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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 19 of 31

Live Shoot: Engaging Children in Fun Activities


Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 19 of 31

Live Shoot: Engaging Children in Fun Activities


Lesson Info

Live Shoot: Engaging Children in Fun Activities

(mumbles) has a question that had come in earlier from Rochelle, which reads, just how much of moving furniture do you do? Can you some other examples, I mean you showed us in this one. But maybe some other examples of when you have had to move furniture, and why or what other things... is it based on the light that you're looking for? Its normally, typically 100 percent based on the light. Or in this situation, the boats, right? So if you see anything and you're like, gosh I wish that couch wasn't there, move the couch! Right? Who cares. I mean, if the client's okay with it. We talk about this before, in our planning purposes. If there's one room, if the client says, "Our house doesn't have a lot of light." And you've scoped it out, seen pictures, just say, "hey would you be okay if we moved some of your furniture around? And we're gonna kinda shoot in there." Its very light dependent, or cool object dependent. So now we're going to see me shooting, we are going to be shooting in, I...

think in the first one, I believe, is the bedroom scene. When we're all playing up there with the family. And you're going to see how we do it. All right guys, just one sec, I'm going to get my camera all set up. And my color... oh, that's amazing! You're really good at jumping. That's pretty amazing. We'll do that again in a minute. Save that energy, kiddo, 'kay? (camera clicks) Amazing. Alright, is that how we're starting? Are we gonna run and jump? You don't like jumping either, do you? Hold on. Lets turn this around, we'll put... Whose is this one? Mine. I love the anchor, that's really cool. These are really cute. I haven't seen these before. Lets turn the zippers around. Alright. Alright, you guys want to run and jump? Since that's what you seem to like to do. Right, go! (camera clicks) That was pretty amazing! Actually, alright. Hey stay there, stay there. Uh uh uh uh uh ... Ready? One, two, three... oh, tickle tickle. You're not usually ticklish? You're not? No. Do you like pink? Do you like pink? Nuhuh. No, you're the serious one. Alright, we need to tickle one, come here. Ready? We're going to fly, ready? Here we go. Alright, one, two, three... Which one's yours, pink or green? Pink. Ahhh... and down we go, don't move, don't move don't move, stay right there, stay right there. Ready? Tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle. (camera clicks) Ah, you want to see how cute you are? Ready... ahhh ... tickle, tickle, tickle, tickle Look how cute you are. Super cute. Super cute. Okay, lets get the tent out. You guys like the tent, you said, right? Yeah, alright, lets pull this over here. (mumbles) You what? (mumbles) We're going to crawl in here, okay? In this place for a second. Alright, you want to head in there? Want to go in there with your sister? Okay. Lets get the shoot in this way. You guys want to peek out? Oh. Peek-a-boo! (laughs) Ready? Ah... peek-a-boo! (camera clicks) You guys pile on top of each other? And then do peek-a-boo? Oh, that's cute. Look at you guys doing that on your own. Peek-a-boo! (camera clicks) Look how cute you guys are! Oh. Hi puppy. (laughs) That's alright. Oh, he's cute. Okay. You want to go in the picture, okay. I know. Alright, super snuggle your brother. Get him. Tackle him. Get him. Get him. Tickle him. Oh, you guys are too gentle Okay. (laughs) Oh, they're really too... Alright you guys, hop out we got that cute shot in there, okay? We're gonna all hop on the beanbags, and sit for a minute, okay? (mumbles) ... they're so well behaved. (laughs) You know what? Lets all go on your brother's beanbag together, okay? Everybody snuggle on that one. Hop up, hop up, hop up. Hop up! On this one. Everybody on this one. Same one. Alright you guys, snuggle and tickle. Tickle your brother. Get him! He doesn't really want to be tickled right now. Get him! Big hugs, big hugs, super squeeze, super squeeze. (camera clicks) Alright. I think we need to do some bouncing. To get you guys crazy again, what do you think? Everybody grab a donkey. Well, there's two. Okay. Let me... hold on one second. Let me move this one out of the way. (child mumbles) Oh, there we go, perfect. Okay, we're going to have a race. Okay? Lets start back here. Wait, wait. Oh oh... okay. (camera clicks) You guys wanna race? (camera clicks) Okay, head back that direction We're gonna race, we're gonna have donkey races. Okay? I'm gonna throw this up over here, so that we have a little bit more room. Alright, you guys start right here, okay? And I'm gonna say on your mark, get set, go. That's pretty amazing, you guys can do that by the way. Alright, on your marks, get set, go! (camera clicks) (laughs) Ka-boom. Alright, you go around the room in circles. Okay, kiddo? Hey, what's on my head? Whats on my nose? (camera clicks) Hah hah (camera clicks) (laughs) (child mumbles) That's okay. Hey, oh. Okay? What's on my head? (camera clicks) Cute. Oh, so cute. Lets put the blue one away. That's a cute one, I like the blue one. Alright, bounce towards me, okay. Can you guys... you two cuddle up on the couch, and just snuggle and tell each other secrets. Okay. Or you could do that too, that works. Alright bounce towards me. Go! (camera clicks) Oh, you're being adorable. (camera clicks) Are you being sweet? Do