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Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Lesson 32 of 35

Demo of an Artisan Edit

Kirsten Lewis

Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

32. Demo of an Artisan Edit

Lesson Info

Demo of an Artisan Edit

Denise is from um the home audience and I needed four people to critique so I'm going to go through one of her full sessions I was going to look at him so I think this is a newborn session and right off the bat like we just don't need this picture is way don't need it um at least not in your website what I'm gonna do is I'm going to say what I think is really strong in what should be in an artisan and actually what I'll do is make make like a okay so I'm gonna pull for the artisan and actually for the client just pick one there so I mean there's so much the same it's like one little gesture like I can't really tell the difference so just pick one they don't need both those if there's a huge difference in the, um the look of the client then I say put into but you don't need two of the exact same thing I like this one I don't know if that one in there not yet what we want is to wait for let's see if he jumps again yep never I said kids always do the same thing over and over again so this...

one's good, we're going to keep that one and by her continuing to shoot through it she got a really good one do you see what I mean? Denise someone can come all the way out they don't need to see that take this one out to denise they don't need to see that either then they're a little it would not miss so you probably like just pick a few of those the first round of the second round denise they don't need a picture of the baby room unless there's a baby in it so you don't even need to give him that like just wait until the baby oh, I know it's because she hasn't had the baby yet, but I also know that she went back and photograph this family s so even if they gets it maternity shoot, which I had to be honest, I don't do anymore um I kind of find them a little like I struggle with them I don't know what to do with them. I've started to try and advertise were expecting sessions, but that's going to be from the time they get pregnant until eight after they have the baby and so I just spend a couple of hours every month with them and make a storybook of like that like experience of getting, you know, being pregnant and putting the crib together and painting the walls and maybe the baby shower but I'm not I'm not doing the formal maternity portrait's anymore because when when I said I don't feel comfortable telling people had a pose and so I'm not one hundred percent comfortable with maternity shoots like I just don't know what to do other than like, touch your belly and getting this night's light, so I've just found a different way to approach it, but we don't need all this baby room stuff unless they really ask make maybe they wanted the pictures, the baby room, but if you know you're going back after they have the baby, what? Just wait to do that until the baby is there because honestly don't think that they're going to ever frame any of this or even put it in albums that's funny. See what I say? Can you just like getting this nice light and then put your hand on your belly? I don't know there's some really great uh gay mcclinton is that his name at a canada? Yeah, he is phenomenal maternity shooter. So you, khun do it really well, I'm just I'm not comfortable with it, so of these this is the nicest one so far. Also, I don't know if this is night time journeys, but if it's daytime open up those all this light, we want light in there. I don't know if it's night time or not that's cute, denise, you're getting moment. If they're going to put the hand on the belly, you need to get all up in their junk right here with the thirty five just fill the frame we don't need to be that far away and from okay here's another boy this is one thing I haven't said the entire time when you shoot from three quarters like that that's like the I'm afraid zone that is that's a fearful position to shoot and a lot of people do that when lake when I go to like photograph you sitting on the couch, a lot of people will not senator the photo and they won't square up what they'll do is they'll like go to the safety zone, which is the side and that's a fear that's, that's your fear and for me, even if that wasn't intentional, denise that's what that shooting from that angle looks like you're afraid like you don't want to go in there see that what? Why aren't we just like right in front like that? Like it almost is like you're afraid get up all in there? Yeah, it would be you felt like there wasn't enough space with the three five said, well, I think we're already there I mean aspires why she wasn't shooting right on I wonder if she couldn't get back because you wanted your relations and everything, yeah um she's also shooting with twenty four I think I don't think that's a thirty five I think there's a twenty four my guess is it might even be twenty four. Seventy I'm not sure, but that wood I'm guessing that's what it is uh, we already have one of him eating and I think that the other one's a better one, but ok, so even if you want to show legs at this point there's so many moments going on, you need to be close to the action so that again the viewers gonna feel like they're right there what I want this is the picture I want what I want is thirty five millimetre so close lo you're filling the frame on the right and left with his head in his head. You do a front focus of these two and then bumped the focus so that you're framing mom watching so you have both action and reaction do you see how that'd be a much better picture? So answer to the question is denise is using a fourteen of forty and these are wrong and these air raw files. Okay, I don't mind about the raw I asked her to put up the rock yeah, folks on the chat room with that clarifies way because we asked her to put up okay fourteen I think it's too wide honestly the reason why you see all this distortion we're getting that I thought of the twenty four but like you're getting this distortion over here and she's now really including way more than is necessary because thie lenses so wide I think there's there's times when you can use the fourteen but I don't think it's with people because of all the distortion that the fourteen does I like I said I wouldn't go wider I wouldn't go any wider than in twenty four denise get right in there right in here and and she's she's shooting it it's actually a seventeen to forty and she's shooting it at thirty five just really it doesn't it looks way wider than thirty five to me yeah um anyone go ahead is she on a crop for full friend is that I