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Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Lesson 17 of 35

Finding Your Own Voice Q&A

Kirsten Lewis

Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

17. Finding Your Own Voice Q&A

Lesson Info

Finding Your Own Voice Q&A

I always get questions about instagram of what I'm using so I have an iphone five amusing camera plus do you guys use that is the much better camera ap it's faster you have more options my favorite day with camera plus is that you can use two fingers and then have one to select your focus and want to select your aperture to have a lot more control over your light and then I process with snap seed uh which is basically like a light room for your phone it's pretty brilliant and then I um there's a square ready is the program so if I don't want square you square ready put the pick in the image in and then I can have it words on a large vertical if it's not going to be a one to one ratio um do you guys all use in supreme um have you felt like it in any way inspired you to shoot les do you take advantage of making more pictures or yeah, last year I was doing a three sixty five challenge and there was a prompt every day oh, it was really stretching. Yeah, you know, just by one word prompt an...

d on dh that's kind of when I started the habit of, you know, just being able to see differently and realized like yeah, I can make a good picture with my phone and just doing it wherever you are it doesn't take that long, yeah, but just to think about it and yeah, I love instagram, I use it a lot I have probably way too many photography apse on my phone I'm always trying different things, teo to get the look that I won and snap seed is it's it's brilliant it's an editing editing it really is an editing program because you get even dodging burn even like select where you want to process on the game changer for me and I use instagram just recently, I'm very new to it, actually, but I'm doing a daily project with a friend of mine just to kind of find that inspiration again that we had when I first started were first learning and for awhile I fell out of, you know the habit of doing that for myself because, you know, just time wise and having to upload and then edit. And so I'm finding that I'm shooting for myself a lot more and kind of it's rekindling that, yeah enjoy and it where? It's not just about taking pictures of someone else's family, which I love also, but I really I felt like I was missing that when I was getting into the business aspect of it more so it's really like you said, taking the pressure f needing to use your you know your big girl equipment or whatever and just focusing on the creative aspect of it I really it's good do you guys have any questions about this segment is way more inspirational than if anybody we definitely have some some over here you should stop me and like well you're kind of on a roll so you know where I want to make sure that they're on topic right what you're talking about so dual question here one from on magnum she says how does a new photographer start trying to move into the direction of a day in the life of photographer and I want to add on to that how did kirsten find her style of photography did you try other styles or did you always photograph documentary so if you missed yesterday when I did my history like the back my background so I started working with that magazine to on this magazine on then I start working with richmond magazine so I was getting assignments so it was more pj work assignment work but when I shot my first wedding and had no idea what I was doing I just tended to be drawn to moments more than anything else I definitely think that it has evolved with me maybe I felt pressured have more structure in the beginning and now I've just kind of released I think as I've figured out who I was and really the direction where I was going here's his important thing I think I should mention I feel uncomfortable telling people what to dio I do I am a leader but at the same time I don't like to force anything you know what I mean? Like I don't know you do this like I don't like that and I feel that way with photography I feel uncomfortable telling somebody what to dio I'm much more social and just want to be involved in my experience I want to experience it and then capture that so I think that's why my direction has been more and more documentary so I'm listening to my inner voice saying I just don't like doing that like that doesn't make me feel good that doesn't make me feel comfortable I I'm not very good with portrait like standard portrait ce I admit that there's some that are awesome at it I'm really bad at it and so rather than like she's keep trying to force myself to do something that doesn't even feel natural in me. I mean there's amazing portrait photographers out there like I'm talking about like either studio portrait or even when that you have the wedding portrait partial I'm like, oh god, so at least favorite part of the day and I like kind of a little queasy and want a cocktail I I just rushed through it because don't rush, but I I just want to get all the moments because that's where I feel most comfortable um as faras starting out with dana life sessions yeah, why not? We're going to talk all about him at the end of the day yeah, why not just start slowly? I wouldn't suggest especially new photographer going and spending entire twenty four hours with the family is going to be exhausting for one it's tiring like you have to kind of build up your your stamina for it but start with like maybe three or four hours and then work your