Get Started with Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 14/32 - The Family Session Workflow


Get Started with Lifestyle Family Photography


Lesson Info

The Family Session Workflow

I am very excited to be in this awesome space. How cool is it in here, right? I am a natural light photographer, like I was saying. Many of you were asking what, if I have any lighting or if I use a reflector, and I don't. So this is the perfect location for me if I'm gonna be shooting indoors. You'll notice that I lost some height because I put on comfortable shoes because I'm actually gonna be photographing a family, and I need to be able to move around and get down at the kids levels and just be comfortable. So when I go to a session, I'm always dressed very comfortably and very comfortable shoes, so that's why I changed. Alright, so let's, we have couple of keynotes, a couple of slides to talk about before we bring in the family. So that's where we are right now. We're gonna talk about my family session workflow. So, a very predictable, tried and true, used over and over routine that I think works. It works for me. Like I said, you know, you might have to change it a little bit for...

yourself, but this is definitely a good starting point. So, this is what I call it. I call it the Family Session Workflow. I will say that nothing is set in stone. So we're gonna, basically what it is is a shot list for me. So it's like a mental checklist. I know that I want to get these groupings, these shots with every family, and I have that in my mind. I do like to work in a certain order, but of course, we're working with kids when we're working with families, and so that order isn't always gonna happen. So, why would you have a family session workflow? So, a lot of people, back to that misconception of lifestyle photography, they think, well, you want the work to be organic. You want this to be natural, you want it to unfold. Why would you have a workflow? Why wouldn't you just go with the flow? Well, the workflow keeps me organized. So, like I said, it's my mental checklist. There's a lot going on with family photography. You've got lots of people that you're capturing, and so it helps me to stay organized. It ensures that I have a well rounded gallery. I want my families to have a gallery full of images that are a true representation of my brand, and that's, you know, what they expect from me. So if I have this workflow, I know that I'm gonna get these shots that I need, that are gonna satisfy myself as an artist, but also my clients. It ensures, also, that I can get every shot that I feel like I need in about the first 20 minutes of a session. Now I'm gonna slow down here today, and I am a speedy person, obviously, so that's gonna be, it's gonna hard but I'm gonna do it. And talk through the different poses as much as we can. We do have a live family, so, you know, this is gonna be real kids, they may not be able to handle a whole lot of that. But we're gonna slow down, but generally speaking, I do work pretty fast, and that is because the kids need you to work fast. So this family session workflow allows me to kinda go through that checklist, make sure I got everything done that I needed, and then I can really just have the creative freedom to have a good time and do whatever I want. So what happens when you don't have a plan? Let me tell you what used to happen when I didn't have a plan. And I sort of talked about this earlier in one of the previous segments, but I used to show up, and so when I first was learning about photography and I knew that I wanted to be a family photographer, I learned all about light, I got good with my camera, shooting a manual, got good with camera settings, knew that I needed to show up at golden hour, this is when I used to really care about what they wore, and I had them dressed perfect. And they would show up, and we'd be at this great location, and we would start walking to our spot, and they would be like, "Okay, now what?" And I'd be like, "I don't really know. "What are we gonna do?" I mean, I didn't say that to them, but I'd be like, well, why don't we just start over here, and then maybe we should go this way, and oh, maybe we should sit down, maybe we should stand up. Well that didn't work, let's do this. It was a mess. And what was happening was I would leave feeling completely deflated. I'd be like, "What am I doing? "This is absolute chaos, this is not fun. "I am a professional child-chaser right now." Not what I want to be doing. Not what I want to be doing when I'm not chasing my own children, right? So it was very much discouraging. When I realized and when I learned that what the problem was that I didn't have a plan, that I didn't have the skills necessary to pose, guide, and direct, and that was what was lacking. So I had all that technical stuff all like we've been talking about, you know, that we tend to focus on, that was all falling into place. I didn't have these people skills, I didn't have this ability to get the family to interact, and I didn't have a plan. So once I started doing this very predictable routine, things got a lot easier for me. And now, I mean, my sessions just sort of unfold naturally and easily, very predictable, almost always the same. So, what I would like to say is that I don't usually shoot indoors like this. So just full disclosure, this is a totally different environment. But what I hope you will see is that it doesn't really matter. That's the backdrop that I prefer, this is a beautiful backdrop, too. What we're focusing on is that posing and that guiding and that direction, and this workflow, and the connection that we're gonna create between the subjects, okay? So, but just keep in mind that usually I'm using environmental elements like mountains and trees. And I just like to do that. So, just thought I would point that out. Okay, you ready to welcome our models? Yeah, (audience applause) come on in. (audience applause) Aren't they amazing? Look at these people. Okay, you can stop, thank you. You guys want to introduce yourselves? Please, I know you're nervous, but-- Hi, I'm Marcy Nolen. (mumbled question) I'm Ally. Hi Ally. My name's Anna, nice to meet you guys. I'm Trevor. Alright, so what I would normally do is exactly what I just did, but I have already hugged them. I would say hello, I would hug them, I would say high five to Trevor, I'm like, "Alright, this is gonna be super easy." Me and the girls already talked, right? We're gonna just, we're gonna listen a little bit, and then we can move and play, and then we're gonna listen a little bit more. Okay? Okay. Okay. And then Momma looks amazing. I would tell her that, anyway, but I mean, look how gorgeous she looks, so she's just perfect. So, I'm tethered. I'll try not to trip and hurt myself here. Alright, so I do like to start, and I'm going to move into this like this. I start with my camera in the bag. So like what I just was talking about. And of course, I met them outside. This is, you know, we're kind of trying to speed this along, but I want to make sure that each person knows that I care about them. That each person knows that I'm genuinely here to connect with them, and so that I can, that they trust me. I mean this is, we're gonna be, you know, touching these people, I gotta make sure they can trust me. And that's just what that is. Okay, so I like to start every session with standing poses. And the reason I start with standing poses is because I feel like they are a lot less intimate than the sitting poses. It's allows the family to kind of break the ice, we're kinda, let them know what's happening. They're still cute but they're not as touchy feely, and it just kind of gives me some time to allow them to get comfortable. Normally, I would start with a longer lens. I'm not gonna change lenses while we're in here, I'm gonna stick with the 50. It's an in between lens, it's perfect for being inside here. Normally, I do start with a longer lens though.

