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Wedding Ceremony Examples

Lesson 43 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

Wedding Ceremony Examples

Lesson 43 from: 30 Days of Wedding Photography

Susan Stripling

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Lesson Info

43. Wedding Ceremony Examples


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

Wedding Ceremony Examples

So now that we have blair and jeremy married and you've seen their ceremony and you've seen exactly how I covered it and exactly how I went down let's talk a little bit more about that wedding and then other weddings that are in different situations. As we talked about yesterday when covering the family formals oven event, we've talked about the fact that family formals can be inside, they could be outside, they could be with light, they could be without light and ceremonies there just the same actually accept harder. You have indoors, you have outdoors, you have good light, you have bad light, you have ceremonies with thirty two different quite balances. You have ceremonies where the lighting designer has done something amazing visually, but created an absolute lighting nightmare for you up under the hoop are up on the altar and let's talk about some of those spaces and let's talk about what we can dio as photographers to document them accurately in a lot of circumstances, before the ...

ceremony actually happens, I'm going to try to get into the ceremony space and take a picture of the room with no one in it. We did that for our wedding because we're maybe a little different than most my husband showed up to his own wedding with his own camera. And proceeded to document our ceremony space before the ceremony actually happened, which, you know, I don't advise that brides and grooms do that unless there may be a little crazy like we are, but it is a wonderful thing to see your space set up before anyone has even set foot in it. The first time I saw our ceremony spaces, when I walked down the aisle, I never got a chance to see it with no one in the chairs and with no one in the space and with the lights all up, so it was a really wonderful treasure toe have that picture of this space itself, and I try to give that to my clients as well as you can see you've got two people already sitting here in the ceremony space that was the best I could do. I couldn't get in there any earlier, and a lot of the times when I am photographing the ceremony space without anyone in it, I am going to use my twenty four to seventy millimeter I'm looking for something a little more wide angle in this instance, I'm shooting it nice and easy at two point eight and focusing on the arch up on the altar area up there, and then I'm letting the arch that they walked through for the processional and recessional simply be a graphic element in the foreground I could have shot this in f sixteen I could have brought in a tripod and shot it it f twenty two but I shot it two point eight for a very deliberate effect. Now let's, play a fun game where we count how many different why balances air happening here? This is the sort of situation that tends to make my post processing team cry just a little bit it and also makes me extraordinarily joyous that I send out my images for post processing so I don't have to handle this sort of scenario myself. You have the lights on the ceiling, you have some lights coming off camera right over here from the window. You have the icicles that are hanging in the hope that you have the sconces that are on the walls. Now you have candles that are on the ground and then you have this arch kind of a nightmare. So sometimes when I send a wedding off for post processing, jennifer or john from sidecar post will get back in touch with me and say this ceremony, what color was it? Because based on how they're color correcting, it could be blue. It could be purple, it could be pink. It could be amber so I try to definitely make a note and remember what color the up lights were so that when we are adjusting the color later we're adjusting it accurately so that it looks exactly what it's like to be in the room. This is an instance where in I am going to be shooting on auto white balance because it justice so crazy in there I need just a nice, simple auto balance. I'm back overto aperture priority here one hundred and sixty eighth of a second two point eight thirty five millimeters eso thirty, two hundred very comfortable with s o thirty two hundred even on the d three us it's an extraordinary camera performs incredibly well at low light and thirty two hundred looks insane. This is one of my absolute favorite locations ever. The bowery hotel in new york again I'm on auto white balance and the reason why here I talked to before in segments prior to this that when I have light coming in through a window, a lot of times I will use cloudy quite balanced to warm up the space. However, we not only have to deal with the light coming in through the window, we have to deal with the sconces on the wall and this incredibly amber looking chandelier hanging down from the ceiling. I will go with auto white balance and I will remember later hey guys, there was light coming in through the window and that light on the ceiling was orange it gives them a point of reference if you're processing your own images you know what it was like to be in that room but I'm not processing my own images for post production, which we'll get to see later jennifer is coming to join us for the work clothes section, which is awesome but I have to let them know otherwise they won't know exactly which color balance were aiming