Compositional Storytelling with Kirsten Lewis

Learn the foundational approaches to composing a photograph and begin to shoot with intention.
Upcoming Workshop

No workshops currently scheduled

One of the most important skill sets to build and nurture in storytelling photography is intentional composition when making pictures. The content and instruction of this 3-week workshop will be centered around your work and the work of your fellow participants through assignments and critique.

You will be given a short video to watch PRIOR to the class meeting times which will allow for more time for our live photo critiques. Provided in the video will be tips and hints regarding composition and how your choices directly affect the story you are telling in the picture. We will be working on three basic approaches to composition and, from there, examine their effectiveness on the viewer.


Get High, Get Low.
In our first week we are going to look at the power the photographer has in simply deciding where to stand, sit or lay down when making a picture. We will examine the basic principals of composition and how to properly, effectively fill a frame. You will be asked to make a picture that gives the viewer a point of view that they would not necessarily experience the situation from.

Layers. They Can Be Fun.
Week two will be dedicated to exploring layers and how they can be used to add more context and depth to a picture. To properly execute a layered picture, you need to approach it in terms of building the picture. This week will look at foreground, mid ground and background and how to use all three in storytelling.

Same Space, Two Stories
This final week we will talk about how photographing the same environment from a wide perspective and a tight perspective can change the entire story. Using the lessons learned from weeks one and two, you will be asked to make intentional choices in both your tight and wide frames. Both pictures will be made using a wide angle lens.

All photos featured on this workshop page are credited to Kirsten Lewis.

  • Cost per person is $95 early registration and $115 late registration.
  • This 3-week workshop will be held on February 8, February 15 and February 22. Classes will be online from 4:30pm-6pm CST.
  • This workshop consists of three classes. When you register, you are registering for the complete three-week class series. You cannot purchase the classes individually.
  • Attendees will need a wide angle lens for the last class. A lens anywhere 35mm-24mm will work.
  • These classes will be held ONLINE using Zoom. Log in to Zoom meeting at least 15 minutes before the class starts to become familiar with the program and work out any technical issues that may occur.
  • Advance registration and payment is required.
  • Maximum number of students is 15, minimum for the series to make is 8.

Q: How will the online sessions be different from being in the classroom?
A: Like in the classroom, the instructor will present content and welcome discussion from the class. Using Zoom, she will share her screen so that participants will see her presentation and able to ask questions and interact with the instructor and their peers.

Participants will need a microphone to be able to be heard in the Zoom session. Most computers have a built-in microphone already.

We encourage you to use a webcam to join the Zoom class! It will help us feel connected and engaged, even though we aren’t all in one place. It’s so much better to see your fellow photographers than just a list of names. Also, getting ready to show up for an online class like you’d get ready to drive to a classroom helps to break out of the isolation of social distancing.

Q: Do I have to live in North Texas to take the online classes?
A: No! Have you always wanted to take a photography class with your friend or family member but you aren’t in the same location? This is the perfect opportunity to learn a new skill with a buddy near or far.

Q: Are there previous requirements for this workshop?
A: You should have a working knowledge of your camera settings including exposure modes, shutter speed, f-stop, white balance and ISO control. It’s recommended that you’ve already taken the DCP’s Beginner Digital Photography series or equivalent training.

Q: How will I know if the class makes or not?
A: If the class doesn’t make and has to be canceled, you will receive an email no later than the day before the scheduled class date.

Q: What if I have to cancel an online class?
A: If you cancel 3-7 days ahead of the scheduled date of the class, you will receive 100% transfer credit toward another similar class within 3 months of the cancellation date. There is no refund or transfer credit for cancellations within 48 hours of start time of the class or workshop. Full details on cancellations are on our Policies page.

Kirsten Lewis

Kirsten is a documentary family photographer based in Denver, Colorado. However her work takes her all over the world, from New Zealand to Dubai, Brazil to Canada, Italy to Hawaii. Although she has been shooting for more than 20 years, it was teaching on Creative Live that really brought her approach to documentary family photography to the forefront as a desirable alternative to the traditional family portrait.

Currently, she divides her time between mentoring, private commissioned shoots, commercial work and personal projects. Despite the many accomplishments including being regularly featured on the Huffington Post, it is her role as a mother and wife to her daughter Byrdie Mae and husband street photographer Gregory Bethmann that brings her the most pride and joy. Well that and any Scrabble victory, which are countless.

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