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Family Style Shoot #1

Lesson 18 from: Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style

Julia Kelleher

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Lesson Info

18. Family Style Shoot #1

Lesson Info

Family Style Shoot #1

This is Amazing Belinda, she pretty much runs my life! (Belinda and Julia laughing) She does, she keeps me on track, she keeps me on schedule and she pretty much has anything you need at any time. She's one of those women who like, if you need a pencil or if you need a safety pin or anything, she has it in her purse and she's just Miss Organized-- True story. True story, she's Miss Organization. Belinda, you've been with me for five years now, right? Five years. She started as my nanny for my son. Dean used to sleep on her chest while walking around in the Mobi, and so I thought, "Well, if he's just sleeping on her chest, "I got to put her to work!" So she started doing Photoshop and doing all my albums and stuff and learning Photoshop and then slowly, over time, pretty much runs the place without me which is amazing. Jewel Images could actually survive if I wasn't there coz she-- Except that I don't know how to use a camera. That's a big factor. She doesn't know how to use...

the camera but that's okay, she's an amazing woman and is always in the Facebook group that we have answering questions and helping people out and this is the woman you'll end up talking to if you call the studio or email or whatever. She's my right hand and I honestly couldn't live without her, she's that important to me. And I am fortunate to have found someone that awesome in a career coz I know, maybe if you were at the stages where you were thinking about hiring somebody, you're at the point in your career where you wanna transition to bringing a studio manager or somebody on, an assistant on, and once you find somebody like this, you don't let them go. So you're amazing. So anyway, we're gonna be applying style, technical aspects of style today. She's gonna be helping me with the session. We're shooting the same family in two different situations. What I really want to focus on is those technical components that we talked about yesterday. I'm gonna keep a few things really consistent coz it's very much my style. You all know, as I was saying, that I shoot newborns and she's the reason that we start, I got an assistant for newborn sessions and why I fell in love with having an assistant but now, those babies are, we started getting third and fourth babies now, aren't we? Yeah my first session I assisted on I think just will be five this year, this fall. Five years old this fall, Beckett, right? Yup, I'm going back. Beckett's gonna be five. I always remember. She can remember every child's name that we have shot. It's a miracle, I don't know how she does it. But anyway, so now, these families are coming back and they want family sessions so we're launching a new product line of family work which I've been exploring what, the last six months or so? On how to really, Yeah. Where it's like really been focused. The outdoor stuff you've been doing for a while but as far as studio, family studio. Family studio is where we're kind of taking it. And it all happened when I started seeing Allison Tyler Jones' work. So I was in this style journey too, and I just wanna emphasize, the style journey is something that's constantly evolving and you'll forever refine. I saw Allison's work and Allison and I have become good friends since then but she switched me over to these Profoto lights so I'm now shooting strobes with families. Those of you who have seen previous CreativeLive classes, you've seen me use continuous lights, right? The Westcott TD6s. Well, I still use those for babies in studio but when I'm shooting fast action kids, boy, nothing like these strobes. We couldn't do it. They capture everything. Everything. Well and she does all my editing, so what's the difference between using the Westcotts and the strobes as far as editing goes and what you see in the images? Oh they're so much sharper, and you can see just much more detail. Yes, yes. We were having trouble getting images in focus? Right, at first because we weren't used to how sharp it was. Yeah and then with the Westcott TD6s, the continuous lights. I would have trouble getting things sharp. Things focused, yeah. Especially with fast moving kids. What the flash does is, and this is like technical flash camera jargon that she would not know the answer to. Don't always know. But basically the flash, I'm learning! She's amazing. The flash freezes the action, okay? So you're shooting at it at one 250th of a second which is your shutter speed sync on your camera. For me, it's one 200th for the second in mine, but