Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Lesson 8 of 35

Culling Family Session Part 1

 

Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Lesson 8 of 35

Culling Family Session Part 1

 

Lesson Info

Culling Family Session Part 1

What I want you to see is even though I deliver really awesome pictures now I take a lot of really bad ones and that editing is everything for me like it that's I show only my good stuff I'm also going to give you some tips just small little things that I've learned about even how I name my files and stuff so here's the first tip oh I guess we got to see my screen perfect okay so this was a family that I photographed yesterday and um I learned all the kids names immediately what about the shoot but I can just as easily forget the names so as soon as I get home the one thing I make sure that I do is I label my family with family names like all the kids names I won't forget it later so this folder if you see has all the kids names and considering there were six of them it was very easy that was not gonna remember all of them so now I do so if I blogged or facebook now khun b like it was so awesome hanging out with your you know your uh um anna so it's just like a little tip there if you ...

put the at least the kids names in there he won't forget him when you're blogging um you see you hear one as soon as I do a shoot I start that folder and then all of the folder file extensions or to the right, eh? So we're going to look at the stuff that's in the raw first I separate him by my d three and my d three s and then any of the cards the cards that I label abc or one two three they'll also be put in there as well but these were big card so I just used to and I'm going to drag this into photo mechanic do any of you guys use photo mechanic? Okay, good you're going to see how amazing it is for anybody out there that has not used for the mechanic um it is in my opinion the fastest way to edit through photos they advanced really quickly it's very user friendly um it's my preferred choice and again they don't pay me to say that I just really like him a lot. So um he's the raw if you're curious so I usually average about a thousand pictures an hour for the, uh, family sessions sometimes more but one our family sessions about a thousand and so this was this was a different shoot where I used my long a little bit more and the reason I used me long in more open spaces beaches what have you parks? Kids run around a lot and if you try and run after them with your wide angle the entire time you have to be exhausted at least for me, I'm old and they're young, so I can't keep up with them all the time I can't track all their movement eso when that happens, when I know that they're like playing and there's like a lot of running around on the beach, I'll use my eighty two hundred so that I can track their movement rather than chase their movement, because if you continue to chase it, all you're going to end up with is a bunch of pictures of people's backs does that make sense? Okay, so we're going to look through the long lens first, you're also going to see that before I even like really officially met the family, they were like playing and I just started shooting without like you didn't see there's like a few where I just started shooting before any of the formal photos and also the the numbers that I use is I'm gonna tag these and I'm going to tag five if it's a keeper for right now and that's going to give me the green tag, you can use any number you want, but I use five uh the other thing is I edit in is that what you guys do? So everything is a no unless I decide to keep it um it completely changed how I edit I used to have everything's a keeper and then I pick the stuff that I throw out and by doing that end up keeping a lot more crap really leg stuff that just did not need to be kept so buy everything doesn't know unless I assign it as a yes that way there's a lot less I'm a lot more selective on di deliver ah tighter edit in the end so what I'm looking here for it's over exposed now you're going to see like all the mess ups like this is the other thing like inside this world here you see that I'm not perfect and I screw up and I make bad choices sometimes I'm always correcting and my number one rule is if you aren't shooting if you're if you're not failing more than you're succeeding then you are not working hard enough you should have a lot more failures in here than you have successes because that means you're pushing yourself really hard to make good pictures if you are continuously trying to just make on ly the best pictures and you're being very selective you're not working hard you're just not everyone's going to screw up the other thing is I just did a one on one mentor for one of my one year students and it was actually at a wedding and I noticed her deleting stuff off camera do not knew that please don't do that first of all you run the risk of corrupting the card for one it's like, really increases your chances of corrupting the card, and secondly, it's going to slow you down? What is the point of going through them and looking at him? We have these cameras now where I mean, you can have even take billions of pictures if you want, just keep shooting don't worry about editing in camera. The other thing is that you never know if you actually delete it a good one, you just aren't sure until you get home they're so small s o just don't delete in camera just don't do it. Stop doing it if you do it seriously, stop! Okay, here we go. These air good pointers I'm telling you they're like they're good, they're going change how you shoot. Okay, so what I'm doing is I'm looking for the extended gallery here, and so I liked these two pictures I've already looked through these ones um there is this one and it's over exposed a little bit by little bit. I mean, quite a bit, um and then there's this one and this one makes for much better photo then this one does, uh, do you guys know why? Yeah, the branch out of her head, it looks like she's been impaled fromthe left way don't want that and it is over exposed but I really like the moment because if you see the brother is hiding right here like she's going to get him so I will tag