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Student Image Review

Lesson 9 from: Family Photography: Photojournalism in the Home

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

9. Student Image Review

Lesson Info

Student Image Review

What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna have Jess come up and I'm just gonna work with each girl for about five to ten minutes. They've given me their work and then I gave them some homework, and we're just gonna see if right now, collectively, each of them, is their personality being shown through their pictures or not? So, first is Jess, and she's gonna come on up. And the reason why I want to do this is I can show you all the work I've got by myself of the stuff I've done, but it really doesn't hit home unless we're looking at other people's work, too because then it is applicable to you all as well. So, Jess, you shoot weddings and portraits or families? Mostly families. Okay, mostly families. Some weddings. Very few, but yeah. What I'm gonna do is I'm gonna go through first. I'm not gonna say anything, all right. I'm just gonna, and I have not looked at these prior. I wanted to do it all organically with you guys. Okay, so for me looking at your photos, this is what I get. You're t...

houghtful, you're kind, and you're very nurturing. You have kids, right? Four. So, I see that in your vision, with the collection that you've given me. I feel like you tend to be not introverted, but quieter in general because you have quieter moments that you've selected in your photos. That's what I'm reading from looking at them. So what I had Jess do is take the Myers-Briggs test, have her friends describe her in three words, and also herself describe her childhood. So I'm gonna see if what I'm seeing is anything relative to what she got from that. So do you wanna share your results? Yeah, so the Myers-Briggs, I'm usually, like, INFP, sometimes INFJ. So not extroverted. So I totally describe myself as an extroverted introvert. Yes, that's what I thought. Yeah. Growing up, so my mom said I was always very independent, very creative, confident was a word that came up a lot from my friends and my dad. And then I would say, like, the top three words that I heard a lot were thoughtful... confident, and creative, I feel like that was a given, but that doesn't count 'cause people who aren't necessarily creative always, you know, say, creative. And then kind of a... what do you call it? Like a draw between, like, the thoughtful, deep, pensive and... like, beauty, vision, bringing out beauty, truth-teller, that kind of idea. Okay, so you're getting there. Right? I'm feeling like what you're shooting is very similar to your personality. What I'm not seeing a lot of is you being confident in your work from this selection. I want you to be more confident in trusting your gut and getting a little bit closer. Sometimes... when you're not as confident about the work you're making, you tend to stay back physically when you're shooting. This one's good, this is a medium. But actually, for this... I would've shot, like, right in here. Like really focus on what was important 'cause the window is not important here. I love this. This is why I said you were thoughtful. Like, one of these because a thoughtful person is also gonna recognize, look how nice those ladies are. Shaving her and doing her makeup at the same time. Also, like, more of a whimsical sense of humor. I think you have a quieter sense of humor than, like, super loud like me 'cause you see that occasionally. But also, like, kind and thoughtful. You, you are drawn to gestures that suggest softness, kindness. And I see the beauty as well. So I think that those are things that you need to embrace and really focus in on when you're shooting the field. Does that make sense? Mm-hmm. Like, recognizing those things? I'm not gonna critique them because we're gonna do critique another time. But I'm trying to find... like, even... This gesture here is observant, and, look, his little tongue is sticking out and he's not quite holding, grabbing the doorknob, which I prefer, like, the almost versus the, the latching on. But this also, this is what told me, like, kind and nurturing. I might, for me, if I had approached this situation, I probably would've waited for the funnier moment 'cause the kid is, like, acting like, he's, like, having a really good time and he's, like, flipping back. And I think... is he special needs, also? Yeah, so I got to document my friend's adoption of him from Lithuania, and this was, like an amazing moment because most of the time, he was not responsive. You know, and so there were just very few moments where he kind of came out and laughed or made expression, and. Well, and see that's your personality being quieter and thoughtful that you recognized that and then shot that. You also have really nice light on his face there. Just quiet. You have quieter moments, which I love. I definitely encourage you, now that we've talked about it, and I don't know if you had done it before from the first class, but really embrace that. Like what, this about you. The things that, the way that you were described and see how you can make that help direct when you're in the field shooting so it can be more narrowed in on not having to worry about all the other stuff happening and just focus on what you're really drawn to. Does that make sense? Yeah. But I think that you're getting there. 