for in a room especially when it's lit lit with my personal nightmare which is led lights which you're going to see really really, really soon so I apologize about that so let's talk about the ceremony itself you've gotten a chance to get into the room you photograph the room or the ceremony space or the church or the outdoor location bore for anybody else has shown up now how do you handle the actual processional and recessional itself? Now there are two ways to do it you can either photograph the processional and let's start with that first with flash or without flash sometimes that decision is actually taken away from me sometimes the church or the synagogue or the location that I'm at has very strict rules where they say no flash photography at all sometimes they're less strict and they say no flash photography but you can use it when they're coming in and when they're going out well, I mean that's that's okay but I don't really like the look of flash on camera for a professional professional or recessional I think it looks a little flat, but when you have an instance like this where you have pews and you have people standing up, there isn't a great place for me to put my assistant with an off camera flash sometimes we get really lucky if you saw me on creative live a few months ago you saw me shoot a processional with an off camera flash, which I will do if I can, but I won't do if it's intrusive I won't do if it's going to mean that sandra has to stand in front of or block somebody and I won't do it if I can manage to do it without ah flash, even if I can. So the lens of choice that I'm going to use for a processional will really depend on the amount of space that I have to work in. Some churches like this one here have a very short aisle, and even though I would like to shoot my processional with my seventy two, two hundred at two hundred, I can't I'm going to shoot it as long as I can sometimes it's not as long as I'd like in this instance at olivia's wedding, I was able to get to seventy millimeters and if you will take a look, this is actually a eso ten thousand a two hundredths of a second trying to keep my shutter speed up because they were walking pretty fast. Three point two so I've got at least a fighting chance of getting them all in focus and then seventy millimeters I do not use continuous for my focusing mode. I am a single shot and recompose shooter on what I'll do in a situation like this is I will take my focal point and use it to track the bride's face so I'll actually move it up so that it's towards the top of the frame and I'm continually re focusing on her face. Focus fire, focus fire over and over again until she reaches the end of the aisle. Same thing here. Very easy. Seventy millimeters the lightest fine. Yes, I met aya so ten thousand, but with a little noise reduction in light room later it looks perfectly a okay. We did have been nice to have an off camera flash. Of course it would. Was there any place to put that off camera flash that didn't involve my assistant standing in front of the groom or the bride's mother or the groom's mother? No, there wasn't, so I will sacrifice the better photograph for the experience of the clients during a ceremony. I don't care how miraculous and how grand award winning that photograph of that bride coming down the aisle would be with an off camera flash. If that means that my assistant had to stand in front of her mom to do it. It's not worth it. Not at all. This is a little bit more of my ideal you, khun cm shooting my seventy two, two hundred and two hundred. You can see what that beautiful compression does. When you look at the pews to the left side of the frame. I met a hundredth of a second, which is a little bit slow for moving people using a seventy two, two hundred and two hundred. But I was more content firing off a couple of frames one right after the other and getting one of them and focus. Then I would have been with with changing anything that with any of my other settings. So I knew that at a hundredth of a second, if I took two or three frames in a row, I would be able to get one of the ring bearer, our sign bearer here, coming down the aisle. Sometimes I just try to see the scene in a different way. We can get so caught up in the technical aspects of shooting these things and oh my gosh, they're coming down the aisle and now it's happening really fast and everything is happening, and I don't know what to do in oh, my gosh, that we forget to take a second and be creative, and in this instance, the bride is about to come down the aisle. I see a slight reflection of her and her father in the floor, and I take a split second drop down really low and composed the image in a slightly different way. This gives me those leading lines that take you right into the bride and her father and just gives you a slightly different vantage point of what's about to happen. Settings at the bottom one hundred sixtieth of a second, two point eight seventy millimeter the aisles just simply not that long. And when she and her father did start to come down the aisle, I did raise myself up and shoot more directly into them the way I would every standard processional. But I saw a chance I had a moment to shoot something a little bit different, and I took it. Ten years ago I wouldn't have been able to do this because I wouldn't have been able to think about the technical changes quick enough to make that happen but as you practice this and as you keep at it and you keep doing it you'll be freed up from thinking about the technical stuff so much the technical stuff will start to become second nature and you'll just be able