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Student Website Review

Lesson 21 from: Family Photography: Photojournalism in the Home

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

21. Student Website Review

Lesson Info

Student Website Review

So we're gonna look at two different businesses, and I just wanna ask them, I wanna look at their website and I just wanna ask them, what their goal client is or where they're at now and what they need to, what they want to work on. So I can give you a little bit of advice for that. I think, Natalia, I was going do you but here's the problem, is that, well, you live in the Czech and this is one thing I've learned about Europe. Is that, everyone in Europe is paying a lot less for photography and it's taking a lot longer to get photography in general to be paid for as like, wanted and desired. So I might, I only have time for two so we might, one-on-one talk about yours, but maybe work with the other two. Is that okay? Sure. So, I wanna work with Jenn cause she lives here and I'm curious. Yeah Jenn, just come up. So you're here learning about documentary, feeling photography. Is this a direction you want to go in? Hopefully Okay. So this is a perfect example. This is. So your stu...

ff is more lifestyle? Mm hmm Yes? Is that what you would say? mm hmm And it's really strong lifestyle work so, what I would say is, slowly. Oh, the first thing I wanna tell you is, you have way too may photos on the front page. Okay I think. What happens, even when you go on a blog, if there is like a hundred photos on a blog post, does anyone ever make it to the bottom? No. No This is, I talked about this in the first class, I'm gonna say it again. Your blog is not for your current clients. It is not a proofing site. It is not a brag site. You should take your blog very seriously because that is your advertising space. You should only be putting the very best photos that you have on your blog, cause that's what getting your next clients. You already delivered a slide show maybe, a gallery to your current clients. They don't need a whole blog post with every photo that you've made on their wedding or their family session. Same with you. I want you to, even with the photos that you have now on your front page, you need to narrow them down to the very best and not have this many on the first page. Because-- about 30? Yeah. About 30 is what I have. If you go to my site, I have about 30. And here's the other thing, I didn't pick my 30. Because at the end of the day when I'm staring at my photos for like three or four days in a row, I hate them all. I hate all my pictures. So what I did is I made a gallery on Pixieset of a 100 of my strongest images and I asked 30 to 40 of my peers to make favorites lists, and then from there, I picked the 30. So I never picked my 30 on my front page. I had everybody else do it for me. And that way, I'm completely detached. As it is, I wouldn't have had any of them on there because I was mad at every picture. But it helped me because the general population, then told me, what is gonna resinate with a larger population. Does that make sense? So if you, she lives in Seattle and you guys have a pretty strong network of photographers here. That's what I would suggest to you to clean this up and then maybe have some of your photographer friends help you pick the ones. That's a good idea What I would say is, as you start having more moments in your work. Start replacing. And this is for everyone. Start replacing the weakest with your next strongest of your more documentary work. And even on here, I see that like, even though this is life-stye, there's a moment in there. So that's gonna help with the transition, right? But this isn't. This isn't. This isn't. This is. Even though he's looking at you, look at his messy face. So I would go with this one, and this one. These you don't need. You're a much better photographer than this. And, if you notice, she has the better ones on top. Yes? Yeah Did you do it that way? Yeah Why do we include the crappy ones on the bottom? Just get rid of 'em. I think they come up as I blog, on top. Oh they do? Yeah So, it's set up where as you blog, the photos come on here? Yeah Okay Don't do that. Okay so-- (audience laughs) I want you to have like maybe like a slide show that runs. And just like every three seconds, a new photo comes. I think that's the best way to show it. I don't know, I have it that way but when I go to someone's site, that's what I want. And here's the other thing. You want to have them have the option to push through. Don't you get frustrated when you can't push through. Think about how you feel when you go to somebody else's site and then make your site according to all things that piss you off. So, and don't do those things. Another trick which I talked about in the first class, Do not have music on your site. Do you know why? Because the average consumer is at work when they're looking at websites, when they should be analyzing the company and the minute music comes up they're like "Crap" and then they're gonna close out your site. No one needs the music, get rid of the music. The music sucks, Just don't have music on your site. Yes Tovah. Okay so I don't have music on my site on the homepage Yeah but I do have a section with slideshows cause I want people to be able to see and I wrote music. Okay Is that okay? (laughs) Yeah, that's fine. If it's a clickable thing, where it's a slideshow, they're gonna assume there's music. But you don't want them to not have the choice of music or not. You're doing good, you don't have music. (audience laughs) Phew But that's why I suggest, like look, this is a good moment one, but then, because these are also lifestyle, this one almost doesn't look like it fits right? So you have to like kind of do it in