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Image Reveal with Family

Lesson 23 from: Family Photography: Photojournalism in the Home

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

23. Image Reveal with Family

Lesson Info

Image Reveal with Family

You guys are going to sit right there. Hi there. They all got their hair and makeup. (light crowd laughter) There you go sweetie. (daughter whines) What do you want? Want to sit by yourself? (daughter crying) Right here? There you go. Can you all see the big TV? Yes. Because that's where the pictures are going to be. Are you excited? Yeah. Okay. (upbeat guitar music) (upbeat folk music) (laughter) (upbeat folk music) Aww! (upbeat folk music) Cool (upbeat folk music) (giggles) (upbeat folk music) (baby whimpers) It's okay. (applause) Addy, are you okay? Yeah, you clap? (laughter) She saw the picture of Gwen crying and she started crying, and I'm going to cry too. Aww, Gwenny is okay. See, she's right here. [Woman From Crowd] Aww. She's okay. Did you guys like that? Did you like all you photos? Yeah? We should have them introduce themselves. Yes. Oh, yeah. Owie. Alright, you get to go first. Do you guys want to say your names? T...

ell everybody your name. But you can sit on the couch and do it. It's okay, just say your name. This is Liana, and this is Audrey, and this is Adalaide, and this is Gwenny. And this is Gwen. Baby's okay. Yeah, baby is okay. Baby is okay. (laughter) Baby's okay Yeah. Do you guys feel that that was a good representation of your everyday? Yes Because I think a lot of people are always concerned that kids show off for the camera. It's good to hear from you if this is their normal activity or this was enhanced because I was there. I don't think it was advanced, no. They acted really normal. I think you fit into our family quickly and well, and I think it was really great. All of that stuff I see on a regular basis, so, that's exactly what it's like. Yeah. You're just exhausted everyday? Yeah, all the time, mainly. (laughs) Do you guys have any questions for them? Does the studio audience have questions about what the experience is like? Start with one online, and then, you guys can grab the mic. How about, DSP is saying that as she is sorting through her images, trying to find her documentary style of what she's already been doing, she's not sure if her clients are going to appreciate these 'oops' kids that are doing things that are the everyday things. They might not want to remember or do that. You mean the naughty, and the crying, and the temper tantrums? Yeah I guess hearing from you? I mean as a parent, do you want those photos or do you want them being perfect? Well, I know I like those pictures because that's what I remember, being a stay at home mom. That's what I see all day long. Yeah So, when I look back, that's what I'm going to remember. I enjoy seeing the pictures of that. Yeah, I can't speak for every parent, but for me, reality is really hard for me to catch because I try to shoot at home all the time. Right. And I can never seem to get it. It's not an easy thing to get, but to be able to see that and know that that's exactly what it feels like, feels real and authentic, which I think is super important. Yeah Anything else? What are your favorite pictures that you thought as parents? What are the moments that most speak to you? All four of them in the bath at the same time. To be honest, the oldest drowning. (laughter) That was great. That was good. I really liked that one. The funny ones, there's way more funny stuff that happens. That's what really surprised me. So, all the ones where it was comical, where I'm yawning on the bottom bunk and there being crazy on the top and I don't even see it. Stuff like that, I feel like, I get a different perspective of my life, which is cool. How about you? I would definitely agree. I don't always catch them being naughty. They get away with a lot. That's right. So, seeing is like, "Oh my gosh!" One family said, "When I have three kids, I can't be there all the time to see what's happening, but when you're photographing, I can be everywhere." And that's what she really liked, to be able to see things that she doesn't see happen behind their back or in the other room. Also, you guys know their personality, but I worked really hard to show their personalities to you and that was a big thing that I wanted to do. Remember when I said she's going to be the one to steal the car? Yeah, and we definitely saw Adelaide's personality, eating cats and running around. Yeah (laughs) And remember when we talked about the muse? I have great moments of all of them, but if you follow the muse, even when she's with other people, it usually will encourage good photos, fun photos to make, and I would say that Leana was the hardest for me to get her trust, and by the end, she was totally fine with me. Would you say? Yeah, definitely. She got really comfortable with taking pictures and then, she didn't want to be left out. I know, that's what happens. They don't want to be left out. Any other questions back there? Okay, Leah has one. I just want to ask from a mom's perspective. I know a lot of people are worried about that kind of realism and, how did you feel when Kirsten came in the morning and started taking pictures of you right then and there? I was excited about pictures taken of our family all day long. So, for me, it was nice. I got up early, and just chilled, and we sat and chatted before she started taking pictures and it was just really nice. By the end, 15-20 minutes, I felt like I knew her really well. The way she communicated and talked with us, I don't even know how to explain it, she just fit right in to our family really quick. Was there a point where you felt that you weren't aware of the camera anymore, and you just had someone else in your home? Yeah, definitely, by the afternoon time. Then there was just so much of the day. It's just doing our normal thing and trying to keep up with kids, and making food, and everything else, and then, it was like, 'Oh, where are the kids? I'm pretty sure they're with Kristen somewhere. I better go check on them. They're probably being naughty.' I think that's when I was like, when they kept falling closer and closer to the bed, and I was like, 'Well, I haven't gone to an emergency room, yet,' and Jake heard me say that, and he was like, 'What? Emergency room?' and I was like, 'No, not now.' (laughter) Did it help, do you think me talking to you, like taking the time to know you in the beginning. Yeah, even just the few minutes was really great. I felt like we were old friends, but after just a few minutes. It was cool. That really helped for me too because being a shooter and a videographer myself, was really aware of all the cameras, but when you put your camera down and started asking us stuff about our family, or just chit chatting, then I started to forget why we were here. Yeah Any other in the audience? You mentioned the emergency room. The question is, did you feel protective of the children at any point through out the day, or worried about them, or was there anything to that regard? I wasn't worried