it and see if in black and white it makes a difference I also saw this really nice moment of the father and son just throwing a ball again I'll only keep one and for me this one is the better one because of the motion in dags hand right here this throw and he's anticipating so that's actually a better picture I have a quick question yes do you look at each image individually and the full screen view just like I'm doing right now. Okay um okay you know, I think that was it okay. Okay, so this is what I did I um sat them down and it's interesting because the mom was like, why are you sitting us in front of these shrubs? And if you remember from the light I told her to trust me the reason why I did that was I wanted the dark background behind it was like two thirty in the afternoons and the light is pretty over had a little bit thank god behind them and so I just want to do a little bit of rim lighting, but in order to do that I have to have the dark behind, so um and then you'll see I just so what I'm doing here is I'm looking for just one good one off all of them looking at me with their eyes open I don't need a million of them but I'm shooting a lot why am I shooting a lot because everyone's going to close your eyes so and we have a really little one here who does not pay attention of a lot so it's good to just have a um to just take a bunch and I'll probably only keep like I like that gesture of his hands on his face as well and that's a different picture so I'll tag that one see their dad and mom's eyes are closed there it's not so just that one second changes everything and the ones I know that I have the photo I want I'm going to tell them to look at each other and this one right here the first one ended up being because I've already done these selects before once before this one end up being the best one you'll see we'll go through him but I loved like everyone's personality is here so this is the oldest daughter and she's a kind of back and looking good and then I love that the little brother is looking at her and the only one looking at me is the little one the one time he looks at me it's like when I tell everyone to look at each other and talk to each other I love that mom and dad are having a moment just the two of them and then the sister brother looking on I did not tell them to do anything but talk to each other and you'll get all these different little moments by telling to do that so this is the one that I tag and the other thing is I want to make sure that everyone looks good eso again I'll shoot a lot sorry that heroes right there this one's really cute too, so I'll keep it I also think about will mom like this like she's the one I worry about is she going toe like this? I don't really care about everybody else but mom I really care about see you like this one like this was really cute but I'm not going to tag it because I have no idea what's going on right here s o we're just going pass over that because the sister is not gonna like that one that one's kind of cute will put that one in and I'll just include a few that when we don't because of dad right here that one's kind of cute ok, once I have a few you know I don't need anymore like here's one word dad is hugging the little boy I am having an issue with this so I probably won't keep it even though it's a cute moment we don't want this either like her hand is covering his face, so that doesn't work and I keep hoping please let there be like one moment when they're like snuggling this one she kind of looks like a pterodactyl, right? Here's we won't keep that okay? So of all those I'm just going to keep a couple because we just don't like we want everyone to look good in the picture and so then I did this setup I usually do this with bigger families or with older kids I'll have them all sit in a row and then I'll have them gather on a couple behind, especially when I tell him to squeeze they tend to like, react to that and then they start laughing and it makes for a good family portrait. Another thing that I didn't mention before is I have the family sit because everyone's relaxed unless it's like really muddy or wet. I always have the family sit because there's a lot of tension in like formality when you're like sitting when you're standing up and like you don't know what to do with your arms when everyone sits there, relax a lot and so I always have my family is set for their formals like I said unless like it's not an option but most of time it iss and looked just everyone's laughing and having a good time and everyone's happy even the little boy was looking at me. I'll pick like that. Just a couple of thes and then I had them talk to each other. I don't shoot a lot of vertical. They may know why don't you lot of vertical less space you're compressing kind of we don't see vertically way see horizontally and so I only shoot vertical when it's compositionally necessary I will shoot a couple vertical for the family, but sometimes I don't even include him. Sometimes they're like well, I have this vertical frames like if you could just kit one vertical on and then I'm shooting for a frame. But for the most part it's always horizontal and less like it makes sense compositionally the other problem is shooting vertical is a live time we end up with dead space in this situation is okay. This is a portrait, but most the time we just end up with space we don't need on the top, it's just it's unnecessary information in this case, I don't think I kept any. So then I tried and put them in a different position. I was having trouble with my meat oring because it's really out in the open and I can't really have any of that lovely light behind them, I did try it but I ended up at the end not putting any in the artisan you'll see none of them were going to get selected an artist in that it d'oh I'll tag a couple for their uh oh another thing is you and show you I had her sitting here and then I noticed that lake it just looked awkward because she's so low so is a k can you just go stand ex dad and so I moved her so I'll give the family one of these but I won't I know I won't use any of the artists in that I just wasn't happy with him it's also very cluttered do you see that make it's just really hard to