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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 29 of 31

Incorporating Pets Into Family Photos


Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 29 of 31

Incorporating Pets Into Family Photos


Lesson Info

Incorporating Pets Into Family Photos

Everybody knows pets are important. I'm a pet addict. I find that beds are the best places for pets. We kind of talked about this before. Sofas are fun for pets too. I've had Dad's try to do airplane with dogs. I don't recommend it. But there are some people that the dog was the first kid, especially with Dad's. There's a lot of family's, this is what I'm finding, they were dating before they got married, and the Dad had the dog. So the dog is like really Dad's dog. So during the sessions Dad's are always like, can I get a picture with my dog. And it's my dog too. But really it's always Dad's dog you know. So Dad's are trying to do crazy thing with dogs. But pets are important. Make sure you capture them. A lot of people want to have them in their kid's bed's. So the kitty cat we did earlier, that was her cat. So we went into her room because that's special to her. We're not just gonna put the cat in her parents bed with her, because that's not her bed. I wanted it to be special for he...

r okay. Yeah. I love this photo it's so clean and beautiful. And I know you talk about moving furniture a lot. And I'm curious do you ever move wall art off? Yeah Yeah? And they're okay with that? Yeah they are. This was not this bright. This is a lot of Lightroom stuff going on. It was dark that day. I think my ISO is probably at 6400. I mean it was pretty high. And then the sun came out as I was leaving, 'cause why wouldn't it. But I kind of blurred some of this in the background because actually the wall was kind of yellow and it was matching the dog too much. So I decided to kind of do a painterly type of effect in Photoshop. I just thought it looked smoother. This is, you know we talked about getting those portfolio type shots in the home. This is one of them, making something beautiful. You know what I mean. And I only do that for a handful of photos that I think can handle it. Especially with lifestyle shoots 'cause it's not really a portraity shoot, but when you're a portrait photographer too, you love this too. So I like to try and do that when I can. And that dog's name, what was the dog's name? Poundcake Poundcake, the dog's name's Poundcake. I mean seriously. Miss Fota what were the edits that you did. I used clean start one on this one That's it? That's it. So it's increasing the exposure, increasing the contrast. I probably brightened the shadows a little bit because we did have some significant shadows and masked some of that off, and then I added some matte finish. But you didn't use a brush or anything? No Oh No Photoshop I did, you mean for the background effect? Yeah, so for Photoshop what I do is I color sample and then I paint that on. Yeah for that. There's Poundcake again because who doesn't want Poundcake right? Sometimes the dog just needs to be the main focus, okay? Look at his teeth, right? That's what I wanted to capture was his teeth. I'm like those poor people who have dental bills. There's another one, same thing. Right, dog is the main focus. Why do you think we went on this bed? Why do you think I chose this room for this shot? The blue wall, right? I found something compositionally awesome, right. Took the family in there. It wasn't the biggest bed, right? Made it work, I was obsessed with that blue wall. I have a few clients with blue walls actually. Yeah it's fun, made for a fun shot, okay. Another dog shot, okay. Backlighting, don't forget about your composition though okay. With composition with this if I would have stepped too far this way, or too far this way, or tilted my camera. That would have been a nightmare with those windowpanes. It would have been crooked. So when you have lines like this you have to really make sure everything is eye level. As lax as I am about everything, I am not lax about stuff like that. That will drive me crazy. Those lines, oh gosh, that would drive me nuts. So you have to be straight on. It drives myself crazy when I get back and I'm editing, and I'm like how was my head so crooked. I don't know why I did that. You know we all do it, we get excited and it's life. Okay, another dog one, another perspective from up above. This shot took about 40 minutes to get but I was on a mission. So we were pretty much done and I'm like we're getting this dog shot. Because these dogs were there before the baby and mom really wanted a picture with the baby and the dogs. And I feel like it turned into the best shot. We got the dogs to lie there and we had a bone. And I'm like here's the bone, oh wait here's the baby. It sounds terrible but they loved the baby. So we put the baby there and then they were looking at the baby, licking the baby. But this was my favorite one and the baby was fascinated. It's the same baby as this one. They are fascinated with this baby. So it's fun to see that and to remember that, even with newborns. And we're always spotting them of course. And you know not all dogs can do that. It's not safe to leave them with all dogs clearly. That's up to the parent. These are the most gentle creatures and mom's right there. Could you just clarify for ego what's the difference in batch editing versus syncing on a photo to all other photos in Lightroom or is that the same thing. Same thing, batch editing is Photoshop and syncing is Lightroom. When you batch, it's kind of a broad term, you edit a batch of photos at the same time. And when I do that, I just want you guys to know, I'll do that for say 20 pictures. Not really any more than that just because after that, then I go through each one, and kind of adjust individually if I need to adjust any sliders, crop anything. Takes two seconds though. You know and I go through that, okay 20 done. Get rid of those and I do the next 20. Great Okay A question from a person who says I'd be so worried that the family would feel weird about me standing on top of their bed to shoot from above. Do you ask them to do it? Do you just do it? Is this part of your pre-consultations? We always ask, always ask. Yeah and you guys didn't see that in the video, but I said, I'm like, hey is okay if I get up on your bed? Is it okay if I'm standing over you? 'Cause that could get creepy. So yeah, 100% ask and we always do. And I do that before each setup too. You know, like I always take my shoes off when I get there. And I'm like oh this is the couch we were gonna move. Is it still okay if we move it? You have to be professional. And in that bed scenario, someone had asked do all the people you shoot have white bedcovers. Do you bring a different cover? So I ask people? People email me all the time and say hey, so I really want to do something in my bedroom, but I don't like my comforter. But I love everybody else's that I see in your pictures. I'm like do you have a white sheet? Or people will go buy it if they want that look. That's something that we discuss at pre-session consultations. Right. It's up to them. I do a lot of dark ones too. I just have an affinity towards bright.

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!