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Critique: Light

Lesson 33 from: Family Photography: Photojournalism in the Home

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

33. Critique: Light

Next Lesson: Personal Fears

Lesson Info

Critique: Light

Okay this is somebody in here, Jen. For the most part we really like this photo a lot and I would use this in your portfolio. One thing I'm gonna show you... We do have some issues, we can always critique, but, I don't think you're taking advantage of the light enough. So, I'm gonna bring it into Lightroom real quick. And I want to show you... Oops, why did it automatically do that? I don't want it like that. Why is it black and white? I'm here. So weird, it shouldn't be in black and white. Develop. Color, okay. There's a lot of chaos in this, right? But what we have working for us is what you're focused on happens to be an amazing moment in really good light. So, what we need to do is meter accordingly and bring this down a little so that our eyes go there. Does that make sense? Now we're really focused on this and less on all of this while this still is adding elements. The other this is that Jenna had pointed out that we could try and push it more and wait for them to stand up. ...

Or just do something. Or do something else other than all leaning down, so we can really count how many people are in the frame. Also want to be careful, I know this hard, but we've cut his hand off, and so if we had his hand, like the corner just a little but further down, it'd be a little bit stronger of a composition. But what I love, is that you saw the light and you waited for that really good moment in the clean space and you couldn't ask for something better as far as making clean photo in a really messy situation. Yeah, when we came up with this and we both said that it would very nit-picky critiquing it, but that's good. It's good to be nit-picky with the very best ones. But I would still, like you said, I would still use this. Yeah, I would use it in your portfolio, still. And I think that's the right moment of those two for sure. Yeah. And I would just bring it down a little. Okay. [Woman In Audience] So I have a question for when you brought that down, it looked like you would end up clipping the blacks. Are you okay just letting it go completely black? Do you? No, it... You always hear, you know, don't blow our your highlights and don't clip your blacks. I would much rather avoid blowing highlights. The blacks I don't mind as much. That's a personal preference. It depends on what your story is. If the blacks are interfering with your story, you want to keep them. And if the highlights are interfering, then you want to keep them. Yeah. I find those rules are very similar to like don't center your subjects. Whereas, actually we center them all the time. Yeah. So, it's one of those rules that you learn and then break it purposely. Yeah. Yeah. I agree. By clipping the blacks in the background, actually, it's gonna emphasize and highlight them by getting rid of some of the detail back there. For me. Definitely go on how it feels. Make sure it feels good, I think, for sure. So, we chose this one of yours to talk about, Jess, because we're having an issue, it's not your fault, but it's the wrong time of day or the wrong position that he's in where we really need to read the shadow immediately. And it's doesn't quite read profile and something that Jenna will say, I guess you have to do it with your body. I was thinking we could crop it. Oh. So, Jenna says, when you question it, is it working, like this, is the shadow working? What she'll do is cut out the boy and if you close your eyes, does it immediately read boy to you? Does it immediately read human being to you? To me, it doesn't. And, so that tells me that the shadow is not working. Does anyone else see that? Oh, I know what you're... Here's another way to look at it. You can rotate photos, because we're looking at shots typically from the side we just saw the boy so we're like oh it kind of looks like a boy. But, not as much here. Right? You can't really tell and plus there's not really a moment happening with the boy other than the fact that he's touching the wall. Yeah. How do you, woops. Ah, these silhouettes and shadows and reflections all need to be a photo and a moment on their own. So if you're using your reflection or a shadow, you can block out the complete rest of you photo and is that stand alone? Does it have it's moment on its own? And if it does, great, you're in the right spot. It's good for your composition. But if not, I think it's sort of tricky and weakens the photo. Yeah. Can I go back to it for two seconds? Should that be the right shadow, I would definitely meter more for the highlights and bring it right down. Yeah, bring it down. Be really, like, dramatic about it. (speaking at the same time) Yeah. Do you have any questions about that? Did that make sense? Yeah, no that does make sense, yeah. Also, we'd probably like, if you're dramatic about it, and it was working, we probably don't need this window, the light source back there. So, if you move a little but to the left, you can get that out and still have the foot. Cause this, we don't want this competing with this. If it's working, right? I really love when we've got great light, but don't know where the source is. We can guess, obviously, because we're all educated in where the light is coming from but, it's ah, it can be a really beautiful photo when you don't see as a viewer how we're lighting something. This is a missed opportunity. It's such a good moment, and they're in the wrong place. We need to see, like there's context for this, that I'm guessing they're in a store, like a department store. So, I want to be much further away and give it a lot of context, still shooting on the floor. But, I want to see like maybe feet walking by and some clothes hanging and then you see the curtain and the little boy having a fit in the changing room. That's what I want to see. And you want to be lower to it. This is like close to it, but you want to really commit to that. Cause the lower you are the more dramatic everything else is going to seem with him on the ground. Yes. And it's also a great example of a reflection not being... Not working. Like you can just use your hand and put it out there with your eyes, but you can see it's not, we black everything out also, that doesn't tell you enough about the story to warrant the use of it.

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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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