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Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Lesson 11 of 35

Post Processing in Photoshop

Kirsten Lewis

Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

11. Post Processing in Photoshop


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1 Introduction and Background Duration:22:36
5 Six Tips to Session Success Duration:30:47
6 One Hour Family Sessions Duration:33:33
7 Telling the Proper Story Duration:21:35

Lesson Info

Post Processing in Photoshop

You're using a white room for yes, is there a reason you haven't upgraded to five because I'm lazy could answer thanks for being honest it's really like all it is I don't know because I don't need to I guess yeah let's not do all that so when you pull up rafel files in photo shop, you know it's gonna open up camera walk raw first, which is kind of like light room like working with light room first, so here's that image that I liked a whole lot I'm I approached this pretty much the same way I actually think I like the quality better when I use camera rai things a little bit sharper, okay here's, the difference when I'm toning and camera raw if I think that I need to dodge and burn background and four round or a specific area, I'm gonna tone for one spot first and then I'm going to go back in with a layer and I'm gonna show you how I do that, so let's say, I don't do these kind of quickly, I'm not going to do all of them, but saving him find like a really good example of what I'm talking...

about here's a good one, okay for this picture, I'm only gonna process the first part for the back, okay, and I know that I wanna have that pretty dark to make it more dramatic I'm also going to add a little bit of saturation and this is the really awesome thing that I love about working and photo shop and I have been told they even do this in light room but I don't have tried it's just not okay so they're totally like not exposed for like they're not probably tone but this is really what I want this backto look like maybe add a little bit okay if we look at this and we hit the shift button it changes this right here you see that it goes from open image toe open object do you see that difference I'm gonna hit the shift key and I'm gonna open up the object my computer's kind of slow also might one of the questions that we have from uh fancy photography says do you ever use vibrance on your pictures use the vibrance in light room in light room um I have done in the past usually only do that if it's clip if I'm used a lot of clarity and I'll either just the virus are all just the saturation one or the other um I usually won't do both I'm also gonna try and close all this out yes I have used violence in the past but on lee I only really adjust that if the clarity has taken too much vibrance out of the photo all right let's just try like a few and they were also asking about vignette ing as well no do nothing you know I don't I don't mean yet at all um well maybe it'll work now you guys okay so now photo shop is open let's try this again sorry all out there sometimes this kind of stuff just happens now that photo shop is open it should work I think let's just open up this one object thank you for everyone being patient it made me a little bit nervous okay holy shortcut I'm using is just the command plus two make it big okay so we have this photo and um I've exposed for the background okay but I want these guys to pop so this is open as a smart object and again I am crediting daniel and davina um up in canada because they're the ones that taught me how to do this I wouldn't have known this otherwise and they know a whole lot more tricks than I do so you goto layer right here and you go to this more objects and you're going to make a new smart object via copy so well not that so here you see now you have the two copies we're gonna open up the copy she's on the top now I'm gonna tone for just them ok so it's gonna be completely different the thing that's great as I could also like change if I want to just warm them up a little and not the background that's a little green so now they're going to pop a lot more do a little bit more clarity ok, so hit okay okay so now you see the layer that we just adjusted if we hide that we see the layer that we have in the back right? Okay we're going to make a mask right down here. You see that it's next the fx you're gonna hit the mask we're going to double click on this is going to bring up this property's box sorry, I don't have a lot of room right here. What you want to do is invert okay, so we're gonna invert it so it's going to make this this layer that we have on top is going to disappear for any what is gone now we're gonna paint back in to bring back what we did and what I do is I like to use a pretty big brush oops it's too big okay that's good. Um we want to make sure that this is white because it's going to a race I'm going to use a very small flow hundred percent capacity but a very small percentage of flow and then we can paint them back and I do a circle really want this bigger there we go way that makes sense so why do you do this in photo shop instead of just dodging them in in light? Graham because this way, it's eggs, I am setting exactly what I want them to look like on a separate mask um, versus I don't feel like I have is a much control in light room, as I do this also, I don't feel like the grad like that gradual flow outward is as smooth as it is in photo shopped for me like this is definitely my preference. The other thing that's awesome is aiken do like multiple layers so I can do three layers if I want weaken like, take a look at that. But for me like this makes a huge difference in this for me is was just the game changer of howto had a process that images without specifically dodging their burning. I'm really like processing the photos in two different ways and then bringing it back in. Does that make sense? Um for me, there is a huge difference when you want to see another one, we can do another one if you guys want, so I'm still like I'm still doing it the same way. I'm just gonna open the this in for a mechanic for a minute so I can pick like, specifically pick one that we should d'oh that will help, okay, this is a good one to dio with all these layers, so open this one up in photo shop okay, so this one's going to go black and white for sure this isn't really kind of complicated um composition it's really layered but I like this action that's happening here in this space right here this is a little bit distracting so what I want to do is just kind of make of you're not see that or pay attention to that as much so we're going to do the first one in this way you can see it in black and white as well so I'm on ly adjusting for this layer and actually will do three layers so that you can see that you can do it in three layers so right now I'm just