Top 8 Pitfalls of Shooting Weddings with Susan Stripling



In this video presentation, pro wedding photographer Susan Stripling imparts advice for fellow wedding shooters based on her years of experience in the business. She outlines eight pitfalls that if not prepared for, can ruin your whole day, and maybe your client’s wedding photography experience! Inside these tips, Susan shares her thoughts about time management, contingencies, gear issues, and client relationships. We hope you enjoy the video, and invite you to view the wide selection of other instructional and informative videos at




Excellent advice!  I am getting ready to do my first wedding for a friend and I was very impressed with your sound suggestions.

I have been teaching video production & shooting weddings for nearly 20 yrs. I thought Susan did a great job. She is down to earth & very practical with her advice. I've filmed next to dozens of photographers & have seen the good, bad & the ugly.  Susan's advice is spot on & can easily translate to videographers as well. Nice job Susan!

Good tips but the first one should be to know when to walk away if there is not a good match in terms of the client and the photographer and this includes capabilities and expectations and allocated budget. Often brides put the venue at the top of their list and this costs XXXXX dollars and then there is the limo and then the cake and food and then they get around to the photographer and often there is too little room left in the budget.

Some weddings require two photographers to cover adequately as one photographer cannot be in two places at once, as in with the groom getting ready or with the bride getting ready, as with being at the front of the ceremony area to photography the processional while also managing to photograph the bride with her father, as in being able to photograph the faces of the bride and groom while they are facing each other, and even to being able to photograph the bride and groom formals and group shots after the ceremony while the reception has already started.

The second photographer is also the ultimate backup so if there is a problem with the primary photographer the second photographer can step in. I got food poisoning the day of a wedding and spent the first hour of the reception in the hotel restroom. Fortunately I had a second photographer so nothing of importance was missed during my absence. I also make sure that my errors and omissions insurance covers both me and my second photographer.

The second photographer also provides a second set of photo equipment. I initially took two cameras but then had a D3 fail right before the start of the processional and so I had to shoot the remainder of the day with only one body and I missed a lot of shots while having to frequently change lenses. After that I always took three cameras to every wedding so I would always have two working cameras.

What Susan did not mention is that on the day of the wedding most of the time the bride looks to the photographer to know what to do and when. If there is a wedding planner they are not around while the bride is getting ready with her bridesmaids and usually the planner is not present at all during the day. It falls back onto the photographer to do the time management required as much as possible during the day.

As far as client expectations it if important to have everything in writing. How many photographers, how many hours, how many pictures to be provided at the end of the day for proofing, specifics on any albums and prints to be provided, and who is responsible for what so if something happens the photographer is not blamed for elements over which they have no control. Specifying hours are important as when a weddig starts late or reception drags on because the toasts took 2 hours or the bride disappears and then later the bride expects the photographer to work an extra 2 hours and with no additional compensation.

I'm a press photographer who has never shot a wedding, nor would I. Fires, accidents, ambulances, cops and crowds with cell phones competing for shots are NOTHING to handle compared to modern brides :-)

I enjoyed the video and can tell this woman is a pro. It was fun to watch and learn.

A few common elements she touched on. 1-Be prepared. Try to understand your environment as soon as possible and as quickly as possible. 2-Have a system. I know where my go to items are in my bag...lenses, bodies, BATTERIES, speedlites. 3-Know your gear. If you can't use it then you don't need to carry it. And if you carry it, know how to use it.

Thanks to Susan and B&H for a nicely produced package

I'm sorry but this video is less than helpful. The presenter comes off as edgy (I am being nice here).  I am actually surprised to see this video backed up by B&H.  I asked someone else to view the video to see if my opinion was a bit "off" or not.  They said about 3 minutes of the video is all they could handle as well.  If this is the "new" B&H, I will have to start looking else where for quality "instructional and informative" videos. I am a professional, paid sports photographer, I wouldn't refer my niece to watch this video.  I have friends who do weddings, professional (meaning it is their primary source of income) They wouldn't recommend this video. the truth sometimes is harsh.  If professions are giving this a thumbs down, maybe either a revamping of the video or someone else to cover this subject in a more concise, instructional manner.

Edgy? She seems like a woman who knows herself, her reactions and is very aware of the importance of being a pro. I've done weddings. They are a bear, requiring a lot of organization at the same time that you have to have your eye in the camera. Additionally, they require the full gambit of photographic skill to be effective. My bet is that she gives her clients her best every time and a consistently professional product. I'm sorry you don't like how she's wired, but she gives good advice!


Sounds like you were left standing at the altar.

I don't buy "edgy" either -- she's very matter-of-fact, which I'd argue is good given that she's passing along advise on things to look out for / things to be prepared for.

Actually I found her advice to be pretty spot-on. You are a sports photographer - weddings are quite a different game ; )


What  an excellent video!!  You've covered the majority of the important items that can plague a new photographer or even a seasoned one when photographing a wedding.  With 44 yrs. as a wedding/portrait photographer, I've heard too many horror stories from couples about their wedding photographer, and, of course, the photographs.  You're doing a great service to the industry.  Your video is on target and conveys the proper attitude and professionalism a photographer should portray.  Keep up the great work.

Greg Villegas

Santa Maria, California

Susan did a very nice job with the topic and explaining her thoughts which everyone could relate to that has ever shot weddings. I would like to complement the videographer in designing all the popups to keep the viewer engaged. I would have liked to have seen at least a few photos that demonstrated what Susan discussed. Just some suggestions, the video was definitely worth watching.

Check out her website, its got tons of great photos.

I love her comments. After shooting many weddings they are all so true. Great words of advice, have a list, meet with your clients, have a go to person to wrangle unkle Fred back from the bar to be in the group photo. Have 2 bodys and 2 sets of lenes. We had our main lens go out 24-105 during the shoot. We had to use a 70-200 in a tight church. Did not work that well as we were rushed due to the brides mom last minute changing when the group shoots were to be done. They were friends also, so now we do not shoot any friends weddings just helps keep that freindship smoother. Also dress like you would be in the wedding, not like someone that just rolled in off the street, no language, even when thats all there using. Most improtant know, know , know how to use your camera in full manual. If you do not, it will bite you at some point as you will have to make it do something the auto settings will not. best not to try to figure it out on the fly as time is limited. 

She said "a couple of years ago I dropped the D4s".  I own a D4s and I know it was first announced by Nikon on February 2014.    The devil is in the details, isn't it?

More and more youngsters are preferring to get married not in a 'church' setting that is easily manageable, but at the seashore or a farm or in an old Historic Home. Each a different challenge for any photographer. I video weddings also and you have the loud crash of the waves on the seashore, airplanes flying overhead, unruly children and even cows mooing on a farm that compete with audio from the bride, groom and whoever is conducting the service.

then you need better / special microphones too ... and preferably an assistant whose main job would be to take care of the sound department when shooting videos in those conditions ... let your clients (bride and groom) know about these 'extra costs' and charge them accordingly!