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Critique: Watching Edges

Lesson 27 from: Family Photography: Photojournalism in the Home

Kirsten Lewis

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Lesson Info

27. Critique: Watching Edges

Lesson Info

Critique: Watching Edges

So Natalie, we looked at this and we believe that this has potential to be a really good moment, but we think that a you need to be closer if you can, because this is distracting, and when we're looking at photos, we want to think about the edges, right? And we really want clean edges or edges that make sense all the way around. And so we feel that this is distracting from what's actually happening here. The other problem is you have this highlight that's bouncing off of here, and I remind my students all the time that your eye is gonna go to the brightest part in the frame. It's just what the eye does. And so the eye will go here, but then it'll instantly go here because it's bouncing between the two brightest spots versus if you get close and fill the frame, because none of the other stuff around is adding to the story in this situation. So might as well just fill the frame with this, right, with what's going on. I prefer not to cut off his head, but if it's a matter of cleaning it u...

p, just go really tight with it. And this is in camera you need to go tight. I'm not talking about cropping it this tight. And then you just need to wait until the moment is stronger so that her hand is not covering his face, 'cause we kind of want to see his reaction to her. Or at the very least her face isn't intersecting with her arm so we don't miss her emotion like this. I feel like if she was doing this, she probably did it for more than a second is my guess, yes? Well he was asleep, so ... Oh he's asleep. He was sleeping. That's even better. And she just tried to wake him up, and he didn't want it so he was totally ignoring her. So what does that, that tells me you have a lot of opportunity because kids repeat their behavior whether they're succeeding or failing. In this case, she's failing to wake him because he's ignoring her, so what's she gonna keep doing? Irritating him until he responds, right? So that gives you a lot of opportunity to keep shooting through this. If this were me, I probably would've made like 100 frames of this and just stuck with this composition and waited until there was a really good moment. So one of the other things Tina had talked about is just you were almost squared up on it, but if you were exactly squared up from above, we would've seen more of her face potentially already, so that could help compositionally that problem. The other thing is, is this a trundle bed? Like is the mattress coming out of the ...? Yes, it was my first family I have tried. It was after your course, I have tried to make the day in life session, and they have five kids, like father and mother they had each separately kids from the first marriage, then they moved all together, and they didn't have a lot of space because they were but living in a small apartment, so the kids were like everywhere they could, and this was like the child that was moving from the bottom. Which I think is kind of cute, right, like when kids sleep together it's a cute little thing. So could you back up and show us the whole trundle bed? Like could the context of that tell that story of the family in one photo? I wouldn't see the kids themselves, because if I move-- It might be a different moment. Oh okay. Yeah, just a different way of approaching the same sort of setting.

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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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