that flash freezes and so you get a fast moving shot subject extremely sharp. Almost so sharp that we now do more retouching. It's almost annoying. Yeah, It's almost annoying coz the wrinkles are really obvious. (laughs) Yeah. It's bad. Portrait here is your best friend but on the Westcott TD6, there's no way I could capture a fast moving toddler running across the backdrop with just a continuous light. I'm sure some of you notice that when you're outside. Have you noticed that when you're with little kids, when you're outside in natural light, things aren't quite as sharp as you can get them with strobe in a studio and that's kinda why I switched over and Allison has been a huge influence in my work the last few months because of this family line that we're launching. Again, this is interesting situation, live television, family, six year old, 10 year old, very intimidating, lots of people watching, so nothing really ever goes exactly as it would in studio when I can fully connect with a child and get them to ignore what's going on around them. It's a little harder here so we're gonna go with the flow and kinda see what happens and we may get some great images and it may not, who knows, kids are unpredictable. But the point I wanna make to you is that what we're gonna be discussing today is keeping a few technical elements the same that are signature style things for me. One of those is the camera angle and the focal length. I'm gonna be shooting with an 85 millimeter lens in studio which is pretty compressed. I would love to shoot with my 135. I just pre-ordered that 105 1.4 from Nikon which I am fricking dying to use and I love the fixed lens compressed look. So you're gonna see me, when I angle the family, we're gonna start straight here on the sofa. I'm stepping on the V-flat. I should probably not do that. Take my shoes off. So you're gonna see me do things straight on but then, we're gonna switch over to using some of these stools and you're gonna see me start to angle people, okay? And the reason I'm gonna do that is coz I want the light to fall on them all evenly, alright? When I shoot them straight, you're gonna see this person over here have a lot more fall off coz the light's farther away from them, right? Versus the person sitting right over here. Okay, so I'm gonna strategically place people according to the light and you're gonna see the difference of when I shoot an image where the light stays kinda relatively the same versus when I start angling people out here which in a continuous light situation would be freaky because we would have to shoot it like F2, right? And no one would be in focus, right? I'm gonna be shooting at F10, F and so that really long depth of field. Shutter, aperture, sorry, brain squeeze. Apertures, so we're gonna have a lot more ability to get everybody in focus but then what I'm gonna be doing is on the floor with a long lens, what's that gonna do? It's gonna compress everybody. So it's gonna look like they're on a flat plane when you see the image even though they're slightly curved. Does that make sense? So these are little techniques that you're fooling the camera, in other words. You're using the camera focal length and the aperture as well as the lighting technique to make a three-dimensional scene look relatively flat which will allow the light to be even on everybody and have a nicer component to it and that's a style element, okay? I'm basically taking a technical issue and turning it into a look, okay? Finding, defining, and marketing your photographic style. Today, it's all about applying this stuff to your work. So today, we have the Reay family! Am I pronouncing that right, Reay, Reay, Reay family? Adorable, they are so cute! We've got little red-headed Eli, and Sarah, his older sister who's 10, and then Andrea and Chris. They have graciously volunteered to, and that little puppy dog is gonna be a big prevalent look. Especially when we move over here to the seamless paper. Little puppy dog is very important to Eli so we're gonna make sure that we incorporate that into the work. So as you guys can see, this is kinda my style. Some of it is shot in the same look. There's Belinda and her family up there on the right, and we're gonna focus on a few specific technical components to this imagery, but I wanted to remind you of what we talked about yesterday when it comes to technique. We can look at all kinds of things in an image, and when you're doing the find it formula, which I'm kinda demonstrating today, a little bit, is we break it down and we focus on a few things we wanna see in an image. Okay? For me, today, those things are, in shoot number one, are basically gonna be composition, color, mood, lighting, viewing angle, and focal length. So I'm gonna be shooting with my 