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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 12 of 31

Image Culling Process in Bridge

Emily Lucarz

Lifestyle Family Photography

Emily Lucarz

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Image Culling Process in Bridge

I cull all of my images in Bridge. I know a lot of you will cull in Lightroom. I like to cull in Bridge and I'm gonna show you exactly how we do that, okay? So you can see right here in my Bridge you'll see pictures, and then on here you'll see the studio session that we just did a little bit earlier. And how I do this, I want to show you which pictures I would choose to edit and why. So let's go ahead and start. You click on this first image right here on this top of your little area in here. Click the space bar. And so then what I'm gonna start doing, oh, we have a question. So within Bridge, what I did was I hit the space bar. What that's gonna do is it's gonna pull the image up and show you this image larger. So what I like to do is scroll through with the arrows on the computer, there's just arrows down here on the bottom of your computer. You're gonna scroll through. And when you see an image that you think you're gonna want to edit, like that one's darling, you hit a number five...

, okay? So what I'm actually doing is I'm starring the images that I think are going to be good to edit. What I'm looking for, and we can kind of see, we'll talk about this in the slides in a minute, but what I'm looking for are, when I shoot that quickly, as you guys noticed, I shot a lot of images in a very short amount of time. And I do that because I want to make sure that I'm not missing anything. There's a lot of in between shots that we might miss if we're not shooting continuously like that. A lot of people don't like to shoot that many images just because it takes so much longer to cull and your shutter tends to go out on your camera a lot faster. But for me, I have found that by doing that, it helps me get some of these in between moments. And that's just a personal choice of mine, but when you do that, you're gonna find that a lot of these images will be out of focus just because you're moving around like crazy and so just be mindful of that. So what I'm doing is I'm gonna go through and star the images, and then I will, oh they're cute. Isn't she cute? Yeah. (laughing) So I'm starring some of these 'cause they're, you know, cute, and I think that we'll want to edit them. This is fun for me 'cause when we did the shoot, we don't see the back of the camera, so I wasn't getting to see like I normally do. So you can see at the bottom down here. See down here when I star something, like this one, it's a cute composition, everybody's gonna say, "Oh my gosh, "but what about that head crop," right? We don't want to cut somebody off right there at the head, that's not a good compositional crop, but what we can do is we can take this cute image and we can crop down later if we chose to do so and that's totally fine. If you see something about an image that you're gonna like later, like part of this image, so you can see on your screen back here, on the back here, she's looking up at her sister and that's adorable. So what we could do later on is take this and crop this down, and that is totally fine to do. You know, typically I try to get everything perfectly composed correctly in camera, but when kids are crazy and we're jumping and things are nuts, it doesn't always happen, and that's fine. Okay, so you can kind of see some of these that I'm gonna be... So I can go through these pretty quickly. She's so cute. They had fun. There we go. So what I'm doing is right now I'm just clicking on, I'm doing how many stars on a handful of images that I think are really, really cute. For the sake of the show, we're not gonna do the whole shoot. Oh, that's a cute one. I like that one. Yeah, she's really cute. And so any time we see any photo where they're actually showing connection to each other that are in focus, that are fun, I go ahead and I star them. I might not necessarily edit all of these later. But if I see something that mom might like. Now, here's the thing with the bubbles, you will notice, bubbles tend to go right in front of the kids' eyes, just because it's just, there's stuff floating around, so when your camera is trying to focus on your subject and there is floating objects in front of them, your camera's gonna catch those things pretty readily, but that's why I shoot like I do because then some are in focus. So we're good, right? Oh, she's cute. That's a cute one. (laughing) (audience laughs) I haven't seen all these yet. So, like for instance this one. She was down lower, I was anticipating her jumping up, right, because she was jumping. So I was kind of, those in between clicks, we would get rid of this 'cause she's way too far down in the frame, obviously, okay? So with this one, she's cute, and I could crop down on it. Again, I was anticipating waiting for her to jump, that was my intention with the shot. I could probably star this one and crop down on her and it's cute. This one's just obviously cute. The reason, she's in focus, the bubbles are in focus, she's in the frame well. I'm not one to center somebody in the frame, and we're gonna talk about this during the composition section when we come up, but for something like this, what I would do is I would put her