Skip to main content

Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 1 of 31

Class Introduction


Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 1 of 31

Class Introduction


Lesson Info

Class Introduction

We are gonna start with why lifestyle photography. Why, as a photographer, are you gonna want to shoot a lifestyle session? Why, as a client, would you want a lifestyle session? We will go over everything about why you're gonna want to shoot lifestyle photography. We're gonna talk about all the memories that you can talk about with all of this lifestyle stuff. We're gonna go into pricing. How do you price for lifestyle sessions? What do clients prefer to purchase during lifestyle sessions? How to kind of come up with the best pricing structure that's gonna work for you. We're gonna talk about lighting, composition, how to get everybody to connect in photographs naturally. We want to see all those smiley, happy moments happen. But things do come up, and we will talk about why and how to get around those moments. The biggest thing that I want you guys to know is we are gonna go over a whole family session, and you're gonna see how I engage my clients. And that is gonna be later on, when ...

we go about capturing images beautifully and naturally during a full lifestyle session. We also are gonna talk about editing. I know a lot of you want to know how we edit these photos. I do batch edit. We will be going over Lightroom and Photoshop. We will go over my full culling process. We are gonna go over how to book your clients, how to send out all of the questionnaires that you need for your client. We're gonna go over that here pretty shortly. And we're gonna actually do a full mock booking online, and so we'll show you guys how I do the full booking, what I send out to each of my clients in an email, as well as we'll show you the pricing again for that. We'll also go over what the questionnaire is, which is included in the bonus materials in this class. Yeah, so we have a lot to go over in a short period of time. Today in the studio, make sure stay because we're gonna have a darling family coming in with three little kids, and we're gonna do a live shoot on a bed. So you'll see how we kind of engage with the littles. And they're little, so we're gonna have some hiccups today I'm sure. So we'll show you how we work around all those things. We're doing a pillow fight. We're gonna get the bubbles out. We're gonna get crazy with Dad. We're doing snuggle pictures with Mom. So pretty much everything I know, we're gonna talk about in this workshop. It's very packed full of information. So the biggest thing that I want all of you to walk away with today is feeling confident with booking a family lifestyle session. I don't know about you guys, but when I first got into this I was kind of thinking, "How in the world can I capture all of these natural moments that parents are gonna love and want to put on their walls? Right? Because lifestyle photography is kind of tricky. It's kind of in-between moments. It's not that standard gorgeous portrait, you know 70 to 200 millimeter lens shot that you can get, right? So we need to figure out a way in order to shoot a full lifestyle session and have parents want to purchase all of these things to put on their walls, to put into albums. So throughout this workshop you're gonna figure out how to book a client, prepare the client, shoot the client, and sell at the end of the session so you'll have a full awesome lifestyle photography session and feel confident going into it. Okay, so let's talk a little bit about how I got started into this crazy genre of lifestyle photography. This is my son, Tyler, as I know a lot of you have seen. He's the reason that I got into photography to begin with. And this is my dog, Belle. Many of you saw that I lost my camera. She's the one that knocked it off the table. So this shot was about six years ago. Tyler was about, I think, about 14 months at this age. I was not a photographer yet. My dad had purchased for me, after Tyler was born, a Costco kit camera, my Nikon D5200, I believe, right at the time, with the kit lenses. I was practicing, and it was just so much fun, and all of a sudden I saw Tyler out of the corner of my eye going to snuggle Belle. Belle is the dog. And I looked over, and as you can see, the tongue is happening right? So they stuck their tongues at each other, and at that moment I loved this so much. This was a moment that the dog loved Tyler. Tyler loved Belle, and I captured it. I just happened to be there to capture it. So this image is what kind of got me excited about capturing my family, and capturing my family in a way that was authentic. When you have an authentic photo, a lot of people kind of think about authenticity in photos and not beauty. You can have authenticity and beauty if you set the tone correctly. And we're gonna go over that a lot, how to set the tone, how to set your children or your clients in the right light, put them in the right attire. You set the scene. You set the mood, and then you can capture true authentic moments and still have them be beautiful. So that's the image that kind of got me going on photography. So all about lifestyle. So when I first started my photography journey, and I'm gonna kind of just touch on this a little bit so you guys know where I'm coming from. I started taking pictures with Tyler obviously, like many of us do. We're kind of moms with cameras, and I love that term. I know a lot of people don't like that term. I think it's great. We're moms. We have cameras. Our kids are cute. And then some of us become photographers, and some of us just become hobbyists, and that's great. If you're a mom, and you're taking pictures of your children, this class is going to help you too because it's gonna help you set up situations and learn about lighting. We're gonna go a lot into lighting later on in the bulk of the session, and how to capture all of those things that you see your children do, or you see your husband do with your children. Or, if you're a man out there, we have a man in the audience today, which I love. You'll learn how to capture those snuggle moments with mom, right? There are so many times that I'm with my kids, say in the kitchen, and we're baking cookies. Well, I won't be baking cookies, but hypothetically ... (laughing) Kenny's in the back here. He's my husband. He can attest to that. But there's little moments that you're like, "oh my gosh, I wish somebody was there taking my picture of this because this happens all the time, and I don't have a picture of it, right?" Think about when you look back at pictures, say, with your grandparents or when you were four, and it was Christmas. And you step back, and you look at the scene what do you see? You see Rainbow Brite, and you remember, "Oh my gosh, Rainbow Brite was in in 1984, and I'm so glad that we got that on camera." And guess what? Rainbow Brite and my sister and I were so close to the window, strategically, that we will learn to place so that you will have a beautiful photo of the children and Rainbow Brite. That's what we're gonna kind of learn. But you look at those things, and you're so happy that you captured them. So with your clients, we will go into this in a little bit, but talking about what is important to your clients at that time of their life. So that's kind of what lifestyle photography is to me. I went away from Tyler, from this type of photo, for a while because I thought it was not what my clients wanted. And, I think that in this time of budding photographers, I think we feel that every client wants a beautiful portrait. Am I right? And that's not always the case. A lot of photographers will find themselves having a difficult time building a large client base, sustaining a large client base, and growing as a photographer. You know, how may portraits can you have of your child? You'll put one beautiful one. A lot of people who live in the South will do those gorgeous outfits and have it oil painted on top of it. My dear friend, Erin Lato, she's now painting these gorgeous oil paintings on top of images, and those are gorgeous. But to have repeat clients, to build that base, it's really important to shoot the family as the family. Does that make sense? So to do that, and then still keep things beautiful is what we're gonna talk about. So I started with this. I went on to portraits, and I found myself ... The parents loved the pictures, and they, I become friends with all my clients. You know they're like, "Oh, they were so beautiful," and they would book a shoot two years later. Once I kind of went back to engaging with my clients, really working on connection, incorporating things that were important to them, I found that my clients were booking two sessions a year. We would do an in-home lifestyle session, and then we would do a playful, fun session, say, at the beach, when I lived in Chicago. We just moved to St. Louis just few years ago. And we would incorporate everything that that client loved to do and incorporate it in different locations. So, that's how I got my client base to really stick with me and grow. So you can really differentiate, you don't have to think about lifestyle just in homes. If you look at my work, you'll see everything is based around connection, composition, and lighting, and that's what we're gonna be talking about. You can take those three elements and really build a fabulous client base. And you just have to have fun while doing it. So that's kind of that.

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!