about them. I just checked on them, like I usually do, and if I heard a brawl forming, I would go and intervene, just same as usual. I just knew that it was all getting recorded, which is kind of cool. Anybody else? [Woman In Audience] Yeah. Do you brief them before hand, what to expect in terms of interacting with you or pretending your there or stuff like that? No? No, I prefer not to do that with full day in the life, and that's why I don't ask questionnaires. I don't send out questionnaires for Day In The Life sessions because I'd rather find out all the information organically, while I'm there, as well as them just feel comfortable with me in the home, but that's why we watched in the video, and she mentioned it, I took time when she woke up to not shoot and to just talk, and then, I gather the information then. I don't think I needed to say, 'Don't worry about me. You can just ignore me.' I think people realize that I set those expectations up ahead of time when I send the emails, like the inquiry email, and I send the video that has me working. All of that, kind of answers those questions ahead of time to just be themselves. They know that also looking at the photos, I think. Jake, had you looked at the photos before I came? You had seen my... I didn't. I had seen some of the footage because I work here. No, but did you see my photos in general, my work? Yeah, we went to your websites and we looked at all of your stuff. So, you knew what you were getting into? Yeah, okay. Question from online. It says Kai-anne, it says would you have any hesitantcy if it was a male photographer coming to your home to stay, have the same access to the kids, as a female photographer? No, not for me. It wouldn't matter, either gender is fine. Yeah, I don't think it would have bothered me either. I don't think that really matters to us. I will say that they also are in the art genre. They know what this is about. In general, if you don't have clients that appreciate the art of it, then I think they might be a little more hesitant, which I've seen, but only in bath time or only when they're changing, but that's the only time I've seen there be a little bit of hesitation ever for me, when I'm working with students. Since you don't send out a questionnaire, and it doesn't sound like you really get to know them first, how is the trust being built? I feel like a lot of communication comes from the questionnaire because I ask them things, they tell me about themselves, they want to know the same things about me, so how are you establishing your trust, just from the portfolio and slideshows? I would say in conversation, like when we first met in the morning. We were just sitting there talking like it was normal. Hi, how are you? Good morning. Then, it was like right into deep conversation about daily routine. I think I ask about the twins, her being pregnant with the twins. I try and find things that are relatable, also. But, that's not like the day of, right? That's the day of. Do you remember the video? Yeah But, beforehand, because you guys are a special situation as opposed to like a client comes out and contacts you, are you waiting until the day of to really form the relationship or are you forming that relationship beforehand. I did that with Kelly and her family. I just did the day of, well, the night before. I met the kids and everything, but that was it. I'm going to say that, I take for granted, that I have a natural ability to feel comfortable in situations outside of my box, and for whatever reason, how I've done it, I feel comfortable and at ease making other people comfortable. It comes naturally to me. I also acknowledge, it's not natural for everybody, but, I don't quite know how to teach you that. I don't know if I can teach you that. It's just forcing yourself out of your comfort zone to be a little bit vulnerable and to ask a lot of questions and just try to relate to these new people in your life, but I don't look at it as work, that's the other thing. When I go to the family, I think of it as I'm just going to hangout with them for the day and I have my camera, and that makes a huge difference. It takes the pressure off me. I'm just hanging out with them for the day. I don't know, that's how I feel. As photographers, we get the whole 'Day In The Life' thing and we appreciate the value of seeing the everyday and as you get on with the your day, things get more authentic because you let go of, it's your one hour session. Now families that you're working with that's not photographers, how do you convince them to commit to the whole day, to have this photograph for them, so things become really truly them, and I think that's the problem I run in to having worked with families, even up to half a day, they say yes, but the whole day is a big commitment of time out of their daily lives. I think that's for the slideshow. Several strong slideshows are going to be your ticket in. When I inquire, I give them those slideshows, so that they can see the full day, but 30 to 40 percent of my clients are not photographers, but they've seen the full day and want it. They want the morning as well as the evening. They know they only way to do that is if I'm there the whole day, but I would be fine shooting a six hour day or a four hour day. You can make still good money and make really good moments. It's just a matter of, also, what you want to do. Do you want to do the full day? But, if you have good slideshows and you send those out, and they think they can afford it, I found that they will hire me. Yeah I think we just have time for one more question, which is would you do this again? Absolutely And why? I just love the documentation of our whole day. It was really cool to see it all and I personally love pictures, and looking through our families pictures. It would be neat to do it every few years and see the difference in the schedule, and in the age of the kids and everything. That's what I would say too. In a couple of years, when the twins are older, the dynamic changes. Then, it would be nice to have another day that we have captured to see what life was like when we look back. And I'm glad that they said that because that's my goal is to work with families once a year, once every other year, and they have an album with their name and the year. It's like a yearbook for them. It's like an encyclopedia of their life. Right? That's the goal. I want them once a year or once every other year. I'm lucky that I have several families that come back to me year after year because they love that idea of watching them grow and change and evolve, and the relationships change, and the naughtiness changes, and the interest change, and the dynamic between the kids and the parents will change, and who knows, in two years you might have another one. Then, trying to juggle all four of these with a baby is...there's no pressure. (laughter) But, i think that's the beauty of it. It's not meant for just one time. I think it's meant for year after year.

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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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