Skip to main content

Class Introduction

Lesson 1 from: Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style

Julia Kelleher

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

1. Class Introduction

Next Lesson: What is Style?

Lesson Info

Class Introduction

It's so great to be here. It's been probably almost a year, well, 10 months since I've been here at CreativeLive. So, what a welcome, thank you so much, and we are going to, by the end of this class, find our style! I know, it's this elusive thing, right? Your brain likes to mess with you. Your brain likes to go, "No, that's not it. "No, that's not it, no, look there, look there, "look there, look there." Constantly, when you're first starting out, you're drawn to other things. Oh, it's so shiny and pretty! Squirrels, squirrels! (audience laughing) It's just constant, and it just pounds the bajeezers out of your brain, then you start to lose your confidence. Because you're torn in so many different directions, and the whole world's telling you I must do one thing, I must do one thing, you begin to start to doubt whether or not what you're doing in this process that you're going through of experimenting, and dabbing, and dipping your toes in the water here, and in the mud here, and in t...

he jelly there. It's like what is going to be me? That is such an important process to finding your style, and not enough photographers let that happen. So, this class is gonna talk about, in very actionable steps, how to do that. I am going to take you through one, two, three, four, how you can define your style, and if you stick with the system and the formula, you will find it. So, in this lesson here, we're gonna discuss why you need this course, what the overview is of it, and what you'll learn. Then we're going to get into The Style Cycle. This is where it start to get step-by-step. And a lot of people think that style's this elusive thing that just kind of bestows itself upon you, like some God-given thing. Oh, I got style, baby. No, it is something that can be found in a systematic way. And, so, The Style Cycle is going to help you realize which phase you're in when it comes to finding your style. And then when you break it down and step back, you guys know how I love that whole 40,000-foot look, right, that's where you step back, look at it big, you'll see how forming a style occurs in every single person. Every single artist goes through this process. And, so, when you know where you phase-wise in The Style Cycle, and then break that phase down into its formulaic process, then all of a sudden you go, "Yep, I'm in that phase right there, "and I just gotta keep going. "I just gotta keep going through it, "and then I'll find it at the very end." So, when you can look at it from that perspective, 40,000 feet, you're gonna go, "Oh, it doesn't matter that I'm dipping my toes "in 10 different pools right now "because they all feel good and I wanna know "which one I wanna jump in to." You have to go through that process. So, that step-by-step discovery is critical to finding your style. Yes, we're talking about artistry, but it's also personal style, too. This outfit didn't come, you should have seen us in the green room this morning. What should I wear? (laughs) That is style. That's making choices and decisions that express your authentic self. I'll have you know, it was all based on the shoes this morning. (audience laughing) All based on the shoes, you know, sometimes the shoes rule. So, keep in mind that that's going to happen in your work, too. Sometimes that focal length, or that camera angle is going to define the image. Today it was the shoes. Well, in my imagery, maybe it's a color that's going to define the style that I particularly wanna grasp ahold of that day. Then we're gonna apply this whole style cycle thing and discovering it to our work. Tomorrow we're gonna be doing a shoot with a family, a little older family. Most of you know me for babies, but me and my journey, I've been doing newborns in Bend for seven years now, in Bend, Oregon and second babies, third babies are coming. Well, now those little babies are growing into toddlers and little elementary school kids, and the parents still want imagery. So, my business is starting to go, oh, let's go into families. So, I'm sitting here, exploring, and going, oh, my gosh, I need to really define my family work. I'm drawn to a specific genre and look. How can I make that into a line in my studio, into a product line? The reason I tell you this is even if you're starting out, even if you've been doing this for decades, you will be constantly refining your style. It's ever-evolving and changing. Look at great artists like Salvador Dali, the surrealist, who's amazing. You should see his beginning work. Holy cow, it doesn't get more realistic than that! Portraits, like full-on brand brand style. Whoa, that's Dali, what? He's known for his surrealistic work, The Persistence of Memory, the clocks melting. You know that image I'm talking about? He's known for that kind of work, but back when he started, he did realism. He explored cube, all kinds of things he explored before he finally settled on something that truly felt like himself. So, my point in saying that is that you will change over time, it will happen. You have to know where you are on The Style Cycle, recognize it, and be willing to let your brain, your heart, and your soul go that direction. Then, of course, we're gonna apply this to our brands. Marketing, marketing, it's my favorite topic! Marketing is so fun if you know the pieces. And I know it frustrates so many people. "How