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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 21 of 31

Live Shoot: Implement In-Home Shooting Flow

Emily Lucarz

Lifestyle Family Photography

Emily Lucarz

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Live Shoot: Implement In-Home Shooting Flow

Okay, implementing your flow and the shot list. So, you're gonna walk through the house, look at the light, right, with our flow. Move anything that you're gonna need to move with your lighting right away. Talk to your clients, hey, when we come back down here, is it gonna be okay if we can move this ottoman, bring it closer to the window? We'll have you guys snuggling on the window. That sort of thing, okay? Really get to know the kids. We've gone in-depth about that. Grab all the standard shots in your shot list that you need to get, mom and the baby, mom and the kids, all those standard ones we talked about. Move onto family shots, okay? And then make sure you get some activities. I like to do the standard ones first, 'cause we kind of check those off the list. Get the family one, and then the family interactive ones, they're all playful, the random ones, do those further towards the end, okay? And make sure you got some activities in there. Okay, shot list. Each child, here's the f...

ull shot list again, kids together, family, mom and kids, dad and kids, each kid with each parent, pets with family and kids, okay? Any questions? We do have a question about, I know we're talking about the bright room, but what are some further tips for, if somebody was in a dark room. Gloria is asking, do you ever bounce a flash off a wall to help, reflectors? You know, I haven't needed to. The dark rooms, if we have a really, really dark parent room, we tend to not use it. We'll tend to do these kind of sessions in another room. If you really wanna use it, obviously, you can use a reflector or bounce a flash, I just don't personally. Nothing wrong with it, you totally can. Just make sure you're planning your shoot around the time that you have the most light in that room. And have a camera that can really handle the ISO. That was a newborn. She brought these glasses, were they not ridiculous? So cute. That was in the crib. Favorite things. So what's important to your clients? That's her kittycat, essentially. We needed to get a picture with her and her cat. Her horse she liked to ride, we got a picture with her and her horse, okay? They're in each of their rooms, and she was snuggling the cat, and she was doing her thing on the horse, okay? Grab shots in their own rooms. Take them up, it's like their own special time, right? Take the kids, let's go to your room, come show me what you love. And then, come show me what you love in your room. And really, you get to know each child and really focus on each child and get something that's important to them, okay? Even if it means three shots. Something, you know, do something. Okay, we have another video coming up. All right, so this one is the one downstairs, in the family room. You are gonna see Dad doing airplane, you're gonna see how we focused on arms, like we talked about. You're gonna see some backlit shots, some snuggle shots. This one gets a little fun with the kids. So, we're ready. Okay, so we're good with light in here. Now, we have a pool out there. Would it be helpful to open that to bring more light in? No, because what's gonna happen is, that's gonna bounce too much light in here, so it's gonna be a drastic difference between what are called highlights and shadows. So it'll be harder to get that even exposure. So we'll leave that closed, as pretty as your pool is, it's kind of evening out the light for us, which makes everything easier. Oh, you are so cute with your puppy, seriously. Okay, let's pile up on the couch, guys. Who wants to go on Daddy's shoulders? Me! Me! Me! Okay, you know what, you're gonna do airplane with Dad, so let's put Miss Peanut here up on Daddy's shoulders. All right, I'll hold you for a second. All right, we're gonna need you. Everybody pile up on the couch. I'll put her up on you. Okay, you will. Yup. Okay. All right. All right, somebody grab the puppy. Here, can you pick up the puppy? I might take you home with me. She's so cute, I'm gonna bring her over here. Okay. All right, you guys super snuggle. So here's what we're gonna do. After she goes up on your shoulders, I'm gonna have her kinda lean down and give Mom a kiss on the head, you're gonna kinda do tick-tock, tick-tock kind of thing, we're gonna giggle, we're gonna laugh, we're gonna love each other, 'cause