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Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style

Lesson 23 of 31

Student Hot Seat: Lori Conklin

 

Finding, Defining, and Marketing Your Photographic Style

Lesson 23 of 31

Student Hot Seat: Lori Conklin

 

Lesson Info

Student Hot Seat: Lori Conklin

You three women have volunteered to be extremely vulnerable and to be authentic and put yourself up here today and I cannot tell you how grateful I am and how much I admire you for doing so. I really do 'cause it is not easy to put your work in front of a bunch of people and as artists we have to do it on a constant basis, even when we're experts, even when we've been doing this 10, 20, 30 years we have to put our work out there in front of people and be willing to take criticism and be willing to have people analyze and look at our work. By doing that, you are leapfrogging yourself ahead of the pack by being willing to listen and being open to suggestion and being open to hearing what other people feel about your work. That is so empowering so I want you to take whatever people bring in whether it be positive or negative or whatever, I want you look at it with an open heart, hear it with an open heart, don't make decisions about what people say about your work until tomorrow. Sometime...

s when people say things about our work good or bad, that's not what I meant. We get a little chip like wait a minute that wasn't what I was saying and you get the defenses go up. It's a perfectly natural reaction and you may feel that here today, I feel it all the time when people look at my work, judges that judge competition I'm like what the heck was he thinkin' that is not what I said. That was not what I was trying to say and you're just a crappy judge you know (laughs) that's just your brain wants to go there and now that's obviously if it's negative and we're not gonna be talking negative criticism here at all today. But my point is is that even when it's different than what you intended sometimes that defensive mechanism comes up and I want you to be really open to going you know what okay, I'm just gonna hear this and listen and then later tonight when I'm calmed down from the emotionality of the situation I'm gonna think about it. I'm gonna ask myself is that really true and then I have the option to having removed my emotions from the situation ask myself if what that person said about my work is truly valid. Sometimes it is and sometimes it isn't but that's the beauty of what art is, is that everybody sees different things and different steps and different processes of where people are and all it ever means is that you have not peaked. And that is the most magnificent, I hope I never peak. I don't ever want to peak, I always want to be growing and getting better and being me even if I haven't found what I'm meant to do my style, or whatever even if I do this family photography thing and I never quite find it, that's okay I don't ever want to peak because then it shows that I'm dying. Do you know what I mean? So by having people say things about our work that we don't necessarily always agree with or that we do agree with even helps us grow into better artist and I'm so stinkin' proud of you three ladies that you're willing to come up and do this and I really have a huge admiration for you. So first of all we need to give a big round of applause to all three of them because they're brave enough to do this. (audience clapping) Okay, Lori, you're number one, so excited. Lori, now where are you from again Lori? I am in Olympia, Washington. Olympia, Washington, okay, and this is one of Lori's images, it's actually one of my favorite images of yours. Yeah, I don't know why. Really, I almost didn't pick it. Huh? I almost didn't pick it. You almost didn't, why not? It's not, it's not me. The color is me. Really. Yeah. What about it is not you? It's wide. It's horizontal. Mm-hmm. It's wide. Yeah. So what about wide don't you, doesn't resonate with you? I love detail, I love detail of hands, like the emotion and the connection between where hand placement is, detail in dress, detail in jewelry, hair. What I notice is and we'll go to even more of a broader overview of your work here, what I noticed is you picked a couple of artists and unfortunately because of copyright we can't like show the actual artists on CreativeLive but what I can tell you who they are and then we can describe their work and people can go look 'em up on the internet and I highly suggest online people that you do this because when I looked at her inspiration artists, I was blown away I was like wow, I can't believe that's who she's inspired by how cool is that. Like it made me look at her work in a different light which was quite the neat experience. So you were drawn when you did the four step find it formula we asked you to search for artists and so who were your three artists that you chose and then kind of what they do like what kind of artist they are. Yeah, so my first one was Lux Senior Photography, that's Erin Neace and she's out of Dayton, Ohio so when I first kinda started dabbling in a little bit of everything I was doing a lot of senior photography and I was kind of looking up everybody like who's the best senior photography you know just to get my inspiration. And I didn't want to do the posed senior photography, I wanted more natural, candid, emotional, it's such a vulnerable state in a woman's life I mean there's so much to look forward to and so I was just blown away by her style, she has a very specific style and I actually did a mentorship with her 'cause I'm from Cincinnati so I went home. So she influenced you a lot? She did, she influenced me a lot. That's awesome, and then the next one is Lisa Glanz who? Yeah, she's an illustrator and I just happened to find her, I've seen her work on Creative Market which is kind of like a place to go. Yes, I love Creative Market, Yeah, right, okay, that place is addicting. Yeah and I just saw it and I was like I mean the first thought was Adorable. Yeah. 