way up but I don't see any reason why a new photographer can't just start shooting and documenting families for sure and then getting into starting to shoot day in life with vice can we save it for we sure can get only because I like having two hours saying life stuff so we surely can that sounds great, but I have something special to share. Okay um so I've been working on this for a long time uh for probably a year or so and I'm really excited to announce it launch it on creative live um what I have come up with I have written of finding your own voice for book it's really beautifully done it was it's being printed with pro dp I I'm actually not even using a a regular like a book publisher because I want the photographic paper and it's also lay flat because this is going to require you to print a lot of the pictures that you do for each assignment it's eleven by fourteen it's really big it's meant for you to write in it's going to be like a journal in a workshop and a workbook and won it comes with a dvd of me explaining and working you through each process there's ten chapters there's an introduction of the nine chapters of work it's eighty pages so it's not something you're going to do overnight it's not even something you can't even finish it in thirty days because one of the challenges is a thirty day challenge but it's goingto have some of the things that I shared with you today to kind of figure out your childhood self you're now adult self um letters from home is is here but then ah lot more introspective work to push you to think about that and then it gets into photography and who you are now and there's all sorts of little assignments you can't take the personality test, you know right down we're gonna focus on fears um kind of face your fears and explore those and then there's assignments um to, like kind of work it through your fears I'm really excited I'm like really excited for people to do this uh the other thing that I'm going to do is start a private facebook page for everyone doing this and I'll be there to help answer questions but kind of to share your experience because I think this is gonna mean a kind of an emotional experience in some ways for a lot of people also really an eye opening experience this's all based on things that I've learned about myself and what what I've done to kind of figure out who I am and at the end it's really going to help you kind of hone in your portfolio by picking pictures that you make through here and looking at your other photos it's really great really excited so this is you can purchase it it takes about two weeks to deliver because it's print on demand because of this it's such a high quality book it's actually pretty expensive to even just make but I wanted a high quality book I wanted something that was hard hard cover that was big you can put pictures in um so this the dvd and then the special facebook group and you can email me with any questions you have it's um it's only three hundred twenty five with shipping because it's meant to be like a workshop um and then anybody out of the country is gonna be three fifty so it's just an actual twenty five dollars for shipping because I think shipping I think shipping is going to be like about fifty dollars because it's heavy you guys can feel it later I mean eighty pages so it's really heavy and it's photo paper so real excited to launch it and if you goto person lose photo dot com and you go to the info page there's the products for photographers I have just added this one that you can order one and we're going to start our first orders prodi p it's ready? They're like really excited they were super they felt really honored that I asked them I've worked with him for a long time and they asked me if I would be willing tto uh if I ask him if they'd be willing to print the book in there really happy about that and I have special gift certificates for you guys. Yes, just what I think I know that's what I need right now to like get me I feel like I'm like a crossroads with a lot of my my work and my business and myself turned forty this year and and I've been here in the states for twenty years and I can't believe that's half of my life and this I think is this finding your own voice for photographers I feel like it's just you've hit the nail on the head with it oh good, yes yeah, I'm really excited actually when I was talking to susan stripling about it she's like this is brilliant because this is what people this is what our industry needs like everyone is just kind of like, go back to the roots of why you want to make pictures and it's a little bit selfish and that's, I think people are afraid to say that it's like it should be a little bit selfish it's about you and your point of view, and people don't new photographers don't know that, and I think photographers have been in industry a long time have for gotten that right, so, yeah, I'm just excited to help people, um, and I'll be very active in the facebook group tio to answer questions and, like, cheer people on and like, maybe give additional assignments as I think of them and then people can share, but I think I want to build a community around this this workshop workbook self, it is something you can always go back to that's the other thing I like about it is meant to go on your shelf, it gets a beautiful hard cover book that you can go back to when you're feeling stuck and go back and look at it. So you guys, you ladies or the first one to get to, like, physically, look at it, so and I'm really grateful to my designer as well he did exactly what I wanted so

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.