you want to snuggle your sister? You want to snuggle, Shan? No? Okay. Okay. Alright, who wants bubbles? Me! Really? Alright, lets get the bubbles. Where'd we set the bubbles? Aha... okay. Okay, don't laugh at the bubbles, the bubbles make noise. (child mumbles) You what? I want bubbles. (camera clicks) You did? Alright. Lets move this and we're going to do bubbles. Here we go. Are these beanbags jump-able? Can they jump on them? No. (mumbles) Will they pop? (mumbles) Okay. Not yet. Well, I don't want to be the... (laughs) I don't want to be the one to break your beanbags. I was going to see if you guys could all jump onto the beanbags, jump off the couch, try to get bubbles and land on your beanbags. Okay. Hold on. Let me get ready. Is that okay? Mom? Dad? What? We're going to have them jump off the couch and land on the beanbags? Yes, absolutely fine. Okay, let me get the bubbles going, don't go yet, I'm going to tell you when. Okay? Hold on. Getting my light ready. No, no, no. We're not racing, silly goose, we're gonna jump up, grab the bubbles and land on the beanbags. Cool? Alright. Don't laugh. This is really funny. Ready? (bubble machine quacks) Its gonna start getting bubbles everywhere. 'kay don't go yet. No, not yet! Not yet! Back up, up, up, up. Alright. On your marks, get set, go! Wow! (camera clicks) Whoa! Lots of bubbles! (laughs) Alright. Lets do it again. One more time. That was awesome you guys, that was so fun. Lets do it one more time. Lets get you guys closer together, okay? Pretend you guys are jumping in the pool and you're gonna land on your behind. Okay? (child mumbles) You'll be fine. I promise. Okay, okay. Ready? (bubble machine quacks) Hold on, not yet. Alright. One, two, three... go! (camera clicks) (laughs) Awesome! Oh, that is so cute! Lets come over here and we're just going to play with bubbles on the ground. Okay? And where's the puppy? Okay, don't charge... (kids calling puppy) Come here Emma! (bubble machine quacks) Go get 'em, go get 'em! (kids mumble) Go get 'em! (camera clicks) Ah ha, she does. Okay, you guys don't look at me, don't look at the bubbles, just play in them now, okay? Play in the bubbles, go! (bubble machine quacks) (camera clicks) (children laugh) Okay, here's the rules guys. Just run around in the bubbles, don't smash the bubbles, don't look at the floor with the bubbles, just run in the bubbles. Okay? Cool? Theo, its snowing bubbles, that is right. Okay, ready? And go. (bubble machine quacks) (children laugh) (laughs) Awesome super cute guys, alright, last thing I want you to do, go sit on the ground over there for me. You okay? (child calls puppy) Come here Emma (child mumbles) Your puppy loves you, its really cute. Come here puppy, come here. Okay, you guys ready? (bubble machine quacks) Alright, everybody get 'em. (camera clicks) Keep your legs closed. Close your knees sweetie. (camera clicks) There you go. Oh, one more! (laughs) You guys snuggle, the three of you. I'm gonna send the dog with Dad. I want to (mumbles) We will. We're going to blow more. Okay. She's kind of... she loves the camera apparently. Bye Daddy, bye Alright you guys, super snuggle, arms around each other. Okay, look at me. One big smile, we're got to get a shot for mom real quick. Okay, put your head up so we can see you, there we go. Okay, one more bubbles, go! (bubble machine quacks) Okay, we're good. Nice job guys. I'm gonna have Dad or Mom, somebody just get over here to kinda spot. No jumping off the couch. Okay? We're just going to jump on the couch. You guys are old enough to be alright, but spotting is always good. Okay? We're just going to put bubbles in you and you're gonna jump on the couch. And, go! Don't jump off! (bubble machine quacks) There we go. Cute. Look up, look at me! Look at me! Look at me! (camera clicks) Look at me! One more time! Alright! Awesome. Perfect. That was so cute. So cute. Okay, so as you can see it was a little crazy, over there in the playroom and I want to show you some reasons we did some things. We were trying to get, obviously, little brother was a little less animated at the beginning. We were trying to get him to get going. So that's when I'm like, okay lets start jumping. Lets start moving, lets do an activity that requires some engagement. And so that's how we were talking about those... Do you remember about how long that whole part was with the kids in the playroom, about how much time you actually spent? Probably about 15 minutes. Cleared some other rooms to get to. Normally we'd spend a little bit more time, but I wanted to make sure we had some more examples. We were having kind of a harder time in there, with the bubbles and such, I noticed right away... This is when, as a photographer, you need to be observant of your children that you're shooting. That they wanted to engage with things that I brought versus with each other. So we needed to kind of to step away from the game plan and figure out, okay, lets take away the things that I thought were going to work according to what we were gonna work on. You know, teach or whatever, they wanted to do. And lets choose something where you guys actually have to engage with each other versus an object. Okay? 