the umbrellas over them because it's pouring rain outside and you don't see my assistant back there with the video light trying to light up the fascinator in megan's hair and you don't see like the water pouring down my face because I'm standing in the rain is the last shot of the night what you see is them sort of floating in space there with the orbs in front of them and the orbs behind them this is twinkle lights on a tree with the compression I had thought the other day I was talking about this actually thought I thought shot this with eighty five but it didn't I shot this with seventy two hundred at two hundred outside telling a better story I could have taken them outside and I could have put them in the courtyard I could have lit them up with a video lighten it would've looked really nice but adding in the lights on the tree in the foreground and adding in the lights on the tree in the background to give it a sense of dimension it gives a distance of time in a place and it helps transmit strengthen the story that I'm telling this is the bowery hotel in new york city is it amazing? Yes do I wish I could live there yes is it blindingly expensive? Yes. But the reason why this picture is interesting is not because they stayed in a hotel room that was a thousand dollars a night it's, because the picture itself is interesting and tell the story and you can take this picture anywhere where you've got a hotel in a balcony, it doesn't have to be because it's fancy, so I was talking about earlier stop making excuses about where you are and start looking, and you're gonna find interesting things no matter where you are what's happening here is I'm actually outside on their balcony. I've closed the french doors that go into their room and I'm shooting through the windows this I don't do this in photo shop, I don't do this in post if I do a double exposure, I'm not laying something on top of each other. What I'm doing here is simply shooting through the closed doors. The light that's coming into the room is lighting up robin and colin so that's, where you get the light on them, you see the sense of space around them, you could see the room, you can see her bridesmaids dresses hanging in the corner, but you can also see the city behind me because it's reflected in the window that I'm shooting through. It's helping strengthen the story if you take robin and colin out of this picture and you dropped him against a white background, is it still a lovely moment between two wonderful people? Yes, it isthe, but putting it in interesting context strengthens the story that I'm telling I love this image. This is one of my favorite images that I've made ever and I wish that I thought to take a picture of the room that I was shooting in because talk about small the room was about the size of from this tv too where you guys are sitting the whole room and what was in there was everybody stuff everybody suitcase, all of the makeup artist stuff, all of the hair person stuff, every single kitschy knick knack that you could think of because the venue had like this great rustic charm, which meant that they cram that cabin full of crap pictures of weird angels all over the walls, the curtains air half falling off the windows. There is no closet so everything's hanging on a metal rack in the corner of the room it was rough like it was exactly stereo typically what you think of difficult location of someone getting ready so megan is standing there she's getting ready to go out to her ceremony she's watching her guests arrive and she's just looking out the window so I see this and I'm like this is so beautiful it's such a quiet still moment she is extraordinary looking she has more style than I could ever have in my entire life and she's just watching the guests coming in so she put herself in that location so I took a picture of it I'm like this is beautiful and then I started looking around I was like okay self you've got a nice picture of a bride looking out of a window how can I make this an extraordinary picture of a bride looking out of a window and I've got about three minutes to make this happen so the way my thought process goes is this I've got the light and I've got the subject great have nailed that what can I add in here that's going to help supplement what I'm doing and tell the story in a stronger way okay well let's look at the reflections on the walls yeah there are mirrors but they're not any good locations okay? Is there anything that I could shoot through that's going to supplement my story no there's really not because the room is just old stuff and then I start looking on the walls and I start looking into the pictures past what the pictures I start looking into the reflections and you've seen this angel you've seen this before and bad hotel room art and I realized that if I actually I looked into the picture I saw her behind me now if I shot it with exactly the same settings that I had shot megan standing at the window just a few seconds before I would have shot it two point eight or I would have shot it at you know, one point four if I really just want her eyes, but I want the entire scene I want the whole thing from back to front, so I shot it eleven that was the only way that both the angel and megan would appear both completely and focus so it's seeing the scene and then understanding how to respond technically to the scene that makes the whole thing stronger again. Another one of my favorites telling a stronger story I'm standing on the other side the wedding that I'm going to shoot this saturday when I