Courtney Holmes | How to Create Powerful Family Films (Everything You Need to Know) | FloInsider Ep #23

Welcome to the 23rd episode of FloInsider – a podcast for photographers and creative business owners who seek inspiration and a fresh perspective on how to run their business, navigate this weird time that we all live in, and find meaning and happiness in their daily routines. 

Courtney Holmes Family Photographer Filmmaker FloInsider

The topic of today’s discussion is family films and our guest is someone who knows everything about it. We are chatting with Courtney Holmes – a photographer and filmmaker from Australia, who crafts some of the most beautiful and touching family films you’ll ever see. Courtney is also the founder of FilmingLife Academy – an online filmmaking school for photographers who want to dip their toes into filmmaking and learn how to create beautiful and story-driven films for families

Whether you specialize in family photography and plan to start shooting films, or you’re starting out fresh and want to master the art of videography, Courtney’s knowledge and experience will absolutely fascinate you.

In this episode, she shares all the information you need to kick off your family filmmaking journey. We talk about the gear you need, to how to prepare your clients, where to find music for your films, and of course, the most important one – how to create movies that trigger a strong emotional response from the viewer.

Tune in and get ready to dive into an episode full of insights and awesome tips!

A few cliff notes from our chat with Courtney Holmes:

  • Create a questionnaire for your clients to fill out before their shoot with you. Include basic questions, such as the names of family members and kids’ ages. However, if you want to get to know them on a much deeper level, and capture more meaningful and intimate moments  – you’ll need to go behind the scenes. Find out what is important to these people, what challenges they’ve faced as a family, what makes them happy. You will notice how these answers bring a whole different dynamic to your sessions.
  • If you want to start offering videography services on top of your photography ones, remember that there are heaps of free and useful information that will help you to get started: YouTube tutorials, the good old Google, and even your camera manual.
  • If you’re doing a photography session and you want to experiment with video, ask your clients if they’d be up to stick around for an extra half an hour, so you can shoot some footage, too. As long as you’re being honest and open about it, they will most probably say yes and you’ll get 30 minutes to practice your videography skills.
  • Composition-wise, shooting videos is very similar to taking photos. In terms of movement, you don’t need much of it to start with. Try this trick: spread your feet hip-width apart, then shift your weight from one side to another. That’s just about all the movement you’ll need in the beginning.
  • If you feel like something is missing from the session, you can make opportunities happen on the go.  For example, you can have a parent talk with one of the kids about a special memory they have together. The emotions you’ll capture in these moments are unmatched.
  • When you prepare and deliver the final version of the footage, be mindful of who will watch your film. On one side, there’s the family who is in the video, but there are also your potential clients who will see the movie on your website or social accounts. Make sure that what you’re presenting online is visually engaging. Avoid long introductions, with a lot of scenery or details. Instead, try to go straight into the plot and show people, because people are dynamic and engaging. 
  • It’s good to have a plan and storyline prepared before the day of the shoot, yet keep in mind that you can’t really plan (nor control) a session that involves kids. So stay flexible and open to change, be ready to adapt quickly to however the day unfolds.

Want to learn more from Courtney Holmes and make the first steps in your family film journey? Visit her website or join her Filming Life Academy here.

Make sure to not miss out on her Instagram for your weekly dose of family photo and film inspiration:

Thank you to our lovely host, Nadia Meli, whom you can follow via or via her website:


If you found value in this episode, share it with someone you love and let us know! And don’t forget to subscribe to FloInsider via your favorite platform so you never miss an interview worth listening to!

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