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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 16 of 31

Activity Tips for In-Home Shoots


Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 16 of 31

Activity Tips for In-Home Shoots


Lesson Info

Activity Tips for In-Home Shoots

Activities, here's some activity ideas. Okay, we've got breakfast, lunchtime, bubbles, coloring, pillow fights. You know you can think of anything. Baking cookies with your Mom, coffee in bed. These are all in the family prep guide, I think the editable one. Airplane, tickle fights, you can make lemonade. You know we had a family where we made lemonade. The girls were nine and 12. What does a nine and 12 year old girl do? Talk on the phone probably, right? So, we made lemonade and it was the cutest thing cause they were like squirting lemon and it was so great. Think of activities that you can do with these kids that are older. Chalk outside, you know, take your kids outside. You know, bubble gum contests. Go back to that sibling rivalry again. Who can blow the biggest bubbles, right? So think about things they can do rivalries together. Okay, paint, dollhouse, we could go on and on and on, okay? Okay, so we want your clients to make a list, okay. This is actually a workshop I taught i...

n Chicago but have clients make a list. What do they love about their child that makes them unique and different? This family that we are about to see, she called me and said "He just lost his teeth!" and I'm like that makes him unique and different and I love that about him. I love that, that's going to date him and show that he's in first, you know how first grade, six year olds lose their teeth, I love that. If they have freckles and their parents are obsessed with their freckles right now, grab the freckles. What makes, for me personally, if a photographer would ask me, "What is special right now about your family?". It would be Benny with Zachary so he came to our family photo shoot a few weeks ago. We love to capture Benny. Tyler has crooked teeth and crazy hair, make sure that gets captured and they absolutely are the best friends on the planet so if a family told me that their siblings are best friends, I would make sure that we did so many images of them together, showing that connection, okay. So we need to make sure that all families are different. You know, you may have a family say they cannot stand each other, they don't know how they are going to do this, but good luck and that happens a lot. Okay, so that's when you do the war of who can do the biggest bubble, right? Cause they're competing against each other but they're in the same frame. So we kind of tricked them there by competing against each other. Okay, so you have to really get to know your families before you pick these activities. Everything is very purposeful. It might look a little crazy but there's a reason we did it, okay. Like what do they love about their spouse that makes them special? Okay, like and a lot of people will be like, "He's not excited to do pictures" but you know what, maybe he really, really snuggles his daughter. Maybe his daughter absolutely loves him and that's what makes him special with the kids, is his daughter is attached to him. Make sure you capture that, okay? These little things that we think aren't things that are atypical, you know, we need to use those things, okay. Don't just assume that those things are going to happen. Okay. What do your families like to do together? We got them jumping on the bed cause this is adorable. We did a pj shoot and we had them all jump on their bed, okay, with bubbles cause why not? Be flexible because nothing will go how you plan it. It won't, things will go, the kids will be crabby, they'll have to leave, it'll rain that day, something will happen so you need to be flexible, okay and let parents know it's going to happen and their gonna need to be flexible. Just say, "Don't worry. I have everything under control. When I come in, if something goes wrong, I have other things planned." And things will be great as long as you guys have a long list of activities, I'd say about three activities is enough, you can always move to something else. If you want to have more activities go for it, might be a long time but you know, you just have enough stuff planned, okay. With the little older siblings, have realistic expectations for them, okay. Be okay if they don't give you that epic shot. A lot of the older kids, like nine, 10 aren't, unless they're a girl, don't really want to be in front of the camera so have realistic expectations going in and set those expectations with Mom cause a lot of times we'll get families that are, say two years old with a six year old and a 10 year old and you know a far range in ages and they're so worried about their 2 year old and you just say, "Mom, she's not going to act like the seven, you know the six and the 10 year old. She's going to act like a two year old and we're going to capture her being a two year old and that's okay." Okay, it doesn't need to be the epic, everybody's looking at the camera you know shot cause that's not what lifestyle is, right. So the two year old, if the two year old is having a hard time, throw the two year old up on the shoulders. Do something to engage that child to keep them active but around the family, okay? So realistic expectations I think can make you shoot more efficiently. You feel better shooting cause the families know that they're not going to get, you know, everything is not going to be a perfect situation, okay. Okay, why we need flexibility. Raining and dark out, kids aren't having it, Dad's not having it, kids are crazy and we need to move outside so don't be scared to move outside, okay. Move outside. Clearly there is a reason you moved outside for this family. This was a backyard. So this was a shot I taught in Salt Lake, move outside so everybody is scared to shoot in full sun so this example withe they're doing airplane, right. They're older kids. I wanted to compose something cool with the mountains. The problem was the harsh sun was happening so how do you counter harsh sun when it's coming down on top of your head? You go vertical so there's no shadow coming this way, no shadows coming that way so we were able to get a lot of even light that way in this big open, you know, sunlight area. So if you can get really good about positioning your subject for the sun outside, that's important. Just move your subjects accordingly, okay. Okay, so the goals of your sessions. Well, make sure you know what memories your client does not want to forget, okay, and make that the forefront of your shoot. If there are certain things that they absolutely have to have, get those done right away if you can so that way the rest of the session you can kind of play. Some people really want pictures of their two year old's chubby feet, of their stuffed animal, somebody has long eyelashes, a favorite pet, showing a kid how to put their shoes on, those sorts of things that they want documented. Make sure you mentally note that. Okay and if you have to write it down, write it down. Check your clients questionnaire again. Where do they want photos? You're going to shoot differently if they want a big, huge, album with every single detail of their child. Somebody else might say, "I'm going to get the digitals probably but I also want a handful of pictures for the wall." Well then you're going to want to make sure you get those portraity shots, those close up shots, right, that aren't so pulled back cause those are the ones they're probably going to end up printing. So make sure you know what your clients end goals are with this session, okay. Just make sure you are shooting for them essentially.