see them and so again for me I just want a really clean space for the formal the families the formal family photos like I say I did one just for well here's another trick I'm giving the least tricks is good okay so see him it's bright okay, I kind of want to wait until four but for a time we didn't have an option and this happens sometimes so um he's like really bothering his eye so I know that hiss the light is bothering the size so sometimes in that case I'll be like all right everybody close your eyes on three open um so they give their eyes of break and then I'll just shoot you just to shoot and then like let it be like let there let them relax their eyes again he's squinting a lot where the other area where is a little less harsh light when it's not open field um just open sky I have one question yes when you're shooting and you're shooting very quickly are you on continuous low or continuous continuous low okay, yeah, I don't need to rapid blast them. Yeah, well, lo is enough. Yeah. Um the other thing is I'm gonna point this out this was also a tough situation like this is a learning curve also every time I shoot him like a little adult work umm the problem with this is see how many different levels this is you've got him all the way here him all the way over there so I was shooting at fourteen because I otherwise there was somebody out of focus but what happens when I do that then all of this background comes and focus it just is sucky so um those are many reasons why I just didn't work then I was like trying to play with the light a little bit. Okay, so this is I did choose for their formals for the kids to put him on this log by putting them on the log all in one spit like one line one plane now I can change my aperture and you'll notice a huge difference just watch when I'm like oh yeah, I can go toe before and it makes a huge difference now with them separated from the background it works just the other way didn't work so again I just need one good one of all the kids it's all I need is one I'll save a couple be careful notice I kept I keep correcting there's this log here I don't want to shoot above the log because I don't want to chop feed off okay if the log is nationally chopping off it's fine, but I don't want to like cut off the frame here and have a bunch of toes missing, so okay, this is the tell each other a secret and you'll see like I'm just doing so that naturally they'll have some interaction the little boy has had just about enough if you notice that he is reaching maximum capacity s o I know I got to get this quick hope that he just like chills out for one andi I knew that I kind of wanted to bring the action in the middle so I say, hey, everyone tell kira secret and then you'll see like that's one of the ones I picked that's in the see so they tell each other secret, but I don't care about the secret telling I care about the in between moment the moment passes secret, telling and when you watch like this one's kind of cute but when they pull away a little now it doesn't look as much like a secret and just like they're all goofing around but the intention is all of them playing together and that's only need another thing you khun dio I don't do it all the time so I didn't include it in like my like this is what I do but um you can have him walk away and walk back um things to keep in mind having walked slow slower than they normally would try not to walk in front of anybody um I say uh when you're walking back to me you saw in the video try not to look down because that's boring I'll just tell him it's boring for pictures if you can look up but don't look at me don't look at the camera so you could look up play I spy um when we were at the beach and we like tell the kids look for a dolphin or a whale those are all good tricks I actually don't like any of the ones of them walking away you'll see I just kind of like there are right but a question from the internet cool this's from darling mind how do you know what photos are keepers those moments that may not be technically perfect are the most most times called and deleted so how do you know which ones we keep yeah, the ones that are not technically quite there I'm looking for composition first, but as faras moments where it's not technically perfect if it makes me feel something I keep it that's the only way I can answer that like I'm always trying to make pictures that I have a feeling that like make me feel something even if it's like I don't know what I'm feeling but I'm definitely having a reaction to this picture I will keep it if the moment makes me feel that that's I think the best way I can answer that question. Another issue I was having here is I was having a really hard time getting low enough to keep their heads above the horizon and that is really important you either wanna have the head's completely above the horizon or completely below this tree line but you do not want the tree line going through the heads and that's another reason why in the end of the day I just didn't end up keeping these I was just having a really hard time and I will I will play with hi lo once I realized I like literally have to be laying with my chest on the ground that was by the time they were walking back and that's fun and like that's the one that I keep I'm looking for one where they're all interacting with each other so they're like kind of like playing ice buy it don't want it to be posed so kind of like that one I think that's when I kept before I'll play with vertical and horizontal getting close and getting far okay that's it that's it for formal photos s so that's what number where we're at but it's only like a third of the, um of the photos that I took from the long lens that our formal except for the ones at the end so now it's a matter of uh just playing with moments on getting in there and getting the shot again these are all with long lens so they found this jellyfish and for me like I'm looking for any sort of interaction like fun moment where there's a clean background um I like all these kids look at his face all these faces right here looking at that blob um and again these might not be the'keeper's for the artists at it, but the family might like them and I remember that