adjusting for him okay? And really this this highlight on his face okay remember to hit the shift and that opens an object okay, so now I'm gonna just for his body here because right now he's so bright they that's the first thing I see and I actually don't want my eye to go right to his back. I also know that I might do an adjustment separately for this background here so I'm going to make two layers I'm just going to it twice smart object be a copy so here we go now adjusting for the buoy in front okay? I'm just going to bring it down to there because I don't want to lose them I want to see him I just don't want him to take the first glance okay now we can't see that layer because it's below the top layer so you could just move that layer up so we see it member I'm gonna add this layer mask this is already up make sure that you invert it and now I'm gonna actually pay that the burning in it should be hold on I'm gonna bring up the flow a little bit here we go sometimes the darker ones need a little bit more flow and my computer's really slow way I really like that highlight on mom's legs there so I don't want to get rid of that so I'm very careful about how I'm doing it but with the big brush the other thing is it's just lightly painting into the side so again it's very gradual okay now I like kind of dad's feet here but I really don't like this so that's why I'm going to take this one and I'm going to just bring it down even more we just don't need it to be so obvious but that's darker than the the kid so I'm gonna pop this up so now there's the third layer we're gonna add the layer mask in bird it and I wanna paint in here now the awesome thing is if I think it's too much which I d'oh all we have to do is hit the x well, she could see that let's say teeny tiny computer okay, so I really should be black so if you're on white and the other one is black here this paintbrush thing if you hit the x it switches it from black to white so now it's too much we're going to say let's take the flow down a little bit and we're going to reverse what we did see that now for me my eyes going right here um I still had this shape and I still have this body here but I had full control over my layers and what I'm choosing the tone um back in the day when you would be in the in the uh dark room, I would have done this with a dark room with my hands, so um and I would have taken I would have stopped and then like, I don't know if you guys ever made like cut outs and stuff too like raise it up and down, but I kind of feel like that's what I'm doing in photo shop and I think that's why sometimes I prefer photo shop over light room because I feel like I feel more in the dark room actually with photo shop I just feel like I have a little bit more control over my tools then I do with light room so for me that's my preference I'm not saying that you can't and I've been told that you can do something very similar to this, but I don't think it's the same and I played with like, I've done the dodging and burning light room, I just feel like for me photo shop just gives me a lot more control, you know, just to be able to choose, like, all right, this layer is going to be a little bit darker in this letter that being said, I don't do this a whole lot ah lot of time I shoot the way that I wanted toe look, but in those cases where I really like, want my eye to get this big thing out of there, I really want my eye to go to this little boy first, like I really dio, and so I have to burn this stuff down because of the light that I was working with, I don't have a choice like that light was just too bright and so in order for my eye and for the viewers, I to go here, here and then we'll fight and we'll go up here to this corner and follow it all the way down, you really kind of have to manipulate that like I said, like, our eyes are lazy, so you kind of have to tell the eye what you wanted to see and even though we're controlling the light, sometimes, I mean, I don't have control over the big, bad son, so to have a little bit of help in dark room in the dark room or in this case in photo shop, I'm okay with that. Does that make sense? You guys have any questions about because this was the only thing and push if I want to show you one of things that I just want to let the folks in the chat room no, is that kirsten here is here representing a photo, journalistic, documentary style family photography and it's always fun for me to get to watch someone like I'm a fly on the wall when when I watched them process because, yeah, because everybody on the foot of shop guy and everybody does it a little differently. S o I just want to let these guys know we're not here for a photo shop class or light room class were just a fly on the wall get in to see how you do a little bit of your own processing. We have a huge catalogue of all those. If you guys, if you guys need those courses, please don't hate me because of my process, please don't, because I set up front like I'm not like, this is how I do it and it's cool it's cool to watch somebody as they work so all right let's talk about the homework this is pretty exciting can we bring this up? Yeah, I think the guys will there we go okay, so I'm gonna give homework if you guys want to do it too I don't know if you brought your cameras but you can always use your phone if you if you don't have cameras but I'm asking everyone who wants to do the homework on I'm I'm basing it on what we saw and what I taught today I want you to make one good storytelling picture from your own life okay so it can be a dinner tonight it could be maybe in your neighborhood there's still plenty of time you'll have like all day today some people are just waking up um remember that the subjects don't necessarily need to be human you don't it doesn't have to be human to be a storytelling picture so maybe you have pets maybe you have kids just a husband, a partner your grandma I don't but it doesn't have to be a person it could be a pet and they don't have to be family. So like I said, maybe you live alone in the city and you work there but I'm sure that there's a place that you frequent or um a walk that you always take where you can make a story telling picture so remember the three elements that I taught you, which is light composition in moment. And if you khun, just include at least two of those strong elements, I'll be really happy. If you do all three that's ideal. And remember to get all three eyes most important that you be patient, find the light first, then work with your composition and then wait for your moment to happen. And you can send your homework to homework at creative, live dot com, and I will get it. And then tomorrow I'll actually talk about a few that I got. So tomorrow I'll collect them all, looking him over, and then I'll talk about a few of them live.

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.