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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 2 of 31

What is Lifestyle Family Photography?


Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 2 of 31

What is Lifestyle Family Photography?


Lesson Info

What is Lifestyle Family Photography?

So all about lifestyle, so let's go to why lifestyle? Here's my coined term that I've kind of decided. I was teaching a workshop, and I'm like, you know what? This isn't really lifestyle. It's more life inspired. So if you can kind of get rid of that lifestyle term that I know a lot of us are kind of scared of, because, like, you walk into a client's house and you're like, okay, what do we do? Like, your kid's really cute, your dog's really cute, but you don't really know where to go with all of this. If you can kind of step back, look at the family, what inspires them? So we're gonna talk about this with a questionnaire, and there's where life inspired kind of came from. There's so many in between moments that you can still capture during the life inspired. You know, that typical fly on the wall lifestyle photographer or like a photojournalistic photographer, they are amazing. That's just not me, and it's not for everybody. Just like what I do, obviously, is not for everybody. I have ...

a very outgoing personality, I hug all my clients, I punch dad in the arm, I rub the kids on their head, and I think that helps. So you have to kind of introspectively look at yourself to figure out which type of life inspired photographer you're gonna be, but you can take all of this that we're gonna go over and put it into however you are. So all about life inspired. So what really is an in-home session? An in-home session is we go into the client's home. We have a plan, plans are huge, plans are important for you, and they're important for mom, trust me. Obviously moms during life in-home sessions are a little panicky, they make their house cleaner than it typically is, and that's when we start talking about the clutter. There is purposeful clutter and non-purposeful clutter. And so we kind of go over all of that, and we'll touch on that in a little bit. So why is a lifestyle session desirable to your client? You're gonna have, when you decide to make the move to start incorporating some of these things into your portfolio, you're gonna get a lot of questions saying, but my light in my home is not good. Oh, but my house doesn't look like Pinterest. You know, like those kind of things. And it's our job, as the photographer, to talk to the clients about those moments that we talked about, rainbow bright or grandpa sitting in the baby pool with the kid, you standing up on the deck taking a picture of grandpa in that baby pool. I have that picture, and now that my grandpa's gone, I am so glad that I have a picture of myself with my grandfather in that baby pool, because every single time he came over, every weekend, we always got in that baby pool with my grandpa. He didn't fit, but I remember it, and I'm glad I have it. And so you need to talk to your clients about those memories that we can do during their sessions. Not only do you capture all of those moments, parents and kids tend to feel more at ease at home. So there's a lot of clients that, I have a decent studio in St. Louis, and people are kind of nervous to bring their kids in there, sometimes, because they're not sure how they're gonna react. They're not sure how they're gonna react on location with strangers. There are certain families that just do better at home. And that's for you and your client to decide. But it's really appealing to families to be in their own home, they can jump on their beds and they can have their lovies, and that's part of them. But it's our job as the photographer to direct them. We're constantly directing, I don't let them ever have a gap in time, I don't want mom to have to worry. It's our job to help them with clothing choices. You can set things up to look good. Actions kind of cause reactions. So we set up the action and we let them do everything else. So it's our job to set everything up. So then when they're in their home they're totally relaxed. And they're desirable to us as a photographer because they're so much fun! Nothing is ever the same in any lifestyle session. You are always gonna run into an issue, always, 100%. My sessions never run smoothly, and you have to be so flexible, and we're gonna have a whole segment on flexibility. Because lord knows children don't do what we want them to do all the time. So, as a photographer, for me, it keeps things exciting and fun and memorable. Okay, so kind of again, why life inspired? Looking back at old photos and you're gonna see them how they were. I like to capture, we had, when we did this shoot that we're gonna show you guys later in the show of the family, she's like, my son just lost his teeth! And I was like, yes, that's amazing! Because we want to capture that, right? When they have no teeth, that's so cute, and we can age your child that way. What age do kids lose their two front teeth? First grade-ish, right? So we'll be able to look back and be like, we did that in first grade, I loved that. And she was like, you don't want his teeth? I'm like, we're not going for perfect, we're going for real. So that's kind of looking back at that. Children are well-behaved in their home environments, sometimes. And if they're not, we capture that too, because it's funny, and we prep our families and say, you guys, things aren't gonna go how we plan them to go, and that's okay, and we have back up plans, and we're gonna go over all of those back up plans later. Have galleries ready to show if they request them. Families are gonna say, can you show me an example, and we'll talk about that actually coming up next. Okay, so fly on the wall, or if you want to be more like me and be kind of in people's faces. So for me, I like to engage with people. As you can tell, it's hard for me to stay back here, because I want to come see you guys. Or there's the photographer that likes to stand back, and if you're one of those types of photographers, you need to have a little bit longer lens, right? So you have to kind of decide. Are you the step back kind of photographer? Or are you the engaging type of photographer? And if you would like to be the engaging type of photographer, but you are more of a type B personality, sometimes you just have to do this, put on game face, and just step out of the box and go for it.

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!