Skip to main content

photo & video

Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 7 of 31

Steps to Book a Client Using Iris Works

Emily Lucarz

Lifestyle Family Photography

Emily Lucarz

buy this class


Sale Ends Soon!

starting under


Unlock this classplus 2000+ more >

Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Steps to Book a Client Using Iris Works

Kenny used to work at the Board of Trade in Chicago, so he had a lot cooler job back in the day. And we moved to St. Louis and he was in advertising. And then my business got crazy big, and I couldn't handle it anymore. Even after I raised my prices, I was booking out like crazy. And we kind of as a family decided, just after I talked to Heidi Hope, who I told you about, she was like, Emily, just have Kenny make the move. So, Kenny made the move. So we opened a new studio and Kenny now does, if you email, Kenny gets all the emails. Kenny does all of the replying. He does all of the bookings. He does all of our finances, all of our QuickBooks, deals with anything with money, 'cause I'm not math-oriented. I used to have a business based on Post-it notes. So, he came over and kind of cleaned everything up, which took a little bit of time. But you know, when you're creative, you're just not, you have a creative brain and you have a math brain, although they say it's the same side. I don't ...

believe it. So, he brought in the organization to my life. So Kenny now runs the business. Iris, okay. So this is Iris. This is the homepage, what you would see as a photographer, what Iris looks like. When we have a client reach out to book with us, what we do is we get them into our system after they've decided to book. A few things about Iris, and I wanna show this to you. And if I have any questions, if you see Meredith pop up on there, she said she'd be there to help, just in case. Because I am just, you know, a user. It shows the weather where we're at, which is kinda cool, right? So there's the weather for the day. Over here, it shows any recent client activity. Let me preface this whole thing with this is a mock account. These are fake people in here. I couldn't pull up my account because it would give away, obviously, all the clients' information, our finances, that kind of stuff. So, we created a fake account, so it doesn't look as full as a standard account would. To-dos, we have to-dos for each client, like hey, let's call and check in and see how she's doing since she's due in six weeks, right? That's gonna remind me, oh my gosh, I have a newborn session coming up in six weeks. I need to call them. Down here, Just the Numbers. Click to create metrics, so that's if you have goals for the month. So if you have any financial goals, or how many sessions you want, you can kinda check that list off. It's kinda nice to have. On the left-hand side is Recent Client Activity. It shows you recent activity that your clients have done. And then, yeah, okay. So, let me just kind of walk through what a client booking would look like. Kenny would first click on Clients, okay. Then he would do New Client, right? Okay, let's just make somebody up. Who wants to be a new client? Let's say, Sam Smith. 'Cause why not? Okay. Email. And just know that, so when they're emailing, we're capturing this information off of their original email, so we're putting it in there, but then, when they do get their forms, it all auto-populates. I'll show you that in a minute. There is a way that you can actually put a new, there's a new lead generator, so within your website, every single email that you get for inquiries would go straight to Iris, so all their information's automatically in Iris. However, we don't use it because we get so many emails from photographers about workshops and stuff, so they're actually in the process of working on a new thing where they're gonna have different ways to generate to different links, like if you're a photographer, click here. If you're looking for a session, click here, and those people would automatically go into Iris, it's pretty cool. And I think it's coming out pretty soon. They're always adding stuff. Okay, so here's Sam Smith. Now, the first thing that Kenny would do is go ahead and add the event, right? What's the event? 'Cause we have to get them in the calendar. So, New Event. So, let's say, in home lifestyle session for Sam Smith. Okay. And what you'll see is, the reason we're doing New Event first is with Iris, you want to put the event first in, because then, once we start doing the contracts and everything, all this information is gonna get populated into those contracts in auto-fill, so-- We have our own client portal. Takes a ton of steps out of having to manually do it. Okay. So, Session Type, Family Lifestyle Session, okay? I've already imported all these types of session. Each session has its own workflow. So, for a family lifestyle session, the workflow that we have in here is the questionnaire, so once the session is booked, they're gonna get an email with a questionnaire in there, and I'll show you what that looks like. We have a check in on client auto-email that goes out 30 days prior, saying hey, your session's coming up. You okay? Do you need anything? Don't forget, here's my, I have a family guide that I make, and they get that family guide. So anything that they need to know about that lifestyle session, again, is re-sent to them. So they're just kind of reminded. And a lot of times, at that 30-day mark, is when I get phone calls from clients, saying hey, what about this type of clothing, X, Y, and Z. And then again, 10 days prior, Don't forget, we have a session in 10 days! You know, so you're just kind of in constant communication, but this does it all on your own. So, this is the