over on the right side of the frame and leave a little bit of negative space because then it looks like she's moving in that direction. What I wouldn't do is I would not put negative space behind her 'cause that doesn't make any sense compositionally for the photo, okay? Find some new ones. Some of these are just random, me shooting, waiting for her to jump. Anytime I see one where a child is making eye contact I more than likely will star it. I won't necessarily use the image later. But I like to have it in that first round of edits just because most parents want those eye contact photos. And we all love them. So any image like this that's hilarious, I also star, 'cause it's fun. Now this one I would not keep. She's out of focus, you can see that, caught the bubble or caught her hand. Okay. Now, with the mom shots, what I try to do is as you noticed, I like to stand above the parents so it elongates their body a little bit. It's just a more flattering position. We didn't do too many of these in the studio 'cause we were kind of dealing with trying to keep Charlotte, the little one, kind of calm 'cause she's little. You know, she did really, really well but she's still really small. So for these, I like to have images where mom and daughter are looking at each other, any kind of connection. When I'm selling these later, the images with the parents, they love the ones where they're looking at each other, but they love the ones just as much where the child is looking at the camera. Now, as a photographer, we get excited about the connection piece, but you have to remember that your clients are the ones that want these photos, and they're gonna want the ones where they get some more eye contact, so you have to kind of think about, okay, what do I love, and then, what are they gonna love? And that's kind of where I would do both of these types of images. Okay, so what I would do with something like this is I would take this and rotate it later, okay? So I would go ahead and star it and then I would rotate it. Just the way that I was standing, my camera turned it. I was standing above them this way and my camera was this way, but in Bridge it puts it in that way, so I would stand over her and then I would crop it in, and we'll do some cool crops with this. Okay. The bed was kind of sinky, so we were kind of hanging in there. Oh, that's cute! Obviously a connection, right? So we'll go ahead and star that one. I like that one. Here's the difference: mom will not like that of herself but she will of that one, okay, see the difference? We like this 'cause we think it's funny, she won't think it's funny. And it took, you know, it takes time to kind of realize that because you have to remember what we like and what they like isn't necessarily always gonna be the same thing. Okay. And a lot of moms are not profile people either, and they don't like their profile, and when we do that questionnaire, we need to make sure that those are things that, if that stands out in their questionnaire, make note of that during your session. Okay, so, now, with these, we talked a little bit about this yesterday while we were shooting. What I like to do with the airplane shots while we're in beds, when we go into parents' bedrooms, a lot of times there's stuff, like there's the lamp, or there's a random clock that we forgot to take down. A really good way to clean up your mess that's on eye level is to shoot up, take it up, okay? So if you take it up you naturally clean up the image. Here in a studio situation obviously it's a little bit different. I like the look of this 'cause it's cool, it shows it's lofty, and you know, nobody has, there's no rule that says you can't have things around you, right? But if you're trying to get rid of clutter, then this is a really good technique to use to have families bring their children up and shoot up, okay? So I'll keep that because I like that stuff up there because it's cool. Okay. Now this is fun. Now what I like to do with these shots, a lot of times dad's thinning on the top of the head, and you have to be careful, so what I like to do is kind of not even have their, you can kind of crop the top of his head off, and just have arms and a body. We obviously know it's dad. It makes for a cool composition, and we don't have to worry about dad's head. If dad has a full head of hair, fine. But if we need to crop any of that, 'cause a lot of dads are kind of self-conscious with that, go ahead and crop it up, and that's cool, it's like arms and a, you know, a kid flying. So I'd go ahead and star that. I love these ones where the kids look up and away. We get some really good catchlights and they just look joyful, right, they just look happy. So any kind of those we would do. Okay, so this, whenever we do the airplane, if dad's hair is full there, right, and I don't ever say this to them, obviously, but just kind of know that, 'cause later on they're going to say something, "Can we fill in my hair a little bit," you know. Which I do if they ask me to do that. With the airplane shots, another really good way to get an awesome connection is to bring them down, shoot that direction, because right when he pops her back up a lot of times, I don't know if it happened here, but a lot of times, she'll be laughing, and we'll see her face, we'll see dad's face 'cause it was a silly thing he just did to her. So while we're shooting, we're always trying to get