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Bathtime and Storytime

Lesson 16 from: Family Photography: Photojournalism in the Home

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

16. Bathtime and Storytime

Next Lesson: Q&A

Lesson Info

Bathtime and Storytime

A lot of times, what you'll have is something happening in one room, something happening in another room, and you have no idea how to decide what to shoot. So here's some pointers. One, where's the muse? Probably where the muse is, might be the more interesting thing. That's the first thing you can think of. Two, multiple subjects are usually better than one subject. So, if it's one person by themselves, unless she's like getting into the makeup kit that she's not supposed to be getting in to, and she's covering herself with makeup, or someone is drawing on a wall that they're not supposed to be drawing on, you're more likely to make better moment photos where there's multiple subjects. So that's the next thing that I think of. Is where are the multiple subjects, if the single person is being boring. Third, would be try and make one good photo of the one thing, and then go to the next thing, rather than trying to go back and forth all the time. And that's what was happening, is I had a...

battle of the darts, and bath time. (camera shutter clicks) (laughter) Did I get you? Yeah, you got my glasses. (laughter) Daddy you (mumbles) Daddy that's not fair. There's no fair in war. (laughing) Nothing really interesting is happening in the bath tub at this point. (child laughing) (camera shutter clicks) I have nothing to do with it. Now, I go to the bath. This is another move that my producer is not happy with. I'm balancing, I'm fine. Bath time, I do. Usually I take off my socks, that's the other thing. If you do this, it will help with the friction on the bath tub. Can you both fit? (camera shutter clicks) (children chattering) Good job. Yay, nice and wet. You got candy in your hair, how did that get there? (camera shutter clicks) (children chattering) What are you doing (laughs) Oh, good job, yeah get your front hair wet. (camera shutter clicks) (laughter) These days I'm not worried about getting full frontal versus non-full frontal, I'm just hoping that I might get a photo that isn't totally full frontal that I'm okay with putting online. But I want to give the family all the good photos, so now I don't worry about it. But now I decided it's boring, like, that bath time is boring, and so I'm gonna go back get some dart stuff, I heard some, you know, some yelling and then I'll return back to this. (child laughs) (laughter) Whoa! Okay. The better bath photos, really, were when all four girls got in. Now, this was my huge moment because if your remember at the beginning of the day, the first day, Liana did not want to change in front of me. And so, I assumed she was, there was no way she was going to get in the bath. But, low and behold, by the end of this day, she totally got in the bath with her sisters and was not afraid, so that means I got the most trust that I was looking for, and it just meant spending a lot of time with them. Can I have a beard? (laughs) Can I have a beard, you alright? Yeah. I see (children chatter) I'm trying to shoot all four girls in the tub at the same time if I can. (children playing) I'm having a really hard time squaring up because Mom is in it, so I decided to just go from diagonally and square up on two of them at the same time. Can you hold the baby? My eye! (children laugh) What I'm watching, (children chatter and laugh) (camera shutter clicks) (laughter) (children chatter and laugh) Hey hey hey, let's, everybody puts suds on their own face. There we go, better? This is what you call hail Mary-ing, when you put it over your head. A trick to hail Mary, is don't just take one if you notice, take a bunch, and you can also rotate it around as you're shooting and then you hope that you get one angle that is composed well (clears throat). See, I'm rotating it around. That's a really bad part in my hair. (laughs) No one should be hail Mary-ing the top of my head. (children chatter) (laughter) Okay. So jammies, getting our jammies on, this is pretty, this was utter chaos as well. (camera shutter clicks) Hey you gotta put your arms first, there we go. (camera shutter clicks) (children chattering and squealing) I'm trying to show multiple things happening at the same time, I want to give the viewer an idea of how chaotic it was. So the only way you can do that is to show chaos, but I have to show it cleanly. (background banter) (camera shutter clicks) Adalay, do you want them? That's Liana in the towel, and she's not left the room to change, she doesn't mind now that I'm in the room. And I told her, Liana, you can go into the bathroom if you wanna change 'cus she was upset, and she's like, no I'm upset because mom yelled at me, it had nothing to do with me. So, that made me feel really good, however she had an emotional meltdown as mom was doing her hair and this can make you, the photographer, feel uncomfortable sometimes, but you just have to shoot through it because you can make a really good photo. (child crying) This was for ten minutes this happened. (child crying) Now I can get to the other side, 'cus Mom's not there (laughter). (child wailing) There's blood in everything. She said there's blood in everything. I'm laughing, I'm going to be the worst mother. (camera shutter clicks) But both Mom and I are laughing, 'cus this is so ridiculous. (camera shutter clicks) Remember what I said, kids don't like their hair to be brushed (camera shutter clicks). (child laughing) Again, we have to use the mirror, we can't get in front of the mirror and below it. And so, the last time, the last thing is story time. Story time can be boring to shoot, to be perfectly honest, does anybody get bored shooting story time? So, what I'm looking for is to make one good photo of story time where, it looks lovely and then one that is real, so, with them, with four kids in the bed, I'm at an advantage, right? (laughter) That's not even a king bed, this is a queen bed. Well that's okay, we'll re-start the story. I'm just gonna show a little bit of this, because I want to leave some time for questions. Alright, sit down, come on up here. (children whining) Audrey, was that her name, Audrey, yeah? Audrey is having a rough night. (camera shutter clicks) What I love is three girls are very interested in the story and Gwennie wants nothing to do with it. And so, I want to show all four of them, four of the girls in the-- However, he just wanted another. Then one day, two swindlers arrived in the kingdom, and before long the emperor came to hear about the-- (camera shutter clicks) (children chatter) I'm watching. (laughs) Audrey. (camera shutter clicks) I'm trying not to cut off people's hand and feet, if you notice you'll see like, I shoot here and then I bring it down because I'm watching my edges. Before long, the emperor came to hear about the amazing cloth. I'd like to see these weavers immediately, he demanded. The emperor became impatient to see the incredible clothes. Then, suddenly, Gwennie is eating the plastic bowls. My subjects will hear of it and think I am not fit to be. The emperor feared he might be thought unfit to rule, or even worse, very stupid. I'm trying to do some-- (laughs) Dad's face. I want you to make me a suit, so I can parade it through the kingdom. (child squeals) (laughter) The invisible suit around the the emperor's quarters. (camera shutter clicks) Feel how tight it is, he said! I'm getting above because from that vantage point I couldn't see Liana's face. (camera shutter clicks) (family chatters) The two older ones just want to enjoy their book. Now both girls-- (laughter) Your majesty, said the swindlers, that we might fit your new suit and show everyone how marvelous you look in it. All the couriers looked on as the emperor took off his clothes. And I'm laughing, I think this is so funny, so now I'm going to try and layer. How well they look, cried the couriers, how wonderful they fit, majesty. OK I'm going to move past, because a lot of it is the same, but you get the idea about shooting the, you just gotta shoot it as it is, I hope for one good one where they're all listening to the book, but I do get it, later on, but I'm embracing the chaos and the funny.

