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Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Lesson 30 of 35

Student Critques Continued

Kirsten Lewis

Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

30. Student Critques Continued

Lesson Info

Student Critques Continued

This is a brilliant frame and jen and I both would like a copy of this to put in our own bathrooms. I mean, what I wrong? I love everything about this moment I'm gonna tell you how to make it better, but like, seriously, I just I saw it, I was like, you've got to be kidding me like I was just like laughing hysterically that's what you want you want a picture like elicit just an immediate response? It is so funny. Look how little that baby is, but he looks like he's on the potty and he is trying really hard to poo like that is funny, like, really funny. I love I actually love the framing wrong if I'm gonna be really picky because I think you're a good shooter so the only way to make you better or I'm gonna be really nit picky. So next time in this situation, please just be aware of your background here all this took till it clean that up a little is just move to the right. Just a hair. Um, am I moving to the right it's going to move the subject to the left and then it'll have this clean...

spot here you could also maybe just back up I kind of like all this room here, so if you just back up a little then we won't cut off the hands but those were just very picky things but it's going to help you be a better shooter as faras composition but like seriously wrong I love this frame to infinity and beyond and I would guess that maybe it's his son I would guess it like maybe it's this is a parent took this picture um I have to say I'm just going to give a shout out to my friend robbie follow well, he has this magnificent instagram picture of his daughter and her friend will his daughter is potty training and robbie went into the bathroom to take the picture and the his daughter is like trot like trying and the friend is looking to see if stuff is coming down it is so funny it's instagram pictures names robbie follow well if you can find it it's just it's hysterical I love it in this kind of remind me of that like same kind of yes baby it's sneezing baby a sneeze is well see, that is where we say like it can manipulate it, but I'm totally fine with that because the story we think that is told doesn't look like he's trying to put yeah it's great awesome elena think elena might have written me can't remember um you have visually a very good situation here because you have this dark skin tone against this stark white so black and white was definitely the choice in toning this um and I actually kind of like this perspective this is what I call like the boyar perspective kind of and sometimes I really like the voyeur perspective the only thing I'm going to tell you so you have both of them in the clean space which is good and I hope that that was deliberate that that um elena you saw that and then made that frame so what we want I don't know if it's a ball but he's gesturing as if they're throwing something so to make this better what we hoped for is we want there to be more of a moment so maybe like ideally in an ideal world the baby is goingto flip it up and maybe like flies into this clean area again like this's best case scenario and then you have his motion of like going like this and then this is up here so just continue to shoot through this moment you have the composition I don't mind the composition um then if you don't get it like if you don't get the photo then just try something different like try a different perspective trying go behind the dad and still like dad's arm in the lie tough part of the frame and then just the little boy's face them maybe even get him squishing because that's what we want we want to see that effort in the stream that was an interesting position. Three. Okay, here we go. This is sonia. Um, I this is a baby kitty, but you're having a hard time seeing that it's a baby kitty. But let's not give up on that because you're the one that photographs cats, right? A lot. They're not easy to shoot right now. We're going to add two year old and cat and then, like I mean, don't nearly impossible, right? Okay, sonia, my best of the best advice is you need to shoot this with the thirty five. This needs to be shot with a thirty five. I think this is the fifty go horizontal get really close and fill the frame. We don't need all of this information. What we need is right here. That's what I want and what I want is to stay right there until she squeezes the cat eyes bulge like that's. What you want to happen so we just need to fill the frame. This is one of those situations were probably I'm thinking almost black and white would be better, but it is on ly gonna work. If that cat looks at you because you need the eyes in order to determine what it is, does that make sense to you all okay, so gonna try and get everyone to stop looking vertically visually vertically unless it's absolutely necessary and part of that is thinking what we need to show the whole cat but in this situation we actually don't all we care about is right here, okay, this is dave in dave my first instinct and one of my only instincts to tell you is you just need to back up that's all in this situation I think we need their whole bodies and this might be the eighty five I'm guessing is eighty five because I'm thinking that he's probably like from them like this far away if you have a longer lens like the eighty two hundred especially when you have families walking like this eight hundred is my choice and I get really far and then that gives him a lot more room to walk because you have this great moment. I think the moment after this the second after this was probably better maybe instead of because she was looking at you and maybe just the next second she like looked that way but this is a fun moment right here I like this so I think just to make it better we just need to maybe use a longer lens so you khun stand further away and have the whole frame I think we don't want to cut off their feet it either needs to be right here or the whole body, but it's an almost dave it's almost there. Shelby I don't know what it is because this photo