Skip to main content

Family Style Shoot #2

Lesson 19 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

19. Family Style Shoot #2

Lesson Info

Family Style Shoot #2

What we're gonna do here is we're gonna have Sarah sit on this stool. (people speaking off-mic) You are, well you know what, I'll make sure your Daddy helps you out. We'll keep you safe, don't you worry. Mama will keep you safe for sure. OK, to I want to use all of these? Awesome sauce. So, what I'm doing is pairing. I mean I gonna kind of put them in a little half circle here. So, Mommy , you're gonna be right in here, next to kiddo. Come on back put all your weight on your left foot and kinda cross you right foot over your left, so like this, yes, perfect. Come out just a touch more, beautiful. Turn your body towards Sarah, gorgeous, come out just a little bit more. Turn your body towards Sarah, beautiful, OK. Then you, cutie patootie, Daddy is gonna help you and I think we're gonna do a sturdier stool. How about this one. Yay. You get to stand on that, Daddy's gonna hold you. Whoo-hoo tall kiddo, look at you. Perfect okay. So, Daddy, actually come here cutie. We're gonna take yo...

u here. (grunting playfully) We're gonna put Daddy back to back with Mommy. And then we're gonna stand you on there from here. Got it? Gotcha. Perfect okay good, awesome sauce. OK, now I need closer, so we're gonna scooch you closer. Yeah, hang on to him, don't let him go. Perfect, now just grab your arms around him. There we go, perfect. And then Mama, it's actually looking pretty good. My light's all messed up, I clearly have to raise. Oh that is a heavy, heavy sucker. Does Marmar wanna go on the couch or does Marmar wanna stay here? Marmar wants to go on that couch. Marmar wants to go on the couch this time, okay. He'll watch, do you think he can give good instructions? (child giggling) Yeah, I think you can too. Does he know how to sit and stay? Can he sit and stay pretty good? Because if he gets crazy, then we might have to have someone hold him. Yeah, you think he'll get crazy? No, he usually doesn't. He usually doesn't. You, my dear, you're good stay put. Whoa. OK, Mama, move slightly closer. Perfect. And then I want you to kind of rock towards your husband. There we go, beautiful, OK. Do you see what I just did. I've created, if you, they're not in the same plane. Kids here, kid here, there's a curve, OK. What that's doing is helping me light them a lot more evenly. You see that? So now the box, you got a circle and a box, see that? OK, that's going to make the lighting pattern a lot more even on them, thank you, awesome. I love the way you're sitting with Sarah. Awesome, perfect, and I've got this light stand in my way but that's OK. I am gonna shoot this vertical because my brain just wants to go there, OK, and because of the space and room I have. (camera beeping) Where am I, exposure, exposure, I can't see. There we go, that's precious. That's so awesome Sarah, oh she's my cutie patootie. Mom and Dad don't look at your kids, no matter what. Daddy, I want you to take him and put him to the side just a little bit more. There we go, awesome. And then take your left hand and put it around your wife. Perfect, good. OK, George is gonna have a conversation, oh, I think he's telling Marmar to jump in. What do you think? Oh my goodness, you know what he's telling George, just told me that Marmar needs to come help me. Come help me Marmar. Marmar is gonna come help me, do you think he's a good photographer? Yeah, you think he is, yeah I think he is too. Marmar is a pretty good photographer, love it. Miss Sarah, you don't have a boyfriend, I don't believe that for a second. (laughing) I think that it Mama and Daddy should tickle our little kiddos. (laughing) (kids laughing) Oh perfect, okay awesome. That's literally all I wanted to accomplish, right there. My lights, I shot too fast so the light didn't have the time to recycle, but that's awesome. OK, let's take a quick little break, let's get them changed into their happy outfits. I want you to bring Marmar and your Kindle and I want you to bring your writing book and your sunglasses, sound good? Yes. Low camera angle, compression. See how they look flat even though they're not. F-16 is what I'm shooting at. So they're all gonna be sharp no problem-o, and you know by opening up the shadows just a little bit, normally I would shoot this on a white sweep, like this, which we're gonna do next time which almost eliminates the need for a reflector because it bounces the light back in. So, because we have a dark floor. You know, Mom is still we got some shadow going on here but this is life style and studio, and that's my style. And I was struggling so long with families in studio because there's so many classicist out there. People who the soft expression and the connection and these black and whites and it's like really formal and it wasn't me. So for the longest time I struggled with doing families in studio and I'm not nearly there yet. I mean, good grief, there's so much style to be learned and technique to be learned by this. But I see it coming and that's what I wanted to show you with families. And by maintaining my consistent things that I love, the low camera angle the compression and the color tonality, the mood. I am still injecting my style into my work even though I'm changing genres, that makes sense? OK, we're going to take a few questions while these amazing crew like goes up and over and we can look at our hero images from that quick set there. A little dark, I should have, my exposures a little off. I wish I would have brightened these just a touch but I can help that in post. So, youngest child is always an opportunity for personality, I mean, as simple as that. But that low camera