transition. Slowly. I wanted to look at "About Jenn." I'm using you as an example. Okay. If anyone saw me the first time around, what am I gonna say about Jenn's "About Me?" Right off the bat. She needs more pictures. Yes, of? Herself Of you. Especially with documentary family photography. You're asking them if they'll allow you into their home and be in a very vulnerable situation, intimate setting so you want them to feel like they know you. This is an amazing, I love this photo of your family, but I wanna see more, I just wanna see at least three or four more, of you with your kids or your husband. We don't need you with your camera. We already know that you're a photographer, right? What I do like about what Jenn has to say is, that these are some things about her are unique, about her personality and no-one needs to hear about how important photography is to you, because they already know that in your photos. If you wanna have "About my business" section, then explain, or about "My credentials" or something, then you can put all of your credentials in there. But do we ever read those? No, I just scan over them. I just wanna know about the people that, I like their photos, I wanna know who's making them. Who is making them? Even, like Louise Gervaughn who does all portraits, I still, like when I go to his site, he'll be photographing me right? I wanna know about him, not about how passionate he is about work. So you're doing that very well on this site. Are you full-time? Yeah, but mostly weddings. Actually-- Oh yeah, that's right my family business is 20 % But you wanna build your what? Your families? Yeah Yes. Okay, here's the other thing that I like that Jenn said, is that she shoots weddings. But we wouldn't know it from this site and I like that. I actually like them separate, and that you can have a link on the different sites. Cause I think people get overwhelmed. So I think separating them, is a really good idea. Is that helping you with just narrowing down the stuff? Yeah, yeah sometimes they don't even know that I do weddings. Yeah Yeah Well that's fine. I want people go in here and learning just about your family photography. You can have a link somewhere, like links or whatever. I also think there's a lot going on up here. Okay Do you like shooting the baby's first year? No (laughs) (audience laughs) No. Get rid of it. Okay If you don't like shooting it, get rid of it. So this is the thing, because it's only 20% of my business and I want to transition to "Day in the Life," I feel like all this is creating a legacy problem for me Okay. You know that I want to get rid of it. But you said just now, not to get rid of it. Slowly, you get rid of it. Yeah, okay. I want you to shoot at least ten "Day in the Life" sessions, even if they're four six hour. I want you to have that many, before you ditch all of this. And I want you to show me or somebody else your portfolio before you just go ahead-- You got it. and abandon. Does that make sense? Okay The other legacy problem is that the way I price my portrait sessions is making it hard to price "Day in the life" because I'm in a higher bracket. It would cost like $10 000 if I want to you know Right It would be like, "What this doesn't make sense?" Right. So that's another problem that I have. With your one hour vs your day in the life? Yeah, so my average client spends $15 - $2000 for an hour. Right. Which is normal for Seattle. Yeah for Seattle, it's very normal. So, but if you know that they're paying that for one hour session-- But they will not pay $10 000 for 5 hours. Well, we're not asking for 10 000 (laughs) That is-- They do the math, you know. They're like "Oh that doesn't make sense" Yeah, that's not gonna happen. But I think that you could be making more than me. I think you could be making, maybe you could ask $2500 for your time, talent, slide show, all that. I think they would be willing to invest that and then I think you can make an additional $2500. I think you'd be making five or six thousand. I would have to scrap this, cause then they would be like, I would do the lifestyle for an hour then. You know? But what if you're offering, not lifestyle anymore. Once you switch over. Yeah One hour documentary sessions for a smaller price point. You can still charge what you're charging for one hour, but they could get a whole day for just a few thousand more. Mmm Okay That's what I do. Most people pick the full day. They want the full day. Yeah I get very little one-hour right now Yeah Everyone just wants me for the full day. Okay. How do I charge like-- You'll make on the back end, more money because people on the west coast, especially Seattle, they have the budget, they just need to see the full day. Oh I know what I was gonna say. When you get an inquiry, always send at least two slide shows. Even if they inquire for a one hour session or a two hour session, send a slide show of a full day. And in the beginning, if you price it just, like double more, to like get in the door, if they think, "oh, Well just for a little bit more money, I can get the full day and get this," that's how in the beginning, I started getting a lot of day in the life sessions. Does that make sense? I just would be like, "Oh you want one hour, how about this?" You know, it's like (laughs) when you go to rent a car, and they're like "You can have the Kia or the Lamborghini for only $100 more a day." And if you have the money, you're like "I imagine myself taking the Lamborghini. Thank you." Same idea, Right? Does that help? Yes, it does very much Okay Thank you Okay good. Thanks Are we good? Okay, can I go? Give it up for Jenn. ( audience claps) Thank you Jenn

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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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