to see and shoot this is you know getting kind of dark in here seventy millimeters f two point eight which is lows as low as I can go on my twenty four to seventy and eighty eighth of a second with no flash which is a little bit risky and I s o ten thousand there was nowhere to put my assistant the chairs on either side of the island flat flush to the wall and at the end of the aisle where the groom was standing waiting there was no room to put anybody so sometimes you just have to do the best you khun d'oh it's not all one hundred twenty millimeters and f four at s o one hundred with the sun coming down and absolutely the perfect direction for a ceremony sometimes it's holding your breath and praying because this is a situation that you don't have any control over and all you can do is take all of the technical knowledge that you have and use it to your best advantage when the bride is coming down the aisle I like to take a second and shoot the groom's reaction even if he's seen her before even if they've done a first look even if they seen each other for two hours before the ceremony. It's still a really lovely thing when the groom sees the bride for the first time I have my husband's reaction to me coming down the aisle both on film digital but you know what I mean and on video and it's it's precious to me so I feel like getting married myself really gave me a new appreciation for how my clients feel about their imagery and kind of a deeper understanding of how to photograph them. I always try to make sure and turn around and shoot the groom the way I'm positioned during the processional if the groom is if you're standing here and you're looking down the aisle and you're waiting for the bride to come down the bride's mother is here the groom's parents are over here the groom is over here next to his parents I'm going to go about two pews or two rows back and crouch down on the bride's mom's side of things I'm not going to stand up I'm not going to get in the bride's mom's way I shoot from a crouch and the second I see the bride appear the end of the aisle it's a one two and people ask why I don't have a second shooter? I've never worked with the second shooter I don't need someone to photograph the groom's reaction at the same time that I'm photographing the bride because it is just a simple as bridon dad clique coral around groom click come back around to bride and dad click I can do it myself that is nothing against photographers who work in a two photographer team. I have seen beautiful, beautiful work come out of primary and secondary shooter teams, but I feel like I'm doing really wonderful work on my own I don't see any need to add another shooter to the mix so again for hundreds of a second for two hundred millimeters son in exactly where I want it to be, you don't always get the son to be exactly where you want it to be, but when you do it is quite a gift and I continue to follow them down the aisle. When the bride passes me from my vantage point of two to three pews back, I immediately stand up and scoot down the aisle. My goal is so that I can do what I've done here, which is shoot at two hundred millimeters whatever happens when she reaches the end of the aisle, usually she kisses her dad who's walked her down the aisle, sometimes her mom has walked her down the aisle you see, julie here was walked down by her mom and her dad, and you have a really wonderful moment where she kisses her father, her husband, gary, kisses her mother and you have there officiant, praying in the background. If you're just getting up in your wandering to the back and you're waiting for the ceremony to start, you're gonna miss these really wonderful moments such as this that happened when the bride reaches the end of the altar are the end of the aisle, and I'm going to stay with them. So it's very quick, the second she passes need the second that veil in that train or clear of me, I am up and I am down, I'm okay with standing up, I'm okay with moving standing up in the middle of the ceremony because everybody else is still standing up because the bride is still coming down the aisle, so I feel like I'm less obtrusive in that sort of scenario because the rest of the wedding guests are still standing up and you need to stay with the moment and stay with them as they develop. Maybe it isn't just jessica kissing her father at the end of the aisle, maybe it's the second that jessica's father shakes the hand of her husband to be. And if you were kind of patting yourself on the back going I've got a great shot of jessica and her dad now I'm gonna go to the back for the rest of the ceremony you might have missed the moment that unfolded right after it, so stay with it leaving professionals who he I love them we go to talk about recession als I treat recession als in the exact same way that I treat professionals except that recessional zehr generally easier to popping off camera flash if that is something that you want to do ah lot of times I don't need to do it sometimes you're blessed with an outdoor ceremony where you can shoot in the natural light I'm shooting at twenty nine millimeters here there were a lot of wedding guests that we're still standing behind me and my only option was to shoot wide so I did twenty four millimeters one hundredth of a second could I have put sandra in there and had her papa lighter papa flash or do something like that? Of course I could would it have improved the picture enough to go through all of the effort? I don't want you to think that I'm not putting a flash on a processional or recessional because I'm lazy ah lot of times I'm not doing that because I also