85. We'll see how it works. Normally, distance wise, I'm hoping I can get enough distance to get full body shots. Obviously there's a space. It's constrained based on the space you have and sometimes that's a style. Like, you will find your studio being very small, and you gotta make your style happen based on what you got! So that's what we're gonna try to do today. If I have to switch to a 50 millimeter, I will, but I'd really like to keep it at that for that type of compression. As a matter of fact, I will even go longer if I could. So if I could go to 135, I would, but we tested in here yesterday and it just didn't quite mesh with the distance here. So we'll do an 85 millimeter lens. My camera angle is going to be very low. I want that kinda commercial look to the imagery and then the lighting is gonna be very much overhead north lighting. You can see, I used a Profoto five-foot Octabank. This thing is magic in a box and I am going to be focusing on that real pretty north. I call it the north light which is actually what Mark Bryant taught me. He's the one who kinda changed my lighting to this look. But it's wonderful because if you do want a composite, it acts like that big, open, sky, sun so you can put people in outdoor situations even though you've shot them in studio which is really awesome. We are using three Profoto D1 Airs, 500 watt lights with the air remote trigger. These are 24-inch umbrellas with a white interior, okay? And I tested both the white interior. I know. Borrowed equipment, don't let it fall. This is a white interior, I have tested the silver. The silver is too specular for what I wanna do. I just wanna create kind of an even soft light on the background here to light this wall and make it go a lighter tone because if I just used this light here, that would go black. It would go very dark, okay? And we're gonna play with that a little bit more over here on this white paper. A lot of times, people will see me and they'll see a child jumping around on a gray background. And, "Oh, what color seamless gray is that? "It's not gray, it's white. "Well it looks gray! "It's white." The reason it looks gray is because I didn't light it. I didn't light it very much and I pulled the subject away from the background which makes it go gray, okay? And that's the power of using strobes, you have so much more control but with that control, takes a lot more finessing, it's actually more challenging to get your lights right because you have so much control. I was testing things here before we went on the air and everybody's watching me. I'm like, "Ah! I need more power! "I need this! This is not working!" So we're gonna play a little bit around. I'm still not happy with the way it's going so we're gonna play around with it a little bit more as we work with the family but I also didn't wanna burn them out either so for shoot number one, that's what we're gonna be focusing on. Then in shoot number two, we're gonna change the left side. So composition, color, and mood are gonna completely change in the imagery, okay? We still have the same family. We're gonna change outfits, we're gonna change backgrounds, even though it's still white, technically. We're gonna change backgrounds and we're gonna change composition. I'm gonna be going from a more horizontal look to a vertical look with those kids. It's literally just changing my camera from landscape to portrait and you're gonna see a difference in style. And this is the find it formula, you guys. This is what I want you to experiment in your own studios, in your own work, and see how you can take just a few couple elements, change them up, keep some things the same, and still resonate your style. Does that make sense? So I think we should get started. Yeah? Yeah. So let's get started. I am going to leave the keynote thing here real quick. Actually, I'll put it in the technical spot. You want me to hold it? No, coz I'm gonna need you to play with lights. Oh, yeah go for it. Alright, and get my shoes out of the way. And I have no issue answering questions while I shoot. I know some people, I might get a little distracted but that's okay. You know how it is when you're trying to create and you, ooh, like someone's talking to you. But I am used to it coz lots of parents talk to me when I'm shooting their baby. So I am perfectly okay if you shout out questions. Well, I guess, we have to have the microphone but if you wanna shout out questions or you wanna know what I'm doing during a specific time, if I can't answer right away, I'll say, "Don't forget that question! "We'll come back to it. "Coz I wanna answer that!" Okay? Sound good? Everybody excited? Yes! Rock and roll! Let's bring in our cute, sweet, adorable family. The Reay family, am I pronouncing that right? Perfect. Reay? Yes, thank