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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 20 of 31

Live Shoot: Introduce In-Home Activities to Shoot

Emily Lucarz

Lifestyle Family Photography

Emily Lucarz

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Live Shoot: Introduce In-Home Activities to Shoot

And we are about to see another video. This video is the parent's room this time, we had a lot of fun. We climbed up on the bed. You're gonna notice some things, like I turn the fan off. When you jump up on the bed with your families you need to always turn the fan off for obvious reasons. We're gonna do playing on the bed, snuggling on the bed. Dad's a big coffee drinker, so we did some coffee with dad on the bed, pretend coffee of course. And then mom, in her questionnaire, also said that she loved reading books with the kids, so we brought a book in for a shot as well. So we're gonna show you that next. We have light coming in here now because the sun's starting to come up, so we're gonna do this room kinda quickly, before it gets too harsh of sunlight in here. Luckily, the window pane is over there. So in the meantime let's go ahead, and can I pull these back? Is that fine? Okay. We're gonna all be snuggling so we have to decide, I think we're gonna take out a layer of these. I lik...

e this one, let's take these off cause it's not natural to have these, you know? I mean, unless your bed's that pretty all the time, maybe it is. (laughing) Hi puppy, I know you wanna be in the party. She's always part of the party. Alright, we're gonna have you guys all snuggle in here, okay? Let's just pull down the comforter cover. Let's get rid of this one, this one. You guys ready to snuggle? You're totally ready to snuggle. Your mom needs snuggles. Alright, let's all pile up in here, and let's put this in the back. (children chattering) Ummmm. (continuous children's chatterings) I'm thinking I wanna make it easy, if we need to add more pillows back, we can. Okay, alright, you guys all come up here and snuggle. Did you bring treats for her? Yes. Okay. There are treats right there. Fabulous. Alright, you guys all hop up. Are we getting under blankets? Yeah, you guys all super snuggle, I'm not gonna direct you too much right away. (children giggling) (playful banter) Yep, all snuggle. Yes, snuggle me. Alright, everybody super snuggle, I'm just gonna get up, you know what, since you're so close, I'm gonna put on my 24, it's a little bit wider. (family chattering) Alright I'm coming up, is that okay? Yeah. Alright, fan's off, yes? I've done that before. It was not good, yeah. Alright you guys, super snuggle. And then one, two, three, I'm gonna come tickle somebody. Who wants to get tickled? Me. You wanna get tickled? One, two, three! ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma ma. Alright, nice job guys, oh my gosh! Alright, ready? One, two, three! Awe, tickle tickle tickle tickle tickle tickle tickle. Everybody get your sister, get her. (camera clicking away) Alright, we need to bring the puppy in here. Look how adorable you guys are, ridiculous. You know what, let's go ahead and get the grandma shot of everybody looking. Okay. Cause sometimes grandma's want a picture of everybody looking. Yes, let's bring the puppy in. She's part of the party. (family chattering) You guys are so cute, I cannot even handle it. Okay ready? One, two, three, up! One. (camera clicking) Tricked you, totally tricked you! Okay, let's get the coffee up, that was good! High five guys, high five, nice job! You guys are awesome. Oops, I took a picture. Alright, you know what, I have an idea. How old's your puppy? Three. Let's bring the puppy down at the foot of the bed. You guys all, here, you sit up for me buddy. Okay, you guys super snuggle. If you guys get too hot or anything, let me know, okay? (family laughter and chatter) Come here, you know what, since I can't stand on this, I don't want to. Ready, down, down, down. Does she lay down? Yes. Okay, you guys just snuggle and like you guys can kiss the kids, tickle the kids. (camera clicking away) Etta! (camera clicking away) Oh my gosh, she's a little ham! Back it up, back it up, back it up. Down, you guys keep snuggling, don't worry about me, okay? Oops, sit. Etta, treat, treat, treat. (camera clicking away) Got her, there we go! Can she have this whole thing? Yes. Pick a kid, any kid. (family laughing) Hey, I have an idea, come here, secret. Downstairs, when we go on the couch, do you want to do airplane and fly like Superman? No. What? Who? Somebody needs to fly with daddy! So whoever, who wants to fly with daddy? Me. You want to