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Mentoring Program

Lesson 28 from: Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

28. Mentoring Program

Lesson Info

Mentoring Program

This past year has been the first full year program cool and it's been great, I've done a bunch of workshops, but I just felt like I'm a one on one learner and I feel like for photography soon's especially in this kind of, um niche market you want to be doing this really well, it's almost helpful tohave its growth and pam would tell you that it's it's a it's growth so I decided to do a one year program and see how that went rather than no more workshops I just said I'm not doing workshops I wanted you wantto one I really want to work closely with way students and watch that development over the year, and I'm also a also offering to day mentoring sessions that are pretty intense. I warned them ahead of time you're going to get like today in the last three days you're getting a lot of information once sometimes easier process if it's over a year on both do different things like the the one you're mentoring program definitely isn't I'm helping the photographer find their own voice by talk...

ing a lot about them on a personal level and kind of talking about childhood and anxieties and insecurities and how that all plays a part in the features you have is a photographer and then working through those through the photography process um and then they get one on ones with me when two day mentoring program is it's two full days one on one we still go out in the field we shoot and it's a lot more all in your face but it's a lot more technical stuff so usually might my students that um are still struggling a little bit with the camera they tend to want to do the two day because it really is like it's intense and it just gets you in the field but we don't talk really anything about who you are and trying to figure that out we just don't have time in two days so so there's three students that are gonna share actually for um what their experience has been like working with me my name is you know I'm from mexico and I'm taking one year mandatory problem with kristen this's has been quite a journey when I started I really I didn't know what to expect but I'm really happy with the results that we're having right now when I know about this problem I wanted to get into it because I knew christian's work about two or three years ago and I loved it and I love how she captures those a special moment but what I love about it most is that you can see christians personality reflected into her work and you can see her pictures and you know how kristen is and that she's fun and she's going and how she's so where to make the quick in those special moments? So I wanted to improve my photography, but I wasn't sure about what was the next steps that I need to take and I needed on integral will change into my photography scenes my way, way off shooting and my way to be aware of those moments and also about business and how to gain the trust of your clients. When we started way didn't talk about photography right away, she gets to know you better, so she can god you talking with her is he has been really helpful because she gives you up buys and she she shared with you all the things that she knows it is a really special problem because it's made it's custom made it's made for you, she gets to know you better so she can tell she can tell you where you need to work on once you get to work on your assignments, she she see those special abilities that you already have so you can show them effectively and make more impact in your work and how to gain the trust with your clients and you get to talk about business and and many, many things, that photography, because photography's not only taking pictures. It's a way of life and I love that night love that I mean to this program and I'm feeling amazing and I know that we are going toe accomplishment many things so good luck with everything, kristen I'm so happy that you are creating five bomb my experience in this mental time is that I wreck right now I can recognize myself in the pictures I take and that's the way that I can see how I live my life and how I see the world other things is that I'm wearing and to watch their complete scene and to put in context all the emotions that I say and that's the way that I'm improving my storytelling and other thing is I trust more in what I am and what I'm doing in my my thoughts in each session are off confidence in and I'm doing great effort to do the best I can in a ll the session that I take for me my experience is it has been a lot of growing and it has I read a lot of bells in my head and it's about knowing why why I take the pictures that I take that how I am to take those pictures it's about to understanding the areas of opportunity that I have like to get near and see through the vision of the mother or the child or the person that I'm taking pictures and it's about understanding that I have a particular point of view and that I want to tell that the story of someone that it's going the story that is going to be very important in the future just the cities today and to see beyond my own noses and to trust of what I'm doing it's right and to take the poor traits of the persons that I'm taking with me the essence of the person not just a portrait and for the most important thing for me it's to have the opportunity to make the project off my mother's project and it's making me understand her better so kirsten