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Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Lesson 31 of 35

Critique Student Website

Kirsten Lewis

Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

31. Critique Student Website

Lesson Info

Critique Student Website

We're going to do a different type of critique now is you ladies know we're not going specifically look at different pictures, but I'm going to look at some websites in some full galleries and give him feedback as faras what I'm feeling with a website when I'm feeling with the pictures on the website, um, and just going through a couple of full sessions to help teach you how to edit down better and jessica are third studio audience member, unfortunately, has a leave today because I believe she had to photograph a wedding, but I promised that I would critique her, uh, website, so I'm going to do that and then she's going to re watch it. Okay, here we are, okay, so I'm just gonna talk to jessica as if she was here. Um, my first thing is that my suggestion is to have a website that re sizes depending on the window because it's unfortunate that I have to scroll up and down just to see this beginning slide show on and there's at least have, like, the slide show part along with the, uh, the ...

menu's on the top, they should all be able to stay in this screen because I don't want people to miss these pictures, so I don't know there's something you can do to fix that, I know that with my website at least the new one is being fixed to do that, but I'm going to just take a look at some of these pictures and kind of give you an idea of what the viewer is feeling from looking at these pictures I don't think that there needs to be writing on the images themselves because I don't want it to distract from the pictures I'm going to go through it once just goingto watch it and then I'm going to say in her out which the photos that I think should be stay on the main page or not remember you want your very best just absolute very best on the main page and I feel like at this point looking at it she definitely does a variety of pictures but just I don't see consistency in your toning so we need to see a little bit of consistency so it looks like one one photographer photographed all of these I'm not sure how many are in here see if I can go to the beginning okay let's start here at intimate this one can stay in but I would take this logo out or not logo but this writing out so this is and this is strong this says fun family photographer this is out um the problem with this is it doesn't seem deliver it enough for me this photo and this is getting in the way you have stronger pictures in this inter portfolio we don't need that one jess if you don't want to dio a lot of camera where photos uh in your sessions you need to keep that to a minimum on especially your home page so I would say this one's out this one can be in this is nice I like this one a lot this is the difference between there's a difference between this one and that one this one looks intentional that's a really nice frame actually I like it so I think this is your only set of pictures that is um senior portrait I think that's what this is I don't know what our senior portrait businesses they're nice they seem pretty stylized which is fine but you kind of also want to keep the the type of picture that you show in each frame kind of want something to be fluid so that they all either look documentary like they're all documentary or there all stylized because you don't want to see this one's nice you don't want your clients to get confused they want to feel like they know you this one needs to be out this is not a strong frame that can stay in I would change this to black and white and bring it down a little this is out I'd say this is out these air in I would just have this one by itself that's the stronger one of the two definitely that one I don't think this is the front of your portfolio worthy because the feet or cut off the tables cut off the dog is kind of cut off we can't even see the dog because the buttons I just don't think it's strong enough I like these wedding frames better than the other portrait that you had this is out it's out of focus and it's not it's just not interesting you have better pictures in this way better pictures than that like this one much better this one's in I think this is maybe the only black and white you can keep that in but I would, um do stronger contrast on this black and white that's out I think this is out also if you want to really focus on being a documentary photographer you do not want details on your front page for sure put him on the block. This I would say is in but it's out of focus quite a few of these frames are out of focus and wondering if it's my computer or if you're having some focus problems that's not in focus either has be out that one's nice I actually like this one better than the uh the other senior portrait this is way less stylized I like this one and it's fine that it's camera where you need to bring it down a whole light whole lot it's overexposed and I would switch this to black and white bring it down and then I wonder if I can just this is all so bad that I can do this people should be able to pull your pictures off your sight I'm gonna open it for a minute and show you I sometimes