parents and kids or kids and kids trying to really interact with each other in ways that you're gonna capture something that happens right after a moment that you directed, right, 'cause people need direction, we all need direction on what to do, so if we can direct them, we just have to be ready to capture that after part, right, that afterthought. So my brain is like this all the time, like I'm shooting like crazy, but I'm always knowing what I'm going for during that shot, and I might get a million in between shots in the meantime that I have to get rid of, but it's always gonna end me where I want it, you know, 'cause I don't want to miss that in between space. Any questions? What do you do with the culled photos, or the ones that you took out? Do you-- Trash them. You delete them. I delete them, mm-hmm, yep. And I'll show you guys how to do that. Good for you. Yeah, (exhales) they're done. (audience laughing) Well, and it's hard, because you get so emotionally connected to these families, and you think, "You know, I might really want that photo as a mom," so I always tend to over edit, but as you can see the lighting situation here is the same, it's not gonna be hard to batch edit these and we're gonna go over that later pretty much at the end of the workshop. And I'm gonna show you how to batch edit. As long as you can do enough compositional techniques using the same situation, you're gonna be fine. Like you can go into a bedroom and get 60 shots on one setup, just by changing your composition and what you're doing, you know? We could do a million with airplane, we could have done, and again, it's a little bit different when we're shooting here to a client's home, we could have done airplane, then we could have done the bringing them down to kiss them, we could have flipped her over, and that's when I hop up right on top of people, I let them know before, and then I stand over and I get my shots from above, and then I always lay down on the ground and I get the shot shooting up from the ground. I like to have the families, the kids looking over the bed, one direction which you saw, then I like to flip them over, so my brain is always thinking, "Okay, so I got this shot, how can I take this shot "and flip people around to make it a different composition?" And when that happens, during the transition of those in between moments are when kids start laughing and they relax. If you as a photographer say, "Okay, so let's do an airplane shot," and they're like doing the airplane shot. "Okay, so, um, maybe let's go on our stomach." Like that's not gonna keep the energy flowing. You really just have to put yourself out there and just keep the momentum going, even if they think you're nuts, you're gonna end up with really fun pictures, okay. Yeah, I really appreciated seeing you in action yesterday because your theory of always giving them an action to do I thought was really brilliant. Yeah, and you know, when I'm doing it for each setup, you know how we talked about everything is very volitional with which families you're going to be picking for portfolio building, we talked about that. Same with these, you take one situation and you do a whole bunch. Take another situation and you do a whole bunch. Not only is that gonna fill your gallery, it just makes it easier to edit it, too. And it's fun. Emily one more just based on that, and I know we talked about this yesterday too, but what do you do when you get them too riled up, when they totally lose it in not a disinterested way but like, too riled up? Yeah, so we take a break. So we'll go into another room, I'll take a kid, you know, the one that's calm, 'cause typically one's okay still. Mom will take a kid, we'll take a break, you know, 'cause I need to decompress too, because they feed off of your energy. Like when I'm shooting newborns, I'm a completely different person, you probably wouldn't even know me. Like I'm totally calm, all is well. And during family sessions, we have to kind of get that elevation up, and you have to read your clients too, you guys, because a lot of times clients are not energetic people, they're not super, super like that, and that's fine. Don't force them to be what they're not. Those girls were hilarious, you could tell they were fun. I had talked to mom and they said they loved jumping on the bed, they were so excited about the pillow fight, which was so much fun to clean up afterwards, (laughs) but they were so excited, so I knew that they were going to be fine with that. You have to kind of gear everything based upon your client. Okay, so they instantly snuggled. It was up and snuggle. He went pretty quickly with that one. And I stood over, and obviously I was tethered. So it's a little bit different situation here in the studio. But so I came over here and I got that other perspective, do you see that you guys? One picture, I flipped over, same position, got a different perspective. Completely different connection. With this, and keep in mind, again it was a little bit different in the studio kind of moving around equipment and stuff, but, this is a completely different feeling than what we had over here, right? Completely different, but same situation. And that's what's so important with all of these life-inspired type images, is you want to capture not only the fun but the sweet stuff too, okay, so I would definitely, obviously. No, but so these were all shot the same