Lifestyle photography is great fun, but how do you start capturing great lifestyle photos?
In this article, I explain what lifestyle photography really is; I then share my top tips for those “everyday” images, including planning tips, composition techniques, and an easy way to create more meaningful lifestyle photos.
I also illustrate the entire article with lifestyle photos of a single family; this way you can get an idea of what to expect from your own photo shoots!
Let’s dive into it.
What is lifestyle photography?
Lifestyle photography presents slice of life images. It is the photograph of people’s lives during a normal day.
Lifestyle photographers love documenting the daily lives of families, students and children. They make great photos of real events – the everyday things we often forget to cherish.
Some lifestyle photographs feature perfect and beautiful moments, and other lifestyle photographs contain more ordinary and sometimes even unattractive moments. Personally, I like moments of all kinds, and I like to look for beauty in everything.
4 lifestyle photography tips
Want to capture stunning lifestyle shots? Here are my top four tips to help you:
1. Prepare for success
If you decide to do a lifestyle session and just show up without a plan, you might get exactly what you planned: nothing.
On the other hand, with a little careful planning, you can dramatically increase your lifestyle photography successes. Your images will be much more meaningful, and they will often feature lots of interactions between family members (always a good thing!).
Here is my advice:
Before doing a family lifestyle photo shoot, ask your clients to tell you some of the things they enjoy doing together as a group.
Then choose a handful of possibilities that photograph well – here you’ll have to use your judgment – and that best represent family life.
There are so many scenarios that can be planned and prepared! You could ask the family to bake cookies or go on a picnic in the park. And if the family loves the outdoors, a hike might be the perfect thing to photograph. It is really about the interests of the family.
In one of my recent sessions, I took pictures of family snack time as the kids helped prepare and then ate the peanut butter and apples. I also took a few photos of the kids jumping on the trampoline and then walked in while the family played games together. I ended the session with something the family does every day: read the scriptures and pray as a family.
It was important to me that I capture the essence of the family, so we planned the right activities in advance. That’s how I got shots like this:
By the way, families are certainly not the only good subjects for lifestyle photography. A group of teenagers painting their nails together or kids playing basketball could also make great lifestyle sessions. A day in the life of a student or a documentary-style session with an elementary school teacher could also be amazing.
Just be sure to plan well – so you can capture your subjects in action, doing the things they love.
Pro tip: Creating a shot list can be helpful, but don’t get too hung up on it. If all the things on your list don’t happen, don’t worry, but you can always rely on the list if you’re having trouble getting good pictures.
2. Be prepared for the unexpected
If you’ve followed the previous tip, you’ve planned and prepared for your lifestyle photography shoot…
…but you should also relax and go with the flow. If you try to manage every moment, or even direct your subjects too much, you’ll lose the authenticity of a lifestyle shoot. just things arrive during your time together, and these are often the things that make for the most memorable photos.
For example, before I took the picture displayed below, the little one was quite upset about something that happened in the game she was playing and had to step down. While it’s not her finest moment and she probably didn’t enjoy it very much, I’m pretty sure this photo will be one she’ll love when she grows up (and her parents will cherish it forever).
Moments like this are not on a plan list. You cannot predict them, but you To do must be ready to capture them and include them in your photographic narrative. You may even have days where you don’t capture the a something you had planned, and nothing on your shot list is even available to shoot, and that’s okay! When that happens, just go with the flow and know that you can create something even better than you could have planned.
Bottom Line: If you have a calm mindset and know you’re ready but also ready to roll with the punches, you’ll be fine.
3. Capture the small details
Beginner lifestyle photographers often focus on the “big” events: major interactions between family members, shots featuring subjects in their homes, and people engaging in hobbies. weather.
But while these big events are important, I encourage you to aim for composition variety. Also look for small moments, even if they don’t include human faces or subjects. These little moments will help tell the story even if they are not particularly interesting on their own, and they will create a more meaningful image. Position photos for your customers.
Therefore, when approaching each lifestyle scene, consider first taking the “big” shots that show all the participants and their surroundings. This will provide context and help your viewer understand what is going on.
But then, once you’ve captured the wider shots, grab a telephoto or macro lens and break things down. Shoot a close-up of one or two people interacting, a close-up of faces, or a close-up of activity.
And if you like this close-up idea, you can go even further and take pictures of small objects and details, like a stack of books on a chair or a hand holding a pencil.
By capturing these small details, you will enrich the story by showing the emotions and objects most important to your subject.
A word of advice though: be careful not to get too distracted. If you start photographing anything and everything in the room, the story will get muddy and what you’re trying to portray won’t be clear. Have a clear vision of the story you’re telling and maintain that focus as you shoot.
4. Take photos from different angles
When doing lifestyle photography, it’s easy to get stuck shooting eye-level images; in fact, many photographers do this without ever noticing.
But while eye-level lifestyle images are often beautiful, and you definitely need to capture some pictures at eye level, you can get even better pictures by adjusting your position.
In particular, I recommend that you consider:
- The height of the camera
- The distance between the camera and the subject
By getting up and filming from above, you can create a staging shot that viewers wouldn’t normally expect (and your clients wouldn’t otherwise see!).
And by going low, you can show the world from a child’s perspective; the result can be wonderfully intimate.
I also recommend that you consider the space between your camera and your subjects. Certain interactions, such as a mother combing her daughter’s hair, are enhanced by a close perspective:
While other activities, like family prayer, are often best captured from a distance:
If you’re working from a distance, try adding prominent objects such as curtains or stair railings. These foreground elements can give the viewer the impression that they are really seeing at the heart of someone’s life, which can be very powerful.
What if you don’t know what type of perspective works best? Just experiment. Approach, retreat, move. Be creative. There’s nothing wrong with taking extra photos!
Lifestyle Photography Tips: Final Words
Well, now you have it:
My top tips for great lifestyle photos.
I hope you now feel better equipped to capture stunning images – and the next time you have a photo shoot, be sure to remember my tips.
Of course, you should also have fun!
Now your turn :
Which of these tips do you plan to use in your lifestyle photography? Do you have any lifestyle shots you’re proud of? Share your thoughts and photos in the comments below!