get home this is her sister well that's not the sister that's kate I'm shooting tina's wedding on saturday on dh I'm wicked excited because you're incredibly nice people, but we're standing outside of the ritz carlton in philadelphia. It doesn't matter that it's a ritz who cares that it's a ritz and behind me a city hall so the building that you see is philadelphia city hall it's an incredibly beautiful building, so I'm standing there and I'm facing the car I see the reflection of city hall behind me kate opens the door. What I'm waiting to happen is for kato. Open the door so that I can open my door and get down and shoot her getting into the car from my side of car from passenger side over. But instead, I realized split second that when kate opens the door, I can see her because of how the light is hitting her. But I also have the reflection of everything behind me. This tells a better story than my original decision to open the door and shoot through it. And it happened right in front of me, and I was able to make a quick technical decision to make that picture happen. Any clue as to what's going on here? You don't have a clue what to tell you. Anyhow, it's. Okay. If you figured it out, I would. That would be very surprised. I'm standing on the table in the bride's parents house shooting into the glass chandelier hanging down from their kitchen ceiling. Did I stand on their table? Yes, I did. And did I say hi, guys, do you mind? I'm gonna take my shoes off. And do you mind if I stand on your table in sock feet? They kind of looked at me, and the bride, rachel, was like, just let her do it, okay? Listen, I'm not going to get on your table with food all over it in my shoes that's rude, but there was nothing on the table was covered in like newspapers was like two guys mind could I like get up here, go for it because I saw something different because I saw the reflection in the glass and I figured out a way to make it work it's just looking at what's around you, I've talked about this example a couple of times before it's another one of those instances of looking into a window and seeing the reflection behind you and what's going on here I'm standing outside of veronica's reception in charleston, south carolina, and I'm just looking through the windows I'm not really looking for anything. It was in between ceremony and reception we're kind of in cocktail hour we're all kind of walking around and I just sort of looked in and I was like, huh? Check this. This is kind of interesting, completely dark room, right when you're standing outside and you're looking into a building in the room that you're looking into his dark, what you're going to see reflected in the window that you're looking in is whatever is behind you now what they had done here was there on ly thing that was on was the chandelier over the cake so that's lighting the cake that's kind of cool. So I'm on ly seeing the cake because that light coming from the ceiling coming down is ridiculously getting rid of this reflection behind me. So now I've got a two in one, no photo shop, no overlays, no double exposures. Just looking at what's around me and letting that help me tell my story. Take take a look at the settings here. This is still megan in that room with the creepy fat angel, right? This is another one of the charming, kitschy things that was on the wall. It was just a needle point to love and be loved is the greatest joy on earth. And I thought that's so cute, and I went to take a picture of that. And I said, hold, hold the phone just a second. I can see megan standing across the room talking to her bridesmaid. I can see her in the window that's. Interesting. So I shoot it with the settings that my camera was set. Teo I shot it enough to point and I thought I got nothing here because I have to make a decision. Do I want the letters in focus her door? I want megan and focus, and then if megan isn't focus, I can't. Read the letters but if the letters are in focus I can't see that the brides in it so okay we'll try this it f four that's still not really working I end up here at f sixteen a fiftieth of a second at s o eight thousand my having to hand hold this pretty darn hard yes I am is the final result worth it? Yes, it is but I had to know my dear inside and out and know that I needed to go to f sixteen for the entire thing to be in focus otherwise the concept just simply wouldn't have worked yes nods okay anybody what's going on here? Grace yeah, there you go. I am literally holding a magazine in front of my face sylvia's getting ready trying to make the scene look interesting. I've shot this up down and around in a hundred thousand different ways and I was trying to find a way to lou, you know, get rid of sort of those distracting ellen it's in the left hand side off the scene some like, you know, kind of holding stuff up, moving stuff around and there was this picture on the table of a bike race and so I picked it up I'm with my eighty five millimeter, one point four at one point for I hold it up, but the picture in front of the lens literally in front of the lens the fact that it's at one point four means that it knocks the picture out you can still see what it is but it's not the focus and then those bicyclist bicycle your face right over into sylvie and it takes you right to your subject. Any other questions about the telling of the story? No, we take some questions from our friends on the internet. Yes, we'll just speaking of story there was a question earlier that where someone said, do you enter a wedding with kind of a concept of your story line our storyboard for a wedding? Or are you responding simply tow what's going on? Absolutely not. I'm constantly responding to what's going on in front of me. Okay, okay, if I show up with kind of a storyboard in my head or a preconceived notion of what's going to happen and I've completely shut myself off to seeing what's actually going to happen in front of me so not even remotely no idea that wedding that I'm going to shoot on saturday that I talked about earlier I know it's gonna be dark. I know it's gonna be at night and no, we're not gonna have any time at all with the bride and the groom, have I given one thought whatsoever as to what I'm going to dio no have I charged my flash batteries up and made sure that my ice lights ready to go? Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, no, no, idiot. I'm gonna walk in there with all the tools that I have, but if I start thinking, ok, so I'm at the union league and then I guess I could go out on broad street and I could shoot this way. And if the building's lit up, I could do this then I'm going in there with a plan that I'm not thinking on my feet, so I like to torment myself. Yes, sir, but it seems like you mentioned that you are so you shot her sister before. It seems like what you're really excited about if I'm not mistaken, is that, you know, you made amazing images with their sister, and you know that they've already let you in. So you've already got that connection. I mean, they let me in, sort of, but in the wedding that I shot before cape is the bride. Now thine is the bride it's, a completely different story, and whether it's, you know, a family that I've worked with ten times or people that I'm working with for the first time, sure, do you have the added comfort of knowing them a little bit? Absolutely you do but I can go in there, and I can do this if I just met them for the very first time on the wedding day, I still don't have any preconceived notion of how the day itself is going to go. Kate could have been the most wonderful, warm, inviting fantastic person, and I show up at tina's wedding and she is like a nightmare. I mean, that's not gonna happen to you, sweetheart, but one sister's, not the other sister. So sometimes it's even worse to think that you know what you're walking into and to find out that you don't. Whether the winnings are vory chronological events, and I feel like from from telling a story, do you always stick to that chronological storytelling when you're when you build your albums? Or are you trying to find inner stories within stories? No, generally, when I'm putting an album together, I'm working chronologically, and if you do come back in the day that we talk about albums and post sales and actually designing the album album, you'll see the actual select from one of my clients and how we put an album together. So I'm in a file that different than some photographers I'm not shooting the day for the album. Ah lot of people will go out and they'll be like okay, I need to make sure I get this and you make sure I get this because these things are going to need to go in the album I don't think that way I just shoot the day the album will come organically out of the pictures I'm not working towards a final mystical product that I haven't even designed yet and I will know that that said when I take all of the images from a wedding day and I start calling them right my very last step before I renamed them as I do any re sorting if I have to like if I shot some details in the bride's room at the very beginning and then I came back and I shot a couple more details later I'll take those details you put them all together at the beginning of the day or if I shot the bride getting ready and then I went to the groom for a few minutes then I came back to the bride I'm going to take the groom and put him in his own segment and get all of the bride stuff together so I'll do a little little reorganizing but I'm not thinking about the chronological aspect of like the album when I'm shooting the day cool we're good to move so so I double exposures for just a wee brief it now for those of you who do purchase the course, you will get the quick sheet that comes with it that talks about exactly how I do double exposures, and if you want to buy my think book, go to town, I would love for you to have it. It is a fantastic manual, it will teach you how to do a double exposure. I'm also gonna teach you how to do a double exposure right now because I don't ever want to be the photographer that says, I'm not going to teach you anything unless you buy my stuff do I have stuff? I have stuff it's awesome, and if you buy it, will it help you yet it will, but I'm not gonna hold my secrets back and be like, well, I'll tell you ninety five percent for the other five percent you have to buy my book because I just can't roll like that at all. I do all of my double exposures in camera because I really don't believe in making anything fake in post and with the three of us with the d for there literally is a multiple exposure setting where you go in, you say I want to shoot ah, multiple exposure, yes, and how many frames where I want this tack right on top of each other, I want to do too I don't know krypton I don't want to go crazy I'm not gonna put like twelve right on top of each other I just want to do too so in this instance when I'm looking to do a double exposure, my first shot is always going to be of the couple. So in this instance, sandra and michael, I've done a very strong silhouette of them against the sky. Now I know when