'Cause obviously I was able to read some of what other people have used to describe you just by looking at your pictures. So, is that good? Yeah. That wasn't bad, right? No, that wasn't bad at all. She was nervous, so. Okay, so I'm gonna switch and have Allison come up. Okay, so Allison, are you strictly families? Yes. Okay. Yeah. How long have you been shooting? About a year professionally. Oh, so you're brand new. Yes. Okay, good. But I've shot my kids for as long. Okay, are most of these in here your kids? No, there's a mix, yeah. Okay. The best are the really new photographers that we can, like, not have to change a lot of bad habits. You just start good from the beginning. That's really funny. Like, where's the rest of his body? (laughter) Is there a hole there? There's a hole, yeah. I really love this one a lot. (laughter) Kristen, what are the things that are going through your head as you're looking at these? What are you looking at? Or what are your first reactions? I'm just trying to feel, rather than I'm not trying to critique them, I'm just trying to feel what each one is making me feel and seeing if there's a consistency within that in the collection. Thank you. You're welcome. Because she's newer, you're a little bit more all over the place. Okay, so first thing is... you have a very unique sense of humor. And I think, in general, you're drawn to cleaner compositions, simpler moments that are happening. Is that true? Yeah. Because those are the ones that are really good in here. And then you have ones that aren't so strong. And I see that here... here, I'll pull 'em up. Your best ones... are clean and strong. I'm doing this a little bit differently than Jessica 'cause Jess has been shooting a lot longer, but if you're, this is the first time, like, your first year, there's a huge difference in looking at these moments. You have a very quirky sense of humor. Like, do you like Wes Anderson films? I don't even know who Wes Anderson is. Oh, okay, well, you would. You should watch his films, I think. If we got rid of all the other photos, and just showed your very best, you have a much clearer point of view. Now, look at them. You're not an only child, are you? No. Did you have a lot of friends growing up? Or did you like to play by yourself more? I played with siblings and cousins a lot, but I was very shy and quiet. So you're showing that in your pictures. Your strongest ones are when kids are entertaining themselves. And so that would tell me that you were a self-entertainer as a kid. Right? You should... having good moments with one subject is really hard to do, and you do it really well. I'm also gonna guess that you're an animal lover. I'm actually not. Oh! Well you should get a dog. (laughter) Well, we have lots of animals, but I am very much drawn to them in photographs and I think especially with kids and animals. So, maybe, did you have a pet growing up? Yes. Were you attached to that pet? Yes. Well, there you go. That's why. Maybe because if you felt, like, not a loner but you liked being alone, but you felt really comfortable with pets, then you're allowing that, you're allowing yourself to be drawn to the relationship rather than kids with kids, kids with their pets. And so what you, so you're gonna have to, like, do the opposite, so like I have to do the opposite with... my family wasn't physically affectionate so now I'm drawn to the affection. What I want you to work on is don't shy away from the kids being, like, independently self-motivators and self-entertainers, but you're gonna kinda have to force yourself to also recognize and document good relationships between more than one person, too because you don't wanna, like, go into a shoot and only do individuals of everyone. 'Cause even if you look at this. They're doing two independent things, individual things. They're not relating to one another. But when it comes to pets relating to one another or to the kids, oh my god, like, that should be the opening to your website because people are gonna respond emotionally really well to that, does that make sense? What did your, what did your homework say? So I am an INFJ. Wait, what are you? I'm INFP, but sometimes I tested as a J also. Here's the other weird thing. I was gonna also say, I feel like you're kind of an introvert. But I didn't want it to be repetitive of you, but with the larger scheme of things, you seem to be drawn to the quieter moments as well. So that now makes sense. The two of you are almost the exact same Myers-Briggs for results. And what else? What were your friends or? So, as a child, I was shy and quiet. My mom said stubborn but then changed it to determined. I got a lot of determined feedback. An observer, very, like... Contemplative. And then the words that came up as an adult were similar. I got a lot of loving, kind sort of words. Driven, genuine, creative, which, and then intelligent came up a lot. So you two need to be friends. (laughter) 'Cause you're very similar. It's amazing to me. But it's not amazing to me because I find that that personality can be drawn to this type of work because it's more comfortable because you don't have to force anything. Do you feel that way? Oh, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. I'm