angle gives it that kind of commercial feel that I love so much. I'm not super excited about the pipe going through the bottom, but you know, it's something that can be taken out or but you know living within the constraints that we have. Yes I believe that Olivia has a question, I'm going to just select some of these for a minute while you talk to me. I do, so I love the low camera angle but I find that for a lot of you know moms with older kids or or moms who have just had babies and Dads as well, something that they're really self-conscious about and I know because it's something I'm self-conscious about is giving myself a double chin, which you see from that angle. Do you ever instruct them to just push their chin forward a little bit? Does that make them uncomfortable? Yes, very, very much so, I will do that. And it is a challenge, with sometimes the camera angle, you do have to get them to. What what I'll do is I'll have mom, you know, if she's standing here and kind of in that cute powerful position, I'll just have her lean forward. Because this forward motion isn't visible on the flat plane because we're compressing it. So if you see me do this and you're like, oh you look like you're, huh, you know I'm saying? But because the camera can't see the distance here you can kind of help eliminate that chin. But the worst thing is when they do this. You know, they come back like that, but if you just. She wasn't doing it much at all, I didn't see it but on the heavier set person it's definitely something you have to consider. And, if I do have a heavier set person doing that low camera angle is not something I would always go to first. You know, I might consider shooting from a higher camera angle or a wider lens to avoid the problem. You're absolutely right, you can't stick with style just because it's you, you need to flatter the client, you need to make the client look good, but by being aware of that I think you can still stay within your stylistic realms but still then make the client look good too. You make a great point, I should have should have mentioned that. Any other questions or anything? Yes, Kenna. Alright, so kind of similar to that, a lot of people are asking if you coach them on what to wear for this set up. Very much so. As a matter of fact, I said wear white. And Dad actually came in in a, what was it soft blue? Gray, soft blue and I was like oh my god, change that shirt it's not working. And thank goodness they had a white shirt here at CreativeLive and we put him in a white shirt because I wanted that white monochromatic feel. The little kid is in his sweatpants which wasn't my total favorite, but now that I know his personality, I'm all over it. Like to me it's cute, adorable, that's him as a family and that little 18 there in his sweatpants, I bet you he wears those every single day. You know what I mean? So, at first I was like to have any khakis for him or do we have jeans maybe that would look better and then I just went with it and it worked. It wasn't a bad color it was just soft gray, it didn't it didn't affect the mood I was trying to go for. Whereas he had dark jeans and I was like, oh that's going to be your eyes gonna go right to those dark jeans and take away from that mood-color thing I was going for. But I think overall it worked. We could have been a little bit more monochromatic in outfits, but you know under the circumstances and communicating with the family I've never met before through a big organization, it just didn't quite come together as as magically as I would have loved it to. But, I still think it worked out great. And we still have an amazing family portrait with that light airy mood that I wanted so much. Are we ready to move on are the kids ready? Kids ready, OK, I'm gonna need that fan, it's right there, let's go ahead and lower lights too. that's gonna need to happen. I want to fix the sweep really quick. OK, thank. There we go, thank you. Belinda is so funny, now that she retouches for me she is very picky about how things are shot. (audience laughing) She's like umm Julia, we need fix that, you need to fix that, that sweep doesn't look good, you need to fix that, I love it. She keeps me on my toes. Should I lower this too? Yeah, lower that to the same height as that one. I'm lowering, oh you guys look amazing. I love it. I'm lowering the lights to be about their height which we may need to go lower. Short kids going on here. Lower? Yeah, just a touch. I want and you heard me say earlier about lighting the background and that I wasn't going to light this. I'm not gonna light it that much. we're gonna drop this down to six, can you go ahead and drop that one down to six. I definitely want it to go gray. Oh, this is so heavy. We'll keep that one, is it on, yeah. We'll keep that one at this same power. I rarely change the power of my main. It's the background lights to get futzed with. No, we're good, thank you. She asked if I wanted to white balance again. It's a great question, we don't need to, the lights are still the same temperature they were when I started. So, as long as I white balance once, I'm good. Oh, look at you guys. Don't turn it off. You are so cutie patootie, oh my gosh, look at you. Let's start with both of you first, sweet girl, I'm gonna have you come here and if you don't mind I'm going to, actually, I kind of like the way she put the scarf on. Isn't that dress awesome sauce. You ready? Miss Julie is gonna do a little light test, so I want you guys to stand right here real quick. And you get to be on that side, Miss Sarah, you need to come on this side, you're doing awesome sauce, I love it. What song are you singing bud? What song is that? (people humming upbeat tune) It's a good song, huh. I like that, where we