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Family Photography: Modern Storytelling

with Kirsten Lewis

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  •   Trailer

  •   01 Introduction and Background

  •   06 One Hour Family Sessions


Class duration: 14h 45m

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  • 98% recommended

    163 student reviews

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About The Class

shoot and deliver joyful, authentic photographs.

Learn how to capture genuine, emotional images of families. In Family Photography: Modern Storytelling, Kirsten Lewis will teach you how to take meaningful documentary-style family photographs.

Kirsten Lewis takes a unique approach to family photography, leaving posing techniques and studio light at the door to capture real moments, as they are lived. In this class Kirsten will share her techniques for creating the relationships and environments that help her subjects feel at ease and open-up in an authentic way while she shoots. You’ll revisit the art of storytelling through still images and how to bring storytelling into your work with families. Kirsten will teach you the steps to developing client relationships that allow you to honestly document a family, from birth onward, while nurturing your business. You’ll learn new ways to approach composition and editing so your final product is both beautiful and true to reality.

If you want to deepen your relationships with the subjects you shoot and deliver photographs that are joyful and authentic, join Kirsten for this in-depth class on documentary-style family photography.

Topics Covered

Lesson Plan

  1. 01

    Introduction and Background

  2. 02

    Three Elements of Storytelling

  3. 03

    Telling a Story with One Photo and in a Series

  4. 04

    Skype Interview with Photojournalist David Murray

  5. 05

    Six Tips to Session Success

  6. 06

    One Hour Family Sessions

  7. 07

    Telling the Proper Story

  8. 08

    Culling Family Session Part 1

  9. 09

    Culling Family Session Part 2

  10. 10

    Post Processing in Lightroom

  11. 11

    Post Processing in Photoshop

  12. 12

    Six Lessons for Birth Session Success

  13. 13

    Interview with Birth Photographer Jenna Shouldice

  14. 14

    Six Tips for Newborn Session Success

  15. 15

    Finding Your Own Voice

  16. 16

    Inspiration and Personal Projects

  17. 17

    Finding Your Own Voice Q&A

  18. 18

    Finding Clients

  19. 19

    Managing Your Clients

  20. 20

    Client Galleries and Keeping Clients

  21. 21

    Day in the Life Sessions Part 1

  22. 22

    Day in the Life Sessions Part 2

  23. 23

    Day in the Life Sessions Part 3

  24. 24

    Day in the Life Pricing and Homework Review

  25. 25

    Student Review

  26. 26

    The Power of Photos: Photos Transport

  27. 27

    The Power of Photos: More Power Over Time

  28. 28

    Mentoring Program

  29. 29

    Segment 29 - Student Critques

  30. 30

    Student Critques Continued

  31. 31

    Critique Student Website

  32. 32

    Demo of an Artisan Edit

  33. 33

    Demo of Culling for Portifolios

  34. 34

    General Q and A

  35. 35

    The Sophie Project


Meet Your Expert

Kirsten Lewis

Kirsten is a family photojournalist based in Denver, Colorado; however her work takes her all over the world, from New Zealand to Dubai, Brazil to Canada, Italy to Hawaii. Although she has been shooting for over fifteen years, it was teaching on CreativeLive that really brought her approach to documentary family photography to the forefront as a desirable alternative to the traditional family portrait. ... read more

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Bonus Material

Access your course materials here!

Get access to exclusive bonus content when you purchase this class.

  • pdf Family Portraits Quick Tips
  • pdf Sponsor Discount Codes
  • pdf Gear Guide
  • HD Family Session - HD
  • HD Newborn Session - HD

98% of students recommend this class.
See what some of them have to say.