don't want the processional and recessional toe look vastly different from the rest of the ceremony if I have photographed jessica and paul's ceremony here and I photographed all of it with the available light that's in the room and then all of a sudden they're coming back down the aisle for their recessional and their recessional picture is flash lit and everything looks really different there's a disconnect between what happened in the ceremony and what's happening now same thing with the processional I don't want it to be flash flash flash crappy crappy room lights flash flash, flash it's going to look like three different events and I want the continuity toe flow through the entire time and if they're coming back down the aisle I want to know things I want to know are they throwing petals I want to know are they blowing bubbles? I want to know what's happening and I want to stay with the moment so that you get the second that somebody pegs the pedals that somebody over handed and you get a great reaction here the way that we did from ryan or even above and beyond that once they've cleared the bird seed in the lavender that's being thrown at them once ashley and that get to the end of the aisle that really nice moment where they interact kind of they've got a moment together a little bit as they're coming towards us so stick with the processional stick with them is they keep coming down them down the aisle towards you and as we talked about the processional, how we talked about how I move that focal point up so that there is one right on their faces at all points in time, I'm doing the exact same thing when they're coming back down the aisle, same thing just coming instead of going very, very, very easy, also holding with them at the second before the they come back down the aisle at second where the groom goes, oh my gosh and the bride thrusts her bouquet in the air and looks so kind of happy and victorious and there is my friend, the videographer, right up there in the front, nothing I can do about him but a holding with it and waiting for the moment and giving yourself the time to read the scene. If the second the bride and groom kiss you immediately jump up, run to the back of the space and get ready to shoot the recessional, then you might miss a moment like that. So as the years go by as I get better at it as I get more in tune with the moments that are happening, I can see that they've kissed I kind of have a good idea that something might happen, okay, she puts the bouquet in the aisle and then I get up and I start walking backwards. If any of you have seen that terrible youtube video where the photographer is backing out of the church during the recession, a leaning ends up in a fountain. I have a terrible fear that that's going to be me, so if I'm going to go out to the island, I'm going to back pedal backwards. My assistant is going to actually stand behind me and walk with me to make sure that I'm not gonna wound myself because of all of the crazy things that have happened to us at weddings, breaking a bone and falling into a fountain is not any of them, and I don't want to start with that at any point in time, so let's, just not do that so again, stay with them. Watch what's happening. Watch the moments that are unfolding watched the second that the bride sees somebody in the congregation that she knows and throws up a hand every once in a while you get a groom that gives somebody a high five when they come back down, you have these great moments where they're not looking out at the people in the audience, they're there there with each other. We are looking at peter's reaction less than two minutes after they became husband and wife. And for those of you who are continuing to follow the ex, if data down at the bottom of a lot of these images, you're able to tell that what I'm talking about settings wise remains consistent. Whether it's the twenty four to seventy, whether it's the seventy two, two hundred, I'm working on same principles of exposure over and over and over again, even if you were inside in this situation, I had to pop a flash. This was a last minute bring the ceremony inside because it's raining outside situation and it was so dark in there that there was nothing that I could do, so when they did, it turned to come back down the aisle, I had to break my I don't like to use the flash rule, and again, we stop for a second. I'm not using the flash a lot of times because I don't want to it's not because I don't know how it's not because I'm a natural light shooter, it's, because I'm trying to have continuity from the processional to the ceremony and the recessional, but I will break that rule if I absolutely desperately half too you can see I'm shooting at twenty four millimeters, I'm really close to them, we don't have a whole lot of room. And without flash I wouldn't have been able to freeze the movement in the way that I did hear they're throwing this lavender they're throwing these pedals I didn't want it to be blurry so I opted for a nice simple on camera flash pop and there's nothing wrong with that you've got to do what you've got to dio but again stick with it stick with it even when someone leans in the aisle with their iphone stick with it even when someone puts they're flash on their camera and makes those little red dots on your client's face keep on moving I can't go down the aisle and I can't tell people to move if someone leans out at the last minute and shoves there cell phone into the aisle and I missed the kiss because they stepped in front of me then I missed the kiss and if the bride and groom say hey we noticed there wasn't a picture