is far from perfect, but I like it m e is really far from perfect. It's blown out. You've got all of this happening, but this moment really just makes me feel good and like, this is one of those pictures from, like, I don't know what to tell you, it just makes me feel good. Um, you probably could have shot this at a faster shutter speed, but I don't know if I would have wanted that because one of the things I do like is this movement in the hair. So this is telling me that this is probably shot it like a sixtieth of a second, maybe a hundredth of a second. Um, because all we have really is the teeth and focus. This is one of those I feel like it's, one of those timeless shots where I can't. You could have shown that to me and said it was nineteen forty, and I would have believed it, um, it's, just one of those, like sergio's photo is just pure joy, it's not in any way as perfect compositionally, or just executed as perfectly as faras exposure, but this is also a tough situation to be working in um and I think actually at the end of the day, blowing it out is the best option because otherwise it's going to get distracting? Um, so yeah, shelby, I just I do I like this photo I would actually put this photo on my portfolio. Yes, in destiny, distinct, just just just yeah, uh, destiny, I remember lee this picture last night. What I love is that there's no forced smile with this child. You did use a long lens, which is nice. I'm not sure we're doing the processing for this the soft effect, but I am I actually really, um respond negatively, just like, aesthetically to that. I don't think you need to soften. I think this was done in post process and I don't think that's necessary, I think what actually do better to have a lot more definition in here and like a lot more detail part of it might be I wonder if you're far away and shooting at like, one eight one point eight two point oh, which is goingto mess with your depth of field a little on dso that can also add to the softening and with this with kids portrait, I don't like to go anything less into eight because I like I like the crisp, sharp real nous other than that like I'm okay with it I'm okay with it I just I'm having an issue with this do I think his portfolio where they know because I'm not feeling a whole lot from the eyes where I think that you could maybe beginning it better so I think you can just push yourself I think that you're um I I can see by this image that you're a good shooter I just think that you need to push it a little bit more okay, this is lori I love they're playing chess in the really little like I mean not rule little but their young to be playing chess and they're so serious and I I actually lori read your description of this and that's one of the things you mentioned is that you really like how serious they are and I do too I don't have an issue with this point of view, but actually I think you've chosen the wrong focal point I think the focal point is here not here this is your eye wants to go here so let it go there and the best thing you can do is just try both and see what works better in post I bumped focus a lot so I'll try here first and then here back and forth back and forth to decide I think the light is better on him also imposed you're gonna have tio burn him down just a hair, but see, we've got this three quarter light on him, but we have the flat light on him, so that would be another reason why you might be drawn to this. I would shoot this perspective, bumped the focus, and then I would actually go in front of them. So they're both looking at each other that way with moving the pieces and what I'm always looking for is subject mirroring and what I hope, because if they're playing chess, this is gonna happen for a long time. You have an opportunity, make a lot of pictures, and lori, I can already tell you're a good shooter, so I think that you could make at just a better photo than this of the situation, but just wait there and see if they both mirror each other at some point because that's just that set you apart leaps amount from somebody else. Yes is really leading to the other kiddos you, which makes you want to look at the base, right? Yeah, that's. Another part of it that your eyes following your right arm and she did a good job of filling with frame, so the more you feel the frame them or that this is going to make you look, they're good, I, jen chen, you want take over with yeah, I think the other thing that is distracting here is the brightness on the right and that's another reason why we're looking here and not over there right now this is yeah white shut and, uh we're getting really nitpicky sorry laurie, if you, um if you move, you could still do this perspective use him as the focal point if you move just a little bit this way, you can block the frame with his head and that's another thing that is going to push you further. This is not easy, like the critique I'm giving and the suggestion I'm giving a lot of it's not easy so don't feel bad I'm just trying to help you and everybody else see it a little bit differently and just be a little bit more diligent with looking at your backgrounds and and looking your composition was going to say I love I love it the way it is too I mean, we're talking about different options, but I think it's a great moment the way it is also gets good to me it's a little boring but that's because I want to push lori to make a better frame. Yes, I think the other thing that I want to say about these critiquing and so we're looking at one one that photo on dso maybe we did, we don't always make the right choices and we'll we're showing because I'm you know I'm thinking about things that I've shot now right? You know like I probably did have a better shot and I was also thinking what shot where they like instead of what one was really a better shot right in terms of what I thought was I can't even think of the other options that I had and we're being kind of like we're sending in one shot and hoping is the right way we probably had another one so it's really hard you're absolutely right being a good editor is everything and there's really great photographers that are really bad editors of their own work and I think I was for a long time until I saw a lot of critique and