I photographed the silhouette when I move on to choose my second image to layer on top of it, I know that the dark areas of my original frame the silhouette, the actual black spaces where their bodies are that's going to be filled in with whatever else I shoot as my second image. The bright areas where their faces are not are not so if it's dark, you're going tohave texture on top of it if it's bright, you're not. So when I'm shooting my second frame, which is the thing I'm goingto layer on top of it, I'm looking for something with an interesting texture on when I was putting together this double exposure is being very careful and you have to remember okay, I shot this scene sandra and michael are in the left side ok? So mentally they're here when I shoot this again, I wanted to look like the tree is growing up through their bodies so I have to make sure that in the second frame I shoot the tree trunk and the tree branches in exactly the spot that I want them to go because then my camera's going toe layer them together, so I do my double exposures in camera, I don't do them in post later, I don't know how to I don't want to. So here, when I photographed the two of them together, I deliberately looked for a background that had texture and that had light, it had an interesting graphical element, so I knew that when I laid it right on top of the silhouette that I shot beforehand, I wanted one of those branches with the lights on it to snake through their faces and do I try this? And sometimes does it not work? Of course, sometimes it doesn't work, I'm not magic, you know, I'll try it, and it doesn't work and a lot of things I have to explain to my clients that this is what I'm doing guys, I'm doing a double exposures to take a picture of you and then take a picture of something completely bizarre, but don't worry, I haven't lost my mind, I'm not just taking pictures of the hills, I'm actually doing this for a purpose, so, you know, just bear with me it's gonna be really cool. So I frame up the bride and groom and I shoot them I've already figured out what else I'm going to shoot, and then I turn and shoot that and the camera puts it together for me same thing here sometimes you know, I'm shooting this image the on ly thing that separating the clients from the rest of the scene is the light. So emily and ian here I've made basically a silhouette of them against a dark background. The light around their faces is so strong I brought my exposure compensation down about two stops so that what you're really only seeing in frame number one is darkness and then the light outlining their bodies. So I know that because most of it is going to be dark when I then shoot my next frame, which is the beautiful trees in the background, the on ly thing that's really going to define emily and ian in the frame is the light around their faces, the exact same thing the way I tend to do my double exposures tends to be very similar time and time again, where the first thing I'm going to try to do is create a silhouette of my clients and the silhouette on lee works at the exposure difference between your clients in the background is so strong that by the time you bring your exposure down on your clients to make them the dark part of the silhouette that you still have enough exposure difference in the background to separate the two so my first images a very true strong silhouette of my clients and the second image is something else that's going to support the storytelling of the day? I'm not just going to shoot something weird to shoot something weird, so sometimes the thing I'm going to lay over them is going to be the lace of her veil. Sometimes the second frame that I'm going to click for jennifer and todd was the ocean outside. We were up where their reception space was it was a beautiful, glass walled lovely venue. I was able to get a silhouette of the two of them and then I went right to the window and shot out the window towards the ocean one and then two the image on the right we were up on a hotel balcony, so I was able to make a silhouette of them against the sky and then shoot down into the manhattan skyline. I'm not just doing these double exposures to make something weird. I'm trying to further my story and I'm trying to give it a sense of time and place have any questions at all about double exposures I know that's a little bit of ah little bit of a weird one to do in camera because so many people do it in post but I don't really like to do it in post or rather just do it there are a handful questions about specifically I know we talked about equipment yesterday but you're a nikon shooter is this what you mean by my camera doesn't form a year there's actually a function of your camera that's allowing you to do that yes way love that you talked about how you expose differently for each shot because there was a lot of questions about that yes it's you're literally looking at the same scene in two different ways and you're trying to get at two different images to put them together so obviously you'll be approaching them exposure wise in different ways perfect great thank you you're welcome so we're really going to bring this whole thing home by talking about it moments and I like to and I teach save moments for you know kind of when I'm tired because I get a little bit more emotional but this is this thirty days has been kind of a massive ride for me and what it really comes down to what it really boils down to is I could be the most clever photographer in the entire world but it's nothing if my clients don't let me in