Skip to main content

Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 9 of 31

Why Use a Family Guide?


Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 9 of 31

Why Use a Family Guide?


Lesson Info

Why Use a Family Guide?

The Family Guide. Now, I've got a Family Guide that I send to clients and what it is, is it's full of a whole bunch of information, what to wear on the day of your session... what to expect when they get to your home. You know, all of that information is in a PDF that I send to them. This is in the shop, if you guys see it. But if you purchase the class with the bonus materials, I do have like kind of a modified version. It's not the full editable Photoshop version, but it is a modified version that you'll get with the bonus, with some content to send to your clients. And this is really important, I find. You know, for activity ideas, I have a list of activities. But it makes your clients feel like you're really involved in their session. It makes them feel like you want their session to go as well as they do. 'Cause this is a big investment for a lot of people, you know, and you wanna make sure that your clients are feeling really comfortable with this. So it's just really, really imp...

ortant to really overly plan, if you can, okay? Anyone have any questions about that? Can you maybe just talk a little bit more in depth about what is, I know that as part of the bonus materials when you do buy the class, that you get a version of this. Again, the non editable version. But what else are things that people should think about to include in a guide? So, activities for your kids. Like, we have a whole list of activities that are great for kids for certain age ranges. Ideas for the kids to wear, ideas for dads to wear. It talks about lighting in the home. It talks about how, what kind of clutter that they should leave out, what kind they should put away. What's gonna be clutter that actually is gonna be usable in the photos, you know, good clutter, which we're gonna go into in depth. And we've talked about planning sessions. Just talk about, don't worry, you know, there's like, I think the very end, it talks about things that could go wrong and why not to worry. That you're gonna have back up plans. So, you know, just things like that, that anything you think that can put your clients at ease is gonna work... for that family guide. And the good thing is they don't have to remember to send it anymore. I attach it to the workflow in IRIS, so it goes out. So from Lindsey K., let's see. Do they fill out the questionnaire before they've paid and booked? So, they, yes. We filled the questionnaire first. So, we, they kind of do it all at the same time. We send the questionnaire, we send the invoice and the contract, all at the same time. So, kinda depends, you know. They know they have to do all three in order to book. So, it kinda depends what they decide to do first. A lot of people pay the invoice first and then fill it out. Some people need to be reminded to fill it out, you know. Right. And then, a question from Meer. How do you ask the clients if they want to come in in person or pre order their collection? At what phase is that? We talk about it during the session. A lot of times, you know, while I'm shooting, I'll be like, hey, are you guys gonna wanna come in? Or do you wanna do it on the phone? Or, what's gonna be the easiest for you? A lot of times clients will call me the minute I send them their gallery and say, "I need help!" You know, so, it depends on the client. But we talk about that at the beginning emails that the, af, the ordering session is part of the deal. And a question from Marcia. If you have a repeat visits of the same family, repeat sessions from the same families, do you go through the same process of the questionnaire and the family guide? Yeah, yeah we do. Yeah, over and over. 'Cause things change, right? Things change. Things change and people need to be reminded, you know. In different sessions you're gonna do different things so you're gonna wanna have a different questionnaire for each thing. So there's one client that we did in their home and then we did in the city, and it's just different and they're gonna want different things. So yeah, we do the same thing for each client. And each client, you know, they need to sign it again and pay the invoice again and, you know. But yeah, we do. Another question. Regarding the questionnaire, how does what the client wears affect the session? So, color, you can always have a moment, right? But how do you make that moment amazing? You create an activity. But an activity in a fun moment, it's not gonna look good if they're all wearing like, black, right? So you can kind of guide them to colors that are gonna photograph well, but it doesn't make or break a session. It just helps enhance it, in my opinion. You know, and if we're doing things where they're gonna be jumping around they need to be in PJ's, for instance. Like we're going to be doing here shortly, in the studio. You know, it depends on what activities we've planned, what they're gonna wanna wear. A lot of people wanna know if they should change outfits during the session. I try to stay away from that as much as we can because we tend to lose kids pretty frequently if they start changing clothes. And then parents get stressed out about, "I need more in this outfit, I need more in this outfit." And the biggest job as a photographer is to keep them calm. Everything's gonna be fine, it's gonna be so much fun. And, yeah. Oh, maybe one more question. When you're talking about activities, are you trying to keep it to two or three? How does that work? It depends on how many kids there are. So, we typically plan like three, but we'll probably follow through with two. We at least have one, for sure, planned. But I let parents know, like, we might not get to all of these, but let's make sure that we focus on the ones that are the most important to you, depending on how the kids, depending how the session goes. But I have multiple activities planned. Typically three.

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!