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Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Capturing Authentic Photos of Children & Families

Chris Orwig

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Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

What we're going to do today is look at how we can approach this from this perspective, this iterative type of perspective and look at how we can use a camera in a new way. There's a lot of reasons why people buy a camera. Think of maybe your own. My neighbor's going to Iceland. So he came over, "Chris, what camera should I buy?" New camera for the trip, right. Or maybe you buy a camera because creative's contagious. You see someone else doing something and you're like I want to do that myself. So you go out and get the tool. But the number one reason, do you know what it is? Here's a secret. It's because a child is born. Diaper bags and cameras go hand-in-hand. (audience laughter) The question is why do we like to photograph families so much? It's worth thinking about for a second. And I think because family anchors us. It roots us. I mean, in spite of how crazy it is, we all have crazy and complicated family's but it shapes us. As I mentioned earlier I've had a chance to photograph a...

lot of different people. Some really, really successful. What I found is that the most successful people I've ever encountered with, they're really successful at also level-headed and down to earth and they're like that because that's the only way they could handle the success. So what that looks like is this. I'll be photographing someone, like I was photographing a billionaire. This was a neat assignment. They flew me out on a helicopter to this island and there I was with this billionaire that I was supposed to photograph. She was so down to earth. I got to talking with her and discovered she was a philanthropist and I said, "Oh, how did you get into philanthropy?" She said, "Oh that's easy. "That's because of my mom. "When we were kids we didn't have much, "but whatever we had we shared. "If we had a little bit more we shared that as well. "I just do the same thing only on a larger scale." And family has that ability to shape who we are in different ways. Then there's a question of kids. Why do we photograph our kids? I think because there's so much change, and they're growing and they look at the world in such wide-eyed wonder and such curious ways, we want to capture all of that before it slips away. And there's something magical about kids. This is a few years ago, but I was at breakfast with my daughter, Sophie, and there we were sitting down eating pancakes, daddy daughter date, and she looks up at me and she goes, "Dad, you have rainbows." And I was like, "What?" She's like, "No wait, they went away." I was like, "What do you mean?" And she's like "Wait dad, you have rainbows." And she was talking about this. The wrinkles on my forehead. (audience laughter) And then she's like, "Can I count them?" And I'm like, "Yeah." So I went like this and she would count them. And for years, every night when I would tuck her in her bed she would count my rainbows and kiss them one by one. There's just something magical about kids and how they see the world, this wide-eye wonder. We want to capture that before it goes. When I think of kids in particular, as far as the equation goes, Emily Dickinson comes to mind. She once wrote, "What makes life so sweet is that it will never come again." And I think this is nowhere more true than with kids. There'll never be another first birthday. The kid grabbing the cake. Or another 15th birthday. Or another college graduation. This only happens once. A camera is a great tool to savor that, relive it twice. The camera also affects how we work with time. Have you ever photographed a kid and you can imagine that kid grown up, but just because you caught that small slice. I can see where they're going or who they might become. So what we have to do is try to ask ourself how then can we capture images in this way. These ones that are authentic. We've all seen photographs which aren't. Family photography is interesting. It's the only genre of photography that has a book and a website dedicated to bad photography, awkward family photos. You ever seen that? So fun, right. They're so bad, they're good. But there isn't Or or whatever. It's the only type of photography that can really go south in a horrible way. And we've all seen those awkward photos and we've probably been in some of them ourselves, or made some. I was asking this one kid, a friend of my daughter's this week, because I was preparing for the class and I was asking her about some photographs that she had made of herself. They were really formal and really posed, and it was one of those things like turn your shoulders and do this, and do that. It was like the whole thing. I said, "Do you like the photographs?" She said, "No, because it doesn't look like me." And I thought that was profound. So I think authentic can be different things, but you want it to look like the person, and have a little bit of that essence there.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Family Resources

Ratings and Reviews

Meredith Zinner Photography

Chris is a FANTASTIC teacher (and photographer). He is so very very authentic, warm, REAL, talented, knowledgeable, honest, open and true to his wonderful self. This class, in addition to endless nuggets of knowledge and insights, highlights how being true to your own self makes you a better photographer- emphasizing connection, authenticity, fun and easy relaxed simple joy. A refreshing take on children's photography for sure! Thank you Chris and CreativeLive!

lisa james

Wow, I have been in search of my style. I've been reading and researching and listening to inspiring speakers and from each one I've gathered pieces of information that help guide me. This class, however, has been the most successful for me. Chris's approach to teaching and his material that he provides is Spot On for me. Thank you, Chris. I am so inspired and eager to move forward now that I can see my vision more clearly. I highly recommend this class.

Neeraj Arora

Oh my god!!!! What a class. I couldn't stop watching. Chris you are an inspiration, loved every word you said, loved how you said it. I am in the process of getting a plan together for doing photography professionally on the side, on top of my research career, and you just hit a home run in getting me motivated and excited in taking the plunge. My photography of people gives me a lot of satisfaction and meaning and you just validated what I have been thinking of doing lately. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.

Student Work