How to be a lifestyle photographer

If you've seen or heard about lifestyle photography, you may be wondering if it's for you. If you've ever taken a picture of a slice of life that you loved, you're already a lifestyle photographer. But if you're thinking about taking lifestyle photography more seriously, either as a hobby or a profession, you'll want to learn a little more about how to do lifestyle photography.

Read on for some lifestyle photography tips to help you decide if it’s right for you.

What Is a Lifestyle Photographer?

As mentioned above, a lifestyle photographer captures “slices of life” — that is, people in their natural environment interacting with their families in classic life situations.

Is a lifestyle photographer the same as a documentarian? Not quite. There are differences between lifestyle photography and photojournalism. A photojournalist aspires to tell a complete story through pictures. They aren’t necessarily trying to chronicle an entire life — they’re showing a sequential chunk of that life through their pictures. 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.

Assess Your Passions

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.

Understand the Process        

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.

What Do I Do Next?

Now that you have some idea about lifestyle photography, what do you do next? Start learning! Follow famous lifestyle photographers like Mark DeLong online. See if you can find a good lifestyle photography tutorial. Look for a mentor. As you learn, develop your own unique lifestyle photography style and continue to hone it until you get what you want.

Most importantly of all, keep shooting!