essentially, at 2.0. You shoot in manual? Yeah, I shoot in manual. I left my ISO at 400. And you know, the same settings are not gonna pertain to everybody, depends on the lighting situation, obviously to get the correct exposure. I was matrix metering during this. I spot meter always in homes when we have shadows and highlights, because I want to, and we're gonna go over this a lot in lighting, so I'm gonna kind of hang on to this thought, but when I have a flat lighting situation which we did in the studio, I just leave it on matrix. Okay. More connection, see. (audience chuckling) Yeah, okay, so obviously I would star that one. There, these are the ones that, right, do you guys realize why I'm starring these? Connected, right? I'm gonna crop down a little bit. Obviously I was a little bit too high on those. Things were getting crazy. Right there, during all of these, we were trying really hard to keep Charlotte from trying to jump off the bed, remember that? So when that happens, I always typically remove that one, little one, and then just let the other ones keep going, and that's what we did and it worked out well. So, now for these, what I'm looking for, oops. What I'm looking for, I don't like to see, if kids have like one eye closed, if you see that happen, ditch it. It's hard when the image is cute, but you just have to let go. It's hard. Let go. There, that one's more open, that one's not, right, so those are the differences between those two images, her eyes were a little bit closed on that one. So these are the kind of things that I look for. We had a lot of images, obviously. So this one's funny to me. Not everybody's in focus, and that's okay, okay. The person in front, you can see. The little girl, Charlotte, and then the older one, they were on that same focal plane so they both were in focus, and that's fine with me 'cause it tells a little bit of a story, okay. It looks like the middle girl is behind trying to lunge forward and that's fine. So if you see images that some stuff's in focus and some stuff's not, totally fine, okay? These are all just kind of crazy. I like this 'cause it's crazy. Crazy's good. Okay, so, we talked about that airplane shot. I always get the side airplane view, the front airplane view, and the top airplane view. So here's the side airplane view, and you're gonna see this we when do the videos earlier, because this way you can see their expressions. A lot of those other ones, even though they're cute and we like them as photographers, you know, when you can see the heads, the parents want to see their faces. So make sure that you get some of these images that you like compositionally where you can see their faces, okay. I like that one, too. I'd do both, 'cause I do all of them all of the time. (laughs) And this is when we were losing her. We were trying to get her to, this is a trick that I use, this airplane, when we're starting to lose kids because it tends to kind of bring them back. I think she was just kind of done. Which, to be honest, she's so little, I was surprised that she lasted that long with all these people, you know? Okay, so I'm gonna kind of go through, let's get to the feathers, huh? Okay. So the pillow fight, typically I do these, when we do the feathers, I'll do a pillow fight first to warm the girls up and to practice, but I typically don't really end up using those images unless there's something really cute about them. These ended up, so this one, obviously, we're getting rid of. (audience chuckling) I don't know what I did. But it happens. This one we're getting rid of, too many eyes closed going on, right? We were getting the set shot up, we were getting the shot set up, and I was getting my lighting ready. Okay, this is adorable. I would probably keep it. So what I do in Bridge is I go back and forth, okay, which one has the stronger focal point? And then I would pick the one that has the stronger focus, okay, 'cause it's the same image. And it's really cute. And if they're all similar, I'll do a few, but then I move on, because we don't need a million of the same picture, and it's hard to do that, because you're like, "Oh, this is cute, this is cute, "this is cute, this is cute." And then you get into editing and you're like, "Oh, this is the same, this is the same, "this is the same." So get used to letting things go. It's hard, 'cause a lot of us are parents and we want to see the pictures of our kids, right? So while I like this, I wanted more smiles, okay? I feel like it looks kind of forced, so that's when I started, that's when I pull out the trick of see who can laugh the loudest. We tend to get more genuine smiles that way, that's another kind of trick to put in the back of your pocket, okay? Here they go, smiles, 'cause they were laughing, right? And then I said snuggle. So we always do the far away, and then snuggle, and here is why: when we try to get kids to snuggle, we never know what's going to happen. And I do this even with my kids that are and seven, you know, we can do this with older kids. These things are not meant for, I mean can you imagine a seven-year-old and 10-year-old boy having a pillow fight? We'd probably have epic pictures, really. You know what I mean, 'cause they'd be really fun. So don't feel like all of these things are meant for smaller children, 'cause they're not, okay, like I'm gonna still snuggle my seven-year-old when he's 10. Okay. So then what