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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 29 of 31

Incorporating Pets Into Family Photos

Emily Lucarz

Lifestyle Family Photography

Emily Lucarz

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Incorporating Pets Into Family Photos

Everybody knows pets are important. I'm a pet addict. I find that beds are the best places for pets. We kind of talked about this before. Sofas are fun for pets too. I've had Dad's try to do airplane with dogs. I don't recommend it. But there are some people that the dog was the first kid, especially with Dad's. There's a lot of family's, this is what I'm finding, they were dating before they got married, and the Dad had the dog. So the dog is like really Dad's dog. So during the sessions Dad's are always like, can I get a picture with my dog. And it's my dog too. But really it's always Dad's dog you know. So Dad's are trying to do crazy thing with dogs. But pets are important. Make sure you capture them. A lot of people want to have them in their kid's bed's. So the kitty cat we did earlier, that was her cat. So we went into her room because that's special to her. We're not just gonna put the cat in her parents bed with her, because that's not her bed. I wanted it to be special for he...

r okay. Yeah. I love this photo it's so clean and beautiful. And I know you talk about moving furniture a lot. And I'm curious do you ever move wall art off? Yeah Yeah? And they're okay with that? Yeah they are. This was not this bright. This is a lot of Lightroom stuff going on. It was dark that day. I think my ISO is probably at 6400. I mean it was pretty high. And then the sun came out as I was leaving, 'cause why wouldn't it. But I kind of blurred some of this in the background because actually the wall was kind of yellow and it was matching the dog too much. So I decided to kind of do a painterly type of effect in Photoshop. I just thought it looked smoother. This is, you know we talked about getting those portfolio type shots in the home. This is one of them, making something beautiful. You know what I mean. And I only do that for a handful of photos that I think can handle it. Especially with lifestyle shoots 'cause it's not really a portraity shoot, but when you're a portrait photographer too, you love this too. So I like to try and do that when I can. And that dog's name, what was the dog's name? Poundcake Poundcake, the dog's name's Poundcake. I mean seriously. Miss Fota what were the edits that you did. I used clean start one on this one That's it? That's it. So it's increasing the exposure, increasing the contrast. I probably brightened the shadows a little bit because we did have some significant shadows and masked some of that off, and then I added some matte finish. But you didn't use a brush or anything? No Oh No Photoshop I did, you mean for the background effect? Yeah, so for Photoshop what I do is I color sample and then I paint that on. Yeah for that. There's Poundcake again because who doesn't want Poundcake right? Sometimes the dog just needs to be the main focus, okay? Look at his teeth, right? That's what I wanted to capture was his teeth. I'm like those poor people who have dental bills. There's another one, same thing. Right, dog is the main focus. Why do you think we went on this bed? Why do you think I chose this room for this shot? The blue wall, right? I found something compositionally awesome, right. Took the family in there. It wasn't the biggest bed, right? Made it work, I was obsessed with that blue wall. I have a few clients with blue walls actually. Yeah it's fun, made for a fun shot, okay. Another dog shot, okay. Backlighting, don't forget about your composition though okay. With composition with this if I would have stepped too far this way, or too far this way, or tilted my camera. That would have been a nightmare with those windowpanes. It would have been crooked. So when you have lines like this you have to really make sure everything is eye level. As lax as I am about everything, I am not lax about stuff like that. That will drive me crazy. Those lines, oh gosh, that would drive me nuts. So you have to be straight on. It drives myself crazy when I get back and I'm editing, and I'm like how was my head so crooked. I don't know why I did that. You know we all do it, we get excited and it's life. Okay, another dog one, another perspective from up above. This shot took about 40 minutes to get but I was on a mission. So we were pretty much done and I'm like we're getting this dog shot. Because these dogs were there before the baby and mom really wanted a picture with the baby and the dogs. And I feel like it turned into the best shot. We got the dogs to lie there and we had a bone. And I'm like here's the bone, oh wait here's the baby. It sounds terrible but they loved the baby. So we put the baby there and then they were looking at the baby, licking the baby. But this was my favorite one and the baby was fascinated. It's the same baby as this one. They are fascinated with this baby. So it's fun to see that and to remember that, even with newborns. And we're always spotting them of course. And you know not all dogs can do that. It's not safe to leave them with all dogs clearly. That's up to the parent. These are the most gentle creatures and mom's right there. Could you just clarify for ego what's the difference in batch editing versus syncing on a photo to all other photos in Lightroom or is that the same thing. Same thing, batch editing is Photoshop and syncing is Lightroom. When you batch, it's kind of a broad term, you edit a batch of photos at the same time. And when I do that, I just want you guys to know, I'll do that for say 20 pictures. Not really any more than that just because after that, then I go through each one, and kind of adjust individually if I need to adjust any sliders, crop anything. Takes two seconds though. You know and I go through that, okay 20 done. Get rid of those and I do the next 20. Great Okay A question from a person who says I'd be so worried that the family would feel weird about me standing on top of their bed to shoot from above. Do you ask them to do it? Do you just do it? Is this part of your pre-consultations? We always ask, always ask. Yeah and you guys didn't see that in the video, but I said, I'm like, hey is okay if I get up on your bed? Is it okay if I'm standing over you? 'Cause that could get creepy. So yeah, 100% ask and we always do. And I do that before each setup too. You know, like I always take my shoes off when I get there. And I'm like oh this is the couch we were gonna move. Is it still okay if we move it? You have to be professional. And in that bed scenario, someone had asked do all the people you shoot have white bedcovers. Do you bring a different cover? So I ask people? People email me all the time and say hey, so I really want to do something in my bedroom, but I don't like my comforter. But I love everybody else's that I see in your pictures. I'm like do you have a white sheet? Or people will go buy it if they want that look. That's something that we discuss at pre-session consultations. Right. It's up to them. I do a lot of dark ones too. I just have an affinity towards bright.

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!