do I get clients in my door? "How do I do this?" But when you learn that marketing is an art, and you can have your own style in marketing, too, and your artistic style, your photographic style, can then meld into your brand, and then that brand is so solid, the internal components of your marketing are so great, that promoting that to the outside world all of a sudden becomes a piece of cake because you know exactly what you're doing, you know the language to do it with, you know how to problem solve for your client, and then it's simply a matter of messaging that out to them. And once you message that out to them with the confidence of knowing this is me, this is my business, the internal components are great, which style is so much a part of, then, all of a sudden, it's fun to market. What's frustrating about marketing now is your brain (lips trill) where do I go? What do I do, where do I start? I don't have any money, I can't do this. I don't know how to talk, I don't know how to message. I don't have the confidence, I don't know how to network. You want me to go talk to somebody cold? (gasps) (audience laughing) You get my point, right? So, when you know your style and you can apply that to your brand, and you have that confidence in knowing who you are as an artist, and you have the language to be able to describe your art in a way that communicates a message, and a feeling, and an emotion to the client, what do we sell, guys? We don't sell paper. We sell emotion, exactly. So, when you can market those messages emotionally to the client, because you know you're working your style so well, voila, all the pieces start coming together. So, that's where I wanna get you by the time we get to the end of this course. So, let's take a quick look overview at The Style Cycle. It starts with Experimentation, then Discovery. And between Discovery and Realization, I'm gonna teach you something called the 4-Step Find It Formula. Me and marketing, I love little catchy phrases, (audience laughing) (Julia laughs) and I know that it's a little cliche and cheesy, but it does work because it's gonna make you remember it. Because when you are in the process of discovering your own style, you're gonna go, "Oh, yeah, the 4-Step Find It Formula. "I'm right here in the 4-Step Find It Formula." Then we go on to the 20-Images Body Of Work Study, where we look at after we've gone through this process of Discovery, we go into Realization, and we start examining the work we've created to find the common threads, to find the consistencies, and pull out what doesn't fit. Then we go into defining it and actually using words, emotional and visual adjectives and words to describe our style and creating an artist statement. Really great artists have statements about their work. And I use the word artist very purposefully. You might think you're a photographer, but your camera is simply your paintbrush, it's your tool. You are still an artist. You are creating a visual representation of some kind of symbol, meaning, emotion. You're creating art. You may be capturing it, and taking it, or whatever, you know what I'm talking about? A painter actually applies something to a canvas; we take something already there and put it on a canvas. Does that make sense? So, it's just a different way of creating art, but you guys all know that if Olivia and Laurie both took pictures of the same darn thing, it would not look the same. There would be subtle differences in style, and how you handle the technical elements that makes you you. So, even though you think you're just a photographer, you really are an artist, and I want every single one of you to have that in your head by the time this class finishes. I am going to be showing you some incredible art during this program. Incredible artists have agreed to share their work with me and put it on CreativeLive, and it is going to teach you so much about style because not only am I gonna show you their work now, I'm gonna show you their work when they started, and the journey that they've been on to find their style. And these are people we all go, "Oh, you're amazing, I wanna be you!" Every single person I put on here, I wanna be. These are people I look up to in the industry, and the drool goes to the floor. Does somebody have a mop? Because their work is stunning and I can't stop drooling! Do you know what I mean? That's the feeling I'm talking about, but it's so, ah, what's the word I'm looking for? It's so confidence-building to see where they started. You're like, dude, that's Ben Shirk's work? Oh, he would laugh at me for saying that. You look at it and you're like, whoa, I did not expect that! You're gonna see my early work. I was showing it to Kenna this morning. I'm like, "Who is this, guess who this is." And she's like, "I don't know." I'm like, "That's me," and she was just like, "What? (laughs) "That's you, that sucks, Julia! "That really sucks!" (audience laughing) She was thinking it, she was thinking it! I'm kidding, I'm totally kidding, but seeing that journey and these other amazing artists is gonna give you confidence and it's gonna help you see that your journey can be that same way, too. So, we are going to in The Style Cycle use action steps to actually find our style. We are going to analyze it heavily to see it. 