Skip to main content

Student Review

Lesson 25 from: Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

Kirsten Lewis

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

25. Student Review

Lesson Info

Student Review

We're going to talk about the power of pictures for the last two days were talking a lot about business a lot about my approach to photography today is going to be a little bit different than the other two days I'm hoping that today kind of brings everything together kind of really makes sense of everything that we've talked about and I realize it's a lot of information and it's going to take a while to absorb it and I think that's important for everybody out there as well to realize it's a lot of material and a lot of information that you're going to have to start to process and it's not gonna happen overnight some people I think it will immediately effect their work uh what they're seeking out as far as what they want to shoot, what they might change as far as their business, it might take you guys a little bit longer for to just kind of settle and that's totally normal on dh I'm going to try to answer as many questions as I can today from you guys as wells from at home world I'm goi...

ng to save the latter portion of the day to really do a lot of questions, but I kind of just wanted to start this morning with some feedback from both of you of what you're getting from this so far so I can you're kind of like the you represent the whole out there and my sherry with me, really, what you've gotten from this or what you think you're going to do to implement some of the things we've talked about in your own business, then I can kind of cater a little bit more today to addressing things that still need to be addressed. So does that make sense to you thinking, ok, so go ahead and, um, I think a word that keeps coming up from just in my mind and from your presentation is like, freedom, so I think so in many ways, so one thing I feel like freedom to get out of open shade is one thing that I noticed during the first challenge because that's kind of what I bin, you know, conditions of, you know, think for portrait and so so that just freedom creatively in that way and definitely the power of pictures. I've really been reflecting a lot from your stories yesterday in particular on my own experiences in some of the powerful situations that I've photographed for family and on dh then my good friend, who was in the chat room yesterday and shared a quote, and I really was thinking about her when you were talking about kind of healing through through photography and that's, really, she doesn't really do portrait. It's necessarily of other families but really uses it as like a self therapeutic thing. So not only is it powerful for others but it's powerful for us too so yeah, that it's you asked about sleep last night and I think you're the same ways it's been so much in the last couple days that your mind's just kind of bouncing all over the place so your mentor that was mentally that was here yesterday she created it to feeling like an over watered plants and I thought that was really yes really a good analogy but it's amazing, innit? But you will take a while to really process, you know all of it, but but every feeling it you know you have to remember I've had many, many people write in and say that they've learned more in the three days then they did four years at university, so if you think about that much content in just three days versus four years of school, um and I think everyone's heads air probably buzzing and that's normal, I just want people out there toe realize like that's normal, you're not gonna be able to implement everything right away also it's going to take time and I don't want people to feel discouraged if, like you've learned specific specific things to look for in your composition or how you're approaching documented in particular point of reference or view when um event is happening is not goingto all happen overnight it's going to take time is still didn't take practice but if you kind of in your mind remember the rules or the things the goals that you have as far as making your pictures slowly you will get to a point where all those things will come together does that make sense? Yeah and I don't feel I mean I feel very inspired good, so I don't feel like it's you know too much or overwhelmed but but very inspired and just I think with anything like this and especially something this like intense and actually being here um it's you start seeing things differently again, you know are noticing things that maybe you just hadn't so it's it's eye opening its great good and enjoying it good yeah yeah um my biggest takeaway is about being honest this is so much honesty in documentary work and, um when I was in college uh I studied journalism along with media studies and film photography and all that and I thought I wanted to go the way of doing news and that sort of thing and when I when I came across film storytelling part of that took over for me and that's what I ended up doing for a long time I did film video work um and journalism kind of like got pushed away because you don't like the way news is here from england sorry I'm really I cannot stand the way american uses its not honest enough it's not true it's not it does not feel honest um but this has really reminded me that this is more of what I am is a still photographer I am I have done a ton of work over the last couple of years with rescue photography safer for animal shelter and and I do that because I'm passionate about it and you brought up a lot about that about choosing what you love because it's easy when it's easy when you love it, your heart is in it and it comes out I feel like that that happens with my my pet photography you know, I really want to get to the soul of what I see and I've mentioned before that I want to bring this this approach