of the kiss I say you know what? There was somebody right next to me and at the last minute before you kissed he stepped right in front of me I did the best I could to get around him. The good news is you do have a picture of your kiss the bad news is it's not from me that's not my fault I'm doing the best I can it is not my responsibility to tell my clients to having unplugged ceremony I think it unplug ceremony is great I think it's a great idea I think that it's wonderful when people put their cameras down and are present in the moment and stop frantically documenting things and putting them online before they're even over it burns me toe look at a ceremony and to see someone take a picture and then immediately put their head down and start instagramming it because they're missing the actual moment that's happening in front of them choir we needing to relive this on social media something that hasn't even finished yet you're right there shows some respect that said I completely understand why people do it ideo I understand they want to take photographs they read an event it means something to them they want to document it it's not my job to tell them to stop if someone starts leaning in the aisle in front of me I will either try to adjust myself if I see it coming or I might kind of do like that to them but if they don't move I don't want to be the photographer that shoved your aunt shirley back into her pew during the ceremony I would rather readjust myself and find a different way to get about it again I love recession als I love the looks on people's faces right after they've been married you can continue to follow my settings down at the bottom if that's what makes you happy but even above and beyond the bride and groom leaving the ceremony I'll wait for a minute I'll follow them for a few minutes and then I'll come back and I'll see what's going on and you might catch a really nice moment like this of the ring bearer who kept picking up the petals and tossing them into the air and then as you chase after the bride and groom and follow them where they're going you might get a really wonderful moment like what happened at theresa's wedding here where they came out of the front of the church they were clearing around to the side the church lady was bringing them around to the back to hide them away before the family formals and they paused for just a second and had an incredible incredible interaction between the two of them and I was there to document that now if you'll see one hundred forty eight hundred seventy five millimeters I was shooting long the reason why I was shooting long is because I wanted to make it look like that church and the people that were coming out of the church were close to the bride and groom I wanted to make it feel more intimate so that was the point of the long lens and the compression in this instance now let's talk about during the ceremony and let's talk about difficult light there's nothing I can do about this this I can't fix I cannot show up at your church and set up strobes I cannot show up at your church and put up sixty two video lights to change the look of the space I cannot have the team from the bachelor wedding coming and professionally light this for film and television much as I wish I could this is their church this is what I deal with I'm not going to use a flash during your ceremony I'm going to do the best I can I understand that if you have can lights in your church, the shadows on your neck and chest are goingto look like this there's nothing you can do about that and they don't mind it is what it is when she looks at this photograph she's not going to see the shadows on her neck she's going to see the way that she looks at her new husband that is not an excuse for bad photography you cannot carry that over into other aspects of the day and say, oh well, the moment was there and that's what really matters no, you need to be technically proficient as best you can all day long but in a situation like this when the light is like this and I can't pop a flash and I can't bring a video light, all you could do is all you khun d'oh what am I going to do with this right thirty two different white balances sun coming in from one side this is sanders shot in the back. You can actually see me over there smashed against the window because I got stuck there, but all you can do is the best you khun dio when you're in a church and the light is difficult, all you can do is the best you khun dio I am exposing my images correctly. I am shooting with the correct lens and I'm shooting for a moosh ocean, which is all you can do in a ceremony with difficult light church was really difficult, kind of hard to deal with the lighting, but I was able to make a really incredible image of the bride and her father before they came down the aisle by using that bad light to my advantage. But sometimes it looks like this. Sometimes it looks like that sometimes they're very well meaning, and they bring in lighting and it's lit for the aesthetic appeal, but it isn't lit all that well for the clients when they actually stand under the hood. But how many times have you shot a jewish wedding with flowers on the hookah and some professional lighting coming down that goes through the flowers and cast a shadow of a thousand tulips on your client's faces that's also good there's? Nothing you can do about that don't cry about it don't line about it if you can't fix it, deal with it and move on shoot for the emotion shoot is technically proficient as you can get through it and get going. Sometimes you get a chance to turn the light that's difficult into your advantage