What is Lifestyle Photography and How to Capture Beautiful Scenes

Lifestyle photography has been gaining popularity in recent years. You have probably seen lifestyle photographers on social media at more than one occasion.

What does the term actually mean? It is worth looking into and perhaps adding to your photography website. Continue reading to learn everything you need about lifestyle photography from its basics to the best ways to master it.

What is lifestyle photography?

Lifestyle photography is a type of portrait photography that captures real-life situations artistically. This type of photography is meant to tell people’s stories through candid, unstaged shots.

Although lifestyle photography can be used in any type of photography that is people-centric, many prefer to use family photos. Lifestyle photography is different from candid portraits because of the photographer’s involvement in the scene.

Learn more about taking these kinds of images. These ten lifestyle photography tips can help you get started and capture heartwarming stories.

Be authentic

Lifestyle photography is about capturing life as it happens. It’s therefore important to capture images that are as authentic as possible. It’s likely that you won’t be comfortable with having anyone following you around with any kind of camera.

Lifestyle photography is about capturing images that are authentic to the lives of people. This means that there are no studio photoshoots, posed portraits, artificial lighting or carefully placed props. While you can give some tips about the best places for photos or what clothes will look best, your influence on the overall session’s look should be minimal.

Encourage clients to be as natural as possible. There’s no need to grab all the toys and dress up children before you arrive. This will make them feel more at ease and allow for less pressure during the photoshoot.

Make a plan ahead

You don’t have to be spontaneous to capture moments. But that doesn’t mean you should just show up and do some planning. Two main areas of preparation are required to ensure a successful lifestyle assignment in photography: technical and personal.

You must get to know your clients before you shoot. Find out what your clients like and don’t like, what their daily life is like, what activities they enjoy together and which topics they are passionate about. You should go the extra mile to find out more about these topics so that you can have a conversation. This is particularly important for younger subjects who are unable to shut up or feel secure enough to speak openly in front of strangers.

Technically speaking, be as knowledgeable as possible about the places you will be working in and be ready for anything. If the photoshoot is at your client’s home, you can ask them about natural lighting and choose your time to shoot. You should also know how to use your camera settings. If you don’t have control over the subject, you will need to adapt quickly to any changes.

Photograph everyday locations

Light is not an important factor in choosing the location for your lifestyle photography shoot, unlike other types of photography. Instead, you should be focusing on two things: where your subjects feel most at ease and what place best represents them.

Are they more likely to spend their afternoons at home or in the park? Do they enjoy spending Sunday mornings in the living room or are they more adventurous and eager to get out on the weekend?

These questions should be answered during the planning phase. You can then use these answers to help you choose the best location for your photoshoot. Picking multiple locations will allow you to capture the different interests of your subjects. You’ll also have a backup plan in case the first location doesn’t work out.

Be sure that everyone is happy

It is difficult for most people to be open with strangers, much less strangers who are carrying a camera. It is your job as a photographer to make people feel comfortable in your presence. There are many things you can do (and should) to help achieve this.

Begin by talking about something that they are passionate about. This is something you will already know if you have followed the correct steps. You can have a chat about the latest NBA trade rumors over a cup of coffee or share some fun facts about dinosaurs while your children show you their rooms. Keep it light and let the children talk.

As is the norm in lifestyle photography, children should be included in photoshoots. If the children are tired or hungry, a beautiful setting for photography will not be of any use. It’s important to make sure that they have fun and respect the time of day, such as meals and naptimes.

Last but not least, don’t let your clients take the responsibility for the scene. It will make them feel more at ease in front of the camera if you talk to them about what images you are looking for and how to get them. Next, you will learn how to manage the photoshoot and not ruin the purpose of lifestyle photography.

Focus on the action and not the poses

You can keep your lifestyle photos candid and still give your subjects guidance. Instead of telling them to follow a set of family portrait guidelines, ask them instead to show you their favorite game.

You will see a more relaxed and natural interaction between them. They might even forget all about the camera. Allow each situation to evolve naturally. However, don’t be afraid of suggesting a different activity if you feel the current one isn’t working or you are interested in trying something new.

Anticipate every movement

Lifestyle photography can be compared to wildlife photography in a lot of ways. You need to be able to control a fast-paced, dynamic environment. You will quickly realize that a toddler who is overjoyed can’t keep up with a cheetah’s speed.

A lifestyle photo session is only good for a few seconds. You need to be able to anticipate these moments and be ready to take photos at any moment. You can capture moments immediately before and after the event, sometimes resulting in more meaningful images.

Pay close attention to details

You don’t have to take every photograph as a medium-to-large shot. Some photos might not fall under portrait photography. To capture images that reflect the personalities of your subjects, zoom in on details and notice what makes the space theirs.

Lifestyle photos can be more than just a portrait session. Your clients will appreciate the fact that you look beyond the obvious shots to find the details. You can look through portfolios of fine art photography or consult photography books like “The Photographer’s Eye” to get ideas.

Participate in the conversation

Lifestyle photography is no exception to this rule. People skills are a key part of any photography career. You don’t have to interfere with the photoshoot, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t act like you aren’t there.

Talking to people during a photoshoot can make them view you as more of a guest than a photographer. This is in their best interest to keep them calm and natural. It will also allow you to direct the action, without appearing to be out of place to give orders or disappear again.

Keep your camera nearby

Lifestyle photography has one rule: don’t put your camera down while taking photos. You’ll discover that the most stunning photos are often taken in the most unexpected situations as you work towards becoming a professional photographer. This is especially true if your goal is to capture these unexpected moments.

Be present and ready to shoot, even during short breaks. Your client’s self-awareness will be lowest during this time, revealing their raw emotions and true nature.

Tell the stories of your subjects

Your clients don’t pay you to take a few family portraits. They are paying you to tell their story. In exchange for tangible memories, they invite you into their lives. You will need to master storytelling photography in order to create technically perfect portraits.

Consider how each image in the photoshoot is related to the others and then bring them together using your photography style. 

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