Class Description

  • Capture authentic lifestyle family images
  • Plan for a successful lifestyle session
  • Create genuine interactions even with the littlest family members -- and pets
  • Edit for beautiful skin tones and stunning portraits
  • Build a successful lifestyle photography business


If you're looking for a portrait photography class to master studio lighting and perfect posing -- this isn't the class for you. Ditch the stiff, boring portraits and create genuine smiles and real family moments in Lifestyle Family Photography with Emily Lucarz. Learn how to create memorable images of real family moments.

From planning the shoot to post-processing in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, dive into the world of lifestyle photography. Learn how to tour a home while looking for light sources, then use window light for bright, beautiful images. Gain techniques to create genuine smiles from kids. Determine the gear you need, from great portrait lenses to cameras.

Whether you simply want to take better photos of your own kids or you want to build a career in lifestyle photography, this class provides the foundation. Learn lifestyle portrait photography alongside one of the Midwest's most in-demand family photographers, the engaging and fun Emily Lucarz.

For photographers turning a passion for family photography into a business, gain valuable insight into creating portrait packages, setting prices, and displaying your work. Learn how to build your portfolio and how to manage a photography business.

  • Budding photographers ready to turn a passion into a profession
  • Parents that want to capture better images of the everyday moments
  • Professional photographers ready to do more with lifestyle images


Like many family photographers, Emily got started after her first son was born. Now nearly a decade later, Emily is one of the top family photographers in the Midwest -- booking often nearly a year in advance. She's known for the way she works with young kids and families to create genuine interactions, along with capturing fun perspectives. Emily's charisma and easy-going teaching style has allowed her to lead workshops across the U.S. Learn from Emily right where you're at in one of CreativeLive's top-rated lifestyle classes.


  1. Class Introduction

    Learn what to expect in this class in this quick intro lesson. Get to know your instructor and dig into why authenticity -- and lifestyle portrait photography -- matters.

  2. What is Lifestyle Family Photography?

    An easier way to think of lifestyle photography is life-inspired photography, Emily says. Dig into what lifestyle family photography is, why it matters to the client, and why the genre is beneficial to you, as the photographer.