if you see your clients in a difficult situation, but you notice that when they turn their head in a certain way, the light hits them just right by all means go for it as you see here, be observant if you go to a ceremony and all you're looking for is professional bridesmaid, bridesmaid, groomsman, groomsmen, bride and dad bride kisses dad, dad sits down vows, vows speech, speech homily rings okay, we're out of here! You're going to miss the amazing things that happen during a ceremony. If you're not looking, you're going to miss the flower girl who's sitting in the world's most perfect patch of light while she's waiting to be corralled tow walk down the aisle and you'll miss it when she stands up and twirls around and starts playing with her dress. And if you're not paying attention, you might miss the maid of honor who's holding the rings, who's really nervous and she's clutching her flowers super hard with one hand and in her other hand, which is shaking she's holding the ring ins two hundred millimeters, I know you can't see that it's against slightly a white part of the image, but shot at two hundred to compress the bride over here on the right, the flowers and the hand as she waits to hand off her best friend's ring that she's going to be married in. If you're not being observant, you might notice not me might not notice the moment where the bride and groom come down the aisle and head off to be by themselves for a few minutes and the wind catches her veil and blows it behind her. Keep looking, and if you're not not talking just about moments, I'm talking about different ways to see the scene. If you're caught up on lee shooting a ceremony in a certain way, you might not notice that you have a different vantage point that you can come out now this is not the norm. I was very lucky here. This was a wonderful orthodox ceremony that was done entirely standing up no seats in a big, empty open room and I had the opportunity to walk wherever I wanted and that not only did I have the operative opportunity to do so I was welcome to do so so I was able to go around, I was able to shoot through the candelabra towards koch is face as they were holding the crown over her head and if I hadn't been observant, if I hadn't been looking, if I hadn't constantly been assessing my surroundings, I never would have seen this eighty five one eight because it was so dark in there I could barely see amy's wedding, the daughter of a photographer if you think it's an honor to photograph a photographer's wedding talk about the honor of photographing the child of a photographer. It was a tremendous honor to photograph this for them, and as I was shooting the ceremony in a church which was a beautiful church, but it was just a church. I walked around and I realized that the font of holy water, which was at the back of the church near the north, eh, it was a beautiful, reflective surface, and I was able to use my seventy two, two hundred, dipping it down low near the surface of the water and get a reflection. Keep your eyes open if you're able to walk around. If the ceremony is in around. If it's a jewish ceremony where you khun get behind the hookah, you have a chance to shoot through things. If you have a chance to get around the table where they're going to be pouring the sand, by all means, take it now this doesn't happen in every wedding. You know as well as I do that a lot of times the picture that you're going to get of them lighting the unity candle or pouring the sand is going to be of their backs because you can't get there, you can't get around, you can't do anything other than what you can do, but if you get into the ceremony space early, if you're able to assess it and take a look and realized that win, christine and her husband pour the sand, you're going to be able to slide behind that table in a way that's not obtrusive by all means take it, be observant. Her reaction and his reaction at the same time are somewhat hilarious. Be observant of other things that are going on, not just in the ceremony itself. Heather in benji's wedding in manhattan, I was surveying the crowd ah lot of times during the ceremony, I'll take the opportunity to to shoot pictures of people observing the ceremony itself, and I saw this little girl who kept stroking her mother's face seventy two, two hundred at one hundred twenty five millimeters three point five four hundredths of a second at s o thirty six hundred I'm not going to read you the exit for every single image. But if you are watching it sort of track along by the bottom, you can see that the same principles of exposure, of setting and of linde selection are repeating themselves over and over and over again. If you have an opportunity to get closer during the exchange of the rings, by all means, take it, get up in there, be observant of the crowd, as I've mentioned before, you might see something really interesting, like a little tiny, fair blonde girl sitting around people with dark hair in one shaft of light, or the moment that they're pronounced husband and wife, and he can't contain himself anymore, or this or that I love it when grooms cry, I love it when moms cry when the bride and groom's bulldog, who they dressed in a victorian suit to come to their wedding, sits in front of the groomsmen and proceeds to start licking his own nose. If I hadn't been looking, if I hadn't been observant, I would have missed it action and reaction if you shoot the image on the left and you're proud of yourself and you think I nailed this moment, I'm going to move on. You might have missed the moment on the right, so I'm constantly trying to see a moment through