'Cause it's one thing to search, and explore, and discover; it's another thing to actually step back and go, oh, yeah, that's it. And, let me tell you, this is the plight of the entrepreneur. If you can learn this skill, you will be successful. Zoom in, zoom out. Get deep in your work, zoom out and take a look. Get deep into your work, zoom out and take a look. This happens to me in Photoshop, it happens to me in the camera room, it happens to me in my finances, it happens to me in marketing, it happens to me in finding my style. Everywhere in your business, in sales, everything. You do in and do the work, the task manager, and then you jump out to be the entrepreneur, and go is this working, is this working? Does this look good, do I see success? If you're down here in the trenches all the time, you're gonna fail as a business. You won't see where you're going, and that plane is gonna go, (lips trill) you must constantly be out here, look at the big picture. But then there's those entrepreneurs, those crazy entrepreneurs who are like, "I see where I'm going! "Ah, it's great," and then they never get there 'cause they don't go in the trenches and actually do the work. So, if you can learn that skill of constantly landing and taking off, landing and taking off, and really looking at your business from a 40,000-foot perspective and microscopic perspective, you're gonna be successful, and that's what I want you to do with finding your style in these next two days is constantly zoom out. This is gonna be a theme. The whole time I'm gonna be 40,000 feet, baby! What does it look like? Sometimes that's really hard to do 'cause each one of us has a strength. Some of us are better at seeing the big picture, and some of us are better at the daily grind. Belinda, my studio manager, who's, I chat about her all the time. She's just over there on her computer. She just ignores me now, which is really a good thing. She is a daily taskmaster. She loves to be on the grind. She's so organized! Oh, my gosh, the girl has everything. She's one of those people that if you need something, you just ask her and it's in her purse somewhere. Oh, I need a safety pin. "Oh, I have one of those!" Oh, I need some twine. "Oh, I have that!" We went camping, I just got back from a two-week camping trip a couple weeks ago, and her family joined us for a few days, and they camped, and she freakin' had Tupperware all over the place with everything in it. And the guys in the campsite, 'cause it was a big group campsite, were asking her for stuff. "Anybody have duct tape?" Oh, Belinda has it! So, she's one of those people. Do you know what I'm talking about? Very organized, very systematic, very formulaic. She is in close. I have to beat her upside the head sometimes to make her step back and take a big look. Belinda, we got a big picture here, and then she sees it. So, I'm really good at the big picture, and sometimes it's a lot to get me to do the daily grind, but then when I'm in there, I'm in the zone, and I get lost. Anybody else like that? Yeah, like when print competition rolls around, I'm a beast. It's like you don't wanna be around me. It's really scary because I'm so focused for three weeks every day, day in, day out. 12, 14, 18 hours a day I'm working on one image, one image, 'cause there's 100 layers in a thing, and it's now a PSB file instead of a PSD file because it's so dang big! But it's that zone focus, and nobody can distract me, and I actually get angry. I get very frustrated when people get me out of my zone, that creative place. I guess what I'm saying is make sure you balance yourself. Make sure you're always willing to go, okay, zoom out, zoom in. So, analyzing it to see it is that zoom-out mode. Defining it accurately is kind of in between, where we're gonna actually use words to create an artist statement that defines our style. We are also going get into applying it consistently to our work. It's one thing to be able to define it. It's another thing to go, oh, next time I shoot, what am I going to do? How am I going to apply this to my work? And that comes in handy tomorrow when we do the family shoot. For me I'm just starting this family photography journey. So, I'm still in that defining phase and applying it to my work. I don't fully know it, yet, and it's still being explored. So, we'll work with that tomorrow. We're gonna talk about style change case studies. People whose style has changed over the years. I feel mine changing. I was just talking to Kenna about this morning in the green room. I'm like, "I have changed." Since I started here at CreativeLive, if you look at the pricing and sales class that I did here in, what was that, 2014? 2012, '13, I don't know, it's all running together. Anyway, pricing and sales for photographers, you look at my work then and now, it's a lot different, a lot different. Fresher, airier, lighter now. Maybe it's because I'm actually happy (laughs) I don't know. (audience laughing) Then we're gonna have some wonderful students join me up here on stage. They have agreed to be in the hot seat. So, we have Alison, Laurie, and Amy, who are all going to show their work, and they're all at different stages of this style process. But I think that's gonna be incredibly valuable for not only you here in the studio, but also you at home 'cause you're going to relate to where they are in their style process. By the time you get educating up here, you tend to have found your style. And it's important for you to see other people in the process who may not be there, yet, who may be only half way, or just starting out, 'cause it's gonna help you relate to your own situation. And then, finally, of course we're gonna talk about style and brand marriage, marrying the two and staying consistent with it. This is huge. Consistency is the backbone that keeps your business together in everything that you do. Your style, guys, it is the way that makes you you. It is your