workflow, and this automatically gets done when you say attach that family workflow. And you can add so many other things in here, this is just what we've added. Okay. So let's say they're gonna go at, let's say 10 am on, let's pick September 9th, my son's birthday. Okay, so location. Where are we gonna do this? So, if you have a sunset shoot, you put the location, or... Can you actively-- Yeah, so either you can put like, Emily Lucarz Photography Studio or, if you know the client's address, you can put it in up-front. Or, if you don't have their address, if you haven't captured that information yet, you can put to be determined and that'll populate as well. You can say they-- Or you can put at your home. Right? Notes. We're just gonna show it to them. Yup. Okay? Little note for yourself, okay? These notes, you only see. Your clients, they don't see these notes. So if you talk to a client on the phone, take notes, right? So it's all in their client portal. So we're gonna create this. Hit Create. Okay, so now, look. We have an upcoming session with this client, okay? So if we head over to Calendar, you can actually see it on the calendar. And these calendars actually sync with iPhones and Google. So they sync with your calendars at home, which is great. Okay, so, the first thing that we're gonna do now is go to, since we attached that workflow, that email got sent out to them. So where I'm going is essentially the back-end of Iris and it's where essentially you set up everything as far as workflows, creating your email template, so we're gonna click on here to show you the actual email going out and... It's on the screen there. So what you're looking at is what they're gonna get. So it says hi client. So this is just the template. So, just know that we have this all programmed where it's gonna input their client first name. So the client's first name is gonna go in there, it's more personal, it's hey, this is an email actually to me, where it says Tuesday, August 30th, that's just defaulted to today 'cause this is the preview, but that would actually be the session date. So in this email, we're just explaining the three steps to the booking process. So, go into The Client Questionnaire Form, the Photography Contract, and Initial Invoice. So, it's a brief explanation, what's expected, and what we're gonna get back from them. Okay, so it says in here, please fill up the client questionnaire attached to this email. Not only will this give us some info about your family, what you're looking for, but it puts them into the system. So, we attach their questionnaire down here at the bottom. So let me go back to this, 'cause I know it's kinda confusing. So we put our client into the system, we attach the workflow. Within that workflow, they're automatically getting that first email, okay? And in that email is what we're showing you. So that first email, they're gonna get their Family Lifestyle Questionnaire, okay? We attach it in that email. Once they fill out their questionnaire, they actually get into our system, and that's gonna show us everything that we need to know about the session, their phone number, their address, everything. So, let me just show you, we had somebody, the session that we did that you guys are gonna see later, fill this out, so let's go to Clients over here. Sorry, Internet's a little bit slow. Here we go, okay. So, you can see the clients right here. Erika, that's the family that you guys are gonna see that we shot. She filled this out. Let me show you what hers looks like. Notes, here are some notes. She told me that she wanted to live in Beverly Hills, so she was going to put Beverly Hills. She lives in Seattle. It's funny. Okay. So go to Activity. Activity. So we can see her questionnaire in here, okay? So everybody has their own client portal. Here's the Family Lifestyle Client Questionnaire which is filled out. It shows you all the activity that happened, okay? Here we go. Okay. So, this questionnaire is what I came up with, and this is what I want my clients to fill out. What do your children like to play with? They love it when I read them books. They like wrestling with Dad and they love playing with bubbles. Do your children need time warming up? Do you want your shoot based around breakfast time? So all of these things in the questionnaire are things that, this is included in the bonus materials, by the way, my questionnaire. All of these things, we now have in their client portal, right? So they filled out their questionnaire, they are now on our system, so what's next? What's the next thing we need to send out to them? Their contract, right? Iris decided to keep contracts separate from the initial invoice, because a lot of contracts might change depending on which client you're using it and it's a legal document, so it's nice to kinda send that separately on its own. So we'd go up here and we'd send their contract now. See right here, this is a client portal. So go to Contracts. There's a newborn contract, there's a family contract, blah, blah, blah, right? Click Family Session Contract. Select which session date we're doing. And then hit Generate. And that's gonna all auto-populate from that first event that you created. Yup, so whatever you, they could have six shoots in here, and you pick which shoot this contract is going for. Okay. Agree, type your name, and then send, okay? I'm not gonna send her a contract. She'll be like, why am I getting contracts? So, that's how you send a contract. Then, for me, we do invoices. So the initial invoice. Okay. So New Invoice. So, for their session fee. So let's say it's due September 1st. Submit. And they are paired with Stripe and PayPal. So they can pay it right away. Right here online. Everything is online. The clients