  • kjburnett


    August 2014

    I cannot recommend Kirsten's course highly enough. I've tuned in to a couple of CreativeLive courses on photographing families and children, and they were both very "studio"-centric. A lot of posing, a lot of gear, etc. I don't have a studio and a lot of gear, I don't desire to, I'm uninspired by the outcomes, and I tuned out pretty quickly. I love capturing people, especially kids and families, in their moments. I love a great candid. I love "documentary photography" (as I learned to call it from this course). And loving and creating photos that tell a story or capture a genuine moment is exactly what this course taught us to do, and did a fantastic job of doing. A few things I loved about Kirsten from the get go: she is not pretentious, but intelligent and genuine; she as a person and her photography are inspiring; she knows how to teach - technical without being 'technical', knows how to explain her process, draws on her mistakes so we can all learn from them (and our own - and this is a HUGE element of teaching most people lack!), all the while packing in an enormous amount of information that could improve anyone's photography. is very accessible in her explanations and her language; she is honest: a good teacher will be critical because again, if she's not (and if we're not open to it) how will we ever learn? Although I felt sometimes her language was a bit harsh or her assessments "right or wrong" where more nuanced language could be merited - my one critique. really seemed to be teaching first and foremost to have people learn and be excellent photographers, and to enjoy the gifts photography can offer (personally and productively), which made it so much more appealing to be "in the room". Best of all, I had an awakening that I am allowed to be myself in my photography. As much as I love candids, I get caught up in the expectation to take posed pics, for those I'm taking the photos for more than for myself. No more. It makes me impatient and disappointed with the outcomes. I'm going to cultivate what I love. I also finished each day inspired to take and process photos - visiting my nieces, bringing my camera everywhere. During the class I kept going into lightroom to look at my pics while she was teaching, to compare my past photos to what she was teaching. It was such a wonderful learning experience. Thank you Kirsten for being true to yourself, going out on a limb in your approach, and sharing all of this with us!

  • kc petersen

    kc petersen

    August 2014

    I started out in photojournalism, but it was a long time ago. Back in the 70s, I would play with the little ones, in their backyards, or at their breakfast tables, to get lots of beautiful, real images. Then, over the years, with the need to earn income, and then later, the need to compete, I got side tracked. I still did photojournalistic images of my kids, and eventually, their kids, but clients were wanting specific things. I called it the line-them-up-and-shoot-them style of family photography. The creative soul within was always longing for the more natural, more real images, and I have always been able to sneak them in to any session. But my business was mostly about everything else. I shot some weddings early on, to pay my dues and my rent. But discovered that I much preferred being a second shooter and capturing the candid moments and the details. As I am now a grandmother, I have been making changes gradually in my business to get back to my roots. Taking this class has been life-changing for me. I was making these tiny little baby steps, as if I was afraid that I would fall out of favor with my current and future clients. The competition is huge here in socal, so how could I dare step away from the white shirts and khakis? I dare. I am about to completely revamp my business model to return to where I started from. I plan to march to the beat of my own drummer. It really does make one happy to follow one's passions and to be true to one's self. I don't even care if I lose any clients. I want to provide for people something that is so essential. Real images that will nail down the memories forever as they interact and love each other. This is so important. At first, I wasn't sure if I would like Kirsten. But by the end of the three days, I loved her as if she were my best friend from forever ago. I love her for her personality, the things she taught us, and her great example. Best class I have ever taken at Creative Live, and that is saying something! Thank you!

  • Jo Benoy

    Jo Benoy

    August 2014

    The great thing about photography is that it can be all things to all people: a hobby, an art form, a profession. As long as I can remember, cameras and pictures have been important to me - for different reasons in different seasons. I have never been particularly interested in formal photos, and I thought my preference for "catching moments" in a style three or four notches above a snapshot made me seem like some sort of slackard. Enter Kirsten Lewis. In three days, she explained, modeled and taught the sort of shooting that I've loved for as long as I can remember. She mirrors my philosophy that good photographs aren't necessarily pretty, and that if a picture is compelling or evocative, it's a good one. Lewis is not only a gifted photographer but a clear and cogent teacher, which is always a welcome combination, and as strong as her tangible skills are her confidence and dedication to her own style and voice. I've watched and bought several CreativeLive courses, but I have enjoyed none more than this one: ever since watching it, my brain has been spinning and my shutter finger has been itchy. I loved, loved, loved this workshop.

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