unique selling point in your business. It is what makes clients want you. It defines you as an artist. It is the beginnings of everything in your work. Do you see where I'm going, how important it is? Gore Vidal said, "Style is knowing who you are, "what you want to say, and not giving a damn." And he is so right, and that's the hardest part is the not giving a damn part! (audience laughing) Isn't it? It's like, oh, but I kinda do care. Ah, I really do care what people think because, of course, we're selling our work. As artists, we are taking our heart, putting it on a piece of paper and going, "Buy it, please." It's so wrapped up in our self esteem it's not even funny. I'm basically saying this is me; am I worth anything? Talk about psychology 101, good grief. The doctors would have a heyday with that. We're talking serious, why do we all have self-esteem issues? (laughs) It's because we're so wrapped up in our work, and I think that's why style is so hard to find. People don't wanna put their true selves in their work because it's hard. 'Cause it's hard to ask, hey, is this worth paying for? So, when Gore Vidal said, "Don't give a damn," what he meant was do it regardless of whether people will buy it. You have to go from that place because otherwise the work you're producing is not authentic, it's not you, and you can't sustain that, believe it or not. As you become more and more technically proficient in your work, your style is going to come automatically, and for a lot of people, like myself and these artists who don't have education in our past to beat us, or a 4-Step Find It Formula, to beat us over the head, it was an evolving process that took a lot of time, but it happens no matter what if you are passionate about your art, and if you stick with it, and if you constantly grow your technical ability. What you're gonna discover with all of these artists that I show you, the reason they sucked in the beginning is 'cause they didn't have their technical skills fully mastered. It is a natural progression that as you become better at what you do your style will come about. So, that's how most of us have found it. But the shortcut way is to actually be consciously aware of it and know where you are in The Style Cycle, and then use these steps to actually accomplish it. But having a strong style, of course, as you know, the benefits of it make you stand out. It brings in your ideal client, why is that? And, first of all, what is an ideal client? Let's get the microphone out and start talking. Ooh, it's right there! You two, let's have a little conversation. (Julia laughs) (audience laughing) I'm not afraid to put you on the spot. What is an ideal client. What's your name, first of all? I'm Melissa. Melissa, I will try to remember everyone's name, but, please, forgive me if I don't. Melissa, Melissa, Melissa, Melissa, Melissa, Melissa, what is an ideal client? My ideal client is someone who, we were just talking about this this morning, someone who comes in and says, "I trust you; do what you want. "I love you style, do that." That's what I love, that's what makes my heart sing. I can then bring in my neutrals and express myself, and make it look the way I want it to look. My ideal client is someone whose style-- Resonates yours. Resonates mine, yeah. But why does she say that? She's seen my work. Yeah, but still why? What happened in her head when she saw your work and your style? She had an emotional connection to it. What happened in her that made her go, "Oh, I love that girl's style." I don't know. She's like, "I'll answer." Her heart sang. Her heart sang, yes! There was a connection. Absolutely, she could envision, or she, or he, could envision what they see from your work and they can put themselves into those pictures. Exactly, they resonated with it on an emotional, psychological, experiential level. Somehow, some way, somewhere the two of you have a style together. It's almost like you're each other's soulmate. You know what I mean? I, or you'll see this later, but I happen to have a deep obsessive love affair with Joanna Gaines. She doesn't know it, (audience laughing) but for those of you who don't know, she's an interior designer on HGTV. She's based in Texas and every time I'm in Dallas I go to Magnolia Market, which is where I drive the two hours it takes to get down there, and I don't care. It's obsessive-compulsive disorder. (audience laughing) She is my style soulmate. We got our groove on; she has no idea. (audience laughing) I'm a total stalker, but my point is that if I could hire her to do my house, I would. Trust me, I asked. I can't afford her and she doesn't travel, damn! But my point is that I'm attracted to her because I love, we resonate. A lot of other people resonate with her, too, which is what makes her famous and makes her a great stylist, a great stylist because other people resonate with it, as well. But bringing in that ideal client means finding your client soulmate. Because you are being true to you and yourself, remember, it's just like dating, it's just like dating. Everything in business relates to dating. You wanna attract that guy or gal across the bar, oh, she's cute, she got style! It's that visual appearance, but then you gotta get to know the personality. Is she smart, can she hold two vowels together, kind of thing? Is there a cage with no bird, or not? All foam, no beer? (audience laughing) So, you have to assess these things. Are they smart, do they have a personality, do they have that moral character and values? When you're dating someone, and then when you realize that, yes, they do, you wanna marry 