and I confined mirrored ottomans and this and that and the other and these strange weird things over and over and over again but if I don't have a moment with my clients then all those things don't come together and it's the elusive moment that keeps me going back wedding after wedding after wedding you know when you're trying to set up a portrait of the bride and her bridesmaids right? We've got everything going here and I've stripped the ex if data off of these because what are my settings? Who cares? It doesn't matter it really doesn't matter because when it comes to this point I'm not thinking settings I'm not thinking linds I'm not thinking anything technical at all other than oh god, I'm so honored to be here to see this so you know if we are going to talk technical did I make a great decision with my lighting? Of course I did and did I use the right lens for the tool? Of course I did what is it? I don't know um I at one eight two eight four eleven I don't know I wasn't thinking about that I was thinking about the moment so when you think about your vision when you've established your creativity when you're working on strengthening your eye and you bring to that in a nate technical understanding of your gear you put all of those things together and then you stop thinking and start looking so you're able to witness a moment when I put marshall with her bridesmaids and I said guys just get really close to her they started goofing around with her oh, let me see your ring oh ha ha ha ha! Let me floop your veil and then it was like we're acting goofy for the camera and then it was just we're being goofy because we're girlfriends and we love each other and did I tell them to do this knew I did not I just let it go I was actually setting up a portrait like I was actually going toe have them smile directly at the camera but then these moments started evolving and I just stopped moving entirely I was sitting on the ground I didn't want to call any attention to myself because the second I call attention to myself they're like oh my gosh that's right we were taking a portrait guys, guys, guys, stop look at susan I don't want them to do that so I tried to make myself a small as possible and let the moment happen independently of me same thing here she's getting ready I didn't say okay bridesmaid now reach out and pretend like you're grabbing her chest well that's not that's not what I'm going for here at all I the moment is happening in front of me and I'm just there witnessing it what lindsay my using I don't know it doesn't matter really know lynn selection or technical knowhow or correct exposure is going to make a bride's father cry when he sees his daughter you know, I couldn't have made this. I came and looked at it, I couldn't have made this happen even if I wanted to, I just had to be there and I had to be ready, and I'm sure you'll kick a puppy when I'm done to rewrite the balance in the world. But if my heart wasn't open for seeing that, I wouldn't have seen it. And this is the light good guess. Is the background good? Yes. Um I technically competent. Yes. Have I done all of those things? So when a natural moment occurs in front of me, I could be there for it. Yes, and like so all the gear in the world all the expensive crap that you, carrie to a wedding, it doesn't mean anything if people don't give you a moment and when it comes to moments it's not enough to just see the moment you have to see the moment and you have to follow the moment all the way through. So you have veronica and her father and he's standing with her before the wedding and he's saying a prayer over his daughter and he's blessing his daughter. And if I took this picture the second before he touched her on the face and then turned around and win, I got it, I'm awesome! I would've missed this the moment right after that is powerful, too, so it's action and reaction we've talked about that already. You need to stay with this, otherwise you'll nail a moment. You'll start patting yourself on your back and you'll miss that all of these incredible things are continuing to happen around you and this I'm shooting her wedding this august bride's parents, bride's sister, brides, grandfather during the ceremony kwai the negative space why not? Who cares? Doesn't matter. All of that pales in the face of what's happening in front of me and now that's, not an excuse that's not to say, well, this moment was so awesome, so the technical stuff doesn't matter know the technical stuff matters and absolute lot the technical stuff should be so perfect that thinking about it is secondary to the moment, and then you just start looking. You just start watching what's happening around you the second during the coup tuba signing, when they stop staring at everything that they're doing and they remember that they're actually here to get married and they take a second and they look at each other that's pretty powerful or the moment during the tissue on the deck and in the tuba signing and all of the religious aspects that go into the beautiful moments before a jewish wedding ceremony. And all the groom wanted to do was put a veil on put the veil on let's go put the veil on let's go come on, crows let's go a rabbi was like, dude, chill like give it a second we're going to get there and the groom is like I am ready right now I mean, I can't I couldn't have made that happen and there was a whole trend going around for a long time and it still is right now about what my friends and I call photojournalism f a u x toe journalism where it's like photo journalism