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Lifestyle Photography has been around for as long as there were cameras, but it was called Photojournalism and was mostly seen only in the newspapers. During those times, most Portrait Photographers captured their subjects posed and “perfect”.
Once DSLRs infiltrated the market at lower price points, everyone and their grandmas (okay, maybe not all grandmas) had one. Digital photography allowed the birth of this new form of portraiture – Lifestyle Photography – by allowing people to shoot freely without the worry of film and film development costs. Now with smart phones and other electronics that piggyback a convenient camera, snapping photos about your life has become mainstream.
True Lifestyle Photography, however, is more than taking candid shots. It is about capturing images that reveal a story. A personality. A relationship. A feeling.
Don’t wait to take the shot until you see something happening because some things last only one second and you can miss it. Be ready.
When capturing Lifestyle, it’s often best to not disturb what is unfolding naturally. So if your subject is not in the best light, then it is up to you to make it work. It may be changing your shooting position, your camera angle or quickly grabbing a reflector.
Just because the photo shoot started doesn’t mean your couple will instantly jump into a romantic moment or a family will burst into a fit of laughter. Help create an environment for those scenes to happen. Talk to them, play music, be silly, etc.
Get a close-up of the lace on a dress, the way someone stands or the way a baby grips a parent’s finger with his entire hand. These shots are pieces of information that help tell a cherished story.
I carry a wide angle lens with me to all my Lifestyle shoots because I like getting a shot that includes the environment. Often we think of close-up shots when we photograph people, but step back and look at the environment too. Those are just as important.
Lifestyle Photography is the opposite of look-at-me-and-say-cheese type of portraiture. If your subjects have something to do, then you are setting the stage for their personalities to show and they will have natural expressions.
If you have an example of a Lifestyle image, feel free to share it in the comments below. I’d love to see it!