'em. I'm trivializing this very much so, but my point is that clients finding you is the exact same process. You're not gonna go home and sleep over night with them, but the point is that you want to have that emotional human connection with them on that deep level so they will never wanna divorce you. So, when that happens, of course, you can command top dollar and work from your true self because, I'm sorry, if I have the money, I will pay anything to have Joanna Gaines come and do my house. I have several artists whom I have paid quite a bit of money to do portraits of my son because I love their work so much I will buy it and put it on my home, in my wall, and I will trust them to do exactly what they do, like Melissa said. Stanka Kordic is one of those, you'll see her work here in the next segment. She is one of my favorite painters in the world! Heather Michelle Chin, my Corel painting instructor, whom you will see her work, as well, she introduced me to Stanka, and Stanka's work, the first time I saw it, literally I fell off my chair, literally. I was sitting at my desk, and I was just on the computer like this, and I saw her work and I went like that. That was kind of a bad fake. (audience laughing) I literally was that blown away by her brush work, by her color tonality, by the flow, by the wind, and her movement, and the breeze, and the way it just (gasps) I was like, you know that feeling? It's more than when you just see cool work. It's like I must have that, I must own that. (giggles) I don't mean to sound materialistic, that's not what I'm saying. It's just core being. Part of the four-step formula is finding that in other artists' work, and it doesn't come across very often. It takes some time to find, but when you find your style, working from your true self actually gives you more confidence than when you're faking it. So this is the transition that artists have to make. They have to go from, "Oh, my God, I love her work. "I love her work. "Oh, he's amazing, I wanna try that." You've all been there, right? Oh, God, I remember being there. I'm still there at this day. We still, even when you know your style, you're like, "Oh, shiny, pretty things!" You just get drawn in and you wanna do what that artist is doing 'cause it's so pretty. So, it's almost like an emotional decision to do that, rather than really thinking about it. And sometimes, not always, what happens is is you start to dabble in these different things, and you're just constantly drawn because you're not looking at your true self and what's supposed to be there. Does that follow, I know this is a little elusive, but when you just, oh, I wanna try that, that's great, but you don't think about it, and you don't say, "Is that really me? "What can I take out of that that I want to, "rather than copying the whole thing?" Do you know what I'm saying? Tomorrow we're gonna talk to Alison Tyler Jones, who is a dear, dear friend now. I consider her a mentor, a friend, and a mastermind. Do you know those kind of people, whom you've grown your business with since the beginning? And her work has, my sister and I went down there actually in February and we actually studied with her for three days. It was supposed to be this mastermind, oh, we gotta get our businesses in order 'cause we have crap going on and we gotta fix it, kind of thing, and it actually ended up being Alison teaching us what she does. (laughs) And I was blown away, she changed the way I shoot, and that doesn't happen that often these days. As a matter of fact, I'm remodeling my entire studio to put some elements in that she has because I wanna be able to shoot like that. So, I love that people can still do that to experienced artists. And all the artists I've spoken with, and got images from for this course, they all say the same thing, "I'm still lured by other people," and that's good! It's good if you know how to use it. It's good if you can use it that's authentically you, not just, oh, I wanna try that 'cause it's cool, thing. You have to go through that part, and we'll talk about that, but as you become more and more part of your style, then you just start going, "Oh, I like that part, "and I think I can apply it to that on me over here." That's what truly becoming authentic in your style is, and then you just start stealing pieces. You just start stealing elements from other artists. And we all know there's nothing new in the world; nothing's really truly unique, right? Every once in a while an artist like Jackson Pollock will come through and do some revolutionary thing that everyone's like, "Well, I could have done that," but he did it right. Splattering paint everywhere, or Mark Rothko, who does these really abstract color blocks, and you're like, dude, a second grader could do that. But at the time it was revolutionary in what it represented and how it made people feel. Timing was everything, but those people knew their soul, their art, and who they were, and they started stealing, and creating into something revolutionary that happened to be a little further advanced than its time, does that make sense? I'm rambling a little bit, sorry. So, having a good style, of course, defines that unique brand, of course. It also keep competition at bay. How many of you are worried about the competition in your area? We always should worry a little bit, just a little. When I teach marketing, I do an in-depth, I teach people how to do an in-depth competition analysis, and I really mean an in-depth competition analysis. Every business in the world looks at its competition. But there's a difference between looking at the