you. It's a cool spelling and I was afraid that I was-- No you got it. So this is Andrea, and Chris. Chris is a technical director for the theater here in town, an opera? The opera, yeah. The opera here in town which I thought was the coolest. Go see Count Ory! Oh, will do! We should stay an extra day and do that. That's awesome! Okay. So Sarah is 10, Mr. Eli is six, you're gonna be my big helper today, bud? Mm-hmm! Now, what's his name? Marmar. Momma? Marmar. Marmar. Marmar! Ooh, Marmar's gonna be very important in today's shoot. He is a family member so we are gonna make sure that he sticks with the family. Sound good? Okay, alright. So I'm just gonna do my best to talk through this as I you know, kinda talk through my mind. If that makes sense. It may be a random stream of thought but be patient with me, but I am gonna try to just say what I'm thinking. Alright, so I did a little bit of a test with this, and the background still isn't quite as warm and creamy as I want it to look but first things first, I went ahead and white balanced. Do you guys wanna see me custom white balance? Okay let's go and do that. You guys have a seat, just make yourself comfortable. Alright! Make yourselves comfortable and hang out. What I do, thank you, Adam you're so awesome, thank you. You're gonna control my cord or, you wanna control it? Okay. He's like, I wanna control that cord! (laughs) Alright. I use custom white balance which makes your color perfect especially with these Profoto D1 Air lights, they are absolutely stunning in color and my light is a little bit high for them sitting, so I'm gonna go ahead and lower this. This is a monster by the way. Do you wanna do the lower one? No it's okay, I'm good. Oh, I probably should've but that's alright. Okay. So I'm gonna get this light pretty close to my subject. (Eli reacts) (Belinda laughs) Whoa! Is that the coolest thing ever? And the other thing that I'm doing is I want my subject on the backside of this light, okay? Now you notice Chris over here, I mean, you can even see it in the mom in light. Eli has a ton of light on him and Chris is gonna fade out. Do you see that? So I'm gonna shoot that first, predicting what's gonna happen and then we're gonna change it up a bit and try to fix it a little bit. I also noticed that Andrea and Eli are a lot fairer than daddy. Do you see how whiter, much creamier the skin is? So when I do pose them, I'm actually going to flip them and put daddy over there 'cause he has darker skin, so he needs more light to make it glow, does that make sense? You guys can go ahead and switch when you're ready. And I'm also gonna have you guys at some point when we're ready here, we're not quite ready but I'm gonna have you take off your shoes when you are ready. I do a custom white balance on my Nikon, you can do this in Canon too, and I use a Photovision target card. What Belinda's gonna do is hold the target card right back there like this. Sorry bud. You okay? Peek a boo! Peek a boo! (laughs) He's so cute. And I'm gonna get a decent exposure on it and I've already kinda measured my exposure 'cause I metered earlier but you can see the image. I just shot the image, make sure the exposure is good over here. Do a good histogram on it. We have a histogram and make sure we're all, yeah it's a little hot. Let's go ahead and I'm gonna go up to F (shutter) and check my histogram, make sure we're not too blown out and yeah, it's there. We're getting better. We're probably pretty good right there. Then, I set it to custom white balance in camera and hold down my white balance button, it'll start blinking up here, the pre-session will start blinking up here, and then I take a picture of just the gray. So I'm gonna go ahead and have Belinda do that. It's blinking. Go ahead and focus in, take a picture of only the gray. It will say good. It stopped my camera. Then I can shoot it one more time back here, and just make sure the color looks good in screen. So I can look here and go, "Yeah, that's a pretty accurate color, I like it." Now, one issue that I'm seeing and I might change my mind here is that daddy's in that hot white shirt. Okay? So you can see already from this image that dad's shirt is hot, hot, hot, hot, hot. Do you see that? Even though his skin is darker, I have now changed my mind based on what I'm shooting, and I'm gonna make them switch around one more time. It's musical chairs, right? Musical chairs. Okay, so guys, I'm gonna go ahead and have you take off your shoes for me. We like bare, cute feet. Awesome! Again, a style thing. I like bare feet, to me it's casual, it's comfortable, it's a loving family. You're not really barefoot in front of someone unless they're you're family, well me. You guys are all my family, right? (audience laughing) Yeah, see, to