you guys are, oh my gosh, your toes are so cute. Look how pink those are! I have two boys, so we don't get to do pink. All right, legs are on Daddy. Ready? All right, let's keep your diaper covered. You okay? Now the trick is, don't strangle Daddy. Cool? All right, I'm gonna come over here on the other side of the couch. You good? Are you good, Dad? I'm good, yeah. Okay, okay. All right. C'mere, Atta. C'mere, there we go. All right, guys. Are we ready? We're ready. Okay, let's, this isn't the best angle for you, so let's sit up for me. Sit up a little bit. I'm gonna elevate you a little bit so you're not so scrunched back in. Now you can scooch on back a little bit. Okay, closer to Daddy, I want you guys, Daddy, get closer to Daddy. Put your hips together, I want everybody connected. Okay, everybody needs to be touching in some way. No spaces. All right, oh my gosh, you guys, that is the cutest thing I've ever seen. I am not even kidding you. One, two, three. Oh! All right, do tick-tock with her for me really quick. Tick-tock. Oh, don't clock Mommy on the head. Okay, bend down and give Mom a kiss on the head. Kiss on the head. Okay, now, here's the deal. This is the general rule. Whenever I talk about kissing, only let the kid kiss you. Don't go in and kiss them, 'cause then you're gonna have this weird fish face going on, which isn't good for anybody, okay? All right, one more time, so lean down and kiss Mommy on the head. Can you give Mommy a kiss on the head? Awesome. Nice job, guys. Now, nobody look at me. You guys look at your dad, look at each other, while she kisses Mom, okay? Go. Give Mom a kiss again, honey. Awesome, nice job. All right, Mom and Dad, smooch for me. Aww, look at Mom and Dad, that's so cute. All right, everybody, we're good there, let's hop up for me. Come over here. Do you guys see why we waited for this for the end, for the light, how much softer the light is than it was this morning? The sun, it's now, what time is it? It's 11 o'clock and the sun was rising on this side, so it was too bright. Since we let it go up a little bit, it's evened the light out a little bit, so it's not so harsh. So, on that note, are you ready to airplane, kiddo? Yeah. All right. Everybody, this way for me. I'm gonna have your head this way. Okay. I want the light in his eyes. Sure. You guys can even just take, I mean, pile on Daddy in a minute, but for the first frame, let's have them kind of over here. Perfect. You're totally fine. We're gonna have everybody piling on Daddy in a minute. You just knew right what to do. Oh my gosh. Keep your legs straight. Up, and then bring him down. Awesome, nice job, buddy! All right, stay there, we'll do the same thing. Now, what I want you to do... You guys, this is all muscle, this is the workout of the day. So you're gonna pull him up, and you're gonna bring him down and like, just be sweet with him, okay? You ready? Ready? Ready, and... Nice job, guys. Awesome, perfect. That's okay. He can lay on you, you can lay on Dad. I like this after stuff, yeah. You're like 16, aren't you? He totally acts like he's 16, it's hilarious. He's so mature. All right, kids. You guys ready to come monkey-pile Dad? Okay, hold on, everybody come run in on this way. Run in that way. All right, I'm gonna be ready. Everybody monkey-pile. Go! Just don't hurt your brother, preferably. Although I'm sure it wouldn't be-- Awesome! Nice job, guys. Everybody get Daddy. Get 'im. Cute. You guys are doing a good job. All right. Perfect, you guys. All right, everybody up. So what I want to do, do you see how the light is really bright right here and there's some shadow fall-off right here? It makes for gorgeous matte-finished images. So it kind of shows a little bit more intimate type of moments, when you have those kind of shadows. So I wanna make sure that we get some of those for you, and those are always best, I think, with Mom. So I'm gonna have you come up over here and you are going to, who have you not snuggled yet? You snuggled the girls. Okay. All right. Okay, so what I'm gonna have you do, I wanna have shadow on the side of your face. I'm gonna turn the chair a little bit, is that okay? Can I move this thing? 'Cause I don't want completely 90-degree light going up your nose. Okay, we're good. No, it's good. All right, hop up there for me, I want your feet hanging over this. Okay, perfect. So let's see what's going on. He's gonna pile on top of you. I'm just looking at your face. Hop up for me, we're gonna turn a little bit more. I want more light on it. We don't have any light on this side of the house, so we're not getting any fill light, so I'm just gonna make sure we get a little bit of bounce. We're gonna go the other direction. This way? Yup. There we go. I'm gonna pull it back a little bit. Look at all your movies. Do you watch movies? You have a lot of movies. Okay, let's see. Hop up for me. That's better. What was happening was, it was complete shadow, complete highlight. Too bright. You to totally put your chin down like this, okay? 