competition and obsessing over it. There's a difference between looking at the competition and going, "Oh, they're doing something good, "I better get on that bandwagon," or, "They really suck; I'm so glad I do that better." Do you know what I mean? There's a difference between saying that and going, "Oh, my God, she's so good and she's super cheap! "I'm not gonna get any clients!" (wails) I quit! Been there, done that, got that T-shirt... (audience laughing) Multiple times. It happens to all of us, but when you have a true sense of self, that screaming child inside your head comes from that sense of George, the voice in your head who tells you you're an imposter, imposter syndrome. He does that religiously and on a regular basis. It's to protect you. It's to keep you from getting too emotionally involved and hurt, but, at the same time, that panic of, oh, my God, this shoot and burner down the street is taking all my business, that comes from him. When you have your own unique style, and you've branded it well, and you're marketing it well, then all of a sudden the competition becomes, okay, yeah, they serve a segment of the market, too, that's great, go them. Do you know what I mean, and you stop obsessing over it so much. Of course, you can charge more for your work because it's unique, and it gives you an ability to market your art in a different way. When you go through this style process in the 4-Step Find It Formula, and defining your style in the artist statement, all of a sudden you give yourself language to use that allows you to market, which is a very powerful place to be. So, in this class, the next few days, we're gonna learn how to define our style using these words and language, which you can then translate over into your marketing. And when you start marketing art from an emotional, visual place, descriptive place, your clients get sucked in, big time. And then, of course, it's really hard to copy you. Now, can they try? Of course, there always will be people who try to copy you, constantly, especially when you get good, and you start having a really defined style, oh, yeah. The people I'm gonna feature here, people try to copy them constantly, constantly! And some people come really close, but they will never quite do it. And if you have branded yourself and marketed yourself really well, no one will want second fiddle, unless second fiddle is super cheap, and they get all those clients. Right, who cares, let 'em have 'em. Being copied isn't necessarily a bad thing. Keep that in mind, it definitely separates the men from the boys. And then, finally, professionalism absolutely soars when you have a unique, defined style. And when I say the word unique, don't freak out on me. It will be unique regardless. You don't have to try to make it unique. "Oh, I have to be so different! "I have to be, no one else has ever seen it!" I mean, artists obsess over this crap. Just be you, and that's enough. So, when I say unique style, I almost want you to ignore that word unique. Style is unique no matter what. It's almost an oxymoron. Do you see what I'm saying? Because the word style in itself, I have a style. That means it's unique, make sense? You will get confidence, cash, and renewed creativity when you define your style. It gives you a direction. Does that resonate? And, all of a sudden, you're like, yes, I'm going down the Yellow Brick Road, and it's my road, no one else's, and I'm happy, and I don't care what squirrels and distractions there are. Oh, 7-Eleven, I might stop once in a while for a little Big Gulp, but I'm on my way. (audience laughing) You dabble in other things. You know, I dabble so much. Freakin' 7-Eleven, I must have to pee every block. I dabble all the time in different work, but does everybody see me do that? No, no, no, no, no, no. I only show the stuff out there that is truly me and my style, and I sit out, I'll answer your question in just a second, I sit and, go ahead and take the mic, I'm sorry, focused, moving-that-direction mind, I sit there and I go, okay, is this me? I marinate on something before I let it become my style, like this whole family line. I have, I have, (lips trill) I have clients now who are, I've been shooting babies in Bend for seven years, and, so, my babies are turning five, six, seven years old. And, so, family work is being demanded of me from my clients. I haven't shown family work at all in my site. Any of you who follow me know it's not common for me to show family work. That's because I've been dabbling. I gotta find it first before I start pushing it out there because to me the kiss of death is to change suddenly, to not have that consistency in my brand, and my style is so ingrained in my brand that if I start dabbling too much and showing everything under the sun, clients are gonna be like, "Huh?" They won't know, they're not gonna say, "Oh, she has no style," or, "She can't figure out her own mind," or, "Man, she's waffly." (laughs) You know what I mean? "Man, she's flighty!" They don't say that. Clearly they can't bring those words out, but they know it in their heart, they're like, "Wow, that's really different than her other work." See what I mean? So, until I have found my voice there, I'm not gonna start showing it. And I have literally in the last two or three months just began finding my voice in family photography, and those of you who follow me are starting to see it. I have these real kid sessions, we're gonna do one tomorrow, where I let kids do their thing. Real naughty kids, they're awesome. Three year olds who have a fit on set, bring it on, yes! Shoot it, parents freak out over