to fruition and then above and beyond that to the moment that's going to happen after that. And again, these are moments that are unfolding during the ceremony if I'm not watching for them, I'm going to miss them. This is one of my favorite favorite images that I made a few years ago I was up in the balcony and the balcony was one of the ones that ran on either side as well as in the back and I had the opportunity to wish foot shooting down on the bride and groom and then I realized her mother was right behind them and she kept crying and I held the moment and I waited and I waited and I waited because I was waiting for her to wipe her eye again, but things were happening, the ceremony was processing, other things were going on, and I realized that if I stick with this moment the entire time I'm going to miss something that's happening with the ceremony, so I gave myself just one more minute to just hold and wait for it if it happened, I got it and if it didn't, I was going to move on. Luckily for us, everyone involved it happened shot it and moved on be observant this picture might not look like much of anything, but if you'll notice, this appears to be a catholic ceremony and I appear to be on the altar which is not normally something thatyou khun d'oh, however, I took a look around I saw a side door that went around back into the priest's chambers which had a wide open door I knew I wouldn't have to open a door I knew there wouldn't be the banging of a door opening and closing I knew that I could slip out of the side undetected come around snap a couple of shots to really quick from the priest or back in the room so nobody could see me and around him back out I went without being intrusive and without interrupting the flow of the ceremony itself again be observant those little moments those little seconds that if you're not waiting for them or if you're spraying and praying and wailing away with what you're shooting you're going to miss these things that are happening in front of you during a catholic ceremony when they take the flowers over the statue of the virgin mother and lay them at her feet and have a moment of prayer I always wait for it you could do you could shoot them walking over you could shoot them putting the flowers down and then you could get up and you could go back and wait for the ceremony to keep moving but I wait with it because you never know what's going to happen this is one of my favorite photographs from last year where angela was praying at the feet of the blessed mother and her husband looked at her with a look of such extraordinary tenderness that it really was an honor to witness that moment or the second, that ellie, an incredibly wonderful girl that I'll get to see again when I shoot our sister's wedding this summer cuts her eyes to the side, and you can see her head through all of the heads and bodies of all of her bridesmaids, or when this moment happens and it turns into that and again back to this, which we looked at before, when they leave the church and you don't see this coming in this incredible moment unfolds in front of you. If you're not paying attention, you're not going to see it again sneaking into the priest chambers the second the groom says something funny, which this guy was saying funny things all day long, the second that not only she cries, but he cries, too, in the jewish ceremony when they are wrapped up and her parents are praying over her and his parents were praying over him, and the rabbi is praying over both of them. This is an extraordinary moment, and I'm waiting for the second that that hands touch, and the rabbi raises his hands and closes his eyes, and when I put this image in the slide show, this has always been one of my favorites. Now I realized this is actually the rabbi that married us. So it means even more to me to see her rabbi sussman in here marrying another one of my couples, so be observant of the moments. Be observant of the pattern that the flowers in the aisle make as they lead towards the bride and groom. Be observant of one moment that leads into another moment. That's fantastic! Now we've talked really briefly about what my assistant does for me in other portions of the day. Let's recap again what she does for me during a ceremony she takes wide shots at the back I know that sounds goofy, but if she's taking the wide shots from the back and she's handling that, I don't have to keep bombing up and down the aisle to get those images, I know that they're taken care of. She takes images like this, I'm at the end of the aisle, shooting straight into the windows with my seventy two, two hundred she's coming at it from another angle and another angle, it's not that I can't do these images myself, it's, because having her do them frees me up to shoot other things, but more importantly, it allows me to be mohr unobtrusive. This isn't an argument that I need a second shooter, this doesn't carry through to the other aspects of the day, but during the ceremony, having nice, warm body who's. Good at taking pictures, standing at the end of the aisle, shooting some white angles or climbing in the balcony really helps me do the other things that I need to be out there doing. She covering the good old fashioned wide angles for me, your basic bride and groom on the altar, bride and groom, nice and close together while I'm shooting it from another angle, she knows her job is wide, wide, wide, wide of every key moment from the back of the room. That's it.

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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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