Skip to main content

Contact Sheet Review

Lesson 22 from: Family Photography: Photojournalism in the Home

Kirsten Lewis

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2200+ more >

Lesson Info

22. Contact Sheet Review

Lesson Info

Contact Sheet Review

So this is my favorite part of the two days, I think, before we ask them to come in, we talked about maybe showing you some of my raw, so you can really get a good idea. My computer's acting a little bit, it's giving me a little, it's being very stubborn. So I shot a total of, so the first day we were there for four hours, second day we were there for six hours, so a total of 10 hours, which is about four hours shy of what I usually shoot for a full day in the life. Kids stay up a long time throughout the day, so it's usually from about six in the morning till eight or nine at night I shoot. But I shot a total, over 7,000 photos, for that session, for 10 hours, which is about right for me. And, in the end slideshow that you're gonna see, I ended up with 120 photos, so I can't do that kind of math in my head, but it's very small percentage that I selected. And if we can see my computer for a minute, first of all, I think that it's important for any photographer to see a photographer tha...

t's been doing work for a long time, to realize that that's a lot of bad photos. This is a lot of photos. But what I want to point out, is the way in which I shoot. And that is, if you look, you'll see patterns of how hard I work for each scene, without moving. There's a situation, maybe up here. I never move this scene. And that is, 53 frames for one photo, that I hope to make, by sticking with it. And I suggest or encourage you all to look at your contact sheets like this, and see if you can see patterns in what you're shooting. Because if you do, then you know that you're working hard, you can see that I'm really working each scene. A lot of times in the beginning when I'm working with a student, I notice that they are jumping from situation to situation to situation, and I can't see a patter, excuse me, a pattern. But here, and my students have always said that this helps them to push that idea home, is that you want to be able to see patterns in your shooting 'cause that means you're working each scene. That's from the beginning of the day. Here's all that time, I'm trying to work that, the table scene, trying to get this photo. So with the two of them that was 27. And with just Gwenny, that was another 38. So that's a lot of frames. And I'm not just plowing them out, I'm not just holding the shutter, I'm selectively shooting, and I'm still making over 60 frames for one scene. The other thing I wanted to do, was kind of show you, I tried to unmark everything, and the reason why I did is I wanted, we'll get to a good scene, so close your eyes if you get dizzy. (audience laughs) I want to get to one of the afternoon scenes here. (tutting) Hold on, okay. So this car scene. I want to show you how fast I cull. So this is when I'm doing my first thing for the extended gallery. What I'm doing is I'm looking for something that's gonna make me stop for a second, then I go from before the photo that made me stop, and after, and see if it gets better and better. And look, it is getting better and better. I've got these good layers. So then I might tag it, and then I keep going. Look, and look at the difference. I'm also looking at very slight variations that make the photo go from okay to good to better. And some of that has to do just with, look at Adelaide's face, look at her face. But I also have to be aware of Gwen, that's in that bottom corner, and I also have to be aware of Audrey in the back. I don't want Gwen to be camera-aware, meaning I don't want her to be looking at me. Then I was hoping she'd pick her nose, but that didn't happen. Remember when I told you about fingers? Fingers are like either discipline, or a demand, or an order, or like something that they have to do. And that is a very strong visual that helps tell a story. Look it's even better 'cause now Gwen's freaking out. (audience laughs) But this is literally how fast I go through my shoot, and I only stop when something makes me stop, and that's how I know that I've gotten somewhere. That's how I'm trying to see it from another person's point of view, not the photographer, but the viewer. Because if it doesn't make me stop, see there's a good finger, but look it's out of focus, I'm focused on Adelaide, so it doesn't work. Even though I wish it did, look at this, this is a good meltdown. Now I'm just looking for the best one, that one's pretty good, 'cause it looks like they're interacting in the back, also. You wanna be aware of your background and your foreground. Why did I not stop on those? Because they're not in focus enough. They're out of focus. Because of my light situation, I'm shooting at 1/25 of a second so I don't have much room, and so it can be out of focus. And I know in my head I got a better one that you'll see in the slideshow from another car ride. And I do the same thing for every scenario. Here's working this scene. I'm waiting for something interesting to happen. That's the one that I tagged. But I don't give up, and here's the other thing. If there's nothing else interesting to shoot, I'm trying to make this shot, I always shoot past what I think I've got. Does that make sense? Because I think that it might get better a little bit later, a couple frames later, and I don't want to miss that. So I'll get what I think is a shot, and then I'll shoot over that.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

Gear Guide

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!

Student Work