don't print anything out. It's all online. It goes right into the client portal, and you're done. It's fabulous. So, we can add a row. So let's say, let's add Family Session Fee, okay? Price, whatever your price is, hit Save and then Send. You can add discounts in here, and you can add tax. And you can put your tax percentage in here. This gets sent to your client and they can pay all their invoices online. And now, Iris is integrated with QuickBooks. So this all goes to QuickBooks, which is his saving grace. Okay. Yeah, so it's an easy one click to push it over. If they're a new client, it gives you the option to create a new client and that also gets pushed into QuickBooks as well. So your clients are on QuickBooks, all their invoices are in there, what they paid is in there, 'cause if you, with Stripe or PayPal, goes right in there. And if it's an existing client, you pick that existing client, so it's all good. Keeps everything organized. And you know, like anything, it takes a little bit to set this up. You have to get your email template set up. You have to get your questionnaire set up. But once it's all set up, it's so easy and so fast. Another cool thing on here, that you can store your galleries on here. We don't, just because we use ShootProof right now, and I've kind of grandfathered in myself with ShootProof, so it's just been working for us, but Iris will be integrating themselves with ShootProof pretty soon. Let me see what else. I also wanted to show you... Where's the location thing? Locations, here. If you have a favorite location, you can save it and send it to your client. So you can drop a pin, right? Fun? So new location, let's say, you know, where are we? Creative Live. Put the address in, submit it, and you can share it. You can actually-- Oh, we have a question. Yeah, I'm wondering that I think there would be is the model release. Mm-hmm. In there? Yeah, that's within the contract. Yup. Oh, it's in the contract. So when we're generating their contract, that's what they're signing off on. Yeah. We put the model release in the contract. Yeah. If you guys are booking a newborn session, I know that we don't know when they baby's gonna be born. Do you guys put a tentative date in, or do you put like a TBD? To be determined. No, we put the due date. So we're booking the due dates, and that kind of gives us a mental picture of when we have to plan for that session to be. Obviously, people will go early, you know, or it goes later, so it... We'll take a certain number of newborns a month based on when they're falling, and that kind of gives an idea of how many days we have to leave open during the day. Twins, we put at 38 weeks, but yeah. I have just a question about how this changed your business, putting this into implementation. Huge. Yeah, essentially, when I came on board, Emily was doing everything, so between all the shooting, and she was doing the finances, she was doing all the correspondence, all the emails, so it was crazy. So, what Iris has done is actually condense that all into one platform, so we know where the invoices are, we know where the contracts are, we know where to get the questionnaires. It's all in one place. It's amazing. I'm like, it's so easy. It gives us a checklist of the to-dos, so... What it's done for Emily is given some organization, 'cause with how many shoots she has, you can easily get lost, you know? Who do I have to call when and why am I following up with this person? That way, it all keeps it in one place and organized. And we can check off our to-dos right here, you know? Kenny will pop in there and be like, hey, Emily, today is the day you need to call Samantha and see how she's doing with her baby or you know, those kind of things. And it's nice, it's all in one place. The time it has saved us is unreal. So, and especially they just launched the QuickBook integration, and that, obviously, saves a ton of time for tax purposes, especially when you're a higher volume photographer. Okay. And everything looks pretty and professional that you send over, too, which is nice, you know? I mean, it is built for photographers, so-- She was a photographer, before she... So when she envisioned this, everything that she does, the team at Iris Works, what they do is based on user feedback, so it's a community of photographers and they all have the same issues as Emily does and they're sharing their issues and what can help out with their organization and their business, and they base this program around that. Yeah, and if you send a ticket if something's wrong, they fix it right away, which is nice, you know? It's not some big huge platform that's, you know... Is this all linked to your phone as well? We can pull it up on the phone. There's not an app yet, but they're working on creating an app. Okay. Still in its early stages. Question is, do you know if you can use other languages, use it in other countries, and I guess-- That's a question for Meredith. I was just-- I'm not the person, I just use it. Great. For people at home, if you do have questions like that, certainly go to, is it Yeah. You can head over there and continue to find out from them. In your contracts that you do through this, do you mention that the client is not allowed to edit or add any kind of filter onto your images? Yes, Ma'am, let me show ya. So you can actually... So, now that you brought it up, you can see, essentially, how everything auto-populates, so when you're seeing client_name, that's coming from the program. Well, you guys want to, should we read this? Can you read it to 'em? Yup, so... Essentially, the first part of it is just going over the simple, you know, this is what you're gonna be expected of, you're gonna get the session fee, it's due within five