really excited for both of you to now take this, does this help to like, identify this? Yeah, for sure. I don't want you to turn your back on this 'cause this is, this is where you're really excelling. But you're gonna have to kind of play like, be a gemini, where you have two sides to your personality so that you can work on also shooting, making better photos of people interacting and having a relationship to one another. In a way... do you just have a few close friends? Yes. You don't have, like, an extended circle? No, I wouldn't. Hone in on that. And think about your own relationships with your friends and family that you love so much. And just zero in on that with the relationship with the subjects that you're shooting. And you don't have to force the loud moments 'cause I don't think those are you. And the ones that I got rid of in your collection were loud moments that you were trying to get that you didn't successfully get and it's because you weren't feeling it here. Does that? Was that really loud to everyone out there? 'Cause I just grabbed that. Does that make sense? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, if you focus in on that, you're gonna do great. Especially for one year, making these pictures is really awesome, so. Thank you. Yeah, thank you for, yay, you did good. (applause) Does that help you guys to hear me do that? Like and watch, and, like, see that? Yeah. Photos, your work, if you work as artist, has everything to do with who you are. It really does. Has everything to do with who you are. And you'll make your best photos when you just embrace that rather than fight against it. Do we have questions? Well, I was just gonna ask if you could kind of summarize that in terms of how should people at home, since they're not sitting here, you know, in front of you look at themselves and their experience as they look at their photos, or is it doing the Myers-Briggs test to see how to integrate that into their work? So the first class I took, I went into that a lot, right. So I wanted to skip over that. But when I was going through the break up, remember the frying pan guy? And, or the guy, the cast iron skillet guy. That was the first thing I did was the Myers-Briggs test. And if you remember, I had my parents write me each a letter about what I was like as a kid. I just asked you guys to just kind of describe yourselves or ask your family, but you only had a day to do it, so, that helped me between the Myers-Briggs, going through old kid photos of me, asking my parents to describe me and also my friends to describe me, it helped just confirm or solidify who I was and who, like... it's really hard to love yourself sometimes, right? It just is. It's hard to, like, look at yourself and really embrace, we're always trying to change. Like change change without just, like, loving who you are. And by being confirmed, all these things that I kind of was comfortable about myself, what I kind of thought I already knew, to hear that from other people, that helped me. But it's a lot of introspection and some people aren't ready to do it, also. That's the beauty of thirties. I love my thirties. Bye bye, thirties. I hope forties is just as good, but I just feel more comfortable and confident with who I am and if you can do that, if you can just recognize and, like, get to know yourself, which is so cliche. Just get to know yourself. You know, take yourself on a date. Like, but it's important. I think it helps with relationships in your life when you stop trying to be somebody else. Or recognize all your flaws. Like... We could bring Greg up here and he could talk for an hour about all of my flaws. But the thing is, I recognize them, too. And some of 'em are never gonna change, right, like I'm always gonna fart in my sleep. Like, that's never gonna go away. I'm never gonna stop being stubborn or independent. But what I can do is also not look at all of that as a negative, but look at it as a positive. And while I'm, yes, stubborn and I don't ever wanna lose a fight with my relationships. At the same time, I use that to propel me when I'm shooting. So I'm stubborn and I don't ever wanna lose the fight in my work, right. So I'm working really hard. I'm that stubborn witch with a B when I'm trying to make a picture. I just take advantage of that. For these girls, like, I don't know if, like, I feel like I'm becoming a more extroverted introvert although, at the end of the day, I'm probably gonna always be extroverted. But as I get older, I like more time by myself, right. And I feel like, as kids, the kids that were really quiet were almost forgotten or overlooked especially in school, like the ones with the loud voices. But the introverted kids, they were, like, the best observers. And I find that, in this field, the more introverted people, the better shooters they are in this field are the more introverted ones that they're the quiet observers. They're like the sneak attack people, right. They're just better at, like, witnessing interactions and observing them and that's what you need to be a good photojournalist. So I just happen to be really loud and good at it, so.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials

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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!

Student Work