fly with daddy? Okay, how about you fly with daddy? So you're gonna snuggle with daddy, and then you're gonna snuggle with mommy, okay, deal? Okay, alright. Alright dad. Alright. Let's hop up. Now I'm gonna pour this already. No, don't pour it, we're just gonna pretend coffee. Okay. We don't need coffee in the bed. Although that was awesome you made it. Right? Is it, what kind of coffee is that? She doesn't drink coffee. Oh. But, just in case we need to be drinking. Alright, everybody up, everybody up. Dad come in here, I was gonna hand you a cup, we can leave that there. Okay, perfect. (light family chatter) Alright, who's gonna snuggle? Me! Who'd we say, alright, come snuggle daddy. Okay, so now we kinda need to kind of strategically place you so we have light on your face. So, you if you could scooch your bottom a little bit closer to the window for me. And I'm gonna be standing over you a lot so it's okay if you're leaning back a little bit, okay? And you're just gonna snuggle dad, and dad's gonna have his coffee that dad has, since this isn't a mom thing. Right, exactly. Okay. Perfect. Awesome, we're doing it. What's in there? Okay, now you can just be mindful talking cause if you talk too much, you're gonna have weird face things going on. So just snuggle, give her kisses, be sweet, be natural, but just don't make weird faces. (playful laughter) (camera clicking) Okay, you can snuggle, where's your daddy? Can you give daddy a hug? What's on his nose? There's something on daddy's nose, ewe. Are there boogers in there? We make really funny things to say so that way they can laugh. What? That hurts. What hurts? What's that. Oh, his beard, he's scratchy. His beard, that's really cute. Alright, one more snuggle for me. (camera clicking away) Alright, you guys both look up at me. Okay, let's put your drink down. And I want you to pick her up, throw her around, you can airplane her towards me, just have fun with her. Okay, and I'm gonna capture everything going on, okay? We can even do peek-a-boo over the bed, that kind of stuff. Just tickle, play with her. We're gonna try to get you... There we go. There she is! (playful sounds) There she is! Oh, there we go! (camera clicking away) Oh! Hey right here, what's in my head? Awe, look at me, look at me, look at me! Do it again, okay do the same thing and I'm gonna have her look at me cause this is a cool shot over here. Hey kiddo, whoa, up here, up here! (fun playful shouting) Awe, bring her down for a kiss and go! Awesome! Nice job. Aright, one more thing. She's so cute, alright slide her this way. Okay, where do you want me? So you're closer to the edge so I can see you guys a little bit, yep. Then I'm gonna come down here. Okay, I'm ready. Whew, hi! Whew, look at my head! (camera clicking away) Oh, I have a dog on me, hey puppy. Hi! (photographer chuckling) Alright, perfect, alright put her down real quick. Awesome, nice job dad. Alright, next up. Alright, you guys come snuggle. You know what, put her in between you. And I'm gonna have you wrap your arms around this a little bit. Oh, the pillow, or her, the kid? The kid. The kid or the pillow, I mean you could snuggle a pillow. Hold on tight, your puppy? Is she really your puppy? You guys can give kisses, don't worry about me, sweetie, okay? Oh, that's so sweet! Oh, that is so nice, what a good puppy. Okay, kiss her on the head for me, mom. (camera clicking away) Okay, there we go. Okay, what we're gonna do, I'm gonna have you turn around and face your mom, okay? So you're gonna sit on her lap. And put your legs around her. The puppy is like all about the pictures. You're a good puppy, oh that's good, right in the mouth. Okay, snuggle, and what I want you to do, I'm gonna have you hold mom's cheeks and pull her in for a kiss. Now, the trick is, don't, (group chatter and laughing) Okay, the trick is don't squeeze her cheeks, okay. Just hold her cheeks and pull her in and you're gonna give her a kiss right here on the forehead. I know, we're jumping around like crazy people. Oh my gosh, look at this! Look at my goosebumps. Okay, let's do one more time, I'm gonna get closer. (camera clicking away) Okay, can you tell her a secret? Tell your mom something really funny. (camera clicking away) Got it, alright. We're good with this one, nice job, alright. We're gonna come over here, let's read a book. I have an idea, before we read the book, let's do the, who wants to jump on the bed? [Children} Me, Me! Nobody likes, you guys don't like jumping on the bed. Layla, you can jump on the bed You're totally allowed to jump on the bed. Okay, hold on, here's the deal. I'm gonna come over here and I want