'Cause it's just kind of Charming. Light hearted and whimsical and innocent and I'm a mom of three so that innocence right now speaks to me totally 'cause my little ones are so innocent right now. How old, how old are your kids? 20 months, almost four and six. Oh my gosh, you got a full household. Yeah, all girls. So all, oh, yeah daddy's got his hands full doesn't he? A little bit. So there's that six to, it's basically toddler to preschool is where so that yeah huge innocence phase and independent phase and the exploring their own identity. Yeah and watching them realize things about life that those hard things, it's hard for me to watch listening to them figure out death and like kind of those things that you just really don't you wanna protect 'em, you don't want 'em to know about those things so I kind of like would love to keep that whimsical child-like you know in your life forever but. Oh, interesting, see these and you know you guys see me talking to her about her life but to me it's such an important aspect of your style. Kind of like a therapy session. It is oh I'm so so sorry. (laughing) I'm sorry. No, no, it's good because it's finding you. Style 101 right, Psychology 101, no I'm sorry to keep interrupt, it is it does it helps you see where your life is at the particular moment and it is your life, your life is infused into your visual style by all means. Now the third one, oh my gosh, I fell in love with this one myself it was so pretty. I can't even remember when I, where or how I found her, Twigs and Honey, she is a designer and she designs these super delicate feminine hair pieces for your wedding and veils, I can't even remember it was probably like three or four years ago and her stuff's in BHLDN, Anthropologie, Nordstrom's all those like luscious, lovely delicious places and she's just everything in her branding, her colors, everything she designs is just so feminine and lovely and lace and flowy and I just, I just I mean I feel like I wasn't given enough time to thoroughly do research but these are the three that came to my head immediately so. So is there one piece in particular from each artist that you were just like I wanna buy this and put it in my hair or put it on my wall? I would say from Lisa, on her website there's this little girl kind of like with clouds in the sky and she's like looking at a little bird and it's just a little sketch illustration and it's really innocent and if I were to buy one and put it on my wall, that would be it. That would be the one. That would be the one. I kinda don't want somebody else's picture on my wall. What is it about each of these artists that how do they make you feel, we're talking about adjectives, we're saying feminine, innocence is a big theme, child-like how do those words when you see it in these three artists' work make you feel as a human being? Aw, that's hard, I didn't write any of these down. That's okay, it's okay. So when you think of Vulnerable. Vulnerable? Yeah. Okay, interesting and so Lux Senior Photography when you look at her work and you see these high school seniors yeah, you see that vulnerability, you feel the vulnerability of these young women about to start off on their life. What about Lisa Glanz and her illustrations what do, when you look at them what do they make you feel? Hopeful and kind of cheerful, hers are a little bit on the lighter, happier, cheerful. Okay, okay, so we've got vulnerable, cheerful, lighter, so I'm just kind of gathering words here that'll help us move into your work a little bit. Okay and then what about Twigs and Honey, what do they make you feel when you see. Oh, romantic. Romantic. Romantic. Oh, be in love. Yes. Okay, okay that was an instant, she said that right away didn't she, romantic anything else? It just makes me wanna like get married every year but to the same person, to the same person 'cause I love him dearly but you know just that Love. In love, like that infatuation like just wanting to like you know constantly have that feeling, it's like a fleeting feeling 'cause when you have that super passionate emotion of like love, it's very fleeting and it's not something that you'll have consistently in your life. I mean real life come on I've been married almost 10 years and you know we, I have a great marriage but. There are times. (laughing) You know you don't always have, it's like that first time you know that you've fallen in love or something like that moment, Yes, magical yeah, magical. Magical, is that a good word? Sure. Do you like magical? Okay, so I wanna look at Lori's work. Do we see those words in there? I haven't looked at that since we started discussing then I look and I go dang, yeah we do kind of have that feeling in her work, airy, light, cheerful, vulnerable, there's a lot of vulnerability in her work. Do you see that? Romantic infatuation, and the light airy thing is really a strong resonation with me and remember we're kinda taking the four step formula out of order 'cause what ideally, what I would love for you to have done is gone through this artist formula and then created an image from these three artists like taken components of Lux Senior, Lisa, and Twigs and Honey