of the most egregiously awful kind where they set up a scene toe look like it was fake and that will never, ever, ever be as real as a moment that's actually real the bride in her parents right before they went down the aisle and I got a letter from the bride's father a while later that said that for a very long time the bride's mother had been ill and they didn't know if she was even going to make it to that day. But not only did she make it to that day she's healthy and she's happy and she's fine, but knowing that story puts that into context for me but not knowing that story that's still an incredibly powerful photograph the second before they went down the aisle and if anybody cries that is of the gentlemanly type I'm just lost groom dad granddad, I don't care so if you make it a guy and he's also older and he's adorable and he cries if you think I'm not gonna cry I'm not that dead inside you guys like I've got a little bit left seriously you're oh god I've already lost somebody in the audience I saw about forty slides to go the bride in her grandmother this bride is the sister of my ex boyfriend from college I love those people they're awesome so it was, you know, definitely an honor to be there it's always an honor to shoot for somebody who knows you in some way portrait of the bride and groom after the ceremony we compose it all day long but it's those moments that happen in between posing that's what I really want I don't care about all these fashion based portrait I don't need christine and michael to be swan ing around in the fields this is genuine and I know these people I photographed there, son I've been in their home and this is before any of that even happened when they look back at this I don't want them to look at this picture and be like and that's when susan made me kiss your hand I want them to look back at this picture and be like that was an amazing moment. I I don't even remember that happening. What's happening here is they had a memory table for everyone at the reception. All of the family and friends that were no longer with them. They had portrait ce and they were putting them out on the table and they were organizing them. This is the bride's father, the bride's mother, the bride and the groom. The bride's father is a wedding photographer. It is an honor to photograph another wedding photographers wedding. How big of an honor do you think it is to photograph the child of a wedding photographer that's like a double honor that's. I was scared all day long, but if jerry is watching, I was cool all day long and I felt no fear again using storytelling to further your image. I didn't say leah, you're putting your lipstick on now purse your lips and look super cute. And brian over there in the background looks scared out of your mind and people in the picture, you know, do your rabbi thing in the picture and look on. I didn't do that. It was happening and I had the technical skill to be there and to document it and to be ready for it like this. And like that hey allison when your maid of honor toe shoe can you point at her and look real happy? I didn't give her that direction I was just there and I was waiting for it to go down in front of me the second the groom sends the bride a gift on the wedding day and not only did she not see it coming but it totally blew her away this is the bride and her mother I love these people these people let me and from day one it is a joy to continue to know these people I'm going back to kentucky to photograph the groom of this wedding this is the bride her father the groom's sister is getting married next year and I'm going back to work with them it's an honor to be re invited back into a family's lives again and it is all about the moments there is nothing left without moments there just simply isn't these are awesome. Thank you so much for showing this because I have tons of friends who have been married, of course and and when they when I talked to them about their wedding photography, they said, you know, it's never around and these air photographs that I'm seeing that air on people's walls that they're taking and it's not the group shots it's not that it's stuff that they're going remember forever so I really appreciate you taking the time to show us these kind of moments and how you approach your particular aspect of photo journalism for weddings. Yeah, I mean, without the moments, what have you got? You got a bunch of style I stylized portrait's and some pictures of rings you know, these people right here. This is just an example of how one wedding client can become more than a wedding client. They can kind of transform your life. Any of you who might be on the creative live audience. These air created live instructors melanie and devin duncan. They teach business. Melanie teaches marketing. I'd we shot their wedding before creative lives even existed. Since then I photograph devon sister's wedding and I've done portrait's for the two of them I've done lifestyle shoots for their business, we work together in a small capacity. Now we're all teachers for creative life. Thes people continue to enrich my life in a way that I had no way of knowing so it's not always about what you give to people it's what your clients also give back to you that's kind of excellent and how they opened up their lives and they let you in like that's a it's a brave thing toe weep in front of someone that you don't know and to witness someone's joy that's pretty extraordinary there in her dad, like she's literally like that all the time, so she's a completely unfair