TWiP Family 049: Tamara Lackey

19TamaraLackeyOn today’s episode, I’m sharing my conversation with Tamara Lackey. Tamara is a photographer, teacher, author, and mother. She hosts the ReDefine show, teaches classes on Creative Live, and writes books about family photography. She is a mother to three children and is waiting for number four. Tamara is also the founder of the organization Beautiful Together.

Tamara Lackey starting learning about photography when her first baby arrived. She was overcome with love for her baby and wanted to take photos as beautiful as her child. She wasn’t satisfied with the photos she was taking with her point and shoot. (Sound familiar?) Tamara got a DSLR and quickly learned how to use better angles, light and lenses to make better photos of her little one. Tamara moved out of a business career that left her feeling empty at the end of the day. She thought about starting a photography business. She asked a neighbor what she thought.

Her neighbor thought it was a terrible. The neighbor she said there are so many photographers out there and when she saw Tamara’s photos said, “Yeah. You’re not going to be a professional.” Boy, was that neighbor wrong. Tamara’s first three years in business were overwhelming. After three years she changed the way she did things, opened a commercial space, changed the way she did business and things took off from there.

Tamara is passionate about adoption. She has been to orphanages and seen first hand how many children don’t belong to a family. Because of this experience, she founded the organization Beautiful Together, a non-profit that works to improve the quality of life for waiting families.

The experience of adoption also changed the way Tamara photographed families. She used to think of the group photo of the family as a necessary one but not what she loved. Now, she feels like it is the most important photos she’ll take. She wants each person in the photo to shine and at the same time see the place they belong in the world, their family. We talk about ways to get these important photos of our own families – from both a technical and emotional standpoint from both sides of the camera.

Find out more about Tamara Lackey: Website, Facebook, Instagram, Google+

Find out more about Beautiful Together. The movie Tamara mentioned is titled, Stuck.

Do you have a family photograph question? A guest suggestion or a topic you’d love to hear on the show? Email me:

This year I’m doing a 365 Project: taking a sharing a photo from every day of 2016. You can see my project and the projects of other TWiP Family listeners on Flickr in the TWiP Family 365 Project 2016 group. We’d love to have you join us there. It’s never too late.

If you are considering a new camera and want to try it before you buy or have a special event to photograph, go toLens Pro To Go. (Hear my conversations with Paul Friedman from Lens Pro to Go on Episode 42 and Episode 46) Use the code TWiP10 for 10% off your rental.

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Show me your favorite family photo in the comments.


  1. This was a great episode! A question for Tamara. Jenny described the situation of the uncooperative child at a family photo session. When that happens, what should the parents do? Is cooperation the photographer’s responsibility, and the parents should just keep smiling? Do you ask the parents ahead of time how important it is to get this photo?

    I know so well that feeling that Jenny described of feeling like there’s a hurry. As a wedding photographer, the hurry is often real…. like, you have to be out of the church in 3 minutes or the church lady is going to start bopping you with the collection basket. But, there are times when the hurry is not real. I wonder about that sometimes – am I so used to being in a hurry that I don’t know any other way? Or is it because as the photographer, I feel responsible for taking up everyone’s time, and I want to be fast and efficient because if I’m slow I will appear incompetent?

  2. I really enjoyed this episode, especially the two of you sharing stories of your families and children. It was a bit ironic that the most memorable parts of this interview didn’t even have much to do with photography, but with the people being photographed. It reminded me of why I got into photography in the first place, which was to take better pictures of my son when he was born. It’s those pictures of the little moments in life (like your son eating cereal while leafing through comic books) that might not be perfect in a technical sense, but carry the most weight with me as I look back on all the images of my kids from the past several years.