do this with my students when I'm critiquing I'll actually open something up and uh re work it so you can see the difference I'm talking about kim on your little computer all right, here we go don't you see the difference in this frame just by doing that? That is a completely different picture it's all about the light like means the dramatic change from what you had it and it was a simple is that is just bringing it in and bringing the contrast up you can not a little bit were black but it's a much stronger frame then that yes, I'm imagining though going going back to editing with the artisan extended at it that those would make good choices for a family that what one of them they might go for this and the autism at it which is yet you know, but even this one it's over exposed so even if we like all real hot the highlights I'll return it in color will put them side by side should be welcome there you want the right light you want to emphasize the right light so when greg tones he tones everything in color but it's gonna look like that see the difference this versus this it's a huge difference and that's just a matter of matter of seeing that light that's the highlight emphasizing the highlight that helped to see that I think this is out this's cliche have seen it a million times yes so how you can pull her images off her website and bring it right in the light room so how does she fix I don't know much but I don't have loves that yet so I don't really know the ins and outs but like how would she fix that so you couldn't do that I mean there should be a setting in the back end of this where it won't allow that I believe there's also settings where you can't even take a screen capture of particular websites but you really don't want them to be pulling them off there's so many people stealing other photographers pictures and using them as their own photo steelers dot com I think we'll call them out uh yes I'm wondering if you can uh say something about the different because we've mentioned smugmug and things like that they do they have that ability of preventing oh yes mine so a smug mug for my proving site there's it's like three ways of protection I have it password protected right click protected and I believe they can't even take a screen, grab a screen capture of it, I believe, but yeah, I don't like, yeah, there's no right clicking or anything, you can't download it that way, even with the oh and a watermark, so the proofs all have a watermark on them. Also, everything of mine is copy written, so I embed the copyright in there. So even if someone were to steal it, all I have to do is do like amy vitality said you could do the reverse google search in search for your code, or search for the actual file, name the embedded file name, and then you can pull it up to see if it's in anywhere other than your own site. But when you're we'll talk about that later, when you're looking for a site, we want to find a site where you have this option where you can't pull the photos off anyways, take that out because it's cliche we've seen this a million times, it is not in focus just we need to talk about your focus. This is great this stays in this khun stay in, but this again. I think a lot of newer photographers have a problem with over exposing and it's just because you don't see that light yet. I think this might be better in black and white. Yes. Can I say something on behalf of jessica? She did. She did mention to me that she she feels like her. Her style is more light an airy she she made a comparison to teo the way you shoot and your style that she recognizes that has this very light and airy. I just wanted to throw that out there. He said that yesterday and I don't have a problem with lytton areas long as it's exposed properly, right? But you don't you don't just blow everything out because that it seems like you just don't know how to use your life. You can still make it light and airy without it being improperly exposed. Does that make sense? Because this just I mean just like point out to me, I think it's not well exposed then this is but see, this is not like mary, this is gorgeous and this is exposed properly. I actually like this it's kind of it's kind of one of those weird frames. It would obviously I think we better if she was coming at the frame. Maybe not. I kind of like these three figures here, I would leave it up, I think this is out, this is out. I appreciate just your layering like the weii you're working with layers and I see this shadow right here but unfortunately where our eyes going is this car and like that says nothing about you and your bitch you have better pictures in that you don't need that but that one's definitely in we'll take a look at jesse's so what I love is that just has this great picture of her having fun with all these kids that's awesome let me read I'm already a little bit bored in just is a really fun, energetic person and I'm not getting that from here at all actually not getting that at all from her um branding yeah, I want to know more just about you there's these snippets I think it should just be these snippets I like this life is too short for perfectionism pants without stretch ironing and not taking enough pictures that's really awesome that should be big I think that should be big on this page um just you cannot have all these