example, but then you have things like the very stoic broom groom and the very stoic bride, and what they're doing here is they're watching a video that the groom's grand parents made they were unable to be at the wedding, they were a little old, they were a little infirm, but this was the first of their grandchildren's weddings that they hadn't been able to be, too be at whatever's look at the picture on dh they recorded a video for him, and they played the video, and when I say there was not a dry eye in the house, waiters me, d j we were all waterworks, it was lovely and the fact that I was able to approach them, be it with a long lens, the fact that I was able to be there for it and they let me witness it, all of the technical stuff that we've talked about all just becomes white noise in the background, the moment at the end of the ceremony, with the groom and his mother or the bride sitting down with her grandmother during the reception and just having a talk or the bride in her sister or the bride in her dad are those to brief seconds before the groom comes up during a first look and touches the bride on the shoulder and she knows he's there before he's even touched her if all first looks were like this I would do first looks all day every single day the second at the top of the altar when the bride's dad gives her away and gives her kiss the bride and the bridesmaids praying before the wedding where is this I don't know what lends my using I don't care it doesn't matter I think I mean a hilton her robe says hilton does it matter? It doesn't matter where my who cares? I'm at the lake house in and percocet pennsylvania if you really care but this could happen anywhere you have to have your eyes open for it like so and again like so being let into people's lives this is why I go to weddings it's not like talk about the gear that I'm using and it's not so that I can like you know be all fancy and be really creative and make these weird pictures where I shoot through thirty two windows and six wine glasses it's to be there when the people open up their hearts and let you in to their day and this is what gets me going like this is what gets me out of bed on a saturday morning is seeing all of these moments and all of these people who have let me be there with them and that's. I mean, this is an extraordinary honor from the touching and the amazing to the completely ridiculous and all the way through to the very end. So I feel like what better thing to wrap up an entire segment about vision and creativity? But the moments when you put your vision and creativity and everything that you know about gear to the test and you just go do it and then it all comes together and they let you in and it's magical. So now that you all are crying, I came to look at you people. I've saved a good ten minutes at the very end for anything that I can possibly in any way answer about vision, about creativity, about seeing about establishing what can I help you with? We're having all of you out there on the internet, some internet tissues, wet eyes around the world right now, these were just beautiful. I just want to comment and think of the air jim's comments that it just stunning imagery. Um, adam tree films asked. I love the focus on moments you have any advice and helping couples kind of remained in the moment and really focus our attention on each other? No, no. Because the second I step in and I say a single thing to them, that I'm meddling in the moment, thie on lee thing that I'll ever say is if, like let's, say they're interacting and they're interacting and they're interacting and then they keep kind of turning and looking at me, I'll say guys don't have to look at me, look at me, and then they're like, okay, we're good, but other than that, I don't set it up, I don't make it happen, and I do don't say a word once it gets started, and I really appreciate that, too. I love to the term photo photo journalism because of router words for it, but that is the most family friendly, friendly and internet appropriate word for it. But yes, photojournalism, yes, awful as you're approaching all this work that you do in these moments and when you walk in in the morning and you're calm, are you are you do ng forward thinking for your creativity or it's it's all just you're letting it all bring to come to you and in that moment yes, because the second I start thinking ahead, I'm not thinking about what's happening in front of me at all in any way, and the second I start pre planning or trying to plan ahead. Then I'm not in the moment at all it's like if you're if you're in a play, if you're thinking about how act three is going to end, you're not playing act one correctly took me three days, but I got a theater reference in there. Do you ever feel like you step back from? Even if it's a beautiful, perfect moment, the shutter would disrupt that or you take a step back now? Just keep shooting that's another reason? A lot of times we'll put my camera on quiet mode, and while it's not dead silent, we're gonna talk about it a lot in the days that I'm shooting you here, the shutter clicking, you're like, why does that sound really weird? It's? Because I go to quiet mode, it just kind of dampens down the sound of the shutter, but I'm not gonna be like this moment is so beautiful if I click the shutter, I'm gonna ruin it if I don't click the shutter, we don't have a record of it, so

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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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