it. It's like, "That's my kid!" And I'm like, (laughs) "He just had a fit on set and I shot it, woohoo!" So, my point is that you'll start to see yourself change, but marinate in it for a while, swim around and drink it in and ask yourself is that truly me before you start putting it out there. When it comes to marketing, I always say to photographers, always, always, always, always, always get the inside fixed first, then start promoting it out! If you don't know your market, if you don't know your competition, if you don't know your style, if you don't know your brand, if you don't know how to communicate, plan, budget, all these things, how on earth can you promote? Because if you start promoting when these things are broken in here, then disconcert, all messy, mushy all over the place, and that's why photographers have trouble bringing in clients. They haven't fixed the inside first, and style is that first step. Find your photographic style, who you are, and then that will permeate everything else on the internal components of your business, then you can start pushing for clients, and, let me tell you, they will come in rows, if you do that first. Olivia is a shining example of that, bless her heart. When did you come to mentor with me in Bend? Three years ago? August 2014 maybe. So two years ago. She was very talented at the time, and I'm not gonna take any credit for this at all because it's all her, but she basically mentored with me, learned how to shoot a little bit, and honed her skill a little bit more, she didn't really need me, but then from there she figured out that she had to do the inside first, and rebranded, I should show this. You need to give this to me for the student study story tomorrow. So, I'll talk to you later. Her logo (giggles) I'm sorry. Oh, I totally did it myself the first one. But it really sucked! (Julia laughs) So bad, it was so bad! And now it's like so her! I look at her work and I'm like I don't even have to see the watermark. Oh, that's Olivia. Now it's just (grunts) and that's a problem with style. It's not this tangible thing you can define. It's a (grunts) you know? (audience laughing) Oh, yeah, that's Olivia! Do you know what I mean, I look at Stanka's work, and I'm like, oh, that's Stanka! Right away, it's that feeling of, yeah, that's her. I see her and her work because she's shooting and creating from in here, from her soul voice, her soul's voice, rather than her head, and that's I think what is this elusive thing about style that makes us all freak out because we're like I need to know how to do that. How, how do I do that? But it took me like a year 'cause I came to you learn studio newborn. I was only doing live sell, at that point, and it took me a solid year to get from where I was in your studio to get my studio set up, and to really feel like I was getting into a groove. It took longer than I thought it would for me to be really, really confident in it. And it does take a long time, and I think that's why sometimes it's frustrating for artists because they want it now! "Oh, I need to find my style now!" (grunts) Patience, patience, my friend, patience. It's like being a two year old. You're like I just want something now, and you revert back to that childlike temper-tantrum mentality. I do it all the time, but she makes a great point. This is not an instant process. This style cycle that I showed you, this is going to take a year, or more. Be patient with yourself. But when you have the steps conscious in the front of your head, it will come much faster than just letting it evolve. If you don't have a consistent style, you kind of waffle, waver. Your work shows it, and people see it. And, so, we're gonna nix that in the bud right now. So, today, day one, we're gonna talk about the overview of The Style Cycle in the next segment. What it is, how it works, what the 4-Step Find It Formula is. Then today in segment three, we're gonna talk in-depth in the Discovery phase. We're gonna get deep, deep, deep into the Find It Formula and exactly how to do it. Then, in the last, we're gonna go into the Realization phase, where you actually start to see it in your work. 'Cause it's one thing to experiment and discover, then it's another thing, again, that 40,000-foot view, to actually see it and recognize it. Sometimes that's the hardest part is recognizing it in your work, what's really me and what's not? This is also we're gonna be looking at work from other photographers, amazing artists and photographers from around the world, who have graciously given me their work. We're gonna analyze their style. So, you're gonna see some incredible works here this afternoon. I'm really exciting about that segment. Then, in day two, we're gonna apply a style to a shoot. You're going to, I'm gonna peel back the onion here, and show you what I've been working on for the past six months when it comes to families, and how the elements, the technical components of the work can be applied to a shoot. Then, in tomorrow's segment, we're gonna talk live to three great stylists, include Alison Tyler Jones, Lindsay Adler, and Brian Callaway are gonna speak to us live from Arizona, New York, and Brian is here in Seattle, right? Is he close by, I forget. And then we are going to do our student critique. So, we're gonna talk to our three students here. I'll show you Olivia's logo in the beginning, and, of course, that will apply to brand, as well. And then we're gonna look at Jenny Cruger's work, when we talk about applying a style to our brand, every component of our brand.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with RSVP