now I'm like I'm my most vicious editor I think there are things that I let go that people are like what are you doing? Why aren't you keeping that? I'm really harsh because I have no attachment anymore and my pictures really unless they're really good like the's like but I shot a lot of frames to make these pictures but I don't have if we compared the percentage of stuff that I like that I've kept so what I've shot let's see dane life's issued ten thousand frames a day in life I have shot fifty I wasn't shooting that much in the beginning and I've shot over four hundred weddings and I've shot over five hundred families one hour sessions you do the math and then look at my portfolio and how little I show so I'm really picky about what I'm showing um and I'm just saying that the pickier you are actually the better photographer you're going to be so I think you make a great point about editing like sometimes who knows? Lori might have the shot I want and didn't realize that was a better shot who knows um like you said I can on ly critique what I'm looking at right now so good point ladies so glad you're here this is sarah sorry, yes, laurie just chimed in what lawrence and said tell kirsten every ounce of critique is wonderful we want her to tear us apart I love all these suggestions you don't really want me to tell you and she said I do have one of him and focus no no yeah, yeah see yeah sometimes it's just the editing you're like no, I don't know, I don't know the more you hear critique not don't just listen to me there's like lots of places online where there's really good photographers like photojournalist that will do an online critique listen to all of it because this is just my point of view although I do feel like some of my composition will suggestions you're going to see especially with photojournalist it's going to be pretty sound as faras we're all going to say the same things, but in terms of, like the one photo, I was like, I don't know what to tell you just like it, you know, it's compositionally not good, but it makes me feel something somebody else would be like that's. Not good at all. Like why? When a person like that so a lot of it is like some of it is subjective, but as far as like critiquing point of view and like waiting for a better moment. That's what I'm trying to do. So, sarah sarah, I think like the biggest problem you're having is your shutter speed is too slow. I think that like that's, my issue with it, the shutter speed is too slow because this moment is awesome and I think like a half a second after this was probably even better. I like this look, they're mirroring each other let's perfect and black and white is where knees. Avi does not need to be in color, but what happened was it shot at too slow of a shutter speed. So without movement nothing's in focus, I think, also is too short of a shutter speed and combined with the moment or the movement. They couldn't hold the camera steady enough and I think that was what hurt the focal the focus point so just keep an eye on your shutter speed some can hold it better than others I can't really seem to hand hold anything slower than like a fortieth of a second and that's if like there really quiet moment unless I'm panning, we didn't even go into panning but panting you gotta shoot it like twentieth thirty twentieth, thirtieth with movement, but um, most people it's around sixty, you don't want to go much more than a fifty third sixtieth or you're just goingto you're gonna blow it out of focus. Linda um linda, I just don't know what's happening here. I mean, I know that there that he's looking at the picture, but I think linda what's going to help you is this is just not the right perspective for this picture, so you have two options you can get really far back with a wide angle lens and show the whole scene because I kind of want to know is he on his tippy toes? Is he standing on a stool like that that those are all interesting elements for a picture? But just being this close, I can't really tell what is happening, so you have that option, you can back up really far and use the wide angle or you can get to either side of him so you can see his reaction to whatever whatever picture he's looking at yes, jim was it you're stretching okay, um and this is a little blown out almost looks like you's a direct flash maybe. Well, I'm not sure, but yeah, you don't need a flash for this if you are using a flash, just either try both things try backing up really far to see if there's like a more interesting story or go to the left now, it's very possible that there is something else happening in this picture that I don't know about. There could be like maybe that's his sister who passed away I don't know or maybe it's cousins that hasn't seen a long time and, like that's meaningful for the family but is in terms of like a portfolio photo. You can have something that's much better than this and remember like, ah, good picture doesn't need any explanation at all. You don't need to explain why you took it or whites good a good picture should stand alone. That makes sense. Okay, marcus, the baby is so cute. Look he's wearing a teeny tiny sweater vest um who's really awesome good, I think good lens choice I think there's a thirty five I would just get closer, that's you just got to get closer. Um, I want to really I love that they're looking at each other, but I think that what we could do is fill the frame or tighter, so bring it here to hear or even like, you could probably cut her head off a little. So there's, no denying that they're looking at each other also imposed production. Just burn this down a little member of the layer max, I'd bring that background down said this really pops and that's what I would say about that one, linda, this is another situation where I don't know what this is. Is it a cat stuffed cat or a rabbit puppet? Linda, you just need to get to the right like you need to move over to the right. I don't think this is very interesting. Anyways, what I do find interesting is all this drool in gunk on its face. That's the interesting part of the picture. So I would forget this puppet altogether and focus on trying to make a picture with this stuff hanging off his face. Just it's. More interesting. It says something