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Ratings and Reviews


Kirsten is an incredible teacher. When deciding whether to purchase this class, you should first take a look at her first CL class--Modern Storytelling. It's the best way to dive into this material and is a good starting point. If you're interested in this genre, buy BOTH classes. Both are so packed with helpful information about the family photojournalism genre. The first class was a solid, well rounded introduction to family photojournalism, and this class is more in-depth, specific, direct, intense, full of composition technique, and really just takes it to a new level. She doesn't waste time in this class repeating all of what she taught the first time. Kirsten is very candid and personable which I find really helps us viewers learn from her authentically and enjoy the class. I feel like I know her from watching so much of her class and I know that helped me to connect with the class and understand the material better. I feel like I finally have the tools to really tackle this genre and a better idea of what I'll face. I HIGHLY recommend this class--BUT only if you have an interest in this type of photography. THIS ISN'T A CLASS ABOUT MAKING PRETTY PICTURES, IT'S A CLASS ABOUT CAPTURING REAL MOMENTS IN A BEAUTIFUL WAY AND STORYTELLING THROUGH PHOTOGRAPHY.

Image by Marcy

I'm adding my review in hopes of giving some perspective to the few negative comments. I've been a fan since Kirsten's first course, and have been hankering for more ever since. I wish the viewers who decided to jump ship before watching the whole course had reconsidered, and hung in there. Here's why. Kirsten describes this class as more of an "advanced" class. To my way of thinking, it's an excellent adjunct to the first. I took notice of a good bit of the questions in the chat room on CL while the class was live. It was clear to me that there seemed to be plenty of viewers who had not watched the first based on their questions. To get the most benefit, you really need both courses. There is overlapping content, of course. But there is specific and pointed information that was really only generalized in the first course. Invaluable is the segments that were taped live at a family's home, where Kirsten shot a DiTL. That filming was shown and dissected in this new course. VERY informative. To put it succinctly, yes, there is some repetitive info, but necessary to bring it all together, and yes, new content. YES, the front end is a bit heavy on the personal. If I remember correctly, that viewer choose NOT to stick with the program, which is fine. BUT, had they stuck with it, that person might have had a change of heart. You see, I think you have to take all the information in it's entirety. Because, the openness, the vulnerability, the honestly to me is *endearing*, for one thing. But also, she definitely USES that personal information in the context of her teaching. Listening to her personal experiences (KLB's) gives US an opportunity to look deep within OURSELVES and CONFRONT our own past. OUR PAST is what shapes our future, good, bad or indifferent. We can allow our past to propel us to success, or sink us in despair. Either way, our past helps form our POV which is very important for our photography (as well as how we approach or avoid life in general, and affects us in business too...) I appreciate her honesty. I appreciate how she shares her struggles, both past and present. Both personally and professionally. For me, the whole package is more important that the individual "pieces". Who knows about that viewer.... maybe this genre is just not their thing. Maybe that person wants or needs to shield themselves from their own personal issues. IDK. Also, it's just a fact of life that *not everyone will LIKE .... ___ (you, me, her, etc). Whooo knows. That's their right, their choice. And it's true that this genre is not for everyone. But if you love it, then get the course. If you missed the first one, then get them both. You'll be happy you did, and you'll have saved yourself time and frustration trying to figure this out on your own.

Meredith Zinner Photography

She is outstanding. I love her candor, honestly, openness and extraordinary eye for talent. I love how true she is to herself and how fiercely yet seamlessly she works to show the truth and people's real stories. I love how she is a real person and shares true stories about herself that keeps her human. I'm so tired of this culture being so damn 'precious' about a baby's bottom fer crimmeny's sake... she's extraordinary, refreshing and unlike anything else youve shown. She's got an incredible eye, sense of humour, talent and so much to share with her very thankful audience. Thank you so very much! Thank you Kirsten!

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