  3. How to Get Started in Lifestyle Photography

    Photography's which-came-first-the-chicken-or-egg question is this: How do I get started if I don't have any images in my portfolio? Emily walks through the essentials to getting started in this must-watch lesson for beginners. Learn when it's okay to use photos of your own kids, the best ways to practice, and why you don't need a Pinterest-worthy home to create great lifestyle images.

  4. How to Market to Your Ideal Client

    How can you market your work? In this lesson, Emily goes through different marketing options, starting with your portfolio. But, don't just market to anyone, learn how to market to your ideal client. Dive into putting out model calls to build your portfolio, and creating the type of work to attract the ideal client.

  5. How to Book Your First Client

    Happy clients start with realistic expectations. Emily walks through how to set those expectations from the start -- the booking process. Walk through what Emily tells her clients at the booking process. Then, go through the process, from that first client email to add-on sessions.

  6. Pricing for Lifestyle Photography Sessions

    Tackle the dreaded price list. Learn what works and what doesn't without making those mistakes yourself by following Emily's pricing guide. Find out where to set your prices, and when to raise your prices.

  7. Steps to Book a Client Using Iris Works

    Managing lots of clients takes time and organization -- learn how to use studio management software Iris Works to help manage the workload. Walk through the process of using the software to book new clients and keep track of new leads.

  8. The Client Questionnaire

    Every family is different. The client questionnaire helps you walk into that family's home prepared to work with that particular family. From learning what that family likes to determining the best time to schedule the session, dive into the essential client questionnaire.

  9. Why Use a Family Guide?

    Spend less time warding off frequently asked questions and more time ensuring the session starts off on the right foot by using a family guide. Learn why the guide is essential and what to include. A sample guide is also included in the class' bonus materials.

  10. Live Shoot: Family In-Studio

    In the first live photo shoot, go behind-the-scenes for environmental portraits in the studio with a family, using soft light from a window. From working with young kids to creating genuine interaction between siblings, gain valuable insight into the process of capturing authentic lifestyle portrait photography.

  11. Live Shoot: Introduce Fun Activity

    Introducing a fun activity creates authentic smiles and interactions. In this live shoot, watch Emily create a feather-filled pillow fight in the studio. Learn how to plan ahead for a fun activity -- and how to get a sharp focus when there are feathers flying in the air.

  12. Image Culling Process in Bridge

    Go from shoot to cull in this lesson using Adobe Bridge. After the live session, sort through all the photos and pick the keepers. Learn what to look for when choosing which photos to edit -- and the easiest way to sort through all those images.

  13. Gear Recommendations for Shoots

    Dive into camera settings for lifestyle portrait photography in this lesson, including ISO and shutter speed, along with using a wide aperture to create a shallow depth of field. Then, jump into camera gear, including cameras and lenses. Learn why a fast, wide-angle lens is often great for lifestyle portraits and what focal lengths for prime lenses are best.

  14. Tips to Create Authentic Shooting Sessions

    Jump into lifestyle portrait photography tips to create authentic images. From letting go of perfection to arriving early, pick up on essential tips to create a fun session with great images.

  15. Plan an In-Home Shooting Session

    Going into an unknown location -- someone's home -- and getting great shots requires planning. Walk through the process of planning a lifestyle portrait session and learn what to plan ahead of time. From deciding what rooms to shoot in, to talking to clients about clutter, learn the essentials to planning for a successful session.

  16. Activity Tips for In-Home Shoots

    Planning a family activity helps create that genuine interaction. Generate some ideas for in-home activities, then learn how to tailor those activities to that particular family instead of creating a cookie-cutter formula.

  17. Develop Your In-Home Session Flow

    What happens when during a lifestyle portrait photography session? Learn how to get started with your session and how to keep the session moving. Read through Emily's shot list to build your own.

  18. Live Shoot: Find In-Home Natural Light

    Evaluate a home for the first time by walking through the home with Emily as she plans where to shoot in the session, eliminating the locations with harsh light. Learn how to work with natural light instead of artificial portrait lighting by considering what direction the windows are facing -- and turning off all the lights.

  19. Live Shoot: Engaging Children in Fun Activities

    Watch a live shoot as Emily interacts with the youngest clients. Learn how to keep the shoot moving by introducing several short activities that create genuine smiles and interactions between siblings.