and made your own image with their inspiration. I would have wanted you to do that 20 times, really that's a lot of work but I would've wanted you to do that 20 times with different aspects and elements of what you love in each different piece that they do, okay, the ones that you would buy and put on your wall or in your hair. So we're taking this a little out of order but what I love to see in Lori's is that she is already on the road to her style, she's already getting there. It's just a matter of refining and staying disciplined and consistent I think and creating that artist statement from these words and these feelings that you have and every time you go into a session going I want to feel vulnerable and cheerful and lighter and romantic, I want to feel magical in my sessions. When you come to a session with that mentality, you're more inclined to create it with your own voice. Another thing I wanted to do is, so first of all I want you guys to help us out and kinda give us adjectives, visually for what you see. Remember, yesterday we talked about how, well let me do one thing before we do that, we're gonna strike that and reverse, go in reverse, back up park and go forward. I'm gonna flip her work upside down first, it's a little weird and I just want ya to squint your eyes at it. Kind of squint your eyes, look through your eyelashes on it, what images don't fit? Is there an image or two in there that kind of doesn't seem like it's with the rest? Maybe the middle. Yeah, I was gonna say which one the middle. Does everyone agree on that? I thought the exact same thing when I saw it, I was like it's kinda not really her, it's not that light, airy, fresh it is very vulnerable romantic though. Do we see that? So she could definitely incorporate that higher contrast look into her work and still maintain the feeling of romance and vulnerability that she wants so badly. So this is a style choice that Lori, you need to make. Do I want to take that high contrast look and start incorporating that consistently into my work? Or do I want to kinda stick with this light, airy, fresh feeling that gives me such strong connotation with these words. Do you guys see anything else in there or do you for that matter Lori, do you see anything else in there that doesn't fit? I don't know the answer, it could be yes, it could be no you kind of have to answer that for your own. I mean I would say the two, probably the two landscape. The two outdoor? Wedding. Yeah. Okay, is it 'cause they're horizontal? I think it's 'cause they're, yeah and they're in nature, and maybe they're more of a wide angle and not, I tend to like to shoot with a 85 or 70- and so those are more of getting the wider perspective. So I think maybe another word we should use here is intimate. She likes the intimacy of an image and her work that draws her in is the work that's closer in that has a more intimate feel like that I know it's upside down but that lower left image, I would say is very much you because just from what we've talked about and what I see here you know I don't know you on a deep level. But that is it's very intimate, it's very romantic, it's very light, it's vulnerable, it has all the qualities of what you love in an image, am I correct in saying that? Mm-hmm. So when we look at this and we say what doesn't fit maybe we shouldn't be doing landscapes as much anymore. Or if we are forced in a wedding situation like that we have to find a location that doesn't, that offers that intimacy, that offers that vulnerability and the romance and maybe you, how do you feel about the middle image? I went back and forth on whether or not to include that but like you said, it had that connection, that emotion and vulnerability that I really love and just kind of like the way she, she's just in deep in thought so that's kind of like why I included that but visually it's not so much my style. Yeah, but that's okay, I mean there's nothing wrong with that and that's what we as artists find the discord in and say I have a choice, is the visual thread more important than the emotional one. Which one's gonna tip the scale in terms of where I wanna go with my style so the middle one may or may not fit, Lori in her own voice I think the ones outdoor actually do fit visually with your style but for you they don't fit emotionally and what we're talking about here at least the direction I feel like we're going is that the emotional thread in your work is way more important than the visual. Am I seeing that, hearing that? Yeah. Yeah, so how an image makes you feel is, trumps visual elements which is totally fine and that's just again another component of your style. I mean that's the direction that Lori wants to go. Yeah. Now that we've kind of seen her work, I want you all to kind of help us by giving us a, you can write some of these down if you want, those visual and emotional adjectives about her work so visually what do you see in Lori, I'm gonna turn it upside down here real quick. And we'll just do this really quick and then we'll move on to Allison but what do you see in her work visually as adjectives, how would you describe it? Molly. Light hearted, innocent. Yes. Those are all what I feel like when I look at her work. Okay but what do you mean, what about visually like is it clean, is it fresh? Very clean, fresh, she likes clean lines, nothing complicated, everything is very simple. Yes, very high key she has very higher key images in her work, airy. I saw they're balanced in that for the visual aspect to 'em. Okay, yeah, I see that too, it's very balanced. She has a mix of vertical and horizontal