me that adds so much more personality to it. I'm gonna go ahead and pop my light up just a touch more 'cause I'm worried about that being hot on momma. Beautiful. This system works really when you're doing overhead light like this, if I had a rail system which I just ordered for my studio, we haven't put it up yet. I would have it like right over the top here but since I'm working with a light stand and a boom, it's more of that northern light situation. Do you see the angle? So it's just a little bit different but this is exactly right now how I'm shooting it in my studio so that's kinda what I wanted to show you guys. Okay so, what I would like to do is, cute Mr. Eli. (Eli squeals) (squeals) You're just like my son! Hop up for a second. I'm gonna put mommy in a spot. Okay mommy, I want both your feet up on. You're gonna lean against here. Mm-hmm. Feet up there, perfect. Okay! Now, you get to get back on the sofa. Yeah! Momma's happy! Okay, and what I think I want to do is I gotta be a little careful with my lighting. But I think what I would like- He's so stinking cute, you're such a cutie. Marmar, now how did he get that name, Marmar? Uh I just gave it. You just gave it to him, yeah. It's short for Marley which is my aunt's dog. Oh, it's short for Marley which is your aunt's dog. How cool is that? Marley is his actual name. Oh! Baby Marley! Baby Marley! Okay, oh my gosh, he reminds me so much of my son. I can't even stand it. You know how it makes you miss your kids when they use the same old expressions? Okay buddy, you know what? You get a big job, are you ready? You get to sit up on the back. (Eli cheers) Just be careful. Momma, I want you to spot him a little bit. Yeah, you got it. So sit under his feet. Yep, there we go. Perfect! Look at you! You're the tallest one of the family, right? Okay, then you, cutie patootie, I want you to put your back up against your momma and put your bottom right there, perfect. Awesome, kind of like momma, beautiful. She's like, this is awesome! Very cool! Okay, and then daddy, I think I'm going to have you, do you ever cross your legs? Do you ever kinda, like. Yeah, like that? No? You don't? He does that a lot. Okay. I don't know if I like that. Go ahead and turn your body a little bit, put this knee at over here. That knee up on the, yeah, exactly! I want you to feel comfortable. So bring that right knee up just a little bit more. Perfect, and kind of sit on your foot, if you can. Can you put your foot underneath? There we go! Awesome! That's what I want. See how much more that improved? He just looks casual, he looks happy and kinda easygoing. Perfect! I'm picking my camera. Okay, now where is Marmar gonna be? (Eli squeals) He's gonna be on your head? That's awesome! I think we should shoot that coz that's just stinking cute as bananas right there. Yeah! That's just stinking cute as bananas, right? I like bananas! Do you like bananas? Huh? Who's on your head? Can you look up at him? What's Marmar doing, huh? Okay. Vi, can you take the light? The light stands in my shot. Can you just back it off just a touch? Perfect, thank you! Awesome! Okay I think that everybody should look at, well, actually, mom and dad, I wanted Marmar on your head! (Eli laughs) There we go! There we go! Awesome! Okay balance him. You think you can balance him? (gasps) Miss Sarah, I want you to look at me. There we go! Daddy, look at Eli. (gasps) Mommy and daddy, look at Eli. Sarah, where's my cute girl? Hey, Eli! Yes? Can you look up at Marmar? What's he doing? Oh! There we go! Perfect! Awesome! Okay-- I felt kinda on the bottom of my eyes, purple. That's okay. Are you okay? Very cool. Bright light. I think what you guys are seeing me do is lifestyle and studio and this is kind of the breath of what I wanted to do in my own work and I got light stands around the sofa and things in the background that will have to come out but for the most part, this is a charming studio shot. Mom and dad, go ahead. Perfect! Miss Sarah! Do you have a boyfriend? Mom and dad, don't look at your kid. Mom and dad, don't look at your kid. No but somebody-- Chris, Andrea, you have a rule. U-huh. Don't look at your children until I tell you to. Alright. Alright? Awesome! Miss Sarah, do you have a boyfriend? No. No? Have you ever kissed a boy? No! Ew! No! Ew! Cuties! Gross! Do you like kissing your brother? He's okay, right? Yeah, he's okay! He's okay! Awesome! Perfect!