different fonts take care of that see this font I don't see this fun anywhere else. I don't even know what this okay, I think the this page is really confusing for your clients I think you need to have a tab that says pricing and then if you're going to put the pricing on the site and I don't have an issue with pricing on the site I don't do it, but sometimes my pricing fluctuates and that's really why I don't put it up there, it will fluctuate if I'm finding that my rates are too low or there too high, I'll just I'm still trying to find that that middle ground, so I don't put mine online, but if you're going to do this, I really feel like they were their web site is you have to remember that people are going to it for the first time. You've been looking at it for a long time, so you want to make it easy to navigate, you want people to be able to find information really quickly. The one good thing just is that you have the contact right here mete justice clear portfolio is really clear lately, I'm guessing that's blawg, I think I just say blawg because people don't really know what lately is like we in the photography world, do you have to think like kind of ah, like very naive or inexperienced forty year old woman who wants to maybe doesn't have the computer doesn't use a computer a whole lot, and she just needs to find out your information, so I would say you need to change is to just pricing under the pricing have the three different, um, sessions, I think it should just be families upin this tab seniors next and then weddings and then each one has its own page because this is a lot to read and I'm really confused I oh much almost so that I just don't want to stay on this page and that's just a matter of simplifying and I'm learning that with my redesign from my website is simplifying I think lately is the blogger the block is clean I like this actually this picture is better than the other one so I'm going to go in the hero quick I'm going to tell you in her out this is in out whoa that's also confusing what just happened here your clients are potential clients want to be a bowl of thumb through these pictures really quickly and we're not able to do that on your site there needs to be a button I don't even think you need all this information they just want to look at the pictures all of this information just saved this for you like the information that you provide the client we don't need all of this we just need really strong pictures like that one that one's in I'm not sure about that one yet in in out, out out because her hands cut off in its too overexposed in and what you need to fix it and there's a blank one in what you got to bring it down and change it to black and white this needs to be out because we can't even see it you can leave that one in out, out, out that one could be in if you change it to black and white out in, out in in in she knows I was intrigued by your hesitation there first out in did I go through out in that when I hesitated with take that out and leave this one in that one in you can't have any of the, um then that's all of them, you can't have the profile, I mean the vertical shot, unless they're all the same size, did you see what was happening? Like I can't see it and people that have a small screen that's why, when we'll talk about this, jen, you should also find a site where re sizes as the size of the screen changes or the size of this see now these are new ones out just we need to talk about, like making sure that they're not alright, um the same that they don't repeat just you have great pictures in here, but we're losing them because we have some less than great pictures. So it's really important that we only show your best and you have such good ones in here, we don't need the ones that are like watering it down, um, I hope that helps yes, you have a question money would do you have a number in mind for a gallery like that? How many would choose with like first this gallery like if it's like those election yeah collection of you know particular top thirty five maybe I think my bet like from my new um my new improved sight I think my best of babies is only like twenty eight or thirty and that but the thing is for me and jess is if you find yourself going down the path of doing a lot more documentary stuff, you're also going to want to be able to give the clients the option to see like a full session even if the full session is only thirty five photos, you still need to show him that I think with my day in the life on my website like when it's just the galleries for my new selections I think they're only like thirty five but the slideshow is one hundred fifty so I'm really being tight with my edit uh they only need to see a few they don't need to see all of them because they were also send them a slide show so they're still getting a lot of pictures you don't want the clients to get bored, so if you only have twenty really good ones on ly shou twenty good ones, right? Because you don't want them to think of you then compare you and your work to the less than great stuff on your sights. So just we can talk more. If you want, just email me and I can help. You kind of go through what I talked about, but thank you for being brave and for being in my audience for the two days that you were here. Um, okay, so we're going to go to denise.

