Filling Your Frame


Family Photography: Creating a Successful Business


Lesson Info

Filling Your Frame

Fill your frame with important information. Using a 35, in my opinion, is the best go-to. I like the 28 too but I think that the is a little bit better. And the reason why, it's the mostly the go-to for photojournalists. It's as the closest that our eye, our natural eye, sees. So it's the closest to real life that we can show in a photo, is that 35 millimeter. If you need to get closer, use your feet as telephoto lens, and just get closer. What's the advantage to that? Physically getting closer to your subjects is gonna create more intimacy visually with your photograph. And this, I think, is the biggest question with most people that I mentor. I just don't know what to include and what not to include, I have no idea when to be close and when to be far. Think about what you're emphasizing. Think about the story you want to tell. I chose to get close and have a lot of negative space here because I wanted to emphasize that she has a big giant knot in her hair and she's trying to pull it...

out. I don't care about anything else. So I'm getting close because that's the only thing that's important to me in terms of the viewer reading it. I'm getting far because I think it's really funny and weird that she's reading like this by herself in the living room. So I'm far because I need more information in the frame to add to the story. I'm low and close because I don't think you need to see anything else to read this. I think the thing that was so important or funny or interesting is that mom is "hurry up, hurry up, hurry up," and that's where the crossed legs can help to gesture or to read, it adds to the story. Here, I wanted to shoot far, I wanted more context, I wanted more information. This is a bagel place they go every time. What I think is so funny is the dog is holding his own leash in his mouth. We've got a good moment here with the baby. And you know, they're busy trying to get her in her stroller. This will also be important to them but I like this environment for those that live in New York that I might try and entice to hire me. Think about your corners. I'm gonna talk about this a lot. Think about filling your frame corner to corner. Look at your corners, do we have good balance in your corners. It can really help in terms of composition. I purposely put him in one corner and him in the other so you can read the tension all the way across the frame. Same kid, very funny kid. Filling it corner to corner. I have a nice weight here and then I balanced it with the corner over there. Corner to corner. Dad's sliding out of the corner, and the kids are laughing in this top corner. And negative space can be really powerful when you need it. Leaving a lot of empty space. This is an environmental portrait. I find it really interesting that she's taking a bath and both cats are just hanging out. I didn't think I needed anything below. I felt that the darkness of the negative space helped to weight the image down with the eye. So eye naturally goes here to what's important to me. Lots of negative space. I don't think you need to see anything else to know these are kids, they're at a t-ball game. Actually t-ball practice. I sometimes have just gorgeous pockets of light and so the way that I can isolate or emphasize what he's doing with that light is to leave a lot of negative dark space around him. Again, isolation, seclusion. Dad and older son just hanging out by the fire. I choose to leave a lot of environment to suggest that they are alone. And you guys, I talked about this in my first class. Just watch your edges, okay? I love this photo that someone submitted. He needs a peg leg (laughs). You chopped his leg off. This would be a situation, and I'm not a stickler for it like I used to be, but in this situation, I think you can pay attention to the leg and try and include the leg here. Or get real tight and have just this information. But sometimes it feels a little off if it's really close to the joint, cutting off an arm, a leg, by the ankle or by the knee. We talked about the merging. Someone else brought it up. When getting on the highway, avoid the collision if you can. This had a really good idea coming. This is from one of you guys. But what is the one thing that's taking away from the image? This merge right here. So, in situations like this, you have a good idea and sometimes you're just screwed because you cannot move the faucet, right? So you can only hope that you can move over or they move over or you just have to say good bye to this idea and say, it was a good idea, maybe I'll come back to it later if they're looking out. But, that is really hurting the photo.

Class Description

Building a successful family portrait business takes more than capturing a good image. Not only do you need the tools to create family memories that your clients will love, but you also have to know how to set up a business that will make money and keep your clients and their referrals coming back. Award-winning photographer and international educator Kirsten Lewis returns to CreativeLive to teach all of this and more in the third class in her series on family storytelling photography.

In this class Kirsten will cover:

  • The psychology of photographing families and how to really “see” your subjects
  • How she collaborates with families and other creative professionals
  • How to stay present in the moment to capture authentic and timeless images
  • How to set up your business for success and sales

Kirsten will pull back the curtain to show you the nuts and bolts of her business and how she continues to be successful in this unique area of family photography.