business days to hold your spot, you can pay by credit card, PayPal, or by check. Not a lot of people pay by check, but the address is there, just in case. So then we go into the fee payment. So the session fee shall be paid to reserve your spot, must be received within five days or your selected date will be made available to another client. So the thing with Emily is, with her bookings so far in advance, this is actually a big piece of maintaining, making sure those clients are getting all this done in a timely manner. Because if it does fall off, then it's like, you know, you have to do the constant follow-up so they know up-front what is expected of-- If you have such a long waiting list and it's fair for, you know, if you guys are a photographer that has a waiting list, you need to make sure that all this gets done pretty quickly. So it's just simple, you know, this session fee doesn't go towards the print purchase minimum. So, then we go into the requirements. So I just have an X in there, so there's a blank minimum purchase order after the shoot. And that's key, you guys, you need to make sure, if you're gonna have a minimum order, that needs to be in the contract. Not only does it need to be in the contract, but that needs to be stated during the booking process, because not everybody's gonna totally read the contract, as we know, so make sure you're also stating that in the email at the beginning as well. Cancellation policies. Obviously with outdoor shoots, there's clauses in there, cloudiness, you know, it's not considered inclement weather, so-- We don't cancel for clouds. So that's all covered in the cancellation, exclusive photographer, so no other cameras. A lot of people do want to pull out their cellphone and take pictures of the picture Emily's taking. And if they ask me, I'll be like, hey, I'll take it for you, 'cause it'll look better. Just do me a favor and don't totally share it on social media until we get your images added in, and they're fine with that. I'm not crazy about that, but you know, I don't want people, it's distracting, too, you know? When they're like, hey, let's take a picture over your shoulder. So this one's big, viewing images. So you have to give your clients a timeline, the timeline of when they're gonna view the images. So we state three to four weeks. If Emily's ahead of schedule, it'll be sometimes two weeks. So, this at least gives an idea of when clients are expected to see their images so they can plan on when they're gonna place the order. And this is huge, because you don't have to, they don't have to keep nagging you when your images are gonna be ready, you know? 'Cause it's hard, and you feel bad as a photographer when you're not giving the images as quickly as they would like. So then we go into copyright and social media. So, essentially, when we are giving the digital images away or a client is purchasing them, they're purchasing the right to print them or use them, to their, you know, what they want to do, but we do retain the copyright. And then obviously, the very important social media clause. As Emily stated before, you know, sometimes it will come up where they will want this clause out and we do accommodate that. And then there's the model release, so this gives us the opportunity to use whatever pictures she's taking for her portfolio, to put up in the studio, to use on social media, and this essentially answers the question. Does the program give you any statistics? Any things that you can run in terms of favorite order, items ordered, average order size, number of clients per whatever period of time? No, but-- Well, as far as it's-- Pull the front page. In the dashboard, it does have the metrics. So, this will actually, so once you create your metrics, and we have this. When I first started off, it was a little bit more consistent where you're seeing, essentially, the chart that shows you where you're progressing against your metrics. So, whether it's based on revenue or bookings, but since Emily won't release her calendar date, it was skewed, it was just a big spike and then nothing. And then a big spike and then nothing, so... So yes, you can do it so you can see how much, if you wanna do billing, say I wanna bill 10,000 dollars a month. You put this in and you create it, and it's gonna give this. So what you'll see on a monthly basis is where you're progressing against that goal, to kind of give you an idea and essentially, you know, if you know you have so many more shoots coming up that month, you can kind of gauge it that way. All right, great. Maybe just a couple more quick questions that came in. What do you do if a client does opt out of social media? Was there a checkbox for that, or how do you We'll revise the contract. Communicate that? Okay. We'll email back. And they'll be-- It's not very common, but-- Yeah. And, in terms of the contract itself, did you purchase that? Did someone draw it up with you? Your own attorney? This is from Barry. We got it from PPA. Great. Yeah. And then, are any of the things in here, those communications, those are all things that you manually inputted, or are there any templates that are part of when you have Iris Works? They do have some templates for the questionnaires and you can duplicate them. I did include the one questionnaire in the bonus materials, but she does have a template in there. One, I think, and then you can duplicate it or change it as you wish.

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.

Class Materials

Bonus Materials with Purchase

Email Template & Family Prep

Family Questionnaire

Bring it Forward Photoshop Layer

Bonus Materials

Gear List

Ratings and Reviews

Student Work

Related Classes



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!