What is Lifestyle Photography?

Lifestyle photography ideas focus on portraying a “slice of life.” A lifestyle photography session will usually involve a family — especially the children — performing typical family activities in an interesting way. Your job is to capture that family in action in such a way that you give the viewer a sense of who the family members are and how they interact with each other. A lifestyle photography session tells a story with a single image, or a collection of images that don’t necessarily go together sequentially, but do give the viewer a sense of the life they’re viewing.

A great lifestyle photography session will have some perfect shots that really give you an idea what life with that family is like.

How to Shoot Lifestyle Photography

As you explore the world of lifestyle photography, you’ll learn tips and tricks to help you get the best lifestyle shots. Here are some useful lifestyle photography tips that might help you on your journey:

  1. Get the environment: You'll want to take some close-up shots, especially of children. But don't forget the larger environment. Where a family lives and plays is a large part of their lifestyle, so you want to capture it all to get a full picture for your viewers.

  2. Clean up a little (but not too much): A spilled glass of juice or a toy someone failed to put away — either of which might seem incongruous with the shot — can actually be a great way to add flavor and character. Lifestyle photography is about finding that mix of the candid and the staged.

  3. Get multiple angles: You can get a lot by shooting your subjects straight on, but you never know what gems can come from shooting different angles. Get overhead shots, underneath shots and over-the-shoulder. Get creative and see what treasures you can yield!

  4. Keep shooting: Don’t wait until your perfect shot lines up. Start shooting before you get what you think is the perfect shot and keep shooting after. The best lifestyle shots are unplanned, so be ready to capture them.

  5. Give your subjects something fun to do: Lifestyle shots work better when your subjects are engaged. Give them an activity they enjoy and let them create the shots for you.

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Being a Lifestyle Photographer

Lifestyle photography is a mixture of authentic and staged interaction. It’s important to choose a photographer that knows how to interact with talent to bring out the most authentic emotion and actions possible. Hiring talent that knows how to move fluidly and effortlessly is also important to consider.

Before learning how to shoot lifestyle photography, ask yourself if it’s right for you. Do you like kids and families? Lifestyle photography often involves shots of children interacting with their siblings and parents, and most lifestyle photography examples will show either children or families together. If you don’t love taking pictures of kids and families, lifestyle photography might not be the best career track.

If you do decide to pursue lifestyle photography, you should know some of the basic rules. First, expect the unexpected and always keep your camera ready. Because you’re not doing a lot of posing or structuring of shots, you never know when the perfect shot is going to come. Always be ready for it.

One of the best lifestyle photography ideas is to take the shot right before the one you think is perfect and the one right after it. Thanks to digital technology, you can take as many shots as you want without concern for cost, so take advantage.

Make sure your subjects act naturally. You’ll be setting up your shots a little, but having the shots look candid is one of the most important features of lifestyle photography. Give your subjects something fun to do, let them get into it and then get out of the way while life happens.

Whether or not you agree, it’s important that you understand for yourself what your own definition of lifestyle photography is before you begin.


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