  20. Live Shoot: Introduce In-Home Activities to Shoot

    After introducing fun activities with the just the kids, create interactions among the entire family with this live shoot. Follow Emily as she works with the family in the master bedroom for some snuggly family portraits, from lens choice to composition. Learn how to work with the family together -- including the dog -- as well as how to create one-on-one images.

  21. Live Shoot: Implement In-Home Shooting Flow

    Flow keeps the session moving and the family from getting bored -- which is especially important with any families with young kids. Go through the essential shot list and then dig into the last live shoot, working with the family in the living room. Then, examine the images from the live shoot, from colorful compositions to emotional black and white, to see the results.

  22. Tips for Engaging Clients

    Engagement is key in lifestyle portrait photography. Gain valuable tips for creating that engagement, beyond the live shoots. From the details to look for ways to build that engagement, this lesson contains valuable lifestyle portrait photography tips.

  23. Photoshop: Edit Live Shoot Images

    Getting the shot is far from the last step. Learn lifestyle portrait post-processing using Adobe Photoshop. From perfecting skin tones to eliminating color casts, watch essential editing techniques for polishing lifestyle images while maintaining that natural look.

  24. Lightroom: Edit Live Shoot Images

    Moving that post-processing into Adobe Lightroom, many of the ideas are the same -- but where all those tools are located may be a bit different. Learn basic Lightroom edits using curves, HSL and more.

  25. The Importance of Photo Composition

    Composition keeps the viewer's eye on the subject -- and it's essential when working with an in-home session to eliminate distractions. Build compositional techniques like negative space, leading lines, texture, and juxtaposition into your lifestyle portrait photography.

  26. Get Clients to Connect Naturally In Photos

    Lifestyle photography prioritizes natural connection over getting every detail perfect. Explore techniques for creating a natural connection in the images, from connecting with kids to developing a relationship with the parents.

  27. Example: Successful Family Shoot

    Go beyond the live shoots and walk through the results of this real-life session. From preparation to the results, take a look a full lifestyle family portrait session and everything that went into making those images.

  28. Example: Perspective in Shoots

    Perspective carries power in portraits. Learn how perspective changes an image -- and how to quickly decide during the shoot what perspective to use. From capturing that close-up to shooting from a tall angle, dig into how perspective plays a role in lifestyle portraits.

  29. Incorporating Pets Into Family Photos

    The four-legged family members were often the families first "kids" -- and are important to the session. Gain valuable insight into working with different types of pets in a lifestyle family session.

  30. Sales Techniques That Work

    With the session finished, how do you maximize the income potential by selling prints? Find valuable insight into easy, actionable sales tips for lifestyle portrait photographers.

  31. Sellable Products and Packages

    Build a pricing list for lifestyle portrait packages. Learn why your middle package is often the best seller and how to build the best packages for your business.



Emily reignited my passion for lifestyle photography and gave me the tools that I needed to give my business a creative and profitable boost. Seeing how effortlessly she interacted with families and the efficiency of her workflow was inspiring. I'm excited to shake things up and make some positive changes in my business that I know will lead to success. Thank you Emily and thank you Creativelive for this fun and informative class!


Watching Emily on CL - I rarely comment, but wanted to pop in and say what a great class it is! Full of helpful information and good content. One of the first classes that moves at a perfect pace, keeping things interesting & engaging. I tend to lose interest quickly when classes drag, but she really does such a fantastic job, which is refreshing. Makes watching the class really enjoyable! Thank you!


I was just hoping on here to post how much I loved this class. I used to be a portrait photographer, veered away for a bit to focus on more conceptual art photography but i still am interested in lifestyle photography. Emily is very inspiring, her bubbly personality was a joy to watch how she interacts with families especially the kids. Her work is phenomenal! (in response to one of the bad reviews, about her cutting off children shooting on a live workshop while tethered and teaching can easily explain this away as you can tell from her portfolio that she always has compositionly beautiful images) This class has renewed and inspired my love of lifestyle and i have been shooting so much since the class! Definitely used her tips and tricks to improve my pictures! highly recommend this class!