you guys kind of holding hands and jumping on the bed. Here's the only thing you guys have to do, who can laugh the loudest, okay? Alright, let's maybe move, hold on, let's maybe move the dog, can we move the dog? (parents chuckling) I just don't want him to get stepped on. Alright, who can laugh the loudest? ♪ Three little monkeys jumping on the bed ♪ Alright, hold on, hold on. You guys are amazing, but I have one request. Let's open up, so we have, you guys are holding this way, hold hands, you guys are gonna look at me, okay? Come this way, you're gonna look at me. Come this way, come this way. Come this way, alright, you guys ready, let's do this. Okay, ready? And go! ♪ Three little monkeys jumping on the bed, ♪ ♪ One fell down and kaboom ♪ Go, fall down, fall down, fall down! Alright, so let's do Ring Around the Rosie and fall down, deal? Okay? I love this. Okay, ready and go! ♪ Ring around the rosie, ♪ ♪ Pocket full of posies, ashes, ashes ♪ ♪ We all fall down ♪ Awe, stay there, stay there, stay there! Fall down again, ready? Fall down, fall down this way. Here we go, whoa! There we go, alright, ready? Ready, stay there, look at me, look at me, look at me. (camera clicking away) Hold on. Alright let's get the three of you together. That's fine here, scooch over, don't fall off on your head though, preferably. Alright, scooch over on your backs. I am. Come on, flip over. Hold on, I'm gonna help you. Now don't fall down, don't literally fall down. We're gonna do this cause your guys' eyes look so pretty in this window. Alright, ready? Okay, put your heads together, snuggle. Oh my gosh, this is the cutest thing I've ever seen. Alright, snuggle for real. Can you guys snuggle? (laughter) But it looks really cute, good job guys, everybody up. Let's um, you wanna read all of them a story? We can do that. Oh, but, I, did you want? We were gonna have you with one kid, but we can do all three. They like to come in trios. That's good, I love it. But that's what you do, that's what we need to do. That's what we should do. And then we're gonna have dad like attacking them on the couch later, so. (everyone laughing) Dad's like playtime, mom's snuggle time. Ya know, we have to, it's alright. Are you just gonna chill like that? I love it, alright. Go ahead and just start reading, don't look at me, kiddo, okay? (camera clicking away) (rapid camera clicks) Fireplace isn't on, is it? (laughter) I'm backing into the fireplace. (camera clicking) Perfect, good job. So that was a little crazy, right? A little bit. Everybody in the audience was laughing, so that made me feel great. It's hard watching yourself, like I didn't realize how crazy I get, but as you can tell at the beginning, we were having a hard time getting the kids to kind of warm up, especially the son. And so when that happens, I'm just automatically on them, and it just kind of invigorates them to kind of get going. And then, another thing I wanted to point out I was kinda telling them here in the audience was that if you noticed once we did the dad's shot, then we did the mom's shot, I got quieter. I brought my energy down for those kind of momenty shots. And that's what you have to do, since they're feeding off of your energy. So, I want to open it up right now if we have questions first. Not to worry if things aren't always in focus, what about like when they're on the bed and things are getting crazy, and what if you just, you loved that moment, and the parents loved it and they're really excited to see those pictures, but what if just none of them are the focus that you want? Do you still give those to the family anyway? I mean, it happens, you know, and you can get creative, and crop things, like, as you guys noticed, the girls, or the children, when they were jumping on the bed, they kept turning towards the door, so you'll notice in some of these that I'm trying turn them back so that I could be at the foot of the bed for compositional purposes, but I could not keep them from turning this direction, so I had to move my body, and we ended up blowing out some of that window frame, but actually it looks cool. So, you just have to kinda go with it, and, you know, it happens, and if you didn't get the exact shot that you needed there, get it somewhere else, you know, when it's not as crazy, yep. Thank you. I have a couple of lighting questions. Yes. Once again, people notating that, when room is all white, and has so much light, which was an awesome example to work with. But one of the questions even was with this much light, what is your tip to not totally blow out the person's face who's closest to you, closest to the light