to my pet photography and make make it also about family pets together and uh I think at the basic level that is thie the honesty of people's feelings and um I can't wait to do your book that you've got because I feel like it's a really uh it's a soul such a firm eye for myself but that's also what this kind of photography is for other people getting getting appear in tow like the rial the real grit of daily life and it's the honesty I think I found documentary feeling photography or family photography in general is a smaller niche in the market and industry versus wedding photographers I think there's a lot more wedding photographers and there are feeling photographers and um my mentor program I only have one gentleman everything everyone else's women and I would say is a whole there's a lot more female uh, family photographers I'm not quite sure whether this I don't have a guest other than maybe we feel more connected to children biologically, I'm not sure, but the other thing that I am discovering I'm older to not have kids, I think like the majority of people my age at least have you no, we're married with one or two and of those photographers, they're not only photographers thes moms are there, these women are moms there photographers, their wives they might be trying to go to soccer and p t a meetings and then at the end of the day they're thinking about everybody else, including their clients, their family, their friends there's no one thinking about them specifically them not thinking about them and that's why for me I'm doing that with you out even kids I'm still like thinking about everybody else but myself, so by doing that self exploration and taking the time just for me I think that's how I reconnected to photography and I think that that's what's gonna happen to you yeah um I I've become aware very aware lately now that might my son is six and I mentioned she I turned forty I mean I wasn't totally young when I had had roman I waited but that he's not seeing me and photos you said that about your mom and um that that really that really stuck with me because he's he's often said even though he knows I was there but he's like where you and he's oh yeah you were taking the photo and um that that really really struck me because that's something that you've taken with you your entire life and you don't have children I'm amazed with your connection with this whole this whole genre honestly, um I think there are a lot of women photographers especially who who have picked up the camera since they had a child because you do what you want to document that's a very, very strong draw but from myself I realized I'm not in it I'm not in those pictures I'm in those pictures and I want to do that for other people I want people to see it'll it goes everyone in the family curly and the animals I wantedto it'll be in there but you know, I I know that I need to do that for myself to any good for myself or get someone to come photograph me for that I be really brave and do that myself I have a feeling that there's thousands of women sitting and watching on their computers that feel exactly the way that you do I really feel that way I know from all these letters that I'm getting that they're feeling that way so I just that's kind of why I want to talk to you first before we get into this that people realize like you're all feeling the same thing you're not the only one out there that feels like my life's kind of like out of control this is what I want to do I don't have any time to do it I want to be in pictures with my kids I want to be home more and it's just like kind of re evaluating the balance that you need and maybe by following your heart more where you want your work to go that will help create balance yet I feel like I have not I've been honest with uh what I do with my rescue photography but I've dedicated so much time to that but I um I need to do it more with all my other photography as well you know being true to myself and it and I've never never found it easy to do anything opposed anything set up and so but this I need to just follow my gut and follow what I you know, I did many, many years ago with the journalism because I was I was drawn to that you know, and I I realized that's my style and that is a space for it yeah, there is there is a need for that we don't need to have a ll the cute cute poses and I'm gonna come I kind of do it honestly, I I'm kind of the way you said you are you don't feel comfortable telling me people how to sit where to put the hand, you know? I mean, I know there are many people who are excellent acid that's you know, I'm amazed that they could do it quite honestly but that's that's not me and I need to be okay I'm okay with that I'm getting to be okay with it maybe I'm inspiring everyone to be okay with that. Yeah it's just not for me. Yeah, you know it's, not for you, you don't feel comfortable doing it then you're not going to be good at it. Yeah, right, I can't pose a cat anyway yes, so our third student would also love to read fine just as I wish I could be there today so many things I'm taking away from this workshop I would say a few things that come to mind are really considering moments I tend to make white or pictures where light and composition play a role and moments take a back seat. I know that in part it is because I'm an introverted person. That's, right? And I have a couple of mentor students that aren't extroverted and its lovely over the past year, as I've encouraged them to embrace that about themselves, that they just need to be more patient about finding the quieter moments, but they're already naturally drawn to them. It takes a lot more patients and just tow weight, and it will happen. So just is on the right track. I'm glad that she just recognized that's, probably why she's drawn to those because that's, who she is as a person.

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