Class Description

Stop making excuses for why you’re not calling yourself a photographer and get the tools needed to put yourself out there. Elena Blair is a lifestyle photographer with a six-figure business who started as your “mom with a camera.” With a knack for capturing authentic moments, posing for any age group, and running a business that continues to grow, Elena joins CreativeLive to give you a quick start into building your family photography business. In this jam-packed course you’ll learn:

  • What lifestyle photography is
  • Basics of gear and camera settings
  • Lighting and composition techniques
  • How to shoot with intention
  • Tips for finding your market and connecting with families
  • Posing techniques for a variety of families and age groups
  • Pricing your photo sessions
  • How to work with a 3rd party to help edit your imagery

If you have a love of photography and are tossing around the idea of turning your hobby into a business, this course will give you the confidence to take a chance, believe in yourself, and have the tools needed to be successful.


Sandra Kay Hayes

I am totally in tears watching this, and think that every person going into Photography should watch these. She is a great teacher, and helps us to understand our "why" so much better. I also LOVE that she helps one feel confident with the non-perfect, (or so called) shots, Thank you so much for giving me more confidence to shot what I love and not worry about "rules!!". Best class I've taken I will recommend her to every group I am in!!!

Julia Khris

Elena is a great presenter. Delivers information in a very fun and engaging way. This course would be good for a beginner photographer. She shares the basics, but unfortunately doesn't quite provide advice on the more tricky questions. She shares a lot about her current state of business (10 years in and making enough profit to afford hiring staff). This is great to know what to aim for, however, it would be more beneficial to hear more about HOW to get to this stage. The main idea that I took from this course is: outsource as many processes as you can. Elena doesn't have a very distinctive style (no offence, but there is a huge competition in the style and editing that she works with), I would love to hear her advice on how to win in such high competition, how to convince clients to choose you and pay higher price tag for an equal quality of work. This is a fairly inexpensive class, so I would recommend it to the beginners, but not to the more experienced photographers.

a Creativelive Student

There was so much that impressed me about Elena's approach to family photography. I have always had difficulty making my clients choose which images to purchase and which would be left behind because their budget didn't allow for more. Thank you for providing me with a different perspective. Elena's methods not only simplify and streamline the entire process but also increase the opportunity to exceed our clients' expectations. This was a fast moving, information rich, and inspiring class that I would highly recommend to anyone considering family photography. Thank you Elena and thank you Creative Live for making it possible for a photographer in NC to have access to such talent!