'Cause you could tell, they were just game face, trying to get these bubbles. And that doesn't always make for the best picture when they're completely disengaged with each other and with the photographer. So you need to be able to, kind of, okay, lets finish up with the bubbles. Lets move on to a different activity, and you saw me do that in there. Things weren't working as well as we wanted to, and that happens. Lets move on to the donkey races, you know. Why did I do that? Sibling rivalry. Right? It got them engaged with each other. Okay? So, everything I'm doing is all because of those things we talked about earlier. Okay? And Mia says, "How can she toggle, shoot and blow bubbles at the same time? (laughs) But, once again, for people who haven't been watching the whole time. When they're jumping like that, where are you trying to focus? On the middle one, at that point, I just cross my fingers they're in the same focal plain. And if I see somebody going forward or backwards, I say something. And if I can, if I have the capability, I'll put it at like, 3.5 so I have a little bit of wriggle room with my focus. And I'll throw out a third of my, half my images, or more than that. Because, you know, we're going to have out of focus ones. But it was so worth it to get crazy, to get that one amazing shot that we wouldn't have gotten right out of the gate. And were you using your 35 on this? I had my 24 on. Twenty-four. Yeah. Thank you. We didn't have enough room to back up so I used my 24. Alright, here are some of the pictures that we did. So the ones when they were jumping on the couch, you know, just like that. So you can see in a series like this, we're shooting the same direction. I could add like sixty photos, one click. Bam! Okay? And I'll show you how to do that later. In the segments, okay? They were cute. Back lighting right there. Yeah. But, they had another window on this side, so we were getting some fill light. So it was okay. Are these straight out of the camera, or have you already touched these up? They all came straight out of the camera. We're going to edit them live. We're going to edit all of these images live in Lightroom, and in Photoshop. I don't know about Nikon, but on like Sony, we have a picture profile. Where it shows standard or clarity, do you deal with that at all 'cause you shoot in JPEG? I have mine just in standard, I know some people will go to neutral in Canon for skintone purposes, its completely up to you. Each camera models different, but, I just leave it for Nikon. Nikons actually, Canon's color is known for their color, Nikons known for their focusing. A little side tip. Pick your favorite. Okay, here's some more of those random ones. Okay, you can see I decided to choose that, because it was hilarious. Right? Isn't that funny? Its like flying dog, all we need is a cape. (audience laughs) Seriously. So funny. And then there were some of the rowdy donkey races. Okay? So just some cute shots. Clutter. Now, clearly they don't have clutter in this house, so I needed to show some images of my house? 'Cause we have clutter? So, lets talk a little bit about clutter, 'cause it happens, there is good vs. bad clutter. Right? We talked about that. Fun clutter, toys and colorful things vs. boring clutter, plates and dirty dishes and stuff like that. Pretty vs. ugly, kind of self explanatory. Purposeful vs. Non, okay? Take control of the situation, if you are seeing the picture, this happens to me all of the time. I will be shooting somewhere and I left everything up in their background. Because it was Halloween, we could see the pumpkins. This was a family shoot. If you're shooting something and there is something out there right behind the family, say the family's on the couch, and there's this thing sticking up and its just awful. Say, "Hold your horses, I have to move this thing." Move it. It is going to be so much easier than trying to take it out in Photoshop, I promise you. Take control, if you see something you don't like. Don't be like, I wish that thing wasn't there, I'm shooting these scenes looks so cute. Stop. Okay? Slow down. I tell myself that all the time. Go remove the piece of clutter, then re-engage. Okay? So, that's my clutter. That's my children's clutter. Those are phone pictures, they were playing and I thought they were being really cute together. So I was coming up the stairs, its like upstairs, we have this little area where the kids can play. 'Cause we don't know what else to do with it. So, its a hot mess. I'm like, but I love this, because that's what they do, they sit up there and they play together. And that's fun, colorful clutter. Purposeful. Right? They're playing. So then I'm like, okay. 'Cause this is how my brain works, kids keep playing, I have to go and stand above you to get another composition. Photographer's children. So, I end up getting another composition. But then we can see what they're doing. We can not see what they were doing down here, that bottom picture. Right? But we can see what they're doing up there. So we got the behind the scenes shot, and we get to see what they were actually doing. Okay, shoot up. Now, I wanted to show you a bad example. That is a bad example, because do you see the ceiling and the thing cutting her head in that direction? See right there? The color change. To me, that drives me crazy. So when this happens, if you black and white the image out, it blurs that a lot. So that can turn into a black and white image. Black and white can save a lot of things sometimes. Or open your lense blur it out, if you have background clutter, just blur out that clutter. Okay? Shoot at 1.4, blur it out, make it colorful. Okay? Expose for highlight. Right? Bring those highlights out, so its going to be a little bit different type of image, but let the shadows in the background take care of the clutter. You won't see it anymore. Right? Shoot it. Clutter's colorful and fun. Right there.

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!