Lifestyle photography has an almost photo-journalistic reputation. This is where interactions were candid and without any direction from the photographer.
So, what is lifestyle photography nowadays? It’s somewhere between true documentary photography and classic portraiture. Read on for all the lifestyle photography tips you’ll need to capture stunning images.
8. Structure Interactions
Lifestyle photography captures portraits and real-life events. Day to day interactions are the best way to tell the story of the moment.
Don’t overplan client interactions during lifestyle photo shoots.
This doesn’t mean your photo shoots shouldn’t have a structure. But a lifestyle shoot needs a different approach than portrait photography.
Take the time to understand your clients. Ask about their likes and dislikes. Ask about activities they do as a family, places they like to hang out. And what they do for fun.
Once you understand them, suggest activities that are a natural fit. This way clients are doing something they enjoy. They’re not worrying about the camera during the lifestyle shoot.
This family wanted to capture photos with their teenage kids. As it is with older kids, the interactions were casual.
The setting was the city where the kids go to college. Understanding the family’s needs made it easy to pick this location.
7. Give Directions That Help Set the Stage
This tip goes hand in hand with the first one. Don’t be afraid to give directions on how you would like the environment to be.
Let’s be honest. Very few of our clients are completely at ease in front of the camera. It is our job as lifestyle photographers to make them feel relaxed.
One way to do this is to give clear directions on what you are looking for. But be careful not to be restrictive. I always tell my clients the end result of what I want. Other than that, how they get there is up to them.
In the picture above, I wanted to capture father and daughter interactions. I asked the dad to imagine they are at the park and play with his daughter.
The end goal was to make her laugh out loud. From there on, I captured them giggling, laughing and interacting. This made it easy for me to get the result I want.
6. Capture Those Candid Lifestyle Photos
My style is a mix of documentary and classic portrait photography. One way I do this is to capture the in-between moments, too.
Candid photos are a beautiful way to show the true personality of your clients.
I cheat a little and tell my clients that I am testing the lighting. That way, they’re interacting in a casual, normal manner.
My favourite moments from a session are usually these in-between shots. My goal is to make the clients feel so comfortable they forget I am there.
Some say a client is never comfortable during lifestyle photo shoots. I can understand that line of thinking. But I also know that, as a photographer, I want my clients to trust me, my work, and my style.
At the end of the day, I want them to love their photos. And feel like their photos are an extension of themselves. They’re precious memories they will be able to cherish.
5. Focus on the Details
A great story has a strong beginning, middle and end. It also has enough details that take the viewer on a journey. It’s as if they were experiencing that story for themselves.
A huge part of giving a sense of place and space is to capture the details. This does not always mean the clothes, accessories and props.
Details are important to the client and help tell the story. No matter what the story is.
4. Find the Perfect Settings
Lifestyle photography is quite fast-paced. You are trying to capture a scene as it is playing out in front of you.
You don’t have the time or the opportunity to re-compose the shot and then click the shutter.
This does not mean that you have to fire away at the max fps (frames per second) that your camera can handle. And then hope you can make the best of the lot in post-processing.
Instead, use your technical and artistic skills to read the scene. Analyse the light and assess the right camera settings. Imagine the outcome and then take the picture.
Bear in mind that it’s not a good idea to keep asking your clients to ‘re-do’. They will get distracted and might stop trusting your skills.
Any photographer who works with kids knows that things can get very unpredictable. And they can move very fast.
In the picture above, I asked the mom to hug her daughter.
Mom picked her up instead, and this happened. One of my favourite photos of all time. And I didn’t have even a second to prepare.
Today most photographers associate lifestyle with family photos.
You can apply all these tips to lifestyle family photography. But lifestyle portrait photography tricks work with other types of photography too. With some variation and adjustment, of course.
3. Try Lifestyle Photography When You Travel
When travelling, try and capture candid shots of people and places. Engage with the locals and photograph them in their element.
Are you travelling with a group? Capture the in-between moments of travel in an unrehearsed way. This tells the story of your adventure from start to finish.
Focusing on the in-between will also help with verbalising the story. This is great if you want to submit your photos to travel blogs or magazines.
2. Use a Lifestyle Photography Approach for Candid Wedding Photos
You might get clients who want a documentary approach to their wedding photos.
Weddings tend to be very stressful events for almost all parties concerned. There are plenty of opportunities where everyone wants to take a break and relax. These are the moments you want to capture.
I find most of my lifestyle shots and wedding photos in those in-between moments.
1. Shoot Lifestyle Fashion Photos
These days, fashion photography is leaning towards a lifestyle approach. Brands are finding that people relate better to lifestyle images.
This means models interacting with the environment. This is more realistic than in-studio fashion editorials.
More and more brands are investing in an editorial that revolves around a storyline. The products appear natural in the scene.
They take the viewer on a story of the product.
I’m sure you were wondering ‘how do I become a lifestyle photographer?’. I hope these tips helped you give an answer to this question. Remember, there is no right or wrong way to approach it.
This genre is a great way to let your creativity flow. Keep in mind to take cues from your clients.
At the end of the day, clients want images that truly reflect who they are. It is not about the clothes they’re wearing or the location they’re in.
Instead, lifestyle photography is about relationships. As a lifestyle photographer, you get to capture the interactions that matter.
Want to learn more about capturing amazing photographs? Check out our course Photography for Beginners next!