What is lifestyle photography? Some photographers believe that the photos have to be completely candid with no posing or planned set ups whatsoever. Others, that it is a balance between ‘classic’ portraiture and capturing the real personalities of your subjects – a mix of authentic and staged.
For me lifestyle photography can be summed up in three words: storytelling, natural and honest. I aim to capture personalities and connections, the special bond between families, but always with minimal posing – I think of it as setting the scene and letting the story unfold.
Here are my top 5 tips if you are thinking of giving it a go:
Observe, don’t direct!
I always spend some time chatting to the family without my camera. Connect with them but then let them lead. To capture natural expressions, it is important that they feel comfortable around you and are able to be themselves. Take a back seat and watch and wait. It is easy to miss shots!
Know your camera settings. Due to the nature of this type of photography, the light, composition and camera angle will be constantly changing. Be prepared to keep moving with the situation but don’t disturb what is happening naturally. I take along a hand held reflector but nothing else.
Be positive and encouraging!
Incorporate an activity into the session: reading a book together, counting toes, playing a game, whispering rude words! Anything to get those lovely expressions and to focus on each other, rather than you. Tell them how gorgeous they look!
Life is imperfect and moments don’t have to be completely sharp. The light conditions may be too low if you are inside to get your shutter speed high enough or to fiddle around changing your iso – focus on the emotions and expressions without being too concerned about the technical side of things.
Let the family choose the location for the session – it could be their home or a favourite beach. I always use a wide angle for this kind of photography. I think it is important to show a family in their own environment, with all the detail and chaos that goes with that! I also make sure I focus in on small details too – a raggedy old toy, a dream catcher, little feet. Every detail is part of the story.
I hope you find these tips useful – give it a go and have fun!