like they may not be perfect absolutely perfect but I know that I'm not going to show them, but I'll still give them to the family if you guys were wondering about that anything that I think like the family might like um I like this one of dad's skipping is tuned totally like not playing with the kids whatsoever he's just having his own fund um and a lot of times we'll try and layer especially when there's this many people sometimes the longer lenses better for layering meaning I'm having a lot going on the foreground in the background so in this case I'm focusing on the son who's playing baseball with a rock and the stick yeah, I liked this sum like this is the oldest daughter and she was just like kind of having a moment to herself and she pulled her hair and I like that just that it makes a difference this as to this just that little gesture sometimes makes me feel like I don't feel anything from looking at that when I feel that I see that and then I just feel a little something I like I should keep that one you didn't see I shoot a lot waiting for something interesting to happen waiting for sister to come in I kind of like this moment of that her turning back and talking to her sister if you notice there's also a rock right here I won't keep that in the final I saw this light um it might be like I don't know how bright it looks good on the screen um I saw this really nice light and so I positioned myself so that this dark was behind him when I made this picture this was an intentional position to be in I'm always correcting so yeah I mess up and like screw up the head and it come off but I immediately noticed that and just keep shooting I fix it right away I spent quite a bit of time with him in this situation you need to either have the face line in this clean spot or hope that if he's in the dark spot that there's a little bit of rin light because otherwise you're gonna probably lose his face if it's against this dark because his face is a little bit dark I'll do a couple of these I won't do a lot I spent a lot of time with him yes you made that comment just then about his face you know getting him in the right spot having his face light enough is that something that you would ever go into afterwards in light room and just do you just ditch it because there were so many other moments that again that they could be in the interest of you'll see situations I do a lot more burning then dodging so I'm always am want I don't really add light to anything I'll dodge a little bit and then burn everything else down will you'll see that in the next segment but yeah I don't really go I just know it's bad like I'll be like yeah throw it out like it's not worth it is not worth the time for me because I know I have such other like so many other good photos like it's, just not even worth it to keep the bad one, I guess if it was, like a really good moment, because for me, moment trumps everything. So if it's a really good moment, I might try and fix it, but for the most part, as greg would say, I'm not going to polish a turd like it's just not worth it. Um, I found this to be a religious like interesting composition picture like it won't stain my artisan at it, but it's, just like I'm curious what she's looking at right here and there's like this nice light on her and there's some, um, there's a bunch of, um, other family members in the foreground, so I'm doing a little bit of layering, okay, so this is the first time I've done sack races. I don't know how it came to my head. I was like, well, there's six kids, so maybe we could, like treated a little bit like field day it's, not about the sack races, but it is about getting them to do something all together. That will be a fun activity where I know they're gonna start laughing and having a good time, it was really funny because this little do did not want to be in the sack at all and so before they even did the sack races, I'm photographing the whole process also photographing like when they're getting in their sacks while they're waiting for everyone to come over um and then he c he wanted nothing to do with it and then that ends up being a picture like you wouldn't think it but they he's all by himself this is very typical two year old behavior by the way right here and I actually like I'll probably give them both looking down and looking up but I like looking down better the moment is better it says something more like he's pounding so remember you want to shoot through a moment that means before the moment happens through the moment and then passed the moment so that's what I'm doing right here before they ever start um the race I'm shooting before they before they start racing and then you'll see like it's just someone looking all the hair like I didn't even expect like I honestly didn't expect all this happened the way that it wass this one's my favorite because of the tongue and you could almost see everyone it's not perfect composition isn't perfect what would be perfect if he was over here a little so there was more space with emerging but I'm okay with this because of all this other moment happening I like didn't even think like oh yeah they're here is going to go flying um they just kind of fun and then running back is just as important to me because of what I had them do it twice there he goes again finn was just not a fan of the sack races in this guy jacob he he cheated the first time he jumped a little but then he ran in the sack and I was like, you cannot run in your sack like that does not fair you have to jump they got some really good height shit through the moment okay, so you'll pick several from that for the artist scene and give to them you give them like five or ten of those and they get to choose which one they like yep and then in my artist annette it it will be my favorites from that you'll see we're going to do to end its here I am taking the kids away I've taken them back if you notice the lights even better now because a little bit of time has gone by so the light has come down a little bit amita ring for the highlight because I don't want to blow the highlight out okay, this is important with rim lighting so you want to make sure that um we haven't blown out this light here so this is