at? Beep, beep, let's do this. Yeah, that's pretty good. See how that background goes gray, really pretty gray. You guys ready? I need that, I need that. Now, you want to take it off, you don't like it like that, you don't like it on there? You could take it off. Why don't we why don't we, no, no, no, no, no, no. Do you wanna wear it or no? You're good? Let's keep the sunglasses on. Marmar is gonna be here, he's gonna watch your Kindle, I think that's a good idea. You guys ready? Now, Miss Sarah, I'm gonna ask you to do something you're probably not gonna wanna do, are you ready? You gotta hold your brother's hand. She's like, I can do that, you're right, okay. So who's a big kid? Who's a big kid? Who's a little kid? That's a little kid, you are, right. Who's the stinkiest? You? (audience laughing) Who's the... who has the smelliest feet? (laughing) You both do, right, who does? Ah, can you step on her foot? Give her a big ole step on her foot, yeah. You what? I toot a lot. You toot a lot? Can I get a touchdown, I wanna touchdown. Touchdown. Okay, who likes football? We don't. You don't, no. (audience laughing) No football, no football. People die in it. People die in football? They die, oh my goodness. (child speaking off-mic) Oh yeah, okay, that's too fast. I'm like, this is a problem, as you shoot this really fast 'cause there's so much going on. Miss Sarah, can you give your brother a hug? Oh 'cause see he's actually pretty cool huh. Miss Sarah. Yeah. I want you to get behind your brother, can you get behind him? Wait, wait, wait, okay we gotta move that here. Just slightly. You what? Okay, can you guys take a step forward, just take one little step forward. Perfect, okay, now shh, Miss Sarah can you grab your brother around the waist? There we go. And throw him in the air. Okay now I want you to get down like this and we're gonna pretend to be, hey back up a little bit, back up a little bit, just a little bit, we gotta stand light and smooth, can you do that? You know what we're gonna pretend to be? Are you ready? We're gonna pretend to be frogs and we're gonna jump. Jump, jump, jump, there we go. Okay, but you gotta stay in one place. Can you do it and stay on one place, perfect. Turn around, you gotta come in look at Miss Julie, where's George, George wants to talk to you. Back up, back up, back up, perfect, you're good girl, thank you. Now, I want you nice and close together. You gotta be friendly frogs right, friendly frog. Now Sarah, oh wait, okay, you go ahead and jump. There we go and together again. Oh, close, close, close, close, close, close, close, close, good job, good job. Now, Miss Sarah, I want you to push your brother over. (Julie laughing) Super cute. We gotta get back on our line again, can you move them, move that light over, perfect, awesome. Here we got to back up just a little bit, can you take a step back? One step back, ah perfect. And back up the Marmar, Marmar's gotta be in the shot. Marmar gotta be in the shot. And he's covering Marmar, huh. Miss Sara, I'm gonna have you stand up and hop out over here and come help me. Can you do that? Yeah? Okay, can you pick up Marmar and give him kisses? Yes, big kisses. Okay, I want you to throw them in the air. Whee. Can you give him a big toss, he likes to fly right? Oh perfect, good job. So as you can see this is, this is open. The book, are you gonna steal your sister's book? uh-oh, what are you gonna say about that? Don't you dare. Don't you dare. (child speaking off-mic) Marmar likes to do that. He does? What does the story say? (child speaking off-mic) (audience laughing) Because what? (child speaking off-mic) Oh really? (people laughing) You my buddy are rad. (people laughing) You're so cool, I love you. I want you to go in there, yeah you're gonna come be my helper, come be my helper. Oh thank God. Are you ready, come here, come here, you gotta help me. I have a secret. Sit right here, sit right here. I have a question what makes your sister laugh? I'm not really sure. You're not really sure? When I toot. When you toot it makes her laugh, really? Or when I say something really funny. Like what? Hey, I have butt fungus in my hair. (people laughing) You have butt fungus in your hair? Is that what you said? (laughing) Yeah. I don't actually do have it. Oh you don't actually do have it. I just said it to make her laugh. You just said it to make her laugh, huh, awesome. Miss Sarah can you stand up? Where's your sunglasses? Put those on and I want your book. You're not going anywhere, you got to stay here and help me out 'cause you're really good at this, right. Okay girlfriend, now, pull up that book for me girl. Book, book, book. Okay, you stand up for me. Now are you gonna go to college? Yes. You are. Can you stand back to a little, just take a step backwards. Perfect, okay now, I want you to stand with your feet apart, can you do that? I want, I'm goin' to college, yes I am. I'm goin' to college can you show me how much you're gonna go to college, yes you are. Now, hold that book, can you hug it? Can you hug that book. Awesome, perfect, good girl, can we blow that fan a little bit more in her face. I love it, you're gonna hug that. Are you a writer? Yeah, you are and what do you write about? Butterflies. Butterflies yes, and what else? Bunny rabbits. And bunny rabbits, perfect, I love it. Do you see I'm just kind of letting the kids be themselves. And this is so much fun for them. Like they, this is a style, I think we're good. We've got lots of awesome images. You were such a big helper Eli, but I don't think you should tell anybody that you have butt fungus. That's not a good thing to say. Butt fungus, butt fungus. Dad's like shhh, (laughing) this is awesome. Okay, you ready, stand up you're good, thanks buddy. I appreciate your