source actually, while getting enough light for the person who's furthest away. It's hard, we have to angle everybody a little bit. You know, getting some fall light, it was really hard in here, like, everybody thinks it's easier to shoot in these bright rooms, but it's not, for that exact reason. Those shadows and those highlights, and you can kind of make up for it a little bit in post processing, I try to not do that. You can see how blown up those highlights were, they kept turning this way, so I kept trying to get them to turn this way, but you know you just you go with the flow of the family. You're just gonna have to turn everybody a little bit more towards that light source. We talked about directional lighting, so you don't have that 90 degree break. When all else fails, I bring along every single time, if I know a family has a lot of light in their home, I'll bring around a frosted shower curtain with some clamps, and we can put a frosted shower curtain along the windows to kind of mute it. I haven't needed to do it in awhile because I ask all of my clients if they have sheers, cause if they have sheers, then we can kind of mute some of that light. Only a frosted shower curtain though, the regular shower curtains cause glare. Needs to be frosted. [Audience Member With Laptop] Fabulous tip, thank you. Yeah, back of the pocket trick. Another pocket trick, okay. Another question, this is from Cool Mom who says it seems. Cool Mom, again, she was on earlier. Cool Mom. She was. I want to be a cool mom. You are a cool mom, come on. It seems like you are taking a single child with either parent, do you take pictures with all the kids and one parent, and then switch? Or do you plan to just single out the kid who's attached to that one parent? What combinations are you making sure you get? You need to do all of it, all of it. For this purpose of this class, we did not do all of it for time purposes, cause there was a lot of moving equipment and things but we typically will do all of the kids with mom, and all of the kids with dad. And we're down over here. So yeah, we do all of them. So here's the puppy shot. Remember we talked about focus? And I don't care if everybody in the background's in focus or not. You guys saw how hard and how many shots I got to get that shot, right? So, I was focusing on the dog, the dog is a very important member of their family, obviously, and the dog loved pictures. So, we screened the dog before. But, adorable, they're in the background being family. Now there is a substantial difference on how far away they are, right? Even if you would've closed your lens up to F16, they probably still wouldn't have been in focus back there. So I chose to keep them out of focus, compositionally on purpose, okay? Cause the story is about the dog, okay? There's the other shot right with the dog, let's see the dog's tongue is licking the mom. This is the time when I kinda brought my energy level down, as you noticed, and that's when we're getting the snuggly pictures, you have to bring your energy level down so they can match you, okay? There's the mom shot that we got when I said I had goosebumps. The reason I did this, is that I wanted some lighting on the side of their face and I really was on a mission to get that wall. See that wall with all those pictures? It's homey, it's them, it's part of them. So I needed to think what can I do to incorporate something that's lovey, with lovey pictures in the background. Okay, lovey with them snuggling. All of these things were kind of going through my head when we were doing this, okay?. Here's some more of them jumping on the bed. As you can see, this is a lighting decision, when I was going over here for that reason of the question earlier. I was fine when I was shooting two straight on, see those highlights are so blown, it was very difficult, cause they did not have sheers, so we did have that situation there. The reason I left this, this is okay, there was nothing else blown out on the skin, so I left that, that was okay. That one was a decision because it was more evenly lit, okay? Here's some more of these, them hanging on the bed. I liked this one because it was a little bit more real, versus me flipping them over, remember they all landed, and there they were, I got it, before I flipped them over. Okay? This picture right here, hindsight, I would've pulled the chairs back a little bit more. I couldn't back up where I wanted to be. I really wanted to be in that other corner, but the fireplace was there, and so I would've, you know, backed them up a little bit more.

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!