don't know I mean way might be not seeing what was she's saying because but right here see this hand these two hands that's nice even if it doesn't look set up so get right up in there this is a situation words a detail that would be nice, eh? So I would get really close with that. I'll see and get really close and fill the frame in like just have like this on the left side of frame and their faces um more in the center then to the right side of the frame don't be afraid don't she's getting closer but she's getting closer with lens she's not getting closer with her body see that right here right here I'm gonna pull that hand right there watch that since see if he like nationally leaves it there see job denise she's also working the room which I really like she's trying different angles that's really important they'll like that I like the other one better the other one's more storytelling so keep it in just not for the artisan that's sweet phil like that a lot I wouldn't put that on my page because it's pretty set up and if you want teo get more documentary clients you give that to the client but you don't necessarily have to show it on your website see that's better see this see the difference between that in this it seems more genuine and honest because you have this honest reaction right here and look at his face denise be careful of fingers right here you know want to cut him off but I would put that one there this one is much better and not only are these raw shots but they're not cold either right? I asked exactly I just just for clarification and apparently the space was extremely tight you especially see from this picture that you know, one of the reasons for that wide angle was just so she could get it right in there but the thing is, I don't even think we need to have all of that information you're thirty five should do just fine don't feel like obligated you have to show everything in the scene and denise is being extremely brave, showing uncalled unprocessed photographs I just want to say I don't know if I could do that this is this is what well, I did this for you guys yesterday or the day before on and this is what all my students have to dio they just they upload the raw because I need to see her thought process it's not about like making sure that she has always good ones. I'm just want to see what her thought processes and how she's correcting and that's why I said, oh, look now, she's getting close, she's she's working the room, there's air all good things and I might not see that that's your thought process if I see him all called by seeing the raw than I'm seeing, like how? Why you're thinking that's, why I showed you guys my raw, this is what I'm thinking like I'm not getting the shot, so I'm going to move and like, try and make it better wei don't need all these details, at least on the website I don't know if, um hey look at denise is cute little shoes like I said, if you know you're going to go back and photograph after the baby is born, just go ahead and um make these detail shots with have include them with meaning that have the baby in them I like that the wedding shoes or at least see now she's using the detail you know, what's kind of an interesting frame is right here who? Well, she's like taking care of like what moms do they like put things away and dad is reading to the sun it's really nice denise the one thing I can say is you're really good about working the scene, getting all around trying different positions, different angles, different perspectives get really close to this if she's doing this get super close and fill half the frame with her holding onto her stomach maybe from more above, not below like it shoot this way and then layer layer it so all three of the people are in the photo together sorry of the hiccups that's really cute the mirroring behaviour here and they're looking right at each others there is a connection that was pretty cute also. Yeah, I think I like that one there you know like that she your mom is really pretty this is nice one thing I'll try and do is like with this situation try and make good pictures of both mom with baby mom with the sun and dad with the sun so if they have a quiet moment together I make a valiant effort to make good pictures of that what I do really like is that there are some maternity pictures like more portrait e stuff but that you also photographed the family and their son that's really what we want is if you're going to fill the frame with him really big then we're gonna wait for like the big ham tio they come to grab the toy which probably happened yeah remember denise I'm not pulling your extending gallery I'm just looking at photos for an artist in it that was great I don't even mind the fact that you've cut off the foot I mean I do mind it but I can like let that go because I really like this frame these I have to say you're good with moments from what I'm seeing I think you're also interacting a lot which is good ah yeah picking the toes denise I think you coulda stayed with this and gotten really close again and filled the frame with his hand his little fingers and toes and then also bump focus and leg look att what his concentration is on the feet as well oh I think that's even better than the other one yes notice how we all went ooh that's if it's signed that it's a really good frame that one's great denise this denise that is portfolio material right there that one's good but this one's better also I forgot to give this advice like when you're looking for pictures for your portfolio for your blogged don't put repetitive pictures if to look very similar just pick one wanted it this one or this one you don't need both so even though we might keep a bunch of those tossing the pillow photos I'm on ly going to show the one that's the best I'm only gonna keep one of them for the artists at it man you're a brave lady he's chucking it right at you which is awesome like I'm really proud of you okay this is why I might win my mentoring sessions they have to be at least two hours said takes a while but if we look here don't yell at me the chat rooms I don't have fun a mechanic up to hate please you have some great frames here's the difference between these two frames this one looks more like a boyar and this one looks like an in between that's more because it's just a little bit further back it's almost like you're just peeking in on that I think that's why I like that one better so these were the ones that I would pick for like blawg style he's right here in this one I think I could go in your portfolio two pretty great frame kind of jealous. Denise. Wish I took that picture.

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.



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.