warren maura storytelling photo kind of gives you an idea of his age if you are working with the puppet you I think we want to know who was on the end of the puppet that's even more interesting so I would back up again see there's times you could hear me say get really close and other times backup so I might back up enough try that and see if you can see who's on the other end of the puppet and then come over here and shoot really close with the thirty five and just fill the frame with his yucky face judy I love um thes types of photos um you got to be persistent with this this is tough because I think we're out in public and I really don't want them in the picture and you can do it it's just tough so I think to push this I like this picture a lot just to push yourself a little bit harder stay where you are because you can actually make this picture with them a little bit further way too it'll be fine um and just wait because they're going to keep doing what they're doing and just wait and shoots you should shoot a soon as they're out of the frame so hopefully have a cleaner image um but this is a whole lot obviously I would guess this is the end of the day they're probably at some sort of park she's so tired she can't even eat her cotton candy that's delicious and blue because she's just so tired and who comes to rescue most the time his dad says awesome like it's a good story telling photo it just to make it better we kind of want this out of the way and by doing that letting them walk a little bit more than the head will be merging with this and I think the head would actually be framed better in this building in the back yes say something about the color in this that the people's color is distracting but I I kind of like that she left it colors colorful because of the cotton candy I think because of the kind of candy and that's why it's even more important that the people not be in yet because the color is gonna be distracting so you could probably bring this down to judy in post you might not be all cool down too much foot just enough. Okay, we need here's another like swing um uh the pope I don't know what's happening with the post processing I think this is a good frame and you might have killed it a little with the post um what I I wish I could have the raw and go back and see what it looked like without this it almost looks like I'm one of those uh, filters that you can do to make it look like um what's that black and white that, um infrared thank you that's kind of what a thank you to the audience in here I think that's what it looks like like one of those filters that makes it infrared and I don't think that's necessary you've already got like the makings for a good picture so just get back a little especially because she's laying on the swing I kind of want to see your whole body so just back up you used the wide angle and just kind of wait and see but when you're far away and looking at it in the faraway monitor almost have sex she's underwater because like this just doesn't look real so daniel, I'm very excited because, um I know this is I haven't met him yet, but I'm going to mexico to do two day mentoring session with him in november and really excited um so this is daniel is daniel my big issues focus again. So which is the technical thing with your camera? You want to make sure that you're not shooting at too slow of a shutter speed? You have two problems with that one if they move, then they're going to get learned if you can't hold the camera steady enough the blur's well, you I'd already read your description of it your right like this, that arm is cut off it's not a huge issue for me as much as the being in focus thing is but I actually like the color, so keeping in color was the right decision I like all this pop of color I think maybe daniel will work on this in mexico but you can just come a little bit around so that they're not merging so they don't look like there two headed and just by doing that you can still have all those lovely color you made the right choice as faras the lens choice because of the compression and also your boca is nice, so I I feel like your aperture is ah is a good choice is well and I'll see you in november this is eliza's and I think this elissa also submitted yesterday with the the little boy who was flipping our little girl flipping her hair with water. I think, um I think the other one is better I think this is a little out of I think this is a miss focus I think this part of the body is in focus and not his face. What you do have is you're seeing good light right here and you know that you wouldn't have that les his arms up because of his arm down, then it gets it goes into the white space so that's good when I'm more drawn to actually this picture because it is a miss focus with this composition is should be focused here however, you have two choices, I think would've made this picture better one to get right in front of his face with a thirty five while all this water is falling down in this face, I think that would have been the better point of reference, but I'm loving this like all these drips on his back, so maybe also tried to get behind him, get kind of close, fill the frame from here to here and just focus on the stuff on his back. That would be my suggestion. Elissa, this is funny like and food pictures are not easy, like you don't want to write an instruction manual on how to eat it sandwich, but this is really funny kids eating crap acting up my friend kevin back home is not a trial where he hates pictures of kids eating you think it's funny? Um, don't do this blue toning just stick to black and white like the gray scale we don't in here look blue, I think they're look see pia, we don't need to do that just to keep it black and white. Um, but you've got the moment and you have the light to you could probably bring it down a little this is a little distracting right here, um, a way to fix that actually is to stay stand up a hair and turn the camera down and that'll get rid of this. Um the lower you get, the more in the frame it's going to be, um but great moment. I love the moment made me laugh. This is aeryn. Um, aaron, this is really nice. Uh, new one shot that's honest. And you have gorgeous light here. Uh, the only thing that make