I LOVE lifestyle photography. Lifestyle photography is real. It captures things that are relevant in one’s life & freezes genuine, candid moments.
Although lifestyle photography is care-free, in the moment, real, & raw, there are still things you can do to help your lifestyle shots shine.
What is Lifestyle Photography?
Lifestyle photography is when you focus on capturing people in their real-life. There is very little posing as the idea is to photograph a family or couple in a natural state. Ideally, you as the photographer are trying to tell their story. Think of it as art of the everyday lives of a family.
As a photographer you may give some direction but ultimately you want to allow the people to act naturally. This is not documentary photography so you can adjust the setting and give a little direction.
8 Tips for Creating Fantastic Lifestyle Photography Shots
1. Although you aren’t going to pose your subjects or tell them “smile!” with lifestyle photography, you can still seek out the good light & direct them to that area.
2. Do whatever you need to do before hand so as not to call attention to yourself.
If you want to de-clutter, open curtains, etc. do it before the pictures begin. Kids can sense when pictures are about to happen. If you are doing all of that in front of them, they may close themselves off & be less open to the camera being out.
This is especially true with lifestyle family photography. You want to get everything the way you would like it prior to the session starting. Communicate with the family so they understand what you are doing and ask if it’s okay to de-clutter or open the curtains.
By taking care of everything ahead of time, this allows you to be a fly on the wall and enjoy the real life events unfolding around you.
3. Have your camera out & handy as much as possible.
You never know when something great will happen so be ready so you can snap before the moment is gone.
It’s important to make sure your settings are ready as well. I recommend adjusting your settings for the light and subjects you have available. If the light doesn’t change this allows you to be ready to freeze the candid moment verses missing it because you were fumbling with your settings.
4. Think details with lifestyle photography.
With lifestyle photography, don’t just take the safe shot. Take the safe shot, then take several more variations of the same shot. Focus on details, use creative compositions, get close up, get the big picture, shoot from the side, stand overhead…be artistic!
I recommend changing your angle as well. Challenge yourself to tell the story from at least three different angles. They may not all work but it allows you more of a variety of storytelling images.
5. Don’t tell your kids what they have to wear.
It’s easy to get caught up in wondering what family picture outfits to wear. Instead of stressing out about that, allow your kids to pick out their own outfits. If you worry they may get too creative you could always lay out a few choices.
However, if your child’s absolute favorite outfit is something that doesn’t necessary coordinate with the rest of the family, don’t worry. The whole point of lifestyle family photography is so you can document who your family is at this stage of your life. Let them show their personality through their clothes.
6. Think of activities your subject enjoys (that would keep them in the same spot for several minutes) then just wait for the sweet expressions to unfold!
When thinking of the activity to capture it helps if you think of something that the whole family can participate in. Maybe that’s baking cookies, reading stories or celebrating a favorite holiday tradition. Either way, you can encourage your kids to focus on an activity while will allow you to have those quiet moments arise so you can get those candid shots.
7. Instead of saying “ok, now put your arm around your brother” or something similar, if I feel that my subjects need some help I change my words to make them sound less deliberate.
This helps me get a more genuine moment on camera. I might say “aaww, that is so sweet how you love on him like that – makes my heart melt!” or “I loooove it when you snuggle your brother…it’s so adorable!” then he is likely to do it again without me really asking.
By complimenting your subject, you give them the power to feel as if they are in control of the moment. You may be surprised to find them more willing to cooperate and be a part of the photos.
8. Lots of the time with lifestyle photography we are indoors. Embrace the grain!
Don’t be afraid to crank up the ISO because shooting with proper exposure will help your image not suffer too bad. even though it’s okay to shoot your lifestyle photos with a high iso, still try to seek out the best light possible. Even in dark houses, pockets of good light are out there, you just have to find them.
Now I want to see your lifestyle images! If you care to share in the comment box below, I’d love to see!