'Cause I'm going to be shooting from up here. Just a little bit better angle, so I'm gonna kinda show you where I want your head. Right like that, does that feel better? Yeah. Okay. And you guys can snuggle. Okay, I want you guys always connected, always touching, hands touching, it just makes for a much more engaging and meaningful shot. But naturally touching. Perfect. That is amazing. Just like that, just snuggle him. Don't worry about me. Okay. I'm constantly, let's call, chimping. Nothing wrong with it. Hey, buddy, can you look up at me? Okay, you guys both look at me. Let's get you a shot looking together. Okay, one more. Look at Mommy, honey. Can you kiss him on the head? Close your eyes, sweetie. Okay, so now, what I want you to do is hop up. I'm gonna put him on your other side. Okay, hop up. Okay. My ball of heat. I know, I know, are you guys so hot? I'm sorry. If you can sit up for me, I'm gonna fix this pillow, just sit you up a little bit. There we go. Perfect. Fan. How do we turn the fan back on? Now that we're not throwing people in the air. I know how, I know how. Hannah, can you turn on the fan for me? Thanks, kiddo. One or two? Two. Two, he's so smart. Okay, just snuggle Mom one more time for me, okay? Yup, just like that, don't move. Okay, look down at him for me. Okay, give him a kiss on the forehead. This is when you're allowed to kiss. Can you close your eyes, sweet pea? Okay, now put your head... Yup, so what I want you to do is your temple's gonna be on him, it kind of elongates your face a little bit when we do this, when we, yeah, just like that, instead of pushing on your cheek, which just helps elongate your face. Am I, my eyes open? Mm-hmm, we're gonna get you guys looking together, right there, temple to temple, chins up. Right there, you guys look alike. All right. Adorable. Okay, look at me. Okay. You guys lean forward for me a little bit. There we go. Okay, just look me, don't smile, just be sweet. Aww, he's like loving on you, it's the sweetest thing. Are you kidding me? It's so sweet. All right, high five. You've been amazing. All right, nice job, guys. All right, come here, be real quick, okay? Our couch is made of the same fabric, actually. It's so sturdy. Right here, we're just gonna go straight out, I'm gonna do pure backlighting. So what that means is I'm gonna shoot directly into the light and there's nothing bouncing back onto your face, so it's gonna be a little bit more dramatic. Let's get you another pillow. All right. All right, hop back up. Hold on, sweetie, let your mom up. Okay, so you're gonna do the same thing. Straight on, okay? We're gonna go from the side. Let me fix everything. Perfect. I like this top, it's pretty. Okay, you're gonna sit on Mom, okay? You're so long. I'm thinking that she's too long for this shot. So I'm thinking what we're gonna do, let's swing your legs around, we'll still look at each other, but her legs are so long. You are so tall, you could probably ride all the rides at Six Flags. Do you have Six Flags here? No. That's how we monitor our kids' growth, is by what rides they can ride at Six Flags. I'm totally serious. Okay. Nope, we're gonna come this way a little bit. Okay, sit up for me. You can still lean on Mom. I don't want, we cannot see the front of your face since we don't have any light on you, but I can see the side, okay? So you guys can snuggle this way. Put your arm around your mom, honey. Okay, we're gonna do nose-to-nose. Now, I'm thinking we're still getting the window pane. I think we need to switch kids for this shot, to tell you the truth. She's just too long. Come here, kiddo, let's get your little sister. Hi. We'll get you another special picture with your mom, okay? Okay, now you guys snuggle. So come into her a little bit, lean into her. There we go. Okay, yeah, just keep it sweet. You're doing great. Can you guys do nose-to-nose for me? Can you hit my nose? Put your nose on Mommy's nose. Give me your nose. Here's your nose. Put your nose on Mommy's nose. I got you. What's on my head? Okay, what I want you to do now, uh-oh, peek-a-boo! Okay, lean her back on your legs for me. There we go. I have to go up here because I don't want to