it better is I kind of want to see mom's reaction to baby, so just move a little to the right and just include a little bit more on mom's face. Give her this to cause she'll love it, but to push it a little. Just make sure that you work around the scene to show all points of view because I think if we saw the two of them staring at each other is going to make more impact. Your viewer. Amanda, I saw this picture as I was placing it, and I actually really like this soft moment. I don't tone this way, there's a couple of people that really love sam blake has this kind of ah toning to her work fair, risky waris t he also has kind of this this contrast tr not contracting or softer lots of grain in his work. I don't do it, but I appreciate this choice two tone this way um nice moment you can bring it down a little uh that could be done in post I think it's a little there's not enough blacks and whites it's kind of a little tiny bit muddy so if you just bring it down um, the exposure down a little this will pop more on dh have more definition, but I do like this moment I actually like the frame too uh the way that you've composed it is it? This is awesome. You know what this is like this looks like an ad for something, doesn't it? Um I love it, and I actually don't even mind that its vertical um, how lucky of a moment. This is like you don't. This doesn't happen very often. First of all, who photographs a little baby with a caterpillar? Secondly, why isn't the baby trying to eat the caterpillar like, um I love it and it would not I don't feel like it would be a picture unless it is doing that so I don't have a lot to say other than crystal I love this picture it's great. What stinks having that name? Um mom, your zara malgorzata um this is a frame I really love a lot, I just think processing wise, you need to fix it I think this could have a lot more contrast, and we need to bring down the background because we're fighting a little bit and we're missing this amazing moment that you have I mean, she's soaking wet, but above and beyond that she's she's dumping out all the water out of her boot and she's doing it by herself, which is pretty awesome. She's probably only, like, four years old. Three or four. So I think this frame is wonderful. Just if you watch me do the layer masking, maybe try doing that and tone the background first, much darker, and then then process this with a little bit more contrast. Add your blacks in and then paint her back in andi, I think you'll have even a stronger a stronger frame and that should definitely be on your portfolio as well as I should have been saying that this needs to be in a portfolio as well. Hey, bear, I think we talked to bear yesterday. Um, you were quick, castle. The time they're not easy. Um, I love okay, this is the thing that I'm noticing and I think bear, you missed the mark on this. I think that awesome thing about this cat is it's so fat, it looks like it's hanging over like the both ends of the stool so bear you need to use um aperture of like a four point five or five point six in order to get all of that because we're losing that information with it you know with this shallow depth of field so we just need to back out because you don't want to cut off the ears that itjust looks awkward so watch your edges bring it up and back up and then use um like I said shoot it like five six so that we can see the whole body because that's what's going to be funny that's what going to make this picture work? Um this is a great moment I think that there's a better moment waiting and I think this is a situation where we do not need a vertical dagmara dagmara so try I love this try a thirty five because see, we don't need all of this information and really you khun get lower and fill the frame here and then maybe hopefully like he's going to look up or he might grab like to shake the fabric honest on his head because I said this also when I have the families walking up and down on the beach and they're looking down it's just kind of boring so you can work this harder that's all tomorrow just working a little harder and don't worry about the vertical you khun dio horizontal so this could be the last one to oh no no we because jim's last june's last one so I actually have done this pretty well um so tammy be careful of this and I think actually grandpa is the most interesting part of this picture so I would actually focus on make trying to make a really good picture with grandpa surrounded by all these kids and it looks so he's a little bit bored which I find funny so if I can try layer and now this is very difficult like layering his heart you're getting there I would actually try and get low, get in there and frame it so that all of this action is happening around like with the bubbles floating but then through the action you see grandpa and he's bored as hell like that will make for a pretty funny photo or just to watch his reaction that's that's my thought process and I think this should be black and white okay, this is the last one and it's jim's um are you nervous, jim now all that you know, all the folks in the chat rooms it's like it's there just shouting out so money thank you's for like be brutal we're only way we're going to learn is good that's the only way we're gonna learn right? So jim of my issue is the toning I think it needs to either be all the way, color, all the way, black and white and in this situation, I think it's going to be better in black and white. What I think is happening is he's sitting on one of those, the stool, the helper stools. I love those is they're new and I think it's actually better if you back up to show that help her stool because especially if it looks like he's in the kitchen all by himself, even if maybe mom or dad is over there. So what I would do get this shot, parents will like it, but then back up really far and maybe sure the whole kitchen would just him on his little helper stool and hopefully he's going to turn back and play with this. So it looks like he's having playtime in the kitchen all by himself. That makes sense. Yeah, totally perfect, brilliant, thank you. How do you guys feel? Did you feel like you learned something from that? Definitely okay, good.

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.