has asked for a little short video of my experience with her and her mentoring program this year and hopefully I can keep it brief because that's usually not my thing so here goes uh what's my experience so far uh it has been exactly the ass kicking that I need it I stirred my europe conditions workshop where everybody said to me when I was there because I only wanted to do families that kirsten lewis was the gal to talk teo she is guru the master she's yet uh and she has this program she's starting this year brand new mentoring family documentary and I thought, wow, I can't believe the stars have aligned in such a way and emailed her right away begged and pleaded to get into her program and here am I and it's exactly what I needed. I knew that coming out of foundations I wasn't, I thought I could put it all together and start doing day in the life family documentary sessions with people and I head no idea what I was doing. It was kind of a disaster and kind of a mess and knowing that she once I got in once she pushed me to do things that I wouldn't have done. Ordinarily, I knew that's what I needed, I knew I needed to have that system of accountability behind me, pushing me, knowing that once a month we were going to check in look at my work see what's working what's, not workin what's happening that full own critique of an entire shoot from start to finish, not a frame deleted. Uh, is such an amazing eye opening experience, and I can't begin to reckon a recommend that highland up for any photographer to allow yourself to be open to that process. You learn so much about yourself how you shoot, why you shoot what you do, right, what you do wrong, and you have to let people see your mistakes. They're so nice. Aren't there pictures good like it's, so good to like seas, and they all are having their own vision especially does marius because they shoot together. And they just wanted to do the mentoring program together and I said we could do that, but you also have two men trolling me separately I'm not I want you to find your own visions and then be able to shoot together cohesively, but I felt like they just kind of blended into one and by now I'm seeing now when I look at their photos like their big group of photos, I know who shot what, which is so crazy, and I couldn't do that at the beginning and now, like, they're really feeling free enough to be themselves in the pictures they make and not fearful that they won't work together like the pictures won't work together in the end. Um, so I'm going to put the pricing there's any pricing, um, download that I can put on my site also that people if they want to check it out, but so that's my two day sessions um are thirty, five hundred what I've decided to do, I was flying to everybody and that's like a lot for me. Uh, and I'm gonna I'm only going to twenty two day sessions thiss time this upcoming year because I can't do any more than that, so twenty two day sessions um I already have like four five filled, but I'm going to fly everyone to me, so it the price includes flight for the continental united states and then anything outside the continental united states it's five hundred dollars towards the flight but lovely thing is you get to spend literally forty eight hours with us because you can come and stay with us and we'll feed you and, um really like work a cz many hours is you want um but the travel is to denver but well, most people are finding that they want is ah one you're mentoring program and I can only take ten students I cannot take more than that it is such dedication and so much work for me because like honest ad it's completely customized to what my student needs everybody's program and basically syllabus is different and emotionally it takes that a lot out of me as well. S o that's forty five hundred uh the the way that this is different is it we were doing one session a month online for a shorter amount of time but some people it's too much and with schedules it can be really busy. So I think it's better to have a longer chunk of time just every other month plus the two full eight hours with me as well so it includes to travel to come to me same is before um room and board the other difference with the one you're mentoring program it's constant communications so e mailing all the time and then I'm also starting offer portfolio review of people just want to do that, we can do that online wherever you live doesn't matter. So hopefully I'll answer some people's questions. Like I said, I have about fifty requests from entering information that I have to send out and I am reserving spots because we're going to start the new program's going to start january february so service if you want to, um, I'm just really happy with how it's been going so far, I'm so proud of my student, like every time is doomed as well, I like start crying a little bit as I post their pictures, like brag about him, they're just really doing well, and the awesome thing is, most of them are now. Now we're halfway through the program, and most of them, I'm encouraging them to start a personal project, so now we're working together on the personal project, which is really awesome because I'm just seeing them flourish even more so because there's nothing attached to it other than their hearts.

Class Materials

bonus material with purchase

Family Portraits Quick Tips
Sponsor Discount Codes
Gear Guide
Family Session - HD
Newborn Session - HD

Ratings and Reviews


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.

Student Work