Class Description

Learn how to capture genuine, emotional images of families. In Family Photography: Modern Storytelling, Kirsten Lewis will teach you how to take meaningful documentary-style family photographs.

Kirsten Lewis takes a unique approach to family photography, leaving posing techniques and studio light at the door to capture real moments, as they are lived. In this class Kirsten will share her techniques for creating the relationships and environments that help her subjects feel at ease and open-up in an authentic way while she shoots. You’ll revisit the art of storytelling through still images and how to bring storytelling into your work with families. Kirsten will teach you the steps to developing client relationships that allow you to honestly document a family, from birth onward, while nurturing your business. You’ll learn new ways to approach composition and editing so your final product is both beautiful and true to reality.

If you want to deepen your relationships with the subjects you shoot and deliver photographs that are joyful and authentic, join Kirsten for this in-depth class on documentary-style family photography.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Family Portraits Quick Tips

Sponsor Discount Codes

Gear Guide

Family Session - HD

Newborn Session - HD

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



I cannot recommend Kirsten's course highly enough. I've tuned in to a couple of CreativeLive courses on photographing families and children, and they were both very "studio"-centric. A lot of posing, a lot of gear, etc. I don't have a studio and a lot of gear, I don't desire to, I'm uninspired by the outcomes, and I tuned out pretty quickly. I love capturing people, especially kids and families, in their moments. I love a great candid. I love "documentary photography" (as I learned to call it from this course). And loving and creating photos that tell a story or capture a genuine moment is exactly what this course taught us to do, and did a fantastic job of doing. A few things I loved about Kirsten from the get go: she is not pretentious, but intelligent and genuine; she as a person and her photography are inspiring; she knows how to teach - technical without being 'technical', knows how to explain her process, draws on her mistakes so we can all learn from them (and our own - and this is a HUGE element of teaching most people lack!), all the while packing in an enormous amount of information that could improve anyone's photography. is very accessible in her explanations and her language; she is honest: a good teacher will be critical because again, if she's not (and if we're not open to it) how will we ever learn? Although I felt sometimes her language was a bit harsh or her assessments "right or wrong" where more nuanced language could be merited - my one critique. really seemed to be teaching first and foremost to have people learn and be excellent photographers, and to enjoy the gifts photography can offer (personally and productively), which made it so much more appealing to be "in the room". Best of all, I had an awakening that I am allowed to be myself in my photography. As much as I love candids, I get caught up in the expectation to take posed pics, for those I'm taking the photos for more than for myself. No more. It makes me impatient and disappointed with the outcomes. I'm going to cultivate what I love. I also finished each day inspired to take and process photos - visiting my nieces, bringing my camera everywhere. During the class I kept going into lightroom to look at my pics while she was teaching, to compare my past photos to what she was teaching. It was such a wonderful learning experience. Thank you Kirsten for being true to yourself, going out on a limb in your approach, and sharing all of this with us!

Kathleen Petersen

I started out in photojournalism, but it was a long time ago. Back in the 70s, I would play with the little ones, in their backyards, or at their breakfast tables, to get lots of beautiful, real images. Then, over the years, with the need to earn income, and then later, the need to compete, I got side tracked. I still did photojournalistic images of my kids, and eventually, their kids, but clients were wanting specific things. I called it the line-them-up-and-shoot-them style of family photography. The creative soul within was always longing for the more natural, more real images, and I have always been able to sneak them in to any session. But my business was mostly about everything else. I shot some weddings early on, to pay my dues and my rent. But discovered that I much preferred being a second shooter and capturing the candid moments and the details. As I am now a grandmother, I have been making changes gradually in my business to get back to my roots. Taking this class has been life-changing for me. I was making these tiny little baby steps, as if I was afraid that I would fall out of favor with my current and future clients. The competition is huge here in socal, so how could I dare step away from the white shirts and khakis? I dare. I am about to completely revamp my business model to return to where I started from. I plan to march to the beat of my own drummer. It really does make one happy to follow one's passions and to be true to one's self. I don't even care if I lose any clients. I want to provide for people something that is so essential. Real images that will nail down the memories forever as they interact and love each other. This is so important. At first, I wasn't sure if I would like Kirsten. But by the end of the three days, I loved her as if she were my best friend from forever ago. I love her for her personality, the things she taught us, and her great example. Best class I have ever taken at Creative Live, and that is saying something! Thank you!

Jo Benoy

The great thing about photography is that it can be all things to all people: a hobby, an art form, a profession. As long as I can remember, cameras and pictures have been important to me - for different reasons in different seasons. I have never been particularly interested in formal photos, and I thought my preference for "catching moments" in a style three or four notches above a snapshot made me seem like some sort of slackard. Enter Kirsten Lewis. In three days, she explained, modeled and taught the sort of shooting that I've loved for as long as I can remember. She mirrors my philosophy that good photographs aren't necessarily pretty, and that if a picture is compelling or evocative, it's a good one. Lewis is not only a gifted photographer but a clear and cogent teacher, which is always a welcome combination, and as strong as her tangible skills are her confidence and dedication to her own style and voice. I've watched and bought several CreativeLive courses, but I have enjoyed none more than this one: ever since watching it, my brain has been spinning and my shutter finger has been itchy. I loved, loved, loved this workshop.