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Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Lesson 24 of 35

Day in the Life Pricing and Homework Review

Kirsten Lewis

Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

24. Day in the Life Pricing and Homework Review

Lesson Info

Day in the Life Pricing and Homework Review

When I first started charging, I charge $1000 for my session fee, and that's what I'm telling my mentor students to start at is between 800 1000. I don't think you're gonna be able to charge more than that off the mat, honestly, until you really have a good strong portfolio. But now my rate is 17 50 for the whole time I shoot, and I also changed the pricing because I was realizing how many hours I was putting in. And so between that and my experience and the kind of quality work that I'm producing at this point might, my price point is 17 50 uh, for photography clients. That's really if you think about it, it's even a portrait. Client is like one session, basically, like if you shoot one session with all your profit, it's what it costs to have might have me come for the session, and included in that is the all day shooting, which allowed time just 14 to 16 hours. It also includes an online slideshow that they will get the online galleries that you saw where they haven't artisan at it. ...

In the extending gallery, I will also put the photos up on my blawg in my Facebook. And I will tag them so they can still share those pictures with their friends and family that way, Then they have the option to purchase. Okay, so now I'm gonna talk about non photographers. Yes. Quick question on that. Do you watermark for the online? Always great. And then the the ideas that you post on your Facebook and you ask them not to sort I don't ask them not to, but they kind of just appreciate I do it for them, and then they share it. And everyone knows who you are. Great. I never say no, you can't. But like a lot of times, they just a person do it like it's easier for me, especially photographers. Or like, can you just do that? I don't have time for non photographers. It's still 17 50 but they're required to buy an album before they can purchase the files. So the rate for the files is going to be less than when I charge photographers. But with photographers, I don't require them to buy an album. Obviously, I just don't think that's fair. I trust them that they will work with their album company to make their pictures. So usually the photographers will buy their own their files and make their own albums. So for the file price for photographers, it's 1500 now for the artist a minute and then 22 50 for the artist netted and extended gallery. The nice thing is, the price is always in for it in for my regular families, too. They all like that. It's kind of like a chunk of three payments. So there's the deposit, which I am. I take, uh, now for deposit, and then they pay the next, which is the balance do the day of the shoot. But then they don't have to worry about the files and like any purchases for the albums or files until after the chute, So it kind of breaks up the pricing a little bit. It is an investment, but if you think about it, it's nor near what I get paid for a wedding, and I don't know. Like I said, I don't know how many families could pay. You know, 68,000 the regular family, which is usually what you get for wedding. But I'm OK with that because I really love doing these sessions. I have two questions. Okay, so really quick. So there's the 1700 for the day. 17 55 17 50. And then there's a price for the for the for the two edits as well. Yes, separate prices. Yes. And with the people that are non front photographers, they actually have to buy the book first. Yes, before they can purchase any of the digital. Yes, but do they see those galleries? Oh, yes, there forever. So they see the gallery's first. But they can't purchase anything out of there, so they view the galleries before you hand them the book. Oh yes, yes, perfect. I just wanted to kind of make that how that works clear, but I want them to pick out the pictures for their album. Exactly. Well, here's another question to be asked. I do things very differently than a lot of photographers. The Onley power and control. Any of my wedding clients get or my portrait clients get with their album is picking out their photos. That's all they get. They tell me what photos they want in their album. I design it on my own. I pick out the album cover and I ship it to them. There's no other, no problem. But there's no proofing cool. And the thing is, I've never had anyone complain about it. When I used to, like, let him proof it, it was like eight million changes like they don't even know what they want like that. It's just like a control thing. The minute was like, I'm just going to try and not give him any sort of option. Then there was nothing there like Okay, here, here's my pictures. I'm looking forward to my album. It was as easy as that. And just a technical question. Are you able to sort of disable the selling of the photos on SmugMug because they review the Don't do that? Okay, so you just tell them they can't purchase and they follow that rule. I will tell you that almost 100% of all my clients have purchased the files or the album and files they they know going into this, they're going to want these pictures. Um, it's It's a different session than a portrait session. It is. It's different. It's a moment filled like collection of pictures. And because there's so much variety in what they're doing and during the day, the time of day and their moods during the day, they they want everything. Um, so that is my business model. My business model is I want to be just is what I tell my students at the end of the day. What what do you want to make that's gonna make it worth it for you to do the shoot. So that's what I asked myself to. How much now do I want to make to make it worth it? And then I just price accordingly. I'm not good at after sales, and my clients are from out of state or out of country, so don't have that option to have the one on one like sales meeting. So I'd rather just get paid a little bit more for my time and my effort and the work that I'm making and then just get paid for the files outright. Then, like try and sell them campuses. And I don't think some photos should be on campuses, but they're not all gonna be like campus. Images like these are great, but they might. I want them to have the album. And I encourage my photographer clients take the album like, make an album when you get these pictures. Great. So, um, let's can we move on to the homework and say, Let's do that. Thank you. Okay, So this is from Elissa, and I really like this picture. This is the idea of seeing things differently. Um, in that she's peeking. Um, I really like the texture in this picture in that I know what I'm supposed to be looking at technically as faras. Like, if I'm gonna critique it a little bit, Do you guys know what the one problem area is? This great Big white? Yes. So this right here, unfortunately, because it's so stark white when we first look at the picture, most people's eyes are going to go right to here. And then here also, this is kind of bright right here. So I would just say in Photoshopped Bring that down. I'd or light room. I don't think imposed. You're gonna be able to get rid of this. Um, it's going to get kind of pixelated and a weird gray, you know, go that work. Great. so I wouldn't worry as much about that. You're not gonna fix that. So I would say either crop this or more