I'm gonna do, let's go ahead and, I'm gonna get through some of these 'cause I wanna show you how I get rid of them. I was trying to get the feet shot, but they were, so what I would do with this is I would zoom in and get their toes, right? This is a really fun shot to do if they don't have PJ pants on, too, so we can get their toes. So we're not only capturing their face, but capturing them and how they are and their age right now. And right now, most kids are barefoot, they're cute, they have painted toenails, that's cute, grab that, okay? And that's why I wanted to show you guys that, I knew that, I mean that's even cute, them laying there. We would obviously clone her out. In Photoshop. Now they're snuggling, and I love this. And I stood over them, but they were trying to get up so we just moved on. Okay, here goes the pillow fight. Now, what I'm looking for here is any kind of connection. We had a little bit of issue with, because we had so many spotters, they weren't really looking at each other as much as the typical situation would be, but if we see them looking at each other, connecting, they're in focus and having fun, I'm gonna keep it, okay? This one's fun. They've probably never pulled, these got a little bit brighter. Just 'cause I was so geared up on the feathers, but that's okay. That's fun. All these came out like crazy. Turn that brightness down. And when you guys are culling, this is really important, if you're calibrated to a lab, you need to make sure that your brightness on your computer matches the calibration of your lab, 'cause while some of those looked bright, they're not gonna print bright. So when I, just on a side note, if you look at my brightness, this is about where I keep it, right there, right below the middle, when I'm editing, because you have to think about when you print your images, there isn't a light behind your image. So if you've noticed your prints coming back a little bit dull, that's because your editing, your monitor's too bright, okay? Here with all the lights, it's a little, I have to turn it up to see it, but just kind of put that in the back of your mind 'cause that's really important when you're culling, not just editing. So a lot of these were out of focus 'cause they were jumping and being crazy. Here we go with the feathers. So what I'm looking for is connection. I would not keep this 'cause it looks like she has a feather coming out of her nose, right? That's kind of weird. That's cute so I'll keep that one. Okay. That's adorable. Now, with something like this, typically we're not gonna have a situation where the wall is a different, you know, so kind of keep that in mind, but for the sake of learning, I love this shot so much and I would keep this, 'cause it's, oh, and that's cute, because we got her connection, right? All these in between things, okay. Now, when you're in a home, this is precious, I'm keeping this. When you're in a home, you need to be careful with shutter speed. Make sure your ISO is high enough if you're doing any action shots like this, because you're gonna naturally be changing your shutter speed when using manual mode, and it's so easy to take that shutter speed down too low, and then you're gonna have everything out of focus, okay, so make sure you really set your ISO in a place where you have some wiggle room with your shutter speed. Let's move on to some more feather pictures that we're gonna edit. I want to kinda get into these. These are so cute, you guys. These kind of got blown out a little bit. There we go. Okay, so what I'm doing now is I'm going through and figuring out what's super cute, and do you guys remember I was trying to get them to look at me instead of the feather, 'cause right now they were just looking at mom and the feathers. So you guys need to always be, always direct your clients. And that's what we did. So where do you think I was focusing? On front. Yes. The girl with the pink. I don't know if they could hear the audience. The girl with the pink, her eyes. Look at the feather in front of her mouth, it looks like it's, (audience laughing) it's a smile, right? Okay, so I wanted some more connection because I was running into the problem of them staring at the feathers. So I'm like, okay, in my brain, I thought, "They're looking at the feathers, "I need to get them to be together." So I said, "Let's actively engage them in something." What do you do? "Girls, hug," or something. So that's why I went that direction, okay? Okay, so I'm just looking for some cute feather shots so I can show you how to pull these all in. We have a lot to cover today. Does anybody, oh, here we go. So these were those in between kissy shots, right? I did this, I wanted the feathers up, and then I had them kiss really quickly because I wanted the feathers to be on them while they were kissing, right? So I created the action, and then I got the reaction, okay? What I do in Bridge is then I go sort by, see up here, by rating. Now, at the bottom, you're going to see all of the starred images, okay? So what I would do is I would make a folder over here, new folder, and I say to edit, okay, so then what I do is I grab everything that has stars on it, see down here, and then I drag it into that folder. Okay? And that's how I cull. And then everything else gets dumped.

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.



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!