images. Her composition tends to be very consistent, her lighting is very soft contrast, she doesn't do highly strong direction of light. You know the shadows are not super deep. There's always a strong center of interest. Do you see all that? Symmetry, yeah, okay so then emotionally we've talked about that a lot 'cause that kind of seemed to be the thread that was coming out for Lori but are there any other adjectives feeling wise you that think of when you see her work? Soft, what does that mean when you say soft, how does that make you feel? I'm thinking if I were to print this, I would want it on a soft paper, this would not go on metal. Glossy or yeah. Yeah, it needs to be matte and soft to the touch because the image feels like it's just sweet and. Sweet, yes, I Velvety. Yeah, those are great words, I um, calm to me was the softness makes me feel, excuse me, calm and arresting. Like it makes me wanna stop and relax. Do you know what I'm saying? It makes me wanna go uuuhhh, do you know what I mean? You guys scream out stuff if you want too, I'm just talking off the top of my head here and we need to probably, I don't wanna spend too much time on one particular person but I love to explore these kinds of things with a big group of people because you hear things and see things and you're like I didn't know that. It's interesting, isn't it? Yes. What I just noticed looking at that, it's so interesting because you have such a mix of people looking directly at the camera at the viewer and not looking at the camera at the viewer and it's really interesting that you have a mix of those. I think it goes back to that balance issue, issue what a bad word, balance thing. That was not the right word, I'm sorry. It's balanced, there's a good mix of stuff in there, do you like camera aware images? Not really. Hmm, interesting. Most of these So why do you shoot it? Most of these are the look I get after somebody else had them to look down and either take a deep breath or think about something and then okay, now look at the camera and then I take it. Okay, So it's that Moment of vulnerability. Yeah, yeah. Moment of vulnerability before they have camera recognition. So rarely will I say look right here at me, you know. Yeah, yeah. Yeah. You do like vulnerability very much so, interesting. I think that's something that you should explore in your work. That is the word that I was looking for this whole time and I didn't think of it til like right when I said that. Yay, that's awesome! Oh my gosh, your work is stunning. Thank you. Very pretty, you're so on your path, don't you think she's like totally there? It's awesome, yes, Kenneth. I just wanted to now the comments are coming in and adjectives and descriptions so I wanted to give you some more of those. Oh good, yes, yes. From what people are saying online and Beats435 says she portrays variations on youth and loves diagonal lines. Yes, she does. And let's see, back over into the chat rooms, soft equals delicate, pastels equal serenity, colorful and influenced by nature, gentle, feminine, clean, fresh, soft, warm and romantic. Very cool, yeah I was thinking. I'm glad someone brought up delicate because I was thinking that when I thought of Twigs and Honey was delicate and your work is very delicate, it has that delicate quality to it which is so cool. So your job now is to take these words and all of this mushy wonderful feeling stuff and turn it into an artist statement, I want you to, here let me get through to my keynotes here, I got the right thing, there we go. I want you to ask questions of yourself like why am I doing this, why do I like vulnerability in my work, what is it about being vulnerable that to me rings my essence. I want you to answer the question what impact I want my work to have on others and I think that will put you well on your way to writing a statement and then it'll be so much more clearer to you, do you feel like you have a little clearer? I do, or more affirmation. Affirmation yes because you do have a pretty solid style as it is and it's just gonna make you more cognizant and doing things with intention really. I think a lot of times, I want to like everybody says dabble, I see things that I love and they're beautiful and I attempt to try it and I fail miserably, so. Oh, we've all been there but next time that happens to you think about making it vulnerable, taking that thing and making it vulnerable or light or romantic and see what happens. Thank you. She's awesome. (audience clapping) Thank you. You're welcome sweetheart.

Class Description


How can you work successfully (and profitably) as an artist in a crowded, over-saturated market? You have to make your work and your brand stand out by creating your art from a deeply authentic place that is only YOU and yours alone. In other words, you must define your STYLE. By standing out uniquely, you can attract the kind of client who is willing to compensate you appropriately for what you bring to the table.

Join master business and photography educator, Julia Kelleher, for a class on finding, defining and applying your style to your work and your brand.

In this class you’ll discover how to:

  • Identify your style as an artist intentionally rather than by accident
  • Incorporate your style into your brand
  • Use your style to help gain financial benefits
Learn how an undeviating style can bring in your ideal client, make you stand out in a crowd, command top dollar and keep your competition at arms length.

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

hollyferocious
 

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