shoot up her nose. Yey, there's my feet, that's there. Oh my gosh, she's so silly. Okay, do the same thing, but don't put her back so far. I'm gonna stand over you, don't mind me. Okay, you ready? You know what, pull her legs up further. We get really, this is how we become friends first. Okay, ready? All right, here we go. Hold on, don't tickle her so she stays still. Got her, all right. We're gonna have to cut my foot out and Photoshop it. Okay, that was another one. So cute, are they not the sweetest ever? I wanted you guys to notice again how we brought down the energy when we were doing these snuggle shots, right? So here's the end product of the snuggle shots. It was pretty much a one-click edit for these. One thing I want to point out, window panes at the bottom, I did my best to keep their heads in between them, I don't like that growing out of her head, just like a tree with composition, we couldn't move the chair any further, long story, but I was having them lean forward a little bit to try to get their heads out of the window pane. We did the best that we could. It's still a gorgeous image. She's not gonna care about the window pane growing out of her head, okay? That kind of stuff, you need to let go, okay? Let go of. This one, and the reason we changed children with this one, is I wanted to show you guys an example of different compositional techniques of how to change a kid on you, when they're that long, we couldn't do what I wanted to teach, you know? Typically, I wouldn't have changed kids, we would have changed situations, essentially, okay? You have any questions right now about this? Well, I did have a question that came in earlier, have you ever asked the parents to have a reward for the kids at the end of the session to incentivize them, with like a toy, candy? All the time. Yeah? All the time. And if they don't, during the session, I'm like, Mom has a surprise for you, right? Always. That's why I sometimes will bring Skittles, or a lot of clients need to have something wrapped, like in a package for them, you know, so like, oh, look at the presents over there, we'll do that, 'cause if they know what it is, all they're focused on is their new doll, which has happened, which just happened last week. Right. All right, one more question, from Shawn, who may have just been joining us, but can these same skills be translated to sessions that are not in the home? Are you always shooting in the home? And so, just to clarify for folks who maybe haven't been with us the whole time. I probably shoot 30% in the home. 40% in the home? I don't know, it's very subjective. But we do all of these same techniques that we're learning, you can shoot anywhere, okay? They're all composition techniques, lighting techniques you can do anywhere. Thank you. Okay? Okay, so here is the next one. Here's some with Dad. I just wanted to show you guys some black and white, 'cause I like black and white with dads for some reason, I just do. So here are some images that we got. You know, we talked about the head thing, so I went to the side to get that that way, okay? I went vertical. We talked about compositional for vertical, I wanted that vertical shot to make things a little bit more visually interesting, especially since there were so many horizontal things going on in that shot already. I wanted him to take him up, so he took him up and we saw the connection, okay? Same with right here, I loved this one, because we have a lot of, you know, stacking going on again. We can see their faces, we can see the connection. They're not all looking at the camera, totally fine, love this one, okay? Yeah. So when the clients get their final files from you, do you present them all in color and some in black and white, or do they get to see them in both? I'd say 70% of the time, I edit in black and white as well but not every image needs to be in black and white. So if I see an image that really should be in black and white, then I'll convert it. Some of the more dramatic images. I have a few clients that have black and white walls and they want a lot of black and white, good to ask in your questionnaire. A lot of people will say, I love black and white. I love your black and whites. I love the dramatic black and whites. I love the clean black and whites. So I'll always edit for what, you know, the client really wants, especially if they have a black and white wall, okay? And you'll see that in the homes. IF they have a black and white wall, you know they're gonna want black and white images. Depends on the client.

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!