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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 4 of 31

How to Market to Your Ideal Client


Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 4 of 31

How to Market to Your Ideal Client


Lesson Info

How to Market to Your Ideal Client

Now, marketing, fill up your portfolio. Talk to your clients and go to social media. Now, don't just shoot, this is my recommendation. Find a family that has one child. When you have a family with just one child, it is so much harder to get interaction because siblings naturally play together, so that's a really good time for you guys to practice, with one child in a family, especially a child that's like, you know, 10 months old, because you're gonna be relying on getting interaction between the parents. So you're gonna have to think, okay, so here's this first client that I want to add to my portfolio. They are mom, dad, baby. What can I do as a photographer to get some interaction at this age? Okay, so let's think about, as a 10-month old child, what does a 10-month old do? Look cute, crawl maybe, sit, right? That's about it, laugh, giggle, snuggle mom, right? Here's the connection piece. Dad likes to throw babies up and give 'em kisses. That's a connection piece. If they have a pet...

you can get some connection with the baby that way. You can get some connection, you know, with varying your perspective and composition, which we're gonna go over. So try to do a family like that. Another family then, so that's one piece of your portfolio. You've got the baby, you have baby and mom, you have baby and dad, three pictures already, right? So let's do another family. Let's get a family with two kids, okay? Let's do girl and girl, okay? So the two little girls can play dolls together. They can tickle each other, they can snuggle and hug. So now we have sibling pictures with two girls. That's another family, okay? We can get two girls on dad. Dad can grab each kid and run towards you. That's one of my favorite shots. The dad can be on the ground and playing with both kids. So think about how many images we just got for your portfolio with that one family. So now we have baby family, sister-sister family, so let's go to another one. Do you guys see where I'm going with this? This is how you build your portfolio, okay? You are very, very specific on your model calls, okay? It's not like, "Oh, your house is cute, your kids are cute. You guys are cute, let's shoot you." No, it doesn't work that way, okay? Everything is very, very specific. Everything I do, even though I say I'm very, you know, elevated all the time, I'm very particular about things. I'm very particular about things, very particular about which images I show. Every image I show needs to have some sort of meaning to the viewer, right? It can still be beautiful. Don't think that you can't have a beautiful, meaningful photo and lose the beauty. You can still keep beauty. And that's our job, right? But while you're practicing, right now you just need to get all those different families in, and then all of a sudden, say you do five families, then you have 50 pictures, right, already, for your portfolio, and it looks like you've been shooting forever, right? Okay, does that make sense? Do you have a question? Yeah, in terms of that portfolio building for folks who are new, what are some other ways or some ways that you can get more and more people to build your portfolio? Are there specific ways to get those portfolio building clients? So the biggest thing that I've done obviously is friends of my children or friends of you know, myself. You can, you know, do your church groups or you can do your kid's school. You can offer you know, "If you will help me advertise I'll give you a free session," type of thing. So you know, that's a really good way to do it, on social media, but I think the biggest thing is just you have to really reach out to people that you know, because they trust you. They're gonna let you in their home. Everything is gonna be more comfortable. But you know, you can change your outlets of where you're getting people from. But I think the key is just, at the beginning, getting people that you really know for portfolio building reasons. It's happened to me before where I have done a model call on Facebook, and every single time I do a model call for something they want free pictures now, so they kind of expect that they're gonna get chosen all the time because, and that's difficult. You have to be careful with that, 'cause you don't want to kinda get into a situation where you're doing everything for free. You still need to make a living, obviously. And when you are portfolio building, make sure you tell yourself that. "Okay, I'm only gonna do X number of sessions for portfolio building, everybody's gonna know that this is my portfolio building year. I'm not gonna charge and once I'm ready," then you can start charging and then you charge what your market can handle and where you're at in your photography level, you know? Not every market's the same. I am very, I think I'm different in my pricing views than some other photographers. I'm very, you know, everybody says it doesn't matter what market you're in, but I think it does. I mean, people charge things differently in Chicago than they do in the middle of Texas, you know? In my opinion, at least, and this is all just my opinion. You know, I know there's very, pricing's kind of touchy, 'cause there's a lot of mindsets, you know, a lot of