help. Let's give a big round of applause to the Ray family they were amazing. (audience applauding) Just amazing, give me five girlfriend. Love it, you are awesome. I want you to feel the style is similar. I kept the camera angle the same, all we did was change the mood, darken the background a little bit and let the kids wear what they want and be themselves. So as I'm experimenting in this whole discovery, find it formula, I'm saying to myself, I want families. I always loved that lifestyle look. But, I don't like it outside. I want it inside and so for me that was the progression of and I'm still discovering and it's not totally there yet, but when the kids have this much fun and they they're like, that was a blast and they wanna come back and do it again, I mean, Eli was. Oh my gosh, you guys should have seen the heard the things he was whispering in my microphone. People at home heard it. But he was so cute. And then, of course, the family gets two different things out of it that are totally my style, does that make sense? But it's completely, it's different from my newborn work, but it's not. Do you see that? I don't know, I've showed my work earlier in this unit yesterday. But my work is very clean and monochromatic and just has, I like things to have lots of negative space. And so on this side I was worried about composition being more horizontal and on this side we went all vertical. Now, there was a few vertical shots over here because I felt the need to turn because it felt good. But practice doing that, practice taking a couple of technical components and then really working them with the same subject over and over again. Oh thank you for that, I thought that fan was off, it feels good though. Practice working on those with the same subject over and over again until you feel like it's going the direction that your heart sings. Like, when I'm shooting this, my heart is on fire. Like those kids having so much fun and getting that, capturing that moment. I mean she said she's going to college, she's like, yeah I'm going to college and that is her personality, like she is the responsive one on the family. And then meanwhile we have this other little kid with Marmar rolling his eyes and sticking his tongue out. I mean those are frigging 60-inch canvases on the wall right next to one another. That is those, that is Andrea and Chris's kids at this age. And because those children dress themselves, because I kept it simple and just gray and soft and let them be true to who they are and yes it's a lot of rapid-firing when you're doing this because I got moments I gotta catch, but that's and some will turn out and some won't because sometimes the lights can't keep keep up with you. But overall, that was the feeling I wanted, was that happy mood energy, with lots of color, but still about the kids. That make sense? Are there any questions? Let's take a look. Let's see the damages At the damages, oh I thought you said damages, not images. Like yeah, let's look at the damages because I'm sure there's a lot of damage. (chuckling) Awesome. Oh my gosh, that is so cute, this little kid, sticking his tongue out, rolling his eyes, I love that. Now, granted, I'm gonna have to crop out Marmar in there because I wasn't paying attention to the fan. But that is little, oh yeah that is little sibling syndrome right there, oh yeah, awesome sauce. And then cute and sweet, a little bit more in line with the kind of soft sweet relationship that they have, and then it's not, yeah, I love it. So, in this kind of shooting clearly, technical perfection is not what I'm after. Because they're moving around, those lights are moving in different position constantly. So there's definitely some post associated with it but and some of these are just too dark. But overall, I mean yeah, awesome. To me, that's just so fun, I love that personality that comes through. He definitely covered his face a little bit but every once in a while you get these awesome shots of kids launching their lovey up in the air and that's pretty cute. Oh my gosh, take that. And you know what's right because you see it and you feel it when you, yeah that's pretty awesome. I'll have to proof some of these, we can get 'em. Winner, winner chicken dinner right there. That is her love, is writing, and her strong stance like that, her just saying I am the queen bee of this family. I love that personality right there. And the fan, of course, gives the kids that element of they kind of, it's funny, how when you do it if you have a fan blowing on you it like makes the photo shoot that much more fun. Like, kids turn on with a fan for some reason. I don't know, I don't know why it is but they do. And so often times I will do that just to get them in that like woo, fan blowing on my hair, you know what I mean, it's that feeling. I just wondered if when you have two different personality types like that, do you ever feel like maybe you don't get enough images of like one child. Yes, I mean like here today like, it's cut short on time, I would have shot probably another 1/2 an hour of this before I really felt like I got what I wanted. But yeah, it's it's one of those things you have to be cognizant of and really make sure you get equal billing with each child. I actually prefer to do children individually like this because I would rather see a client do two huge canvases of each child on the wall than one of both of them. And they're more likely to choose one of both of them, on budget, than two amazing canvases of each other. Yeah it's just something you have to be cognizant of and that's just doing it a lot making, sure your cross your T's and dot your I's.

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. :)

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