importantly, the next time you have an opportunity to make a picture like this, you'll be more observant of this next time, this type of thing, and just move your body a little so that that gets rid of it, because it looks like the chair might have another ladder to it. So you could just frame it when you're photographing it from here and then just have the higher ladder. That makes sense. I hope that helps. Um, this one's from Courtney, and I love this moment a lot. Um, I like the perspective. A different perspective. It's a little bit hot for me, Meaning it's a little bit overexposed. I would bring it down a little. This is a little bit bright, um, for my liking. Uh, but I like the like the composition quite a bit. This is a tiny bit distracting. So the next time you're shooting, I always say, Just keep an eye on your corners, watch the corners when you're shooting. We could have just come down a little bit with the body this way so that both corners, I would think, would be filled with black rather than that pattern up there. And when you have a situation like this, you could actually push yourself more. So keep waiting and waiting and waiting and shooting and hope that maybe like she touches the baby's nose with her finger or the baby reaches out and grabs her hair. Um, this is great. And now to push it to the next level, the next time that you have a situation like this, be even more patient and more diligent, waiting for that moment to happen. Holly, um, I love photos like this. This is, um this is kind of like a street photography point of view. Um, I really like it a lot. The two and the two, like obviously there might be shooting from the doorframe. I think they're in the inside of the house. You've got good separation here. The only thing I can say and who knows if this could happen like to make this a better picture is we want a better moment. So keep, I don't know, like in an ideal world in, like, just a second later maybe like the kid this kid would like, raise his hand, say Hey, and then they would wave probably wouldn't happen. But as far as like making the picture better, like, you want to hope that there's a moment here. So we have good light in great composition. Were just lacking the moment a little bit. This is Jim. I love the shot a lot. Jen's not afraid to get close. It's a good moment. It's good light. I would actually bring this down a little. It's very hot here, and you could sacrifice a little of this and bring it down so I would have shot at maybe a little bit faster shutter speed so that it would just bring it down a little bit. But I think it does have great light composition a moment because I feel like I'm there. See, I had this picture makes me really feel something. And like I said before, like, that's what I'm looking for. And Jessica, So we have this really nice light coming in here, and I like this idea of we're feeling like we're peaking a little. This definitely could be shot. Um, higher shutter speed by doing that we're gonna, like, get rid of some of this. That's just a little bit unnecessary. And then we're gonna just really see this highlight. And then what we wait for is for him to do something to interact with his brother or to look up at maybe some things out the window. What we're So we have light and we have a decent composition. We're just gonna wait from the moment. And that's, I think, the hardest. Like I think people give up too quickly. At least all my students give up a little too soon. They don't trust themselves, and that's, I think, also was like kind of figuring out who you are as a person. You become more confident, and then you become a more confident shooter and confident in the choices that you're making so you won't give up so soon on a composition. You're trying to make work. Does that make sense? It's just a matter of trusting your gut. I tell Rosie, one of my students actually here right now in the back, and I tell her this a lot. You need to trust yourself more like there's an insecurity there, and we have to, like, figure out what it is. It's really causing your insecurity, cause they have nothing to do with photography. Once we can, like, work that out, then we can really start to address how it's affecting your photography. We can move past that, and you're gonna be making a lot more pictures that you're in love with because you're trusting your instinct in your gut as a photographer. Does that make sense? Okay. And then, Stacy, I like this interesting perspective. I want to hope that she did this, Don't you? Like? I hope that like she's the one that made this pattern with the yarn. Um, I like the perspective. I like the I actually don't think that we need her whole face again. It's just I think we need to wait for an even better moment. That's what we're waiting for. So again, great light. Uh, good light. You can bring this down again. Shutter speed. Hike it up a little because we have this really nice light coming from this direction. And so we could bring it down. Just a hair. And it might look different on my monitor than it does at home. I don't know, I'm just responding to what I'm seeing. Here s so maybe what we hope for again. I'm always like camera God's let's hope. What if she, like, sticks her legs out at some point? This is what I think. This is what my brain is thinking while I'm shooting. Okay, so I'm gonna get this, and I'm gonna hope that maybe she sticks out her feet and then starts maybe playing with the yarn with your feet. I'm literally thinking this and then I'm, like, trying to will it to happen. Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't, but good. Good composition and good light. And, Terry, I really like this moment a lot. Um, the light is difficult because I think this is indoors, and I think it's a low lights. There's not a whole lot you can dio, but the you know, this is a moment that we can all relate to. Dad, um, you know, building something. We're playing with a little boy and we have good separation. Here we need That means we don't want his face merging with shirt, especially because it's a striped shirt. Um, and so that his face would just fade away so that was really good work to like. See that? And wait for that. That spatial separation there. Be careful about fingers getting cut off, if you can. I wonder if we could have made this picture horizontal rather than vertical. The thing I'm going to plod plod before is that you filled the frame when the vertical and like that's really what you want to do is fill the frame. Don't forget that a lot. I think a lot of new shooters Oh, a shoot vertical. I don't know why it just seems to be what happens, some not yelling at me students. But I'm like, stop going vertical do horizontal because our I see horizontal in this case feeling the frame was great with the vertical. I'm not yelling at you for it. Just remember, shoot some vertical and then don't forget to try horizontal and see what works best because you could also get really low with your face down here and shoot horizontally up so that your filling the first part of the frame like the front part of the frame with all this hand motion, but your your focus is them and then wait. So maybe that they look at each other and, like, there's like an ah ha moment or a sweet moment. Eso Justin, Just remember the work, the whole scene. Does that help you guys when I critique good And we did get a response from Stacy. Her daughter did make the there. She did. That's awesome. I love it. I hope my kids dio do things like that.

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.