-- Maybe we could've had fun-- I love this charm and humor and often times, you guys can take a break for a second. We're gonna. Let's take a break! I love this charm and humor. I'm actually gonna throw in a V-flat and see if we can't get it a little bit more bump up from below. You can see in the image how dad's not as lit as much as mom. We're gonna fix that later but I like that elongated horizontal look and obviously, things will get cropped and stuff will get retouched out but you'll often find charm occurring with a family and this is them. This is very charming. To me, that's a 60-inch canvass on their wall coz it totally shows them at this time in their life and Marmar being a central component of the family. So don't be afraid to let things happen and make that be your style. Someone yesterday, was it Shelley or Bonnie? I forget who it was. Everybody's in different spots today so I'm like, "Oh my goodness! Where is everybody?" Someone talked about, "I have trouble because I see a vision in my head "and I can't get it to come to fruition." That was you. I'm sorry. And remind me your name again? Amelia. Amelia! I can't get it on the paper and or I get paralyzed in the middle because it's not going the way I anticipated it going in my brain. I think it was you. This is one of those situations for me. Exactly! I was stressed this morning. We were running behind. I really wanted this to be bright, light, and airy, and it still is and I can make that even more imposed but I was stressed getting what I wanted and I'm like, "It's not looking the way I had it in my head!" And I got frustrated. You guys saw it actually, here. Of me running around going crazy with lights because I'm like, "Its not working! "Its not working! It's not working!" and panicking because we're going on live air, et cetera, et cetera, you know how it is, pressure. So it's not exactly what I envisioned but I'm okay with it because it took a different direction that was still very fun for me. I love children being slightly naughty. Allison is the same way and she kinda introduced me to that and my son is totally at that phase right now where he wants to be a little naughty. Try Photographer's Kid Syndrome. Your kids have that? My kid has Photographer's Kid Syndrome. Yours don't. No. Yours are awesome! The-- (audience laughing) Just lucky! (Julia laughs) Yeah, being a parent, lovely! Anyway, so... Where was I going with this? Brain squeeze. Brain squeeze. Sometimes it does a different direction and it ends up good. Yeah! Thank you. Marmar totally made that shot! Marmar made the shot and Eli, being himself with Marmar totally made the personality of the image come through and a style. Now, had I had a really formal style in my work, I would've even suggested that Marmar not be in the photo. You know, I would've pulled him out and just be like, "Okay, we'll shoot Marmar when we're over there." And I did have that thought initially but then I was like, "You know what? "Marmar is a part of this family. "He's very important to Eli "and especially at this time of his life "and his color tonality works exactly with what I'm doing." So I thought, "Okay, it still stays "within that technical component realm "that I wanted to be in "but it adds me into the image." It adds a little flavor as well as staying true to the clients' flavor. Does that make sense? Okay. Let's go ahead and put the V-flat under. We're gonna change things up a bit. This time, we're gonna be very symmetrical and everybody's gonna be on the back of the couch but I wanna make sure this couch is not gonna tip over. (Andrea laughing) We're gonna be safe about this so mommy and daddy are gonna do it first coz it's okay if they fall over. Right. Right? I'm scared! You're scared? Don't be scared! Marmar will save you! Okay. But I want everybody closed in. So yeah, we're gonna go tight, tight, squeeze. Perfect! Mom and dad, you're still comfortable putting the kids up there? Yeah! You think it's alright? Yeah! Okay. I do this a lot. You do this a lot! Does mommy let you jump on the furniture at home? Yes. Shh. She does! Shh! No! He's being so good, look at him. No, she doesn't. But sometimes, I do actually get my feet up here. You do? Now, I bet your mom gets really upset when your shoes are on, right? No. She doesn't? What if we could go like Oh! I think that's a flipping fantastic idea! You do that, girl! No, I'm saying I put my whole body up here. Put your feet up and I want your head down here but you gotta look at me, right? Yup, perfect! I can do this! I love it! Okay, again. Now, bring your head back just a little bit more. Perfect! Oh my gosh! Hello? Cute! Mom and dad, everybody needs to scooch. Can you stay right there? You can stay right there. Now, she's gonna get ghoul lighting on her. Do you see that? I don't care right now and then yeah, mommy and daddy, I want everybody to have their legs nice and straight. We're gonna be real symmetrical. So mom, straight legs towards me. Turn your whole body towards me. Perfect! Beautiful! There we go! Okay, you know what? Marmar needs a job. There! Ooh! Right there! How's that sound? (giggles) Okay! Now, Miss Sarah, can