Style Freebie

Bonus Materials with Purchase

40% Off Coupon
Body of Work Artist Statement
Studio Borchure
Style Manual

Ratings and Reviews

Cesar Flores

Wow wow wow, as an artist on a beginner's stage this was an amazing presentation. Julia is a pro on teaching the psychology of the artist within ourselves. I will follow her from now on and start putting in practice her step by step techniques on finding my style as an artist. Thank you Creativelive and Thank You Julia, you are amazing


This course is amazeballs. Love love love love love love love. Just buy it. :)

Laura K.

Wow - this may be my favorite Julia Kelleher class (and I own several). So much of what she talks about hits home with me, really speaking to where I am at in my photography journey and the struggles I grapple with every day. Lots of hard truths - the kind that remind us as to the necessity of good old fashioned hard work (really, really hard work) - the need to be truly technically proficient - the need to experiment - the need to practice every single day - repetition ("wash, rinse, repeat!") - and the need to continue learning all the time. I also really appreciate the fact that Julia touches on the PPA (Professional Photographer's of America) CPP (Certified Professional Photographer) process a bit. I just took my CPP exam and will be working my way through the image submission phase of the CPP process over the course of the next year; so it was nice to hear Julia's thoughts and experience in her own CPP journey. I NEEDED this course. Julia and Creative Live - thank you for bringing this to us. And Julia, thank you for diving deep into the hard realities that we need to hear and know in order to truly grow and evolve artistically and professionally.

Student Work