thoughts, but-- Emily, when you were talking about lenses, what makes you pick up a 35 versus a 24 or vice-- How far I have in the room to back up. So later in the show I'll probably be shooting with both, and I will show you guys the difference. There's not that much of a difference in focal length between the 24 and 35, but often it's enough to kind of cram myself back in the corner and capture more of the scene. The 35 brings me a little bit closer, even though the 35 really isn't close. There are times where I'll throw on the 50, depending on the size of the home and how comfortable the kids are with me. We'll go a little bit into wide-angle lenses. I love the 24 because, and Nikon just came out with a 1.8. It's half the price as the 1.4, which is nice, and you don't need 1.4 really, for what we're getting at for lifestyle types of sessions. We don't need everything blurred out that much. I like the 24 because the edges aren't as distorted, so if you, as a newer photographer, were to pick a lens, I would pick the 35 millimeter or the 24. That's just my recommendation, one or the other. That's just, you know, how much room you want, how much you want in the scene. And a question about when you are in the home and in terms of lens choice as well, what do you do when it's super dark in the client's home, or you don't really have good window light? How do you sort of mentally prepare for that when you're going in there? We are gonna touch, we have a whole section on lighting. So we are gonna tackle all of that, but just to kind of give you a little bit of an answer, if it's a super, super cloudy, dark, dark, dark day, even the homes that have tons of windows will be dark. So we reschedule those days, 'cause that's silly, you know? There's no reason to, you know, you try to reschedule on those really dark days. If you have a home that doesn't have a lot of light, this is where it's really important for you to, if you're gonna do this for a living, to invest in a camera that can handle those high iSO capabilities, and we'll get more into that, but unfortunately, unless you're carrying around lighting equipment, which does not work well with real life moving here and there, it's like, "Let's wait while I set up my light." It doesn't work, so you just have to invest in a camera that can handle that higher iSO. If you're already an established photographer, would you still not charge for portfolio building, or would you charge a different price? So that part's trickier. So when I do that, I don't verbally announce that I'm looking for model calls, right? So they don't know that they were free, right? Now they all know, but so they don't know that they were free, so I have some families that are just so much fun, and they're so, you know, I know that they're gonna cooperate, and I have these ideas and I don't, you know, sometimes you don't want to try new things all the time with a paying client, 'cause Heaven forbid something goes wrong, you know? Like, I'm real too, like stuff goes wrong. You know, I get rid of a lot of images that I take. So you just don't tell. Just kind of call and be like, "Hey, can I borrow you? I have an idea," you know, yeah. So do you guys ever use a flash, or are you just looking for natural light? No, I have one. I used it once at a wedding, and yeah, that was it. And I think the battery's corroded in the flash, actually. I've got the 900. Yeah, I don't ever need it. I just, you can, you know? There's nothing wrong with using a flash. My camera just supports a really high iSO, so I can get what I want, and you can always get light in people's homes. People think that you can't, but say there's one amazing window and it's in the family room and there's a couch in front of it. What are you gonna do? Move the couch, right? And this is all why it's so important to talk with your clients ahead of time, which we're gonna go into. We have so much meat of information coming up, but we'll talk about that. What do you consider a high iSO? It depends on the camera. I mean, so high iSO for me, I like to be able to take it up to like 20,000. Not all cameras can do that, and not all cameras can do that well. When I had my D700, which I love that camera. I will never get rid of that camera. The color on the camera is amazing. You can't buy 'em anymore. That camera can go up, I don't know, depending on who you ask, about like 3, before you start getting grain, and there's nothing wrong with grain. And when you're first portfolio building, you're gonna have some grain in your photos if you don't have the camera to support a high iSO, and that's fine. You know, there's Noiseware you can use to tackle some of that. You can get, you know, if you don't have the financial resources right away to invest in a bigger camera, the first thing that you should invest in is a prime lens that can open really, really wide. 'Cause that's gonna give you that same, not the same, but say you have a 35 1.4, you're gonna get a lot more light in with that than you would with you know, a zoom lens. So that's kind of a way to kinda go around that, 'cause I didn't start off with all of this gear at all. And that picture of Tyler, and all those pictures in the dark, they were dark and they were grainy, and that's when I became obsessed with film because I loved the grain. I'm like, "This is crazy. I just need to start shooting film." So I did, because I love that look, you know? And that's fine, there's nothing wrong with 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!