what I told you they will sit and they will smile on their own and then I say, can you just look at me and there's a huge difference? This is forceful this is just him and he's not scouring he's just looking at me and I do a few and they'll get a few well only picked two here's another thing that I'm aware of you guys all have siblings um anytime there were gifts, whether it be birthdays or holidays sure paris make sure you all got the same number of gifts my my parents did that and so I do the same thing with how many portrait sw ay including the artisan at it and make sure every kid has the same amount. Um so there's no favorite it must come from me with christmas gifts and monica give some birthday gifts. Well, then look into the light through something interesting you'll see these they're just the standard portrait and then I used the wide accentuate their uniqueness. I'll try different compositions. I really was not a fan of her shirt because the pink isn't so bright so with her portrait's I ended up doing some black and white, he didn't get that with older kids fourteen, fifteen, sixteen I treat their pictures a little differently I'll give them something like a teenage girl would want without being overly sexual in any way but more mature she was really photogenic really pretty I thought she was the older one make sure you go with that one so is playing with the light just kind of doing something fun and dramatic and then I realized that probably the best would just have a look into the light here remember when you have this kind of light overhead we're gonna have this issue with the eyes but I'm aware of that so I'm just thinking they're going to do something a little kind of weird and already for where it's more about um a graphic photo than it is about making sure that everything is bright okay here's a little do that they didn't think would sit for me did he look at me only this one time I'll give that to them but actually the ones of him not liking me or much better he's a sweet boy it's name is liam and that's about all I got with him which is fine just shoot a lot when you have little ones to get a cz much as you can questions about how long does it take you to do this with a one hour session to go through and do your read it when I'm not teaching I can probably because I already in my head knew what I shot and as you can see I do a lot of the same thing to just get the one I can usually get through editing and about thirty minutes maybe if that for the one minute for the one hour shoe it shouldn't take longer than that like I said like I'm pretty deliberate and I know what I've shot so uh I really liked this light in this color I had to be aware of this see these these strands of grass in the back I'd be careful of that so I actually I didn't move her I moved myself and you'll see that there's a huge difference with the clean spot now behind her head that's greg shooting me um okay so again I started with the long lens because they were running around a lot I actually decided to switch you'll see and I got the better shots with my thirty five and I just had to be very particular this is one thing that I think photographers feel especially newcomers to documentary when there's a lot of action going on they tend to get really uh overwhelmed and like their their nerves get up in like they get anxious and like they match their personal energy with the energy of the activity of what's going on and then they end up missing everything right so what you will you have to remember is you're not going to get everything you're just not going to do it it's not gonna happen so instead just breathe and be selective and realise you're only gonna be we'll get one thing at a time and uh, tyler who's speaking in a couple weeks when I photographed hiss family, he says the thing that he found so fascinating is when things are kind of crazy and crazed that's when I slow down the most, like that's when I really take a deep breath and everything about my process is much quieter because I just realized I can't get everything, so just be really deliberating, selective and just make a couple of good pictures rather than hundreds of bad ones that are missed, so I started with a long lens again, I'm looking for this interaction between the kids and it's very hard to, um, get everything in focus um when they're moving around this much that's greg shooting, he threw a water balloon at me, okay, so that's all I did with the long lens for them. Like I said, I always dio couple portrait, so I saw this really nice light. I always try and make an interesting portrait for them. You, um, meeting for the light behind them for the silhouette. Also be aware of people's next, just wait for them to, like maybe both bring their neck up because I'm just telling them to have it discussion with each other, but then if they I'm the worst one at it, like if you pull your you got that they don't like that so um especially the ladies so I just wait until they naturally raised their neck and that's usually what the photo all keep just putting them in some interesting light I always tell them like when I say or I push your back up against your husband they immediately go to the prom pose and I say okay not nineteen eighty um and then I just say stretch out and then the way that you would hum your wife from behind like if she was cooking in the kitchen that's how I want youto hugger and then I'll do just a standard portrait for them as well okay so this was the situation I told you where we were done shooting and then I noticed that they she was walking with her little brother on the beach and so is playing with light I didn't know how what I wanted to meet her for it first I ended up really liking this meeting and so I'm very very observant about the background as far a cz well a cz the foreground so I noticed here this bird sitting there so I anticipate they might go closer the bird and then maybe the bird will fly away because a flying bird is better than just a sitting bird and like I hoped he had flown and when he flew the little boy put his hand out and that was a picture I liked

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.

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