you put your hands behind your head? There we go! Perfect! But let's put your hair down. So can you put your hands behind your hair? Underneath your head. Underneath your hair. Underneath your head. There we go! There you go. Perfect! Rockin' sauce! Oh my gosh! Look how cute you are! Okay, now everybody has to be real symmetrical. Perfect. Scooch together. Daddy, put your right foot closer to Sarah. Perfect! Beautiful! (giggles) Okay, now Mister Eli, can you put your arm around Marmar? There we go! Perfect! And then I want you to also hold mommy's hand. Can you do that? Yeah, just put your hand on mommy's leg. Perfect! Yeah! Further back. There we go! Good job! Yes, like that! Awesome! Perfect, and then dad, I'm gonna have you put your hand out here like that. Your left hand, excuse me. Yeah. Kinda just relax but also lean in a little bit towards them. Yeah, just kinda like your bracing yourself. Okay! Awesome! Super cute! Okay I just basically created a symmetrical image that's lifestyle and orientation. Okay. Now B, you're gonna be acrobatic girl. Where do I need to go? You're gonna be under the reflector. (Julia laughs) Under it? Like literally laying under? Yeah coz I need it close to them to bounce some light. There we go, girlfriend! Okay and then as low as possible but just angle it up with your, can you angle it up with your right foot, just a touch. Too much. Now, lower it on the side. There you go! You're like, "Okay!" The things I make my assistant do! Okay, you're gonna need to lower just a little bit more. As a matter of fact, this might not work. Let's shoot it and then I will... Isn't she crazy? You know, my assistant crazy. She's a little crazy, huh? Yeah. She's a little nutty sauce. It's okay. But she's cool, huh? I bet you she can make funny noises. Okay. Can you bring your elbows out, sweetheart? Yes! I can see you! Perfect! Good girl! I gotta take this, I'm not really loving it so I am gonna change it up. Perfect! Okay. I think that Belinda should make some funny noises and you guys have to guess what animal she is. (Belinda laughs) What do you think? (Julia laughs) For Belinda! (laughs) Come on, Belinda! You can do it! I don't know if I could do that now to being put on the spot, I'm like, "What animal should I do?" Okay, let's do an M-O-N-K-E-Y. (monkey noises) What is that? (audience laughing) Banana! (laughs) Banana, huh? Okay, B. You can come out from under it. I don't really like it. I'm gonna shoot a little bit low. See how B is in there in the shot? So what I'm gonna do, B, is we're just gonna pop it on the floor. Bright in front of her hair. There we go. See how that automatically bounces light back up into them? Can you pull it a little towards me, sweetheart? Thank you. Perfect. You're doing great, Sarah! Look at you! Now, I'm gonna have to build in some floor a little bit coz that light but the floor is super dark and so it's not helping light the girl in any way, Sarah, but you see, even just throwing in that V-flat at the bottom how her hair just started lightening a little bit. You could see a little bit more detail in her hair which I think is super cute so mom and dad, daddy, I'm gonna have you lean in a little bit. Perfect! And lean forward for me. Not too much. Nice and tall. Suck in the gut. Everybody suck in their guts. (screams) Everybody always does big reactions, it's okay. Okay, Mister Eli. (mumbles) You ready? You ready? Mm-hmm. Did you know Hmm? that there's a frog in my camera? Mm-hmm. Do you know what his name is? Mm-mm. His name is George. (Eli laughs) Do you know that he winks at you? Mm-hmm. Do you see it? Mm-hmm. He winked at you! Did you see that? Mm-hmm. Oh my goodness! He likes you! Oh my goodness! He's broken! Uh-oh! Uh-oh! Uh-oh! He's broken! Very good. Okay, I totally just didn't look at my camera as I was shooting but that's okay. Oh my goodness! What a cutie patootie! And I totally just turned off my camera! The technical people are killing me right now! Okay! Awesome! Let's go ahead and have Sarah move up to my original shot. I saw froggy now! I saw it, too! So Sarah, what I'd like you to do, Froggy mouth in there. Did you see the froggy mouth? Yeah, he winks at you. He goes blink! Blink! (giggles) Perfect! Everybody squeeze. Squeeze! Squeeze! No space. Again, a style thing. I don't like space between my people. You're okay. I can't scooch. You can't scooch coz you're squished. Mm-hmm. Yeah, I see that. Okay. A little more room? He'll need a little bit more room. No more room! No, we're okay. Hey, sit tall. There we go! Awesome stuff. Okay, everybody's just gonna wrap their arms. We're gonna make it simple. Can you guys wrap your arms around mom and dad? And each other? Aww. Oh! Look at little Eli hugging there! And we're gonna put Mister Marmar right there. You guys