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Lifestyle Family Photography

Lesson 14 of 31

Tips to Create Authentic Shooting Sessions

Emily Lucarz

Lifestyle Family Photography

Emily Lucarz

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Lesson Info

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.

Lesson Info

Tips to Create Authentic Shooting Sessions

Few tips. Let go of being perfect. This is huge, you guys. With lifestyle photography we talked about how you're trying to get real but just because you're getting real doesn't mean it can't be beautiful but it also doesn't have to be perfect, okay? You might have some harsher shadows than you wished for or you may have flat, boring light, it's okay. Somebody might be kind of out of focus, it's okay. Like, if you see a shot that Mom looks beautiful and the kid's kinda out of focus, Mom's gonna love that image, right? Keep that image 'cause Mom's the one picking the pictures. Let go of some of these imperfections because they don't see them like we do. Let it go. Okay? Have fun. Like, have so much fun. This image that you see up here was a newborn session. You probably can't even see the newborn in there. They had the most fun kitchen and we had to go in there and she was telling me that the dog was obsessed with soap bubbles. So, we went in there and we filled the sink up, she strapped...

the baby to her and they were being cute and lovey and the dog was just running around, right, getting the soap bubbles and it was fun. Like, have fun and don't worry if anybody's not in focus all the time. I mean, try to get as much as you can but if it's not, let it go, okay? And then play with wide angle lenses. You know, that's a really good investment. If you're looking to expand your lifestyle portfolio, if you wanna be different than everybody else, get a really fun lens. 'Cause you can take a really fun lens and do creative things that you can't do with standard prime lenses, okay? Alright, more about having fun. Don't be nervous, okay? And if you prepare well, we talked about this questionnaire, just have fun. Like, be prepared. If you're prepared, they'll feel better. If they're prepared, they'll feel better, everybody can relax and you'll have fun, okay? Arrive early. I cannot enforce this enough. Even if Mom's still getting dressed, it gives you time to pull the children up, hey, you know, what's your name? Let's go hang out. Can you show me your room? Oh, you like unicorns? Show me your favorite unicorn. And that's a great time to say, hey, Mom, go finish drying your hair. Go dry your hair. I'm gonna get to know the kids a little bit 'cause we're gonna play, you know. I put my camera bag down. I don't bring it with me. This is very, just, get to know the kids so when it's time to start shooting, everything is very relaxed, okay? It is not about you, okay? We think it's about us sometimes because we're shooting for what we think looks awesome. It's about them. So if they wanted a shot in a room that you don't particularly think is cute, just do it because they're gonna love it, okay? Trust me, the families are more nervous than we are during these types of sessions. Okay. Make them feel in control. This is another trick, okay? It's like we kinda do these things and don't realize that we do them, you know? So don't ask questions to a younger kid, okay? So, instead of saying, do you like to fly? Be like, hey can you show me your best Superman flying move? You know? So they think they're coming up with idea instead of, being like, hey, let's go fly on the bed. Say, hey, can you show me your best Superman move? So you give them the idea and they're like, yes I totally can do Superman and then they'll show you and they came up with the idea that way, okay? Siblings love a good sibling challenge too, okay? So, races, who can jump the highest? Who can laugh the loudest? You saw me doing the laughing the loudest yesterday. You know, who can tickle the most? You know, who can give Daddy the biggest kisses? So, as long as you take two kids and you give them something to beat each other with, they're gonna love doing it, okay? And they're gonna feel like they're in control of the situation. So, seeing these kind of activities that really give real connection, smiles into pictures, okay? Alright, a few more shooting tips. These pictures are on my phone. These are my phone pictures. These are my children, okay? So, that bottom picture down there, that at my dad's house and they've got a RV and they travel all over doing dog shows and the cousins were in town and they were all in there. And this was the most fun composition. It was just so cute. They peaked their heads out. Get really good with your composition. Get creative. You know, keep things on the side of photos. Don't use your whole center frame. We're gonna go into details about composition coming up. But, just get used to composing on your phone, okay? Get used to composing on your iPad. Do fun pictures. Don't worry about things being perfect. Same thing right over here. Zachary was sitting there. We were at a relative's house and I text him this phone, this picture and he said to me, how'd you do that? I'm like, what do you mean how did I do that? (laughs) Like, I'm standing over him and I took a picture of my son eating ice cream on the stairs because he's having his deck rebuilt so he couldn't go outside and he was fascinated with this shot which is funny to me 'cause I'm like, I just stood over him and took a picture 'cause he looked cute. However, that drew him into the image 'cause it told the story of him getting his deck rebuilt, which just finished, and he also go to see, you know, Zachary sitting there eating ice cream, okay? So, always be thinking about the story that's going on around you, composing for the story and bringing in a person or dog or whatever, a goldfish. So what if? Kids will be kids. So, what happens if they want nothing to do with you? 'Cause this happens, right? This is when sometimes, and you'll know this in advance if you're gonna have a kid that has stranger danger, that'll all be in your questionnaire, bring a longer lens, okay? So you're gonna step outside the room and you're going to shoot them from farther away. Okay, so those are the kids that don't want anything to do with you. You can set them up with an activity in the other room, step back and get your shots that way, okay? Grab a child's favorite thing and just let 'em see what's gonna happen, okay? Like the fish. They wanted to bring a fish in. Cool, let's do the fish. It's his favorite thing right now. Put them in their room and just sneak in, okay? You can sneak in around those kids that are kinda scared of you. But the biggest trick, honestly, with kids that don't want engage is the bed jumping. I mean, every kid likes to jump on the bed. It always works. And a snack break obviously never hurt anybody, okay? So, let's go through the recap of the workflow here. We get our inquiry. We email back. Send over a contract and the initial invoice with Iris. Send the questionnaire via Iris and then once the client is, the date's chosen, send over the family guide and that family guide we kinda touched on a little bit yesterday, earlier. And the family guide just is full of information and that's in the bonus materials. The family guide just has a bunch of information about what to wear on the day of the session, what to expect when I get there, there's a whole section about please don't be nervous, it's okay if things go wrong. I have things for backup. Just a lot of things to put your client at ease. There's kind of a modified, it's not an editable version but it's in the bonus materials with the class. So, that's in there. It's great. Set up a time to talk on the phone. I cannot encourage this enough. So, do that after you send them their family guide so you guys can kind of go over all of this together so they really feel like they're part of their session, okay? And then send a reminder email and Iris will do that automatically for you. We went over that yesterday.

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!