gotta hold him up. Hold him up! You think you can do it? Okay, Mister Eli, you're gonna have the tough job, okay? You know why? Coz your squished. (Andrea laughs) Coz you're squished, right? Squishy squishy! Okay, I don't know. I think George might play peek-a-boo. Okay. I love this because I love how squished Eli is. To me, it's like so littlest kid syndrome. Like, he's the one in the family who's always being shoved in places, do you know what I'm saying? Like, I was that way when I was a kid and I just think it's the cutest thing ever. Okay, Mister Eli, Hey! Yeah, Miss Sarah, can you, nice and tall, Sarah? Nice and tall, sweet girl. Okay. I couldn't breathe. You couldn't be? Huh? Uh-oh! What did George say? Daddy, go ahead and put your left hand over your arm like that. Yeah, kinda casual. Perfect! Good job. (gasps) Where is the frog? George has something to say to you. Where's Marmar? George and Marmar need to have a conversation. Yeah they do! They have to have a conversation. What do you think George is telling Marmar? (shouts) What'd he say? (barks) (barks) (croaks) Oop! Miss Julia's got a happy trigger finger. Yeah, like this one here is very cute. Mom's kinda looking at dad. Dad and Sarah are looking at me. That's stinkin' adorable. It's all about Eli and to me, that's okay in a family image. Some people want everybody looking, being camera aware. Clients say they want that but if you have a style and don't want camera-aware images, don't shoot them and shoot personality like this. I mean, come on, this is just their whole family. This is epitomizes them as a family. Already, I don't even know them and I know, based on the fact that his little sweet personality and his little babytalk and Sarah's like the responsible one. (audience laughing) You know? She's the reader and the responsible one and he's the little youngest sibling. He's got the youngest sibling syndrome, you know what I mean? My kid, classic, has youngest sibling syndrome. I had youngest sibling syndrome as a kid. So I recognize it immediately and I say it nicely. It's not a disease or anything. (audience laughs) Even this with his eyes closed just cracks me up because it's so classic kid. But here, mom and dad are enjoying the kids and kids are being themselves and parents sometimes, actually go for this as a big wall portrait because it's more about their children than about them. Coz most parents don't wanna be in a family portrait coz nobody feels good. Everybody is self-conscious in front of the camera. When you make the image a family portrait but about the children, that's when parents are more likely to go, "Yeah, this is awesome. "I love it. Let's make it about the kids and not about us." Oh my gosh, look at that face! Now, Sarah's a little dark. I didn't have (mumbles) in there in the bottom below her so I definitely have to work with that pose and dad's foot expression is looking a little funny but what I could easily do since I love Eli's expression, I would seriously head swap this. I would steal Eli and put him on a different image where everybody else looks good. That's pretty cute, too. That would definitely be a hero. Oh my gosh, look at Eli's face! That's a hero right there. So fun! More of a classic image. Dad was a little funny expression there but that's okay. Miss Responsible down there at the bottom. I love it. When she asked to do that, that told me their family dynamic. Miss Sarah is independent, "I'm gonna do my own thing, darn it!" That is her mentality and I love that about her and so I let her do that to showcase this family's style as well as meld my own. Does that make sense? These would definitely be heroes in here. Super cute. And granted, she's lit from below because she's turned upside down like that but at the same time, not gonna worry about it too much just because it's so personality-driven at that point. Oh my God, that's awesome. Eli cracks me up. See, to me, that little element of surprise in a family image coz that's what families are about. There's one personality that is usually the standout in the family. The clown, the independent, the goofy, the fun, the serious, and you wanna showcase that and let them be who they really are.

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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. :)

a Creativelive Student

Great class. A step by step way of finding a artist style that is from your heart. Stop hoping the style fairy will randomly visit you some day. I view this in-depth system as a smart exploration component integrated with a gut check component. Julia has